Digital cooperation process – analysis from youth lenses

7 Dec 2021 14:45h - 15:45h

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As the largest stakeholder of the internet, it is critical that youth are engaged in digital and internet related issues and their governance. Substantiating this claim, Mr Ethan Mudavanhu (Marketing Intelligence Consultant, Partnership of Global Policy) cited that in 2020, 71% of internet users were between the ages 15-24 according to an ITU report. The need for youth to engage more in regional, national, and global initiatives was emphasised by Mudavanhu.

Concern was raised about the lack of youth in the leadership panel. There is a need to ensure youth has a seat in the table, pointed Ms Meri Baghdasaryan (Youth Coalition on Internet Governance). Apart from their experiences as users, youth can help shape a better internet and policies related to it, added Mudavanhu.

Various models were discussed for enhancing digital cooperation.

Ms. Eileen Cejas  (Youth Coalition on Internet Governance) spoke of the IGF+ model, especially the Leadership Panel. She shared advantages such as increased relevance of the IGF and creating linkages with the UN system, and concerns such as lack of clarity of its structure and how it will contribute to the Digital Compact 2023 in the model.

While highlighting the Digital Commons model, Mr Mubashir Sargana (Vice Chair, Asia Pacific School of Internet Governance) emphasised the need to come up with common laws and policies.

Baghdasaryan spoke of the co-governance model adopted by various entities such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) etc. Co-governance is a horizontal architecture for governance that provides a more equal footing for each stakeholder groups in creating a process to formulating digital norms and providing a framework for further implementation and enforcement. She highlighted the three functional elements of the model: Digital Cooperation networks, network support platforms, and networks of networks.

Mudavanhu elucidated on the Digital Cooperation Roadmap laid out by the UN Secretary-General, highlighting the need for all to be included, involved, and engaged in issues related to internet and internet governance.

The necessity of capacity building for youth was stressed to bridge the gap in the education system in order to equip youth with the skills required by the industry. Youth needs to be more active in identifying gaps and pushing for education reforms. Cejas emphasised the need to bring the tools to young people and the necessity of support from other stakeholders.

On the issue of balancing regional vs global needs, Mudavanhu emphasised the need to focus on issues at the local and regional levels first, and then taking those lessons, initiatives, and solutions to global conversations. Youth needs to focus on conversations, initiatives, and priorities at the regional level he shared.

Baghdasaryan opined on the need to balance global and regional issues and how everything at the global level needs to make sense at the local level as well.

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