Thank You, Chairman.
On behalf of the members of the International Chamber of Commerce and Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) an ICC initiative, I am pleased to provide some additional comments.
As you know and as the secretariat has wonderfully captured, we did provide written comments, so I won't repeat what was already captured in the program paper.
Looking at the schedule, I would like to suggest that on Sunday 15 November, where there is the "Setting the Scene" session, which we think is going to be very useful, articularly for new participants, that we keep in mind that that might be an area where, in fact, some parallel workshops would be useful as well, because not everybody will need to be in the "Setting the Scene" session.
In general, we have consistently requested a minimal number of conflicting events so that people can truly take advantage of what's happening in the main hall. In this respect, we would just put that idea forward as well.
On the national and regional meetings, I have heard, and seen inputs and written contributions about how that would be done. Some have referred to it as a reporting session. We believe that the national and regional initiatives are an incredible success and have been increasing in the past year. Sharm El Sheikh presents us with an important opportunity to highlight what those initiatives are about, how they are structured, the kind of outreach that they are accomplishing. Just in terms of creating useful momentum on the day, we would suggest that they not just be reporting sessions, but also allow for interaction, because that is how some of the participants will be able to learn more about the initiatives and go on to replicate these in their own settings.
In the afternoon, the opening ceremony session is generally a more formal session, and so following that by a keynote panel session, again, in order to keep the momentum going for the day and keep people engaged, we would suggest that the keynote panel session be shaped in a way that will engage the audience as well and have interaction among a group of people on the panel instead of perhaps having too small a group up there and having people spend the afternoon with, basically, people talking to them instead of having an opportunity to engage.
In addition, on the keynote panel, we would note that a diversity of views will be important, so we carry through the multistakeholder viewpoint and perspectives that we are having throughout the program.
I have a couple of comments on the workshops in brief. I will have additional input on those in more detail. First of all, I think that the early posting and the new process that has been used this year is welcomed and has given us all an early opportunity to see what topics people are interested in working on and contributing to sessions or workshops at the IGF this year. So we think -- we welcome that effort and thank the secretariat for the effort to pull all of that together.
There are groups of topics that clearly can be merged or would be better served for the various angles that people have proposed in their workshop proposals by a broader discussion among a range of the organizers and other experts. So we would encourage looking into that.
Also, as we have consistently said, the balance in terms of the number of side workshops and other kinds of events should be considered carefully in order to make sure that themain session rooms are well attended and there's good participation across the board in the events going on.
We would also suggest that, as was done last year, some of the workshop proposals may fit nicely into main sessions. And giving the organizers an opportunity to do a side event or to participate in organizing main sessions along with the MAG in the open consultations and the secretariat would be a useful option this year. Again, we'd also just like to note that there are a number of new organizers who have put forward proposals.
And this is welcomed. This is excellent. We support equilibrium between repeat organizers and new organizers, and also perhaps giving an opportunity for entities that have put forward several proposals to make a choice or merge some of their workshops would be a useful way forward.