IGF 2020 WS #231 Youth&Sustainability: Creating change through collaboration

Monday, 16th November, 2020 (10:10 UTC) - Monday, 16th November, 2020 (11:10 UTC)
Room 1
About this Session
In this workshop, activists and experts of environmental advocacy and Internet governance will deliberate on how digital sustainability can be mainstreamed in Internet governance discoursed, and where the movements for climate justice, and for the inclusive, open, and accessible Internet intersect.

Organizer 1: Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Speaker 1: Josaphat Tjiho, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Edmon Chung, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Katarzyna Jagiello, Intergovernmental Organization, Eastern European Group

Additional Speakers

All the foreseen speakers are still available. To add more diversity to the environmental advocacy theme, the following speakers will join additionally:

Rasmus Andresen, Member of European Parliament

Raphael Reimann, Fridays for Future Germany



Birds of a Feather - Classroom - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

Environment sustainability has become a widely discussed topic - how can we (the Internet governance community at large, and young people, specifically) support the discourse, while adapting it to Internet governance specific frameworks and fora? What role can young people take, as they are at the same time the drivers of sustainability advocacy, while being traditionally underrepresented in official decision-making fora? What specific needs and challenges can we address in a global, inclusive, multi-stakeholder context just as the IGF, that lacks in other contexts? What can be the unique input of the Internet governance community regarding ICT for sustainability, the role of the Internet in climate change, and positive action for environmental justice? How can we best identify tools, frameworks and solutions in order to mitigate negative environmental effects of the Internet, and to further positive action on and through the Internet?

6. What are the issues, challenges and/or opportunities you intend to address? * The challenge we intend to address revolves around the relative newness of the topic in the Internet governance sphere, and the status of young people, who have been the drivers of advocacy against climate change, but who are traditionally underrepresented in official decision-making fora. Therein lies the opportunity for proactive advocacy exchange that takes these challenges into account, but moves the narrative beyond the current state of affairs, to a lively co-creation of action items. We see a great opportunity in gathering experts from all stakeholder groups, geographic backgrounds and ages in the unique context of the Internet Governance Forum to exchange on solution-oriented policy development for positive climate action. The benefits of the Internet (decentralized, cross-border collaboration, democratization of information) have immense potential to address negative environmental effects in an inclusive fashion, rather than working on singular solutions. However, through the involvement of different regions, we want to explore how policy development can effectively be adapted to specific circumstances.


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals


In this workshop, the organizers, speakers, and participants shall co-create a prototype on how the practices of youth advocacy for climate justice can be transformed in order to fit the specific thematic framework of Internet governance. Self-organized movements like Fridays for Future have generated a lively discourse on climate policy, and work in a decentralized fashion. The Internet governance sphere has - through national, regional, and sub-regional youth IGFs and diverse youth initiatives - an active network of young people worldwide. The possibilities, challenges and shared objectives in the context of environmental sustainability shall be explored in an interactive manner. After short key-notes by the speakers to set the scene about regional activities, the participants shall split in working groups moderated by the co-organizers and speakers to explore at least some of the following questions (according to their own interest): What are successful strategies of environmental advocacy? How can they be adapted to the context of Internet governance? How can we best use the resources and networks in place to further the discussion? Where are we as a community in need of information or further input to base our action in factfullness? How can we act in an inclusive manner, especially in regards to geographical differences? Is the current advocacy Euro/Western-centric, if so, what are different needs we should adapt our action plan to? After the group work, the outcomes of the discussions shall be discussed in the plenary. The group shall have the opportunity to together create a prototype for an action plan, containing possible next steps, and focus areas for further activities.

Expected Outcomes

The outcomes of the workshop shall be at least three-fold, with only the first part being based on frontal expert input. The majority of the workshop, as well as the outcomes, shall be co-created with the participants. Participants shall be continuously encouraged to share their expertise, perspectives, and contribute to the outcomes. - Input on the state of advocacy for sustainability and environment - Prototype for action plan - Mapping of initiatives in different regions and contexts These outputs shall be compiled in a paper, and then be published after the IGF workshop. This shall also be part of a project outcome of Youth4DigitalSustainability, a project facilitated by the German Informatics Society with a global scope. The prototype character of the action plan allows us to contribute to ongoing processes, thereby this workshop shall not act as a stand-alone event, but rather an exploration of possible synergies on the topic of environment and Internet governance.

The sessions organisers will moderate the panel (Elisabeth Schauermann) and the participants interventions (Emilia Zalewska, Jenna Fung) in order to achieve the highest possible level of interactivity.

Relevance to Internet Governance: This exchange shall allow Internet governance stakeholders to get a clearer understanding of how already existing advocacy processes for sustainability and climate justice can effectively be adapted to their respective fields of action. There is potential to learn from actors who are drivers of the discourse (civil society, youth) and to find points of policy transferability to regulators and other public actors, as well as the private sector. The topic of environmental sustainability is represented in the IGF for the first time, so the co-organizers see this year as a starting point to make more explicit how the physical Internet, its use, and its tools impact the environment, and if we can find proactive regulatory, technical, and business solutions that preserve the beneficial effects of the Internet, while being intentional about its evolution by continuously taking into account environmental effects. Our premise is that we do not need to develop new frameworks entirely, but rather create synergies between different stakeholder do work on the most appropriate solutions, rooted in the multi-stakeholder system of the IGF.

