people around table - Intersessional Work during IGF 2015

Policy Network on Environment and Digitalisation (PNE)

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About the PNE

The IGF 2021 features an intersessional workstream focused on intersections between environment and ‎‎digitalisation processes, called the Policy Network on Environment (PNE). The vision of the PNE is a world in which digitalization is used as a force for good, and where progress is made towards the UN 2030 Agenda's climate and environmental goals. The PNE's work is spearheaded by a Multistakeholder Working Group (MWG), whose primary aim is to publish a report by December 2021 containing concrete, actionable policy recommendations. The MWG Meetings are open to everyone interested.

The future of the PNE? Let us know what you would like to tackle in 2022 with the PNE. Leave your thoughts and comments here (link goes to mural, a visual online collaboration tool).

The Report

At our last meeting, workstream leads presented their draft recommendations. Take a look!

1 Overview of Opportunities and Risks
2 Environmental Data
3 Food & Water Systems
4 Supply Chain Transparency & Circularity
5 Overarching Issues

Stay up to date & Engage with Us!

Upcoming: IGF PNE Session | December 9, 13:50 CET | hybrid 

To participate, follow these steps:

1. Register for the IGF

2. Add the PNE Session to your schedule!

3. Let your network know about this! We look forward to welcoming as many as possible at the event (physical or online).

Past Meeting Notes

Resources & Information

Following some key reference documents for the PNE Report are listed. For an extensive further reading list (thank you to Michael J. Oghia) (SDIA) please refer to this wiki

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the PNE created? How does it relate to the mandate of the IGF? 

The mandate of the IGF, set out in Paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society is to discuss the main public policy issues related to Internet governance to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet. 

The United Nations Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation envisages a strengthened IGF and stresses the importance of environmental issues. Striving for an enhanced impact of the IGF on global internet governance and policy, the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) has developed an intersessional program intended to complement other IGF activities.

As new intersessional activities two Policy Networks were established - the “Policy Network on Environment and Digitalisation” (PNE), and the Policy Network on Meaningful Access (PNMA). The focus of the PNE was established due to the fact that the topic of environmental sustainability had received significant attention at the IGF 2020 and it was decided that this was also going to be a focus topic of the IGF 2021.

What are short and long-term goals of the PNE? What is the future of PNE beyond IGF 2022 going to look like? 

Short-term goal: Publish a report by December 2021 containing concrete, actionable policy recommendations targeted at the governing bodies of the UN Member States.

Long-term goal/vision: Man-made Climate Change is wreaking havoc on the planet and the human population. This will only increase if we do not make tangible progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For digitalization to fulfil its promises to tackle environmental issues related to climate change, the PNE envisions a world in which stakeholders are building upon in-depth knowledge about the interplay between digitalization and the environment and are making use of accurate environmental data (shared globally in interoperable formats).  

The future of the PNE: In 2021, the PNE is focused on its short-term goal of producing and publishing a report to be presented at the IGF 2021 in Katowice, Poland. What the priorities and envisaged outputs for 2022 will be, is yet undefined and will be subject to open discussion within the PNE community. The IGF Secretariat will facilitate a dedicated session to address these questions in the context of the IGF 2021, so that individual stakeholders may include it in their planning for 2022.

What are the mechanisms of the PNE, how does it operate? What is the role of the MWG in relation to the goals of the PNE? 

The Multistakeholder Working Group (MWG) - composed of various stakeholders selected by the IGF Secretariat in the beginning of 2020 - has been the driving force at the heart of the PNE. With the help of an independent consultant, the Members of the MWG have collectively worked out the vision of the PNE and the details of the target output for 2021. 

While the Members of the MWG are primarily responsible for delivering the output report, a larger community is invited to join and contribute to the work. As the work with the report progresses and the PNE grows in numbers and engagement, the PNE community takes up a bigger role, shaping the future of the PNE beyond the IGF 2021. In general, the PNE is open to cooperation and collaboration with other initiatives, networks, and processes (e.g., EuroDIG, regional IGFs, UN CODES, etc.).

The MWG meets monthly, with all meetings being open to the larger PNE Community. The main instrument of communication within the community is the PNE Community Newsletter, open to subscribe to anyone interested. The PNE Website is also at the disposal of the community, featuring past meeting notes and resources.

Can you share details about the various workstreams and how they are developing the different chapters of the report?

There are five workstreams in total, one for every chapter of the report (except the introduction and the conclusion):

  • Overview of Opportunities & Risks
    • Thematic chapters:
      • Environmental Data
      • Food & Water Security
      • Circularity & Transparency
      • Overarching Issues

For the thematic chapters, prerequisites in terms of maximum length of text and overall structure are given, to aid coherence of the overall report. The main goal of the thematic chapters is to produce 3-5 policy recommendations targeted at UN Member states governance bodies.

What roles are involved in developing the chapters (co-authors, reviewers, co-leads), and what is the time commitment over the next months? 

There are three role types within each workstream. Expected time commitment from September-December 2021 is indicated within brackets, PNE Meetings included:

Workstream (co-)leads (time commitment: ca. 25h): This is the person/duo primarily responsible for delivering the output in the respective chapter they are leading. This person/duo is the point of contact for members of the community interested to join a workstream. The workstream lead initiates the workstream work sessions outside of the regular PNE Meetings to make progress on the chapter. The consultant or IGF Secretariat can be asked to help facilitate these meetings. The workstream (co-)leads are also expected to participate in the PNE Meetings whenever possible. The (co-)leads are also expected to be mindful of a non-siloed working approach, communicating and inviting feedback from the wider PNE community (and especially the reviewers). 

Co-author (time commitment: ca. 15-20h): Co-authors are expected to contribute to the report/a chapter in substantive fashion. Co-authors are expected to participate in the workstream work sessions scheduled by the workstream leads if possible, and deliver written input as agreed in the workstreams. Co-authors will be listed individually as co-authors to the report in the acknowledgments.

Reviewer (time commitment: min. 2h, flexible): Reviewers are expected to give their constructive feedback on the content produced by the workstream they have signed up to as a reviewer. Reviewers are invited by the workstream (co-)leads to give their feedback on the report in due time. Reviewers comment on the report, but do not directly edit it.

Will the report be translated into various languages? How will it be disseminated (eg. at IGF, and beyond)?

The report will be formatted by the IGF Secretariat and published in English. A translation will not be made available by the IGF Secretariat. However, international stakeholders are invited and welcome to reference the report and discuss its contents in their own language.

The kick-off will be at the IGF 2021 in Katowice, at the dedicated session for environment (December 9, 13:15-15:20 CEST), expected to reach a broad network of stakeholders. The report will also be brought to the attention of the high-level parliamentary track. The IGF Secretariat will also distribute the report directly to all UN Agencies. Via the IGF Website, the report will be made available to all interested stakeholders for further dissemination and discussion.