IGF 2021 YCIG Youth in the decision-making process: hear us!

Time
Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (14:35 UTC) - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (15:50 UTC)
Room
Ballroom B
DC

Youth Coalition on Internet Governance

Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Subtheme

Assessing Internet governance approaches and mechanisms and fostering inclusiveness: What are the main strengths and weaknesses of existing Internet governance approaches and mechanisms? What can be done, and by whom, to foster more inclusive Internet governance at the national, regional and international levels?
Advancing global digital cooperation: What opportunities are provided by the current focus on digital cooperation resulting from the UN Secretary-General's Roadmap for digital cooperation? What role should the IGF play (and how) in advancing global digital cooperation?

Description

The session of Youth Coalition on Internet Governance is the main space at the annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum where young people can exchange experiences and points of view of Internet issues around the world. This year our session on "Youth in the decision-making process: hear us!" will be a follow up from our last year’s session, where we will analyse the development of IG mechanisms looking to the future of Internet Governance like the Multistakeholder High Level Body (MHLB) and the representative of youth in key roles overall. Moreover, we will also break down the different stages of development of the IGF since its creation after the WSIS 2005, the reflections after the first renewal and what we expect to be implemented towards 2021 when the IGF mandate would be re-examined for its renewal. In this scenario, our dynamic coalition recognised in more than 10 years will explore with our guest speakers the reflections from the youth about the role of youth on the table in the present and the future of Internet Governance, which has a significant relevance in the context of digital cooperation.

Firstly, our speakers from relevant youth initiatives will bring their insights from their countries and regions regarding the participation of youth, and suggest which good practices have been implemented to increase youth involvement. This section will last 20 minutes.

Secondly, speakers will present the “Map to IG Mechanisms and Youth”, where we will examine historical events and how youth was (or not) represented. This map will be presented as a collaborative document and attendees will have to make suggestions on ideas to increase youth participation, especially facing the implementation of the IGF Plus model and upcoming MHLB. The discussion will last 30 minutes. For the onsite participants, they will be invited to join the online document and comment there, with the possibility of speaking up with the assistance of the onsite moderator.

Next, attendees will have 10 minutes to comment on their youth initiatives and post stickers related to them at the Miro board. Onsite participants will be invited to post on the board their affiliations and upload a picture of the room in Katowice.

Afterwards, we will present a summary of the work done by the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance during the year and invite people to join the Electoral Voting process, which will take place a few weeks after the IGF.

Finally, we will take the group photo with online and onsite participants. We will edit the final photo as it would look like everyone would be attending the IGF in Poland.

1) The experience of many webinars from last year has helped us to build sessions that increase participation of attendees. Our speakers will have short introductions and the participants will have access to the document after the session so they will be able to comment afterwards too. In addition, during the year we will organise some webinars to prepare our audience on the topics we will discuss at our session. The session will include the drafting of a “Map of Internet Governance mechanisms" where both onsite and online participants will be able to comment and respond in real time. Online and onsite moderators will help the speakers to check the comments from participants and give some minutes for onsite participants to speak up on the room too.

2) Yes. We will use Etherpad or Google docs for the collaborative document. Participants will be invited to join us at Wonder.me if they want to say some words after the session.

Organizers

Eileen Cejas, Youth SIG & YCIG, Civil Society, Latin America and the Caribbean Noha Ashraf, YCIG, Private Sector, Africa Mohammad Atif Aleem , Youth SIG, Technical Community, Asia Emilia Zalewska, ITU Generation Connect & Youth Summit, Technical Community, Eastern Europe Group

Speakers

Eileen Cejas, Youth SIG & YCIG, Civil Society, Latin America and the Caribbean, Ayden Fedérline, Private Sector, Western Europe and Others, Emilia Zalewska, ITU Generation Connect & Youth Summit, Technical Community, Eastern Europe Group

Onsite Moderator

Pedro de Perdigão Lana, GEDAI/UFPR, Technical Community, Latin America and the Caribbean

Online Moderator

Mohammad Atif Aleem , Youth SIG, Technical Community, Asia

Rapporteur

Stella Anne Teoh Ming Hui, ISOC Youth Ambassador, Technical Community, Asia

SDGs

5. Gender Equality
10. Reduced Inequalities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: Our session will explore the existing and future mechanisms in Internet Governance related to policy making processes as a response from the UN to reduce the digital gap and encourage a global digital cooperation among all stakeholders. In addition, these mechanisms with the presence of youth could be able to achieve a truly inclusive policy making approach to emerging Internet issues and make sure of tackling the issues that bring the community together as multistakeholder actors ready to help each other to achieve the SDGS 2030. As youth, for us it is important to stand for the inclusion of all genders, abled and disabled people, and generally people from all walks of life.

