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Live debate: Smart Policies to close the Digital Divide : Showcasing Best Practices to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Smart Policies to close the Digital Divide : Showcasing Best Practices to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 

Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Time: 15:00 CET – 16:00 CET
Platform: Google Hangouts                                          
  • Mr. Baher Esmat, Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement for the Middle East at ICANN
  • Mr. Hafeth Yahamdi, ‎ICT strategist in business development, Tunisia
  • Ms. Doaa Shendy, Internet Policy Analyst, Lawyer Stanley group, Egypt 
  • Mr. Huathaifa Bustanji, Judicial Assistant at Judicial inspection department, Jordan
  • Mr. Michel Oghia, Journalist & 2015 ISOC IGF Ambassador, Turkey
  • Ms. Ines Hfaiedh, ICT Implementation in Education specialist, Tunisia


The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets, and indicators set by the UN member states to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. The SDGs follow and expand on the millennium development goals (MDGs).There is a broad consensus that, the MDGs provided a focal point for governments to develop policies and overseas aid programs to end poverty and improve the lives of poor people as well as a rallying point for NGOs to hold governments to account.

Since 2001, the Arab World has recorded the largest growth in Internet users across the regions and in the world. There has been more than a 600% increase in the number of citizens accessing the Internet. Some Arab countries have also launched initiatives for improving their education system and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure.

A dynamic ICT infrastructure is a pre-requisite for a nation to fully participate in the global knowledge economy and to accelerate economic growth. What are the measures to extend mobile telephony, computers, Internet access, and new electronic applications, all supported by a dynamic IT industry that can bridge the digital divide, boosts employment and economic growth ? What are the best practices from the Arab countries who significantly progressed towards becoming knowledge-based economies by making major improvements in ICT ?

Today, we live in a fast progressing information era in which Mena region countries need to focus more on knowledge creation policies and advanced technological development which are together termed as ‘Knowledge Economy’ that will help ‘Connecting the next billion’. IGmena google hangout will look at what are the smart policies and important steps to meet all requirements that define a knowledge economy ? How these efforts yielded positive or negative Internet governance ? What are the short, medium, long-term policies to achieve SDGs in the Mena region ?

  • What are the Sustainable development goals SDGs and why do we need another set of goals?
  • What is the dynamic for enhancing ICT infrastructure to fully participate in the global knowledge economy to accelerate economic growth ?
  • What are the SDGs policies for growth to boost employment, mobile telephony, computers, Internet access, new electronic applications, and IT industry ?
  • What is the immediate outlook for the ICT industry? What are the challenges that lie ahead given the ongoing global economic problems?
  • What are the best practices from the Arab countries who significant progressed towards becoming knowledge-based economies by making major improvements in ICT
  • What about cybersecurity? We see a lot of concern now in the mainstream media about identity theft, cyber crime, even cyber war ?
  • Have we really bridged the Digital Divide? What is your vision right now ? Would the SDGs build a more open, inclusive and transparent Internet governance?      
IGMENA organizes monthly online debates on Internet Governance (IG), addressing topics covering local, regional, and global issues.

The main objective of these debates is to facilitate the discussion on IG issues specific to the MENA region. It encourages more interaction among IG and policy stakeholders to share their contribution on the current developments in the field. The debates aim to meet the specific needs of Arab netizens and to put forward timely and relevant topics that will encourage participants to exchange points of views, articulate challenges and concerns, and define shared concepts. This series of live debates will also serve as a tool to keep the IGMENA community growing, connected, and active about current IG issues.

Each session has a main speaker who presents the debate topic, accompanied by several other contributors. The discussion is moderated and facilitated by IGMENA, providing space for viewers to share their comments, post their contributions, and raise their questions to the speakers to feed the debate.  

The language used during the online debates is either Arabic or English. The debates are open to the general public. The audience includes the IGMENA community, networks and organisations active in the IG field from the Arab region, and anyone from the international audience who would like to participate and contribute.

One week before each live debate, an update with information about the forthcoming debate on Google Hangouts is published on the IGMENA website and shared with the IGMENA network. Those who are interested will be able to join the debate and share their comments until the end of the live session. The video is available on the IGMENA website after the live broadcast (via the IGMENA Youtube channel), open for new comments as well as suggestions on new topics. In addition, a summary of the main points addressed during the online debate is published on the IGMENA website.

This series of debates is part of IGMENA’s advocacy for freedom of expression and freedom of information in the Arab region through raising awareness among various stakeholders and engaging them in the Internet Governance process.