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Strengthening Policy Advocacy in the MENA Region

Proposal for implementing the initiative of the

IPA Strengthening Policy Advocacy in the MENA Region


Given the region political, social and economic unrest situation, where people are claiming access to job opportunities, Government transparency and Government accountability towards access to information, freedom of expression and free access to an open  internet, this situation led to major economic downturn and business suffered for more than four years-post to the Arab spring revolutions, adding to all,  is the war on terrorism which is addressing the morals, ethics, efficiency, economics, as well as other issues surrounding high level government online-control, censorship and surveillance, data protection and privacy, online freedom of expression, online political engagement and the protection of online human rights. In such context, the two major high priorities as Go-Dos to secure the future of the online next generation in MENA region are the deployment of a good governance model through the development of a strong and sustainable legal framework for both offline and online transactions. As “Development is increasingly digitally-based” was the first message in the last WISIS+10 reports of the UN assembly, most resolutions cover digital development and all the 17 sustainable development goals rely on digital technologies in the implementation process during the next decades. Cybersecurity and human rights balance roughly affected the debate between an urgency call of states for more policies development against cybercrimes and the online protection of human rights. Tunisia as part of the MENA region is in the diapason of this change, Potential digital rights activists, IG experts, academics and policy authors are still debating a consensus-based model on the digital policy designing and development unlike most other global policy processes. The objective is to bridge the gap between the juridical and technical approaches “old law vs cyber law” in the process of addressing digital policy issues in practical problems in the digital sphere. During the last Arab IGF which was held in Beirut on 18, 19 December 2015, I revealed during my speech in the plenary session “International Internet related public Policies” the critical role of IG and ICT experts in the in the 21 first century Digital Policy design cause any digital public policy should be proactive and less reactive, In our days, any future related digital texts of law is stillborn if it doesn’t carry out an alive legal message with prospective technology evolution spirit!  For further details about the last Arab IGF 2015, see read this Article.

In the online side, Internet Policy Complexity is due  essentially  to the fact that technology is no longer neutral,  its affecting and changing all the aspects of our lives, from the social, environmental, cultural, economic, technical and development to the human rights, accessibility and  privacy, therefore, while awareness programs and capacity building contribute to a confidence building which strengthen the positions approximation between different actors, we still need to invent a new sustainable toolkit of cognitive tools for Internet Governance policy and advocacy  for the First twenty century to consolidate a more proactive policy making design and less reactive procedures which are challenged by the controversy between the old law and the cyberspace law approaches. The IGMENA’s IPA initiative and engagement strategy at my understanding is coming in the right space of time and place to bridge the gap between the old policymakers and the new IG experts in the internet policy design and advocacy.  IPA in my point of view comes to innovate in a Networked hup for sharing, analyzing, training, exchanging best practices, between policy analysts, ICT experts and students to co-design the IPA framework in order to shape the internet development and evolution in the legal corner of the internet governance basket. This IPA platform is essentially based on awareness and capacity building programs for strengthening policy advocacy in the MENA region through wining more mindshare in the digital rights space.  Therefore, in order to win more spectrums in IG policy and advocacy in the region, it’s strategic to think as community creator and engager by:

  • Identify the list of your targeted communities (Academia, ICT experts, Policy Analysts, etc …)

  • Understanding the needs of different communities and engage them in active collaboration.

  • Assess the depth of interest of each community with Internet policy and advocacy before action.

  • Execute a series of webinars and workshops aimed at engaging all those interested in Internet Governance in an active discussion on the development of the Internet Policy.

  • Share, gather and interpret internet social media data on policy issues.

  • Create Synergies between the different stakeholders and benchmark with other mapping initiatives.

  • Aim to create a sustainable Platform as an Internet advisory Group to serve different communities needs and expectations.

  • Be proactive and make execution as your strategy.


Strategic Overview

As execution is strategic, therefore two main engines are required to implement the IPA engagement strategy vision in MENA region, the breadth and depth engines. Each engine has a spectrum of outreach based on its capacity of mindshare adoption. While breadth engine programs are aiming to extend reach to unengaged audiences, to Increase discoverability of internet policy for beginners through online publication on social networks, the depth engine are more IG capacity building programs with relevance in depth knowledge of selected resources and engagement for  IG experts, Policy analysts and Faculty researchers. However, its recommended to define the different programs of each engine (Workshops, seminars, webinars, events, face to face contacts, Curriculum wins, etc ..) with an appropriate long year agenda.

IPA community is made up of many stakeholders, IT professionals, academics, Policy analysts, faculty members, researchers, students, lawyers, policymakers, ICT government decision makers, social activists and independent IG experts. IPA’s relevance to them is critical to shape de development and the evolution of the internet in their region. In order to securing the future of  IG policy proactive design,  breadth community is defined as all the individuals in the IG community, including students, IT pros, and policy makers that even do not write internet policy as their primary job (sometimes called non-professionals). Each of these audiences are critical: students will determine the future of the internet technology in industry; IT pros determine what internet technology is deployed; and policy authors write the internet policies and wait for legislators approvals,  each one is acting from one side, the objective is to map all these cartographies in a one sustainable collaborative platform.

The strategy is to engage with these audiences around the scenarios that matter to them and their needs. We should target key audience segments with a strong value proposition and offer, and we’ll use campaigns to coordinate our activities. The audience strategy is in the table below, and the next plan and agenda (To develop) lay out how campaigns, value propositions and offers align against each audience segment. We not only move to one-to-many and online as our primary engagement, but we also must connect these two activities. IPA’s coordinators and community drivers must work together to drive this connection. Coordinators tell the story to an audience and use social media, influential, and marketing to amplify the story.

We must drive community reach programs to grow our technical & policy analyst’s audience reach and relevance. We use an engine approach to achieve this, driving the audience thru reach, content offer, and finally adoption, aligned with IPA objectives. In order to scale the reach, we must engage neutral, skeptical, and non-engaged communities. Each region in MENA is responsible for selecting their key breadth audiences most important in their local geography. The breadth IPA lead or ambassador in the subsidiary is accountable for reaching his IPA yearly scorecard,

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