Session Time
Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (14:35 UTC)
Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Soft skill development is important for youth, especially regarding negotiation skills, and teamwork. Being able to communicate clear conceptualization of your work, can assist in truly understanding local issues and convince others why they should care about your causes. With various groups conducting similar initiatives, youth ought to view other organisations as potential collaborative partners and not competition.

Youth events are like events within bubbles, with little to no involvement of stakeholders outside of youth. The same applies to regional activities among youth themselves, and efforts should be taken to help youth interact across regions. Youth are not monolithic and missing perspectives from youth-related discussions need to be identified.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Although the proposed solution (Leadership Panel) is far from perfect, any solution is better than nothing. Youths need to participate in the nomination process of the Leadership Panel, otherwise they run the risk of excluding themselves from the discussion. Youth should participate in agenda setting and decision-making processes of issues that they care about. (Youth)

Steps need to be taken to begin measuring meaningful involvement of Youth. And organisations can take more effort into recruiting mentors of high-profile and high-impact for mentees. Another option would be to fund more youth programs. (Youth / Civil Society)

Session Report (* deadline 16 December) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

Session Report

The session began with the introduction of Pedro Lana - Onsite Moderator presenting 3 speakers.

Characteristics of Panelists: 1 Regional Engagement Director from YCIG (Criminal Lawyer), 1 Public Interest Technologist, 1 Co-founder and Steering Committee Member of Youth IGF Poland (Lawyer). Onsite moderator made different questions to the speakers:

1-Involvement in Internet Governance Ecosystem and Lessons Learned:

Ayden Fedérline: Effective advocates in multistakeholder or multilateral platforms need to have narrow focus (knowing what it is important to you helps with personal motivation). More of a Return of Investment if one participates at the national level first instead of the international level (easier communication, locally relevant issues). Be open to learning and making mistakes, particularly learning from mistakes. Better to make more friends than enemies, allies will be beneficial in discussing strategies and sharing motivation.

2-Thoughts on Before and After of Project Youth Summit and Future Expectations:

Emilia Zalewska: Although a tiring but rewarding experience, the delay in Poland hosting the IGF gave the team more time to prepare. Inspiration came from Berlin 2019 where around 100 people created Youth Messages (identified differences in perception of Internet Governance challenges and changes they wanted to see). From a one-day meeting in 2019, the project allowed us to have a bigger outreach and more time to discuss. 80 selected participants tackled discussions about specific stakeholder groups and came up with very remarkable points of action.

3-Thoughts on Participation from Latin America and the Caribbean region:

Eileen Cejas: Youth Coalition on Internet Governance is a Dynamic Coalition that has been around for 11 years. They participated for the second time at Youth LACIGF this year but with the difference that the 6th edition (Open Course in Spanish has launched thanks to the funding support from the Internet Society Foundation). Topics discussed include gender, remote work, and education among others. Youth IGF Argentina will conduct their 18 December its annual meeting online, as they will discuss the effects of digitalization on the environment and youth engagement (national and regional level).

4-Thoughts on Multistakeholder High Level Body (MHLB) and Leadership Panel:

Ayden: IGF is broken because the current status quo only sees a discussion forum without anywhere to act on the items discussed. The Leadership Panel isn’t necessarily the best proposal or solution, but it is better than no proposal. Youth should support the initiative and become involved, otherwise rejection of this might lead to the IGF continuing to lose relevance, and push other stakeholders to platforms where youth are not represented/allowed to participate. Youths should nominate for the Leadership Panel members and ensure there is strong civil society participation.

Emilia: Similar to Ayden, with no other suggestion, youths can focus on being a part of this solution. Getting meaningfully involved is important—youth involvement is being recognised, the best proof is the inclusion of Youth Summit into the IGF structure. Youth events are like events within bubbles, with little to no involvement of stakeholders outside of youth. The same applies to regional activities among youth themselves, and efforts should be taken to help youth interact across regions. Youth are not monolithic and missing perspectives from youth-related discussions need to be identified.

Eileen: No solution would be the worst case scenario. Disagree with an outright opposition to the Leadership Panel proposal from Just Net Coalition, because the rejection itself would be excluding oneself from the discussion. Positive thing would be that the political reach of IGF would be increased. With adherence to Chatham House Rules, it will be difficult to identify which stakeholder is pushing for what. Also lacks Youth Representation (no UN Youth Envoy for example). 

