Thank you, Chairman. I would like to support my colleague, Marilyn Cade’s, input on behalf of ITAA/WITSA, and also build on that on behalf of the International Chamber of Commerce and its BASIS initiative.
We still remain concerned about the number of ongoing events all at one time. In general, ICC/ BASIS believes that reducing the number of events going on at any one given time should be a priority as the schedule is revised, and we would not support a 24-hour schedule which was one of the options that was outlined.
We note that there are 31 open workshops at this time and suggest that where appropriate, a few of them should be considered as the thematic workshops in order to reduce the overlap in the schedule. We would also suggest that there be no additional workshops, open workshops, added to the schedule. In addition to the 31 open workshops, we should all remember that there are also five main sessions. There are going to be a dozen best practice forums, all of which are very important, and an undefined number of open forums, as well as possible meetings and dynamic coalitions, not to mention the morning reporting sessions.
This is a very full and complex schedule which really may be very difficult for some people to maximize the opportunities and choose where they should really be at any given moment. From the business community’s perspective, here represented by ICC, it’s going to be a challenging schedule for us to ensure that there are business experts and business participants in the room for each of these events in order to both take advantage of the opportunities and the learning opportunities, and also to share their expertise and experience. And we imagine that this is a challenge that will be faced by many other stakeholders as well. For those of us who have been closely involved in the development of the schedule, it might not be that confusing. But there are first-time participants who are taking a look at this schedule who find it very confusing and quite overwhelming about making choices for the schedule and where they should be.
We also wanted to emphasize our members believe that informal discussions and the sharing of information and experience that will occur at this meeting and in the meeting place, in the hallways, are really an important part of the IGF that should not be ignored in the scheduling.
We would encourage and look forward to receiving information about the meeting place and encourage the schedule for Rio to remain sensitive to the need for participants to have enough time to fully take advantage of what has been described as this opportunity to meet and interact and learn from and exchange with people that they may not have other opportunities to do that with.
Thus, from our perspective, attention to not overburdening the program is essential, and we’d also like to strongly urge attention to be given to make sure that events have a solid audience, which several overlapping events will really, clearly, not achieve that objective.