IGF 2021 Main Session: The impact of environment data on sustainability and internet governance

Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (14:35 UTC) - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (16:05 UTC)
Plenary Room

Even though we still need more work and more evidence, the digital world has a strong influence on the environment (and vice versa). The environmental footprint of the digital world is estimated to virtually amount to a 7th continent (or up to 5.6% of humanity’s global footprint). At the same time, digital technologies can be of paramount importance in effectively tackling environmental issues. Operations related to information and communications technologies (ICT) are expected to represent up to 20 percent of global electricity demand, with one third stemming from data centres alone. Digital technologies also have a significant contribution to climate change. 

Collecting and analyzing data can help predict the weather, or the most advantageous crops time.  Using open access data, small and decentralized projects can bring attention to localized environmental issues that might otherwise be overlooked. Data collection includes localized environmental issues e.g. biodiversity, weather, local farmer culture which might help the local farmer to develop their ability and resilience to develop their farm.

Within this scope, the session will discuss the meaning of environmental data, how it could take advantage of data governance along with the role to disseminate the negative impact on the environment. 

As data also has an impact on the multistakeholder interest, including policy makers, we also discuss how data could contribute to better and more informed policy decisions. Collection of data needs good governance and policy makers need to raise their capacities in grasping use of data in their decisions. 

Policy Questions

Suggestion to focus the policy question on the environmental data governance and    the impact on the policy maker. It will also align with the work of PNE on the section on environmental data. 

The policy questions we will work with are:

  • What is environmental data and how its significance in the internet governance forum, related to sustainability?
  • How to make sure that data positively impacts sustainability? How to establish an environmental data governance that takes global vs. indigenous/regional data into account? How about implementing the data protection, especially in indigenous community and in countries/regions where aren’t implemented the data protection regulation yet?
  • How to effectively use the potential of a multistakeholder community such as the IGF to advance policy making in the environmental sustainability / digitalisation sector?
  • How the future of environment data could taking the improvement of society into account?

Desired results/output

Sustain work in the issue of environmental and digitalization in the future IGF and impact on the policy makers, as well as best practices. 

Session Agenda:

Moderator :

- Onsite : Michael Oghia

- Online : Kathryn Sforcina 

(Both online and onsite moderator will take part to open the session alternaly, explain the session at glance)

Opening by moderator (5 minutes)

First Sequence  (10 minutes)

Highlight and key takeaways from preparatory and introduction session

Speakers : moderators

Second Sequence (20 - 30 minutes)

(Short opening and speakers introduction by moderators)

●    What is environmental data and why it’s important

●    Environmental data governance : global data vs indigenous data, human rights and data protection.

Speakers : 

●    Julian Cassabuenas, Executive Director, Colnodo

●    Lily Edinam Botsyoe, IT Community Engagement Lead, HackLab Foundation

●    Dave Rejeski, Visiting Scholar, Environmental Law Institute

Third Sequence (10 -20 minutes)

(Short opening and speakers introduction by moderators)

The impact of environmental data governance on multi stakeholder actors and policy making

Speakers : 

●    Jeremy Rollison, Senior Director, EU Government Affairs, Microsoft.

●    Goodness Odey, Youth Nigeria IGF

Intersection dialogue among panelist (15 minutes)

Question and answer (20 minutes)

Finale remark from the speaker and closing by moderator (7 minutes)

Rapporteur: Afi Edoh


  • Juliana Harsianti
  • Joyce Chen
  • Tereza Horejsova
Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change
Session Report (* deadline Monday 20 December) - click on the ? symbol for instructions


Key Takeaway 1

The key takeaways from this session are:

  • Promoting capacity building especially within the Global South to minimize climate change impact as and accelerate adaptation
  • Collection and sharing of environmental data openly across communities, and particularly impactful when modern technology is coupled with indigenous knowledge and methodologies.
  • Necessity of considering and involving the population who are most impacted by the depletion of resources, pollution and the destruction of ecosystems.
  • Taking local experiences and knowledge particularly from the Global South instability into consideration during the policy writing since it will only be possible to realize the SDGs and the UN23 agenda as well as foster environmental accessibility by bringing the diverse local experiences and knowledge to the forefront.

Key Takeaway 2

Other takeaways from this session are:

  • IGF can contribute to the building of understanding of co-shared responsibility of diverse stakeholders as IGF embrace human rights and environmental justice multiple intersections.
  • New technology systems make it possible to access information target at the broadly understood public.
  • New system of environmental data collection can be set up to facilitate operation of diff. public entities.
  • Policies could be adopted based on data, and indicators used to monitor environmental protection action

Call to Action 1 

  • Bringing local experiences from global South to forefront
  • Focusing on environmental impact assessments, digital literacy for environmental data, and committing to building sustainable digital infrastructure.

Call to Action 2 

  • Having an inclusive approach to achieve a sustainable development
  • Building a research community around the issue