Youth SIG-YCIG sessions: Check the outcomes!

Article written by Mohammad Atif Aleem, Elnur Karimov and Eileen Cejas.

Youth SIG co organised this year with the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG) three workshop proposals to the Internet Governance Forum. Read our reviews below:

WS #139 CopyLeft or Right? Mediating Interests in Academic Databases (check the report at the IGF website and Geneva Internet Platform)

Summary of Issues: 

Mr Thierry talked about how the private sector also promotes open access policies, complementing the social purpose of the companies with its aim. The sharing of data between the public and private sectors has always been done, approaching some government initiatives that facilitate this sharing. In pandemic times, while it’s possible to go after more profits, it seems wiser to private sectors agents to try to be more flexible to make it easier to fight pandemic-related issues.

Ms Mariana Valente spoke about the importance of opening academic databases to civil society. She talked about how digital technologies created the possibility of sharing knowledge and works, but this didn’t come with the legal possibility of sharing, because copyright law posed some barriers. She mentioned that open licenses are not enough, and the academic ecosystem needs to have an active role to stimulate open access, recognizing and promoting these type of initiatives.

Mr Elnur Karimov pointed out how the theme of the session is especially relevant to the youth. He remembered how youth starting to research have great barriers in getting access to protected academic texts, mostly because they do not have the same level of access or the same financial resources as older researchers have.

Ms Vivian Moya presented how the government can help to develop access and mediating the involved interests. She started with a brief introduction about how copyright works (and what are its aims) around the world, with higher or lower levels of copyright protection depending on national legislation.

Key Takeaways: 

The session reached a consensus on the need for providing tools to facilitate open access and open knowledge.

The private sectors shouldn’t seem like the enemy here, since there are also many initiatives in this sector to reinforce open access to academic databases. Governments also have a role in diminishing costs and expenses to commercial companies that work with these types of databases.

Academia has a particularity, which is that authors and readers are commonly part of the same group because one needs to research from other works to produce their own. There’s less interest from authors in financial returns, and more interest in being recognized by others. The pandemic showed us the importance of open science and how it can be effectively used to fight against pressing issues, and how actors from different sectors can work together to achieve a similar objective.


WS #105 Designing inclusion policies in Internet Governance (check the report at the IGF website and Geneva Internet Platform)

Summary of issues:

Ms. Eileen Cejas talked about the gender aspects within inclusion while drafting policy making related to the inclusion of women, girls and gender diverse people at equally footing.She highlighted the importance of “one size does not fit all”, therefore it is essential to consider multicultural backgrounds. In this way, most of the changes related to gender matters start from online discussions and later they create a change on societies. Therefore, advocacy is essential to accomplish it: on one hand she mentioned the BPF Gender and Access Report (link) and on the other hand  the Youth4DigitalSustainability program and its recommendation to policy makers on gender from youth: “Women and gender diverse people are facing restrictions in accessing information and participating meaningfully. To establish healthy and equal societies, youths should urge governments and civil societies to guarantee the rights to freedom of online expression for these communities.”

Ms. Debora Barletta addressed the topic of rural, indigenous and remote areas into digital literacy. She remarked the idea that policies should take into account the intersectional approach and the diverse needs of these communities, because currently governments’ solutions are focused on connectivity plans, and these communities don’t accept these measures because they aren’t community based solutions. Thus, the said  communities should be involved internally on the development of technical and human solutions related to digital literacy with a bottom up approach. Finally she concluded this type of solution is meant to increase the competencies of these communities and their sense of agency in this policy.

Ms. Mamadou Lo spoke on the topic of cost to access as it isn’t affordable in many parts of the world, which also applied to data packages in low income economies. These challenges should be fixed through policy and regulatory framework. As Mamadou said “A really competitive digital market, I think has to be answered by Government among all of the stakeholders and NGOs.” He also mentioned the problem of moratorium on taxation for organizations: this moratorium is still being implemented however private companies don’t pay taxes, which could be use to bring more connectivity to people in developing countries.

Ms. Meri Baghdasaryan addressed the topic of governments, and how they ensure human rights in terms of inclusion in three points. On one side, governments must guarantee digital rights need by providing in a first place access to Internet. The second point comprises digital literacy, in which she stated “by enhancing the level of digital literacy, the Governments actually create a solely base for safeguarding various aspects of rights and also in a way they are actually preventing further issues.” The third point of Meri’s input was about implementing sound policies regarding misinformation, especially on the context of the pandemic. She concluded by saying the role of governments is participating more actively in the multistakeholder process. 

Key Takeaways:

High level policy makers should address inclusion from a holistic way, as in the current situation inclusion is analysed and delimited towards specific target groups (women, girls, rural) though it is not consider multicultural backgrounds and diverse perspectives of each community.

 In the case of of gender diverse people, governments should design policies that creates a welcome space for them in order to participate fully in the Internet Governance ecosystem: digital literacy programs, anti harassment policies and a broad discussion of gender topics including transparency in AI programs.

Regarding accessibility, governments should support other stakeholders on the design and application of accessibility-by-default policies: there are several communities part of the persons with disabilities  with different requirements that should be taken in consideration for the improvement of societies.

Participants of the session realised inclusion frame a wide range of issues,  although they agreed we can start the conversation from the 5 selected topics we chose for the session: women and gender diverse; persons with disabilities; rural and urban communities; governments and human rights.  The conclusion emerged from the session was the relevance of  ensuring the protection of digital rights, helping people understand their digital rights and how to advocate for them.     

Moving forward…

The outcome of the session will include the launch of an online campaign on the topics on Inclusion discussed at the session in our social media channels. Stay tuned for more!


WS #273 Enhancing sustainable computing, production & consumption (read the report at the IGF website and Geneva Internet Platform)

Summary of the Session:

As per the research in recent times, the current production models are seriously impacting the economy, environment, and the society at large. The digitalisation of the economy is no exception. How will these effects change the course of sustainable computing, production and consumption in the future was largely the core topic of discussion at the session. Ms Ece Vural (International Relations Department Manager, Habitat Association and moderator for the