Then the Map to IG Mechanisms and Youth” was presented for 20 mins, where speakers and participants reflected on the role of youth.

5-How to increase Youth Participation and Reflections on Digital Cooperation Mechanisms:

Ayden: Important to focus on active/meaningful participation, but hard to measure. There is a need to identify missing perspectives, because youth isn’t monolithic. Soft skill development is important for youth, especially regarding negotiation skills, and teamwork. Being able to communicate clear conceptualization of your work, can assist in truly understanding local issues and convince others why they should care about your causes (appearance of agency vs. victimhood). Funding needed for capacity building and results that we need.

Emilia: Suggestions from participants are welcome. With various groups conducting similar yet separate initiatives, youth ought to view other organizations as potential collaborative partners and not competition. Cooperated with Youth Observatory, Youth IGF Poland for Project Youth Summit, and communicated with YouthxPolicyMakers (German Informatics Society). Remember the existence of vulnerable groups and their voices.

Eileen: Throughout the history of Youth Coalition, although ideas might have been repeated, some have also been realized. Mentorship collaboration with the Internet Society for their Youth Ambassador Program. There is an aim to sponsor more youth to participate at IGF, but currently, we require more funds to finance youth activities.

YouthxPolicyMakers (Demetria): The representative of YouthxPolicyMakers commented that they published 4 policy papers after 4 competency-building workshops and meetings with PolicyMakers from around the world. (Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems, Access and Accessibility, Content, Media and Literacy as well as Privacy, Data Protection and Vulnerable Groups) Question for the speakers—how to translate this output into real action steps.

YouthDIG (Idil Kula): one of the participants of the YouthDIG shared the messages elaborated at the YouthDIG, including the message on Digital Technologies Within Government Bodies, Platforms, Digital Self-determination & Digital Literacy and Disinformation.

Responses to Comments:

Ayden: German Informatics Society can engage in a targeted way of networking (between youth, industry actors and regulatory bodies). Stakeholder analysis can be used to understand which party has leverage (financial interest/might). Mentorship is needed, youth need access to high-profile and high-impact mentors.

Jenna: As Programme Coordinator for Asia Pacific Youth IGF, we realized that youth involvement is rising. Through an observation Latin America and Europe region, we can find various initiatives that have output. The challenge for the Asia Pacific region is the country's own understanding of Internet Governance. Youths want to get more involved but must not forget to reconnect with active youths. Small things need to be considered when plans are made. Synergies between initiatives of different regions can be made possible.

On-site Participants:

Deputy Attorney Office of Nepal: Language barrier, local languages should be translated into English, through video/audio stories more global awareness on the situation. This can be achieved through collaboration between youth organizations at Youth Forums.

Program Youth Brasil (João Moreno Falcão): the participant commented on this Program that was able to sent more than 200 youths to national and global IGFs, impacted more than a 1000 youths in terms of education about Internet Governance, as an example of a successful youth initiative.

Afterwards, the onsite moderator took a photo of the session.

YCIG Remarks: Youth supporting youth is the best way to achieve involvement in the IG ecosystem. Highlights of YCIG’s 2021 include YCIG community-questionnaire launch, facilitation of webinars (environmental sustainability and Inclusive Internet Governance ecosystem and Digital Cooperation), worked with Youth Observatory to submit workshop proposals for IGF 2021, partnered with UNDESA and SPI on Digital Public Goods Policy Brief, conducted mentorship for ISOC’s IGF Youth Ambassador Program, EuroDIG Day 0 and YouthDIG participation, collaboration with Youth IGF Poland for Project Youth Summit, YouthLACIGF Open Course 2020 & 2021 as well as a presentation at DC Main Session with other DCs.

Eileen: Call for Participation in YCIG Elections

Concluding Remarks:

Ayden: Youth should participate in agenda-setting and decision-making processes of issues that they care about. Pressure to make UN processes more outcome-oriented, and to regain authority of internet governance issues. Governments are only more open to certain topics when it comes to multistakeholder participation (e.g. Gender).

Emilia: Eager to get comments on Points of Action from Project Youth Summit. Regarding Demetria’s question, the work shouldn’t just stop at IGF Poland 2021, thus we invite everyone to share comments and thoughts about the shared output.

Eileen: Thank you to everyone present, YCIG Steering Committee, and other members involved in this session.