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Thursday, December 21 • 10:40 - 12:10
Let the people speak: using evidence from the Global South to reshape our digital future (WS188)

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Proposer's Name: Ms. Alison Gillwald
Proposer's Organization: Research ICT Africa/University of Cape Town
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Roxana Barrantes
Co-Proposer's Organization: Instituto Estudios de Peruanos
Co-Organizers:
Helani Galpaya, civil society, LIRNEasia Aileen Aguero, civil society, Instituto Estudios de Peruanos


Session Format: Round Table - 90 Min

Proposer:
Country: South Africa
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Co-Proposer:
Country: Peru
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Speaker: Alison Gillwald
Speaker: Helani Galpaya
Speaker: Helani Galpaya
Speaker: Anriette Esterhuysen
Speaker: Alice Munyua
Speaker: Claire Sibthorpe
Speaker: Alexandre Barbosa
Speaker: Masanori Kondo

Content of the Session:
The roundtable discussion hinges on the ICT access and use surveys undertaken in 2017 across 16 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America that bring to the forum some of the only rigorous and publicly available evidence on the status and determinants of digital inequality. Based on nationally representative surveys the findings provide not only real numbers of Internet access in the Global South but enable the disaggregation of data on the basis of sex, location, income, age and other grounds. The studies look 'beyond access' at the intersectional challenges faced the marginalised in developing countries, providing insights into affordability, digital literacy, gender disparities, urban-rural divides, and unevenness of youth awareness and use. The findings also provide critical insights into the drivers of OTT adoption, mobile money use, the extent of online micro-work, the use of m-and e-government services and social networking as the driver of Internet take-up.
A multistakeholder discussion, with prompted audience and online audience interventions, will explore some of the arising governance and policy implications of the findings if any progress is to be made towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and to developing measurements to assess that progress.
The 90 minute roundtable will include:
Introduction: Three 10-minute flash presentations from Africa, Asia and Latin America with a brief comparative overview. (30mins)
Moderator: Questions of clarification on methodology and findings. (5 minutes)
Moderator: Questions to presenters at on critical role of demand side data for evidence-based policy formulation (5 minutes)
Moderator: Questions to national agencies and multilateral agencies on the utility of the findings and remaining/arising gaps and commitment to development of national indicators (10 minutes)
Moderator: Questions to industry associations on complementary role (and commitment to collaboration) of supply-side/big data to demand-side data for evidence-based policy (10 mins)
Moderator: Discussion on factors driving digital inequality - human development (income, education) rural location, age, and intersection of these in relation to gender - policy challenges of state coordination, demand stimulation, + audience participation (10 mins)
Moderator: Discussion of affordability and user strategies to access and USE the Internet, including public wi-fi, zero rated, dynamic and bundled services and OTTs + audience participation (10 mins)
Moderator: Discussion on factors driving Internet take-up and what people use it for - social networking, mobile money, microwork + audience participation (10 mins)
Moderator: Discussion on rights online/offline - creating a trusted environment as demand stimulation strategy - users awareness, experiences and practices of security, privacy, surveillance, censorship, freedom of expression + audience participation (10 mins)
Wrap up.


Relevance of the Session:
The recognition of the imperatives of digital inclusion in the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development and calls for 'significantly increased access to affordable Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ together with 'the enhanced use of enabling technologies to promote women’s empowerment’ is to be welcomed as a mechanism to ameliorate inequality in the 21st century. The problem is that with the patchy, outdated, supply-side data currently being used for global comparison and unable to measure digital inequality in the predominantly prepaid mobile markets in developing countries, we do not know where we stand now nor can we ascertain if, and when, we have progressed toward the goals and targets of the the SDGs. The findings of these demand-side studies go some way to fulling these gaps in a number of developing countries and providing a baseline and some perspective from the global South on how we might shape our digital future in a more equitable way. Besides the socio-economic factors driving and inhibiting internet adoption and use, the research probes user experiences of a range of issues fundamental to Internet governance - user trust, cyber security, privacy, surveillance and censorship and explores them as factors in inhibiting Internet take-up and use. Discussion of the findings in a multistakeholder environment not only provide an opportunity to influence more positive policy outcomes but hopefully highlights the need for political commitment to rigorous, transparent and open public statistics for evidence-based policy.


Tag 1: #accessandinclusion
Tag 2: Policies Enabling Access
Tag 3: Internet & ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals

Interventions:
This 90-minute session will provide a essential evidence update for decision-makers in the global South through a roundtable discussion between researchers and policy-makers following three flash presentations on Africa (Alison Gillwald), Asia (Helani Galpaya) and Latin America (Roxana Barrantes of 10 minutes each with a brief comparative overview.
The moderator, Alexandre Barbosa who has extensive experience in indicators development as the chair of the ITU Indicator Expert Group and executive director of CETIC in Brazil, will take some audience questions of clarification on the presentations and methodology and will then pose some policy questions to demonstrate how demand side surveys are essential to identifying the exact points of policy intervention that cannot be sourced from supply side data or even big data analytics in the predominantly prepaid mobile markets that characterise the Global South. (10 minutes).
Discussants from regional and national governments and state agencies (Juan Manuel Wilches, Commissioner, Commission for Communications Regulation, Colombia) and Americo Muchanga, Mozambican regulator and Communications Regulatory Association of Southern Africa chairperson) and multilateral agencies (Alice Munya, African Union) will then have an opportunity to respond to the findings, evaluate their utility and contribution to administrative data and identify outstanding research needs from a policy perspective. Roundtable discussion will ensue, with vacant seats at the roundtable for audience participation.
Industry associations (Dr Masanori Kondo, Deputy Secretary General, Asia Pacific Telecommunity, and Claire Sibthorpe from GSMA Connected Women) will then speak about how supply-side (operator) data can be used complementarily with demand-side data for a complete evidence-base for policy formulation.
With the access indicators covered the presentations, the discussions will focus on some of the key findings on digital inequality in relation to income, sex, urban-rural location and education. The remainder of the time will be spent on the 'beyond access' challenges that are constraining Internet take- up, many of which intersect with the factors of inequality described above. As affordability is a major constraint on not only take up of services but use, some time will be spent on the findings on expenditure on communications services but also the findings on the multiple strategies users have developed to access the Internet, including free public wi-fi, zero-rated services and low cost and dynamically bundled products.
The two remaining issues that will be highlighted is the drivers of internet take up and use, particularly social networking, but also some insights into mobile money and online micro-work and the findings from the cyber awareness and practice component which specifically focused on trust issues related to building confidence in coming and remaining online, specifically awareness and practices in relation to online rights, cyber security, privacy, surveillance, freedom of expression, censorship, stalking and sexual harassment. Anriette Esterhysen from APC who is also leading the UNESCO Internet Indicators project will engage with the presenters on public interest governance frameworks to manage these issues on the net and to also, together with Claire Sibthorpe from GSMA Connected Women, Alice Munya from the African Union, who have advocated extensively for gender equality,speak more generally about strategies of digital inclusion.
Wrap up (5 minutes)


Diversity:
The proposed speakers are predominantly women, but there are men represented from each region - Africa, Asia and Latin America. The presenters of the flash presentations are researchers from think tanks in each region. The discussants are from national government agencies, regional multilateral organisations

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Session Organizers

Thursday December 21, 2017 10:40 - 12:10
Room XXVI - E United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)

Attendees (49)