The Star (St. Lucia) - - BUSINESS -

The is­land of pow­dery white-sand beaches, lush green moun­tains, and shel­tered, yacht-filled har­bours, Tor­tola, the British Vir­gin Is­land’s largest and cap­i­tal is­land, will host the world’s old­est In­ter­net fo­rum - the 13th Caribbean In­ter­net Gov­er­nance Fo­rum (CIGF). The event will take place from Au­gust 21-23 at the Gov­ern­ment’s Train­ing Di­vi­sion, Bet­tito Frett Build­ing, Wick­ham’s Cay 1 in Road Town, Tor­tola, British Vir­gin Is­lands.

Aris­ing from the United Na­tions World Sum­mit on the In­for­ma­tion So­ci­ety (WSIS) process (2003-2005), In­ter­net gov­er­nance is de­fined as “de­vel­op­ment and ap­pli­ca­tion by gov­ern­ments, the pri­vate sec­tor and civil so­ci­ety, in their re­spec­tive roles, of shared prin­ci­ples, norms, rules, de­ci­sion-mak­ing pro­ce­dures, and pro­grammes that shape the evo­lu­tion and use of the In­ter­net".

In 2005, the Caribbean Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union (CTU), with the sup­port of the CARICOM Sec­re­tariat, es­tab­lished the Caribbean In­ter­net Gov­er­nance Fo­rum (CIGF), the first of its kind in the world. The CIGF is an an­nual multi-stake­holder fo­rum that brings to­gether Caribbean In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nolo­gies (ICT) stake­hold­ers with the in­ten­tion of har­mon­is­ing po­si­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions on tech­nol­ogy, con­tent, pol­icy, cy­ber­se­cu­rity, pri­vacy and other mat­ters re­lated to the In­ter­net. In ad­di­tion, since 2014, in or­der to en­hance im­ple­men­ta­tion of the work of the CIGF, the CTU has been spear­head­ing its thrust for in­di­vid­ual coun­tries to es­tab­lish their own mul­ti­stake­holder na­tional IG fo­rum to ad­vance the Caribbean In­ter­net Gov­er­nance agenda in each coun­try.

The 13th CIGF will fea­ture a tech­ni­cal col­lege and fa­cil­i­tate open dis­cus­sion on cur­rent IG mat­ters of re­gional im­por­tance such as net neu­tral­ity, pri­vacy and se­cu­rity. The fo­rum will re­view progress, strate­gies and ap­proaches for build­ing and strength­en­ing na­tional multi-stake­holder struc­tures to en­hance IG ca­pac­ity, ex­per­tise and ac­tion in the Caribbean. In ad­di­tion, the CIGF will build aware­ness on op­por­tu­ni­ties for Caribbean growth through the In­ter­net econ­omy and build lo­cal ca­pac­ity in IG to en­able, main­tain and strengthen ef­fec­tive Caribbean par­tic­i­pa­tion and rep­re­sen­ta­tion at the global IG fora.

Nigel Cas­simire, Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Spe­cial­ist and co­or­di­na­tor, noted that the theme of this year’s event, Build­ing Caribbean Ca­pac­ity in In­ter­net Gov­er­nance, seeks to en­hance the Caribbean’s in­flu­ence in IG glob­ally. “The Caribbean needs to make its mark in the evo­lu­tion of poli­cies and sys­tems that can en­able the dig­i­tal econ­omy and, for this rea­son, we need to de­velop Caribbean ex­per­tise in IG.” He fur­ther men­tioned that “through the host­ing of th­ese events, there has been an in­crease in Caribbean par­tic­i­pa­tion in th­ese fo­rums and pro­cesses around the world".

Mr. An­thony McMaster, Vice Chair­man of the CTU and Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Min­istry for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Works, BVI, on the im­por­tance of host­ing the 13th CIGF, stated ,“The 13th Caribbean In­ter­net Gov­er­nance Fo­rum is im­por­tant to the ad­vance­ment of the Ter­ri­tory and the re­gion’s In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nolo­gies in­fra­struc­ture, as it brings to­gether lead­ing de­ci­sion mak­ers and tech­ni­cal ex­perts in a wide range of in­ter­net and tech­nol­ogy re­lated top­ics, which fa­cil­i­tates the best prac­tice and fo­cused ap­proach to the de­vel­op­ment of poli­cies and world class stan­dards.”

The fo­rum is open to all ICT stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment pol­icy mak­ers, reg­u­la­tors, pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tors, In­ter­net ser­vice providers, aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions, and civil so­ci­ety In­ter­net users.

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