Youth engagement in internet governance ecosystem: Current scenario, controversies, and future action

19 Dec 2017 10:15h - 11:45h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

The moderator, Ms Paula Côrte Real,  member of the Youth Observatory and of the Commission of Information Technology Law from the Brazilian Bar Association/Order of Attorneys of Brazil in Pernambuco, started by explaining that the objective of the session was to talk about the importance of youth engagement in the Internet governance ecosystem. She quickly introduced the speakers and explained that the dynamic of the session was more informal with break-out groups divided by four different questions that the panellists would try to answer. The idea was to foster dialogue and sharing of experiences between the attendees.

Ms Elisabeth Schauermann, Internet Society 2017 IGF Ambassador, in answer to the question – What are the barriers encountered by youngsters when entering the Internet governance ecosystem and how can we prospect the youth to engage with IG? – noted that  one of the biggest barriers was funding. There are no resources for young people to attend these events. The lack of initiative to promote this participation at the local level was also mentioned.

Ms Bruna Santos, representative of the Youth Observatory Special Interest Group (Youth SIG), in answer to the question – Is there any ideal model of Youth engagement program and what do you think are the key elements to any of them? – said that funding is indeed necessary, but mentoring programmes are also important. She gave different examples of these programmes and how, through educating on Internet governance issues, the interest of more young people can be attracted.

Mr David Morar, PhD candidate, Schar School of Policy and Government, in answer to the question – Do you think that there should be a Youth Agenda for Internet Governance or a Best Practice Youth Forum within the IGF –  said it was necessary to promote a legitimate IG institution that represents both the diversity of views among today’s youth, and the overall youth agenda. Morar also argued for a lack of youth siloing in the IGF conversations, and for stronger youth participation in panels across IGF.  

Ms Jianne Soriano, NetMission Ambassador, in answer to the question – How can we represent the diversity of realities and youths in order to legitimately represent their claims and do you think those initiatives could work together in order to exchange experiences, best practices and regional backgrounds – remarked that one of the key points was to focus on the local level. In that way, there could be a greater diversity of voices when participating in any governance initiative, she said.

The second part began with the panellists standing at the corners of the venue and asking attendees to choose one of the topics to discuss the possible answers together, as well as sharing experiences and points of view. Panellists then returned to their places and initiated a round of questions and final interventions. Topics discussed included financing, remote participation and multilingualism, among others.

By Carlos Guerrero