Relevance to Theme: The aim of the thematic track to gain a clearer understanding of the role of Internet governance in the reduction of carbon emissions and other negative environmental effects of Internet and ICT deployment will be at the centre of this collaborative exchange. We want to explore what positive stimulus can the Internet Governance Forum create, in its unique capacity as a global, multi-stakeholder effort focusing on ICT and the Internet. We also want to explore what effective approaches, both in terms of policy advocacy and technological solutions, are already in place, and how we can effectively adapt them to our context(s). Lastly, the age dimension of positive action for climate change shall be made explicit, as young people are in many places at the center of climate justice movements, while also being the most affected by the cost of inaction.

Online Participation

Interactivity will be achieved through Q&As and the use of Menti polls and call for inputs.



10:10 Introduction by the moderators
10:15 Kick-off presentations on environmental advocacy by Katarzyna Jagiello, Aya Abu-Alfa & Raphael Reimann
10:30 Kick-off presentations on Internet governance and the context of the "environment" theme by Edmon Chung and Josaphat Tjiho
10:40 Moderated round-table discussion with inputs from participants
11:05 Synthesis by the moderators

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
How can we foster multi-stakeholder collaboration on digital sustainability?
How can information on the climate crisis, environmental justice, and the sustainability effects of the Internet be effectively communicated?
How do different stakeholders and regions approach the discourse around digital sustainability?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

Advocacy: It is acknowledged that youth movements have been drivers of the environmental justice discourse, however in Internet Governance spaces, youth have not been as active in the discussion. However, the call to action can only be realised with resources for campaigns etc., so these movements often leave out marginalised groups.

Regulation: There was agreement that regulation is a key factor in fostering sustainability, so legislative bodies should be take into account scientific findings, as well as civil society advocacy. It was also agreed on that political decision makers have not yet fully formed action plans, or the ones that are put out are not ambitious enough given the urgency of environmental action.

Innovation: It was a call to the private sector to foster innovation that is environmentally friendly and fair in order to pro-actively address environmental challenges. It was also agreed on that businesses and start-ups should be active parts of policy deliberation, as they are the stakeholders to then implement measures. It was concluded that the Internet Governance approach to multi-stakeholder processes can be a model for digital sustainability.

Eurocentricity: It was brought up by the panel that, currently, the discourse around environmental justice, and digital sustainability specifically, is dominated by a euocentric focus. However, Asian and African initiatives were presented, and there was agreement that there needs to be more interregional policy dialogue in order not to reinforce inequalities.

Transfer: Overall, there was agreement that both youth movements for environmental justice, and Internet Governance fora address different stakeholders. In order to implement digital sustainability in Internet governance spaces, it requires clear advocacy, effective communication, and the inclusion of scientific stakeholders. Youth movements for sustainability, such as Fridays for Future, should be invited to participate in multistakeholder environments such as the IGF.


3. Key Takeaways

In this session, different stakeholders (government, technical community, civil society) deliberated on approaches and challenges in order to find lasting synergies between Internet Governance processes, and environmental movements as they intersect on the topic of digital sustainability. Youth initiatives in both policy spaces are important, but often not fully integrated in policy development.

It became clear that on a political level, there are still no clear, ambitious action plans to address urgent issues such as the emissions of data centers, destruction of habitats due to illegal online trade, and e-waste. While nationally and regionally, legislative and high-level policy processes might pave the way on some of those issues, international multi-stakeholder deliberation is missing. The Internet Governance model of multi-stakeholder engagement could be a roof under which to foster the exchange on the topic of environmental sustainability. However, this means that there have to be intersessional processes that decidedly include all stakeholder groups, as the discussions at the IGF2020 are a mere starting point.

High-level stakeholders need to commit to also consult the scientific community, as well as civil society movements on environmental justice. As these have been driven by youth in many cases, young people need to be included on eye-level, instead of a tokenistic appearance.

The digital private sector needs to also be a strong partner in the progression of the theme, as innovation and implementation for digital sustainability measures depend on digital businesses and their practices.

Civil society needs to foster the critical masses and the heightened interest for environmental sustainability, while internally diversifying and actively overcoming Eurocentric narratives.

6. Final Speakers

Raphael Reimann

Rasmus Andresen

Lily Edinam Botsyoe

Edmon Chung

Josaphat Tjiho

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

The extent of reflections regarding gender pertained to the lack of women in decision-making positions on the one hand, and their relative disadvantages in civil society initiativeses on the other. It was noted that both high-level and grassroot processes need to be diverse in order to address digital sustainability in all its aspects.

Due to unaivalabilities of speakers, the panel was not balanced in terms of gender. A fact which definitely shall be rectified in the follow-up processes.

9. Group Photo
IGF 2020 WS #231 Youth&Sustainability: Creating change through collaboration
10. Voluntary Commitment

All panelists pledged to further engage their networks to foster intergenerational, transnational, and multi-stakeholder policy development regarding digital sustainability, especially in the context of Internet governance.