IGF 2023 WS #506 An African Agenda: Tech, Climate Change, and Migration


Sustainability & Environment
Existing and New Technologies as Climate Risks

Organizer 1: Halifet Ayemohammed, Wollo University School of Law
Organizer 2: Nandutu Irene , Rhodes University
Organizer 3: Kristophina Shilongo, Mozilla Foundation

Speaker 1: Halifet Ayemohammed, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Nandutu Irene , Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Kristophina Shilongo, Civil Society, African Group


Halifet Ayemohammed, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

Kristophina Shilongo, Civil Society, African Group


Kristophina Shilongo, Civil Society, African Group


Other - 60 Min
Format description: We plan to host a lab where participants will drive the conversation through pre-identified prompts.

Policy Question(s)

How can we ensure that national, regional, and continental instruments of governance around data and AI reflect the impacts of the digital revolution on the environment and people?
What evidence can support an ecological approach to the governance of data, or other advanced technologies?
How can we adopt a participatory approach to the governance of technologies such that the interests of all groups, i.e. future generations, those displaced due to climate change, are always represented and considered?
What work is currently ongoing at the intersections of technology, climate action and migration and how can it inform technology policies in Africa?

What will participants gain from attending this session? We often find that people working on different topics within the Internet governance community cannot connect their work to environmental sustainability, climate action or do not see its impact on migration. Similarly, those working on environmental sustainability are isolated from or struggle to connect their work in a meaningful way to issues within the IGF community. This is a space to create synergies between these groups and allow African stakeholders and their international partners to view digital transformation through an ecological lens considering not only the socio-economic but also the environmental implications.


Environmental sustainability and the climate crisis, in general, may be urgent. However, it remains a priority to a very small group of stakeholders within the Internet governance space. This is even reflected in the thematic submissions to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), with Environmental Sustainability being listed in the bottom 3 thematic areas selected. We want to convene stakeholders in every area of internet governance at this platform to develop a shared understanding and agenda toward a sustainable internet ecosystem that prioritises environmental sustainability and its effects on people in Africa.

The benefits which come with the advancement of technology are endless; digital connectivity, the governance of data and advanced technologies, as well as digital safety and security, all have the potential to reduce inequalities, promote innovation and safeguard the vulnerable. In the field of migration, a study conducted by McGill University that involved over 150 countries has linked migration intentions and behaviours with Internet penetration. It indicates that digital connectivity plays a significant role in migration decision-making and actively facilitates migration. Additionally, the issue is a double edge sword, as the drive to close the digital divide threatens our environment and could exacerbate climate change. We have to face the reality that the infrastructure built to address digital divides, especially in Africa, will have an impact on the environment and might lead to the displacement of communities in some cases. These seemingly disconnected issues are a conundrum which might lead to catastrophic conditions if not addressed.

We therefore invite all stakeholders, those in Africa and those in partnership with African communities and institutions to build a movement and common understanding around the issues of technological transformation, environment conservation and the crisis that emerging from them such as migration, exacerbated poverty, and exploitation.

Expected Outcomes

The primary outcome is that the group will develop a common vision that will enable us to clearly articulate sustainability in all areas of focus within the Internet governance community.

With the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place after the IGF this year in November and December 2023, we would like to submit a manifesto for the attention of policymakers there to consider the implications of the digital revolution on climate change despite its ability to ameliorate the effects of climate change.

We also plan to submit to the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability, under the Global Digital Compact. For this purpose we plan to form a working group which will invite other stakeholders from across the globe to join after the core group has set its agenda on the issue.

Hybrid Format: There will be a moderator to ensure the online participants engage with the room and those in the room engage with participants online.
To fully engage participants online especially, we will also have a working document where participants can share their responses to specific prompts during the session.

The session will be divided into segments guided by prompts in the form of questions and both those online and in-person will be able to engage in a manner that is comfortable for them - either speaking or writing.