Youth in IG: Capacity building vs policy discussion

7 Dec 2016 13:00h - 14:30h

Event report

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

This session started off by the co-organiser Dr David NG, Director of Community Development, DotAsia Organisation, stating that the session was mainly for the youth to share their ideas and experiences. The moderator of the session, Ms Bianca Ho, Co-Founder at, said that the workshop  had two main focus areas:

  • What is the best practice of youth engagement in Internet governance?
  • How can we enhance cooperation among different initiatives?

Ms Adela Goberna, Youth Observatory, LAC, started her presentation by asking a number questions such as:

  • What is youth engagement?
  • Should young people be a stakeholder group?
  • How can youth engagement be more meaningful?

Goberna stressed that in order for the youth to shape Internet governance, they need to be included at all levels of the processes. The youth are currently not involved in the organisational structure of Internet governance.

Mr Martin Fischer, Network of European digital youth, added that there is a need to continuously bring young people to the IGF. He said that the Network of European digital youth based their work and outreach on six principles:

  1. Co-management
  2. Multistakeholderism
  3. Youth involvement in agenda setting for IG events
  4. Cost-free participation of the youth
  5. Continuous engagement of and by the youth
  6. Informed representation

Mr Joachim Kind, German Safer Internet Centre, said that his organisation is committed to developing capacity among the youth in Germany. He alluded to the various programmes that the organisation ran, both focusing on the youth and children. He also applauded the work of the IGF in encouraging and giving the youth a platform to share their views and participate actively in shaping Internet policy. He stressed that it was important for the youth to attend IG events, not just for visibility but to gain perspective on varying issues and contexts.

Ms Jianne Soriano, NetMission.Asia, talked about youth initiatives in her region. The main programmes to engage the youth of Hong Kong are aimed at university students, community programmes such as NET.Y and the youth IGF which has been done for the past 8 years. She said that while the youth is not directly involved in policy, the fact that the youth are being given a platform to speak and organise, is a step in the right direction.

Mr Haoran Huang, Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy, encouraged the youth to participate in Internet governance, saying that they should not be discouraged. He also expressed gratitude to organisations that assisted young people in attending the meetings. He drew from his own experiences as a youth fellow and had high hopes for the future of Internet governance and the youth.

Ms Olga Cavalli, ICANN – Governmental Advisor Committee and the South School on Internet Governance, congratulated the youth in IG for their continued efforts. She noted that there is a gap to be filled regarding youth and women participation in IG. She shared that ICANN and the South School on Internet Governance is committed to involving and propelling the youth in IG to greater heights.

Mr Rodrigo De La Parra, ICANN, also added that there are fellowships and regional programmes that the youth can get involved in.

After the formal presentation from the speakers, the floor was open to the participants to give ideas on how to enhance the youth’s meaningful engagement in IG.

by Yolanda Mlonzi, Internet Society South Africa