YOUTH ENGAGEMENT AT THE IGF AND WAYS FOR IMPROVEMENTS
Open Consultations with the Youth IGF initiatives and other stakeholders
- Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 12:00 p.m. UTC -
1. The meeting was hosted and moderated by the IGF Secretariat’s Focal Point for the national, regional and youth IGF initiatives (NRIs). The Host explained that these consultations are the continuation of the work meeting that took place during the 12th annual meeting of the IGF in Geneva on the same subject matter. The main objective was to further analyze received inputs from the mentioned meeting at the 12th IGF, and consolidate a set of concrete suggestions that will feed into the work agenda of the IGF. The Host explained that the procedures for developing the final output of these consultations, will be based completely on the IGF principles, and the final outcome will require a public commenting period on all received and consolidated inputs.
2. Agenda is attached to this document as Annex A1 and a list of Meeting Participants as Annex A2. The list of shared documents is attached to this report as Annex A3.
3. The agenda was adopted as proposed (Annex A3).
4. From the IGF Youth Movement, support was expressed for developing the content materials, that call for better cooperation between the existing initiatives on the topic. As a follow up example, it was said that the ABC guide to the IGF is an example of good practice, but that it requires an update of useful initiatives for the youth present at the IGF, like for instance is the Open Forum hosted by the EU Delegation and the Youth Movement, on the youth engagement that allowed for direct interaction between youth and some of the present high level politicians.
5. A Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG) representative followed to the above noting his involvement in the development of the mentioned ABC guide to the IGF. He stressed that at the IGF, there are two main ways for engaging: through the programmes organized by independent stakeholders on the youth engagement; and through youth self-organized programmes. The latest is the case with the YCIG, where young people around the world get engaged into discussions and exchange experiences with more experienced youth. It was added that the concept of developing materials on the subject should be understood as helping youth to understand what opportunities are there for them, and how they can get involved. In order to achieve this, it was underlined that more institutional support is needed from the MAG. Participant concluded remakes by saying that youth should be aware of the political process happening at the IGF, and the mentioned institutional support should be directed to it.
6. Asia-Pacific regional IGF (APrIGF) co-coordinator remarked that the objective of the ABC guide to the IGF is helping newcomers to understand how the IGF process works, and how they can engage. The co-coordinator noted that there should be publications/info-materials developed on the substance of interest, and that this should be done by the IGF community.
7. The IGF-USA co-coordinator noted that a valuable work of the NRIs on youth engagement has to be recognized. It was further explained that this is done through the NRIs actively integrating the youth in their IGF processes; or by actively engaging and collaborating with the independently organized youth-led process on Internet governance. Because of this, it was advised that the content info-material should be focused on the national-level youth engagement as well.
8. The China Youth IGF co-coordinator added that it is important that youth is encouraged to participate at the IGF process. In order to achieve this, webinars on the subject matter could be organized beforehand, and ways to participate online should be explained. Many participants agreed that webinars are effective way of learning, and that they should be organized prior to the IGF annual meeting, to inform about the process.
9. The Italian IGF co-coordinator noted the importance of working on youth engagement at national and international levels. A need for having more teaching materials was stressed. It was advised that the NRIs cooperate with local schools and universities, in order to engage better with youth. The idea for organizing webinars prior to the IGF meeting was supported, and as an example of similar successful activities, a Dominican Republic based project was mentioned, that organized these types of webinars and produced an extensive publication on the IGF-process (Annex A3). It was added that the development of the content based info-material about the Internet governance should be a way of illustrating the importance of the IGF-related process.
10. Representative of the ‘Digital Grassroots’ shared some good practice from this initiative, saying that they have a successful practice of creating webinars where participants share their direct experience with the first-comers, outlining what can be expected from the particular programme and what are the afterwards benefits. It was added that a similar approach could be applied to the IGF.
11. On the suggestion for the mentorship programme, many confirmed their endorsement for developing this type of support to the young and first time attendees at the IGF. It was said that the mentorship programme will create an opportunity to engage with experts and create opportunities long term.
12. Several participants expressed concerns regarding the implementation of this programme. It was said that this type of the activity requires principles and criteria on who can be the mentor, that at the moment do not exist; what is the mentorship structure; what is the final goal; what are the parameters for assessing the success of the progranmme and who is accountable for unsuccessful mentorship programmes? It was noted that these types of activities require funding, that is another important layer of complexity to think of. For these reasons, some said that this particular suggestion needs more consultations, for developing a concrete proposal.
13. Some participants suggested that the ICANN fellowship programme could serve as a model for implementing the IGF mentorship programme. However, a number of participants said that it would not be realistic to compare these two, as the ICANN’s fellowship programme is very expensive and requires a lot of logistics. It was added that the IGF’s budget has its constrains and cannot support implementing a similar programme.
