ASREN and Arab NRENs participate in the Fifth Arab Internet Governance Forum in Cairo

In addition to ASREN, NRENs of Lebanon and Egypt participated in the Fifth Arab Internet Governance Forum (ArabIGF-V) held in Cairo, 22 to 23 January 2020.  The forum was organized by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) and the League of Arab States (LAS) in cooperation with the National Telecom Regulatory Authority of Egypt as the Arab IGF Secretariat since 2012. It was generously hosted by the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO) at its premises in Heliopolis.
The main objective of the ArabIGF-V sis to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on Internet governance amongst all stakeholders in the Arab region, including Governments, private sector, civil society, academics, technical community, and regional and international organizations.  The dialogue will cover the topics of priority and issues related to Internet policies in the region, in line with the priorities stipulated in the Second Arab Roadmap for Internet Governance. The event also aims to facilitate linking the thematic areas covered with the overall objective of achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
ASREN took part in the preparations for the ArabIGF-V, which also involved the participation of members of ArabIGF Multi-stakeholder Programme Advisory Committee (AMPAC) in meetings during 2018 and 2019, which resulted with the identification of the main themes of the event, namely:
Themes of plenaries: (1)  Contribution to Internet Global Public Policymaking: From Internet Governance to Digital Cooperation, (2)  Meaningful access for inclusion and diversity, (3)  Digital transformation and Internet economy, (4)  Cyber security, privacy, trust and peace
Cross-cutting areas: (1)  Gender equality and women empowerment (2)  Social and human impact (3)  Human development/ capacity-building (4)  Legislative frameworks
As one of the main stakeholders of Internet Governance, ASREN and NRENs were represented by Yousif Asfour, CIO of American University at Beirut who participated and contributed to the Forum in the main session on “Meaningful access for inclusion and diversity”. In his intervention, Dr. Asfour emphasized that the value of the internet is derived from its ability to enable people and organizations from all parts of society to equally access, share and create knowledge and information.
Instead of unilaterally implementing laws and cyber controls that restrict the use of the internet, government and regulatory authorities must work in collaboration with all stakeholders from all sectors of society to develop and implement laws and policies that encourage everyone to access, share and produce content in line with the constantly evolving technology. 
This means that our laws need to focus on the protection of intellectual property, freedom of expression, secure transactions, safe communication and equal access for all people and organizations.
Dr. Asfour added: “In order to ensure inclusivity, we also have to work with all service and content providers to provide awareness and implement policies and standards that ensure access to people with visual, hearing, mobility, mental, or other special needs”.