Open forum: Youth IGF-EU delegation

6 Dec 2016 11:45h - 12:45h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 11th Internet Governance Forum]

The session started with the moderator, Lee Hibbard, Council of Europe, giving a short presentation about the workshop, what to expect and who the speakers were. He also mentioned that one of the objectives of the session was to present the youths that are leading Internet governance initiatives in Europe and other countries around the world.

Pilar del Castillo, European Parliament, said that it is very important to hold these sessions because the European Parliament has had different initiatives involving young people in these discussions for some time. She also spoke about the importance of using ICT to improve the development of society.

Sabrina Albualhaiga, Youth IGF France, spoke about the importance of the participation of young people in the development of Internet and how there are different initiatives in the region trying to reach that objective. She also mentioned the Youth IGF project, which seeks to create opportunities for young people around the world to create dialogue on these governance issues. She concluded by saying that it is important that the voice of young people be heard by the policy makers.

Megan Richards, European Commission, made a brief intervention to indicate that she found these spaces very useful and that the participation of young people has increased over the years. Speaking remotely, one of the organisers of the session, Yuliya Morenets, said that since 2016 the Council of Europe has been promoting different spaces for young people at both the local and regional level to discuss Internet and ICT issues.

Stuart Hamilton, Council of Europe, talked about how the Internet has changed the way knowledge is created and shared. He mentioned that in addition to expanding access, stakeholders should work on digital literacy. A brief comment was delivered by Julie Ward, MEP, EU Parliament, who highlighted the importance of pluralism.

The moderator then gave the floor to the representatives of different Youth IGF leaders from Europe, but also Asia and Latin America. They made small presentations of two minutes. The speakers were:

  • Youth IGF Ambassador from Bangladesh, who spoke about the importance of expanding connectivity; 
  • Youth IGF Ambassador from Uruguay, who spoke about the Youth IGF in Uruguay and its results; 
  • Youth IGF Ambassador from Chad, who spoke about the challenges of Internet governance in a developing country;
  • Youth IGF Ambassador from Pakistan, who spoke about the importance of connectivity;
  • Youth IGF Ambassador from Liberia, who spoke about the importance of young people in public policy making;
  • Youth IGF Ambassador from Russia, who spoke on Internet security and personal data protection.

The moderator then welcomed comments from the participants. Several young people from countries such as China and Germany, among others, stressed that many young people are currently working on Internet governance and that more young voices should join in the dialogue. Anja Gengo, IGF Secretariat representative, also announced that many of the youth-led initiatives would be discussed in a Main Session on Wednesday.

The moderator finished the session by thanking the participants and asking them to continue the discussions in other spaces of the Internet Governance Forum.

by Carlos Guerrero, Internet Society Special Interest Group Observatorio de la Juventud