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An interactive and participatory session, moderated by Ms Ruxandra Pandea, Educational Advisor, Council of Europe, built upon the results of the Youth Participation in Internet Governance seminar (YPIG) which was organised in October 2017, by the Youth department of the Council of Europe (CoE).
Pandea briefly introduced the CoE’s mission and identified capacity building as the CoE’s less visible. She then further discussed the details of the CoE’s approach to youth participation in Internet governance (IG). Pandea mentioned the co-management model, the No Hate Speech movement, and the YPIG seminar.
In the second part of the workshop, the participants worked in four thematic groups. The topics under discussion were set based on recommendations that came out of the YPIG seminar. The groups were 1) Recognition of young people as stakeholders in the Internet governance process 2) Capacity building to ensure youth participation in Internet governance 3) National and regional IGFs 4) Support measures. All groups followed the guidelines and tried to review recommendations resulting from the YPIG seminar, set priorities among these recommendations, and come up with concrete ideas on what can be done in this sense. After 30 minutes of discussion, the dedicated rapporteurs summarised the outcomes from each group.
Group 1 identified a need for young people to take part in the decision making, not just to participate in the IG debate. The group suggested that the present youth could propose a declaration that will be announced at this IGF. Group 2 suggested that IG topics should be included in school curricula and stressed the vital role of volunteers and mentorship in the process of youth participation. Group 3 pointed out that the process and criteria set for youth participation are often not transparent. Even many panels at the IGF are not youth inclusive. Group 4 urged for better coordination and promotion of the work done by international organisations (ISOC, ICANN, etc.) in the matter of youth participation in IG. This group also suggested thatyouth events should be coordinated by educational experts who will make sure that the complex issues of IG are well understood and correctly approached.
The third part of the workshop featured a small panel of speakers from the CoE.Ambassador Corina Călugăru,, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the CoE, briefed the participants about the major developments in the CoE on the topic of information policy. She spoke about the creation of the platform for co-operation and the exchange between the CoE and IT companies. The second major development is the CoE’s draft recommendation on Internet intermediaries. Călugăru concluded that we are probably not able, at this stage, to develop any new general rules for the Internet, and that we have to rely on dialogue and mutual understanding. Ms Gisella Gori, Programme Officer at the Council of Europe, talked about the CoE’s Recommendations on the participation of children and young people under the age of 18. Mr Milosh Ristovski, Advisory Council on the Youth of the Council of Europe, reiterated the need for co-management as a way to involve the youth in the decision making process. Ristovski emphasised that we should make sure we also represent the young people who are not active, so that nobody is left behind.
The final Q&A part with the audience tackled questions about the best starting point to get involved; a sustainable way of youth participation which is not project based; and money support. The moderator informed the participants about the plan of the CoE to start working on a toolkit on youth participation in Internet governance.
By Radek Bejdak