Youth Flash Talks with IGF 2021 Host Country: what’s there for youth next year?
The flash session discussed ongoing plans for youth engagement being adopted by some Polish young people.
Ms Emilia Zalewska (Representative of LegalTech Polska) introduced an action plan to increase youth engagement and support youth participation in the Youth IGF (YIGF) in 2021 in Poland. The plan involves three parts. The first concerns knowledge acquisition, which consists of the analysis of topics and issues debated at the YIGF and the IGF2020. Often, young people bring valid points of view and different perspectives but lack basic knowledge of some Internet governance topics as well as previous discussions on that specific session. It is important to help them with knowledge acquisition.
Second, it is necessary to discuss the means through which young people can put their acquired knowledge to practical use. For instance, by teaching them how to do advocacy in different fields, how to engage and influence decision-making, and even how to become decision-makers themselves.
Third, Zalewska presented the need to brainstorm and stimulate intellectual discussion on the most important topics, and by doing so, to develop the proposals postulated by YIGF2021 with the global Internet community.
Ms Marta Musidłowska (Member of the Management Board, Youth IGF Poland) presented some ideas for the YIGF in Poland. One of the ideas was promoting a networking day the day before the beginning of the IGF. This would include a mentoring panel with experts engaged in the Internet and technology industry and networking activities, such as integration team games or workshops in the field of team building. Another proposed idea would be an IGF Coffee/Small-Talk Corner: a place in the conference space dedicated to grabbing a coffee and exchanging thoughts and ideas after IGF meetings.
A general aim of YIGF2021 is for participants to create reports with statements on how young people see the opportunities to resolve the most frequently discussed issues. A few comments by the audience mentioned the importance of promoting youth experts as panellists in senior-led panels. In many stakeholder decisions, youth perspectives are being left out of discussions due to a general lack of young panellists. It was also suggested that some messages should be produced and discussed in advance in small working groups before the IGFs, where they would be promoted. This could guarantee more time to work and therefore better outcomes.
Participants recognised that the IGF Secretariat has been doing a good job in solving accessibility issues involving young people by supporting them so they can be present in the many IGFs, despite a lower income that often restricts their ability to travel and attend these events. One commenter mentioned the absence of youth voices from Africa, and the need to promote and support African Youth IGFs so that the youth of that continent are not left out of discussions.