14. The China Youth IGF co-coordinator noted the importance of the mentorship programme, and also understanding for the expressed concerns. It was advised to think about a potential alternative where a peer-to-peer exchange practice could be developed, through an online platform and potentially face-to-face during the meeting.
15. Discussion on this agenda item was concluded by some advising to focus on improving the available resources and opportunities, and not on creating new structures that are not feasible to be implemented given the momentum and available resources.
16. The APrIGF co-coordinator proposed that the IGF creates a unique mailing list that will serve for outreach and for sharing relevant updates with the wider community, including the youth, as currently there are several mailing lists that serve for specific intersessional activities.
17. Many underlined the importance of having all information and resources of relevance, in one place, nothing that many international, regional and national programmes could be of use to the youth to engage in Internet governance (e.g. Council of Europe, NRIs, ISOC, ICANN, Elon University-IGF-USA collaborative model, etc.). Concerns were raised on who would be the neutral subject that will be gathering the information, sharing with the community and maintaining long-term this resource.
18. Following the suggestion on the above, that an online resources sharing platform could be created, questions were raised on who would be the subjects responsible for building the platform, adding and maintaining the content. The Host noted the potential collaboration the ICANNWiki could have with the IGF. It was said that the IGF Secretariat will communicate with the responsible person for the ICANNWiki and come back to the community with an input.
19. Participants continued with discussing the organization of the dedicated session to this subject at the upcoming annual IGF meeting. While the majority gave support for the session to be organized and focused on exchanging the best practices on the subject, the IGF-USA co-coordinator added that the IGF Newcomers and Youth Track could be a platform through what this session should be channeled. However, concerns were raised about this year’s organization of the Track, as the content of the major introductory/orientation session was not appropriate, and the ‘Knowledge-Café’ sessions did not have good attendance.
20. From the Youth IGF of the Netherlands, it was added that a session, as an informal opportunity for the youth to meet during the day 0 and day 1, should be created. It will serve for youth to meet each other, and to become aware of the programme structure and opportunities.
21. Some participants supported the suggestion for this session to serve as a place where various types of models on Youth engagement will be shared.
22. The Portugal IGF coordinator underlined that the youth engagement process has to actively include youth in development of related actions. In this context, the Youth IGF of the Netherlands member noted that the session formats need to allow for interactivity and active involvement of youth, avoiding to put them only in a listening-passive mode.
23. As final remarks, it was reminded by the IGF-USA co-coordinator that all suggested ways for improvements have to aim for an inclusive outreach toward all stakeholder groups and all regional groups.
24. It was agreed that the IGF Secretariat will develop an outline of concrete suggested activities, that will be subject for public commenting for four weeks, from the day the outline will be published.
25. The Host will summarize all raised points and send to the community via the NRIs mailing list and publish it on the IGF website.
26. The Host will develop an outline of all proposed activities where the consensus based view was achieved, and publish it on the IGF online platform for public commenting for four weeks.
27. In case of any questions regarding this report, please contact the IGF Secretariat’s NRIs Focal Point at: [email protected]
1. Suggestion 1: Developing content materials
2. Suggestion 2: Facilitating coordination activities with other stakeholders
3. Suggestion 3: More information on who is attending the IGF
4. Suggestion 4: Mentorship programme
5. Suggestion 5: Dedicated session on the topic at the 13th IGF
6. Suggestion 6: NRIs network concept on the topic
List of meeting participants (in alphabetical order):
1. Adisa Bolutife, Digital Grassrots
2. Almudena Fernandez, IGF Spain
3. Ana Baptista, Portugal IGF
4. Anja Gengo, IGF Secretariat
5. Auke Pals, The Netherlands Youth IGF
6. Bolutife Adisa, Digital Grassroots, Nigeria
7. Concettina Cassa, Italy IGF, MAG member
8. David Ng, China Youth IGF
9. Esther Mwema, Digital Grassroots, Zambia
10. Israel Rosas, Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG)
11. Joy Ndungu, Digital Grassroots, Kenya
12. Katie Watson, Internet Society, USA
13. Marilyn Cade, IGF-USA
14. Michael Oghia, Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG)
15. Michel LINZE CAPDA, Central African IGF
16. Narine Khachatryan, Armenia
17. Noha Abdel Baky, Digital Grassroots, Egypt
18. Obed Sindy, Internet Society, Haïti
19. Oksana Prykhodko, Ukraine IGF
20. Peterking Quaye, Youth IGF Movement
21. Sam Kong, NetMission.asia, China
22. Uffa Modey, Eko-Konnect Research and Education Initiative, Nigeria
23. Yannis Li, APrIGF
24. Yuliya Morenets, Youth IGF Movement
List of shared documents
• ABC Guide to the IGF: http://www.igf-abc.info
• Gobernanza de Internet bit a bit: https://legacy.gitbook.com/book/embinternet/gobernanza-de-internet-bit-a-bit/details