Panama IGF

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2017 Special Issue - Internet governance from the edges: NRIs in their own words
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Panama

Lia Hernandez

direccion@ipandetec.org, ipandetec@gmail.com

www.ipandetec.org

 

NRI founding stories and development

 

What is the story of the founding of your NRI? What were its inspiration, its objectives?

The initial talks around establishing an internet governance community in Panama date back to April 2013, when the government hosted the 5th South School on Internet Governance (SSIG). This event was organised by the National Authority for Governmental Innovation (AIG) and the South School on Internet Governance (SSIG), and aimed at training and motivating Latin Americans to join the international debate on internet governance. The event brought important actors involved in the internet governance ecosystem in Latin America to Panama, and mobilised representatives of the public sector – such as AIG, the National Authority of Public Services (ASEP) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) – as well as the academic and technical community of the country, represented by the Network Information Centre of the Technological University of Panama (UTP), better known as NIC-Panama. A year later, in April 2014, a group of key players from the Panamanian digital ecosystem met at the NETmundial event in Brazil, which brought together different stakeholders around the world to discuss and shape the principles of internet governance. The same group met once again at the 7th LACIGF, held in San Salvador, El Salvador in 2014, and at the 8th LACIGF in Mexico City, in 2015. Back in Panama, they engaged in a series of meetings with the purpose of putting together representatives of the different parties interested in the development of internet governance in the country. During 2016, prior to the 9th LACIGF held in Costa Rica in July, IPANDETEC organised a series of three public forums to inform and involve a broader audience, such as teachers, students, business people and government entities not already involved in internet governance, and civil society in general. Through a series of six meetings convened by IPANDETEC (civil society), and sponsored by AIG and ASEP (public sector), UTP (technical and academic sector) and the Panamanian Chamber of Information, Innovation and Telecommunications (CAPATEC) (business sector), a working group was created to reinforce the commitment of all stakeholders. This process culminated in the organisation of the first Dialogue Table in April 2017, just when the Panama chapter of the Internet Society was established and shortly after the nomination of IPANDETEC as the host organisation of the 10th LACIGF. Throughout this process, establishing the national internet governance forum was facilitated by both regional and international governance forums. In particular, by putting together experts from different sectors of the Panamanian society, both the NETmundial and the LACIGF played an important role in fostering the creation of a group made up of people engaged in internet governance topics in Panama. The two regional initiatives also helped by providing the expertise and the contacts of people in other countries across the world who shared best practices in establishing a national and regional community focused on internet governance

 

How did it develop and what difficulties did you experience along the way?

The process is better explained in the previous question. However, the main difficulty was to include some actors who were not very keen on joining the IGF talks from the start, especially from the public sector. In Panama, it is still a challenge to involve actors from the government, beyond the participation of the AIG.

 

How do you imagine your NRI and its activities in the future?

We imagine it to be a forum to discuss policies and foster the agenda of digital rights in Panama, involving stakeholders from different sectors.

 

NRI internal governance and initiatives

 

Who are the people involved in your NRI and how do they contribute to it?

IPANDETEC (civil society), AIG and ASEP (public sector), UTP (technical and academic sector) and the Panamanian Chamber of Information, Innovation and Telecommunications (CAPATEC) (business sector).

 

Have you experienced difficulties in ensuring all stakeholder groups participate fully and more or less equally?

The main difficulty is to ensure a more active and constant participation of the government, and a greater involvement of the private sector, since other stakeholders have been active and participating constantly in the discussions.

 

Do you measure gender balance in your NRI? Did you undertake measures to encourage gender balance?

We believe that gender balance is respected in all the meetings and events we have organised so far.

 

How was your last forum organised, what were the topics chosen and the outcomes of discussion? How was it financed?

It was sponsored by the AIG and ASEP. The topics were chosen by committees defined in our meetings prior to the event.

 

Are there controversial topics that have been difficult in your NRI and if so, why?

 

No response was provided to this question.

 

Perspectives on the role of NRIs in internet governance

 

What is your take about the role of your NRI in internet governance processes, at the level of your country, region and globally?

 

No response was provided to this question.

 

How do you perceive your role and position towards other NRIs, the IGF and the IGF Secretariat?

 

No response was provided to this question.

 

 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Some rights reserved.

Global Information Society Watch 2017 special edition web and e-book

 

ISBN: 978-92-95102-92-7 APC-201712-CIPP-R-EN-DIGITAL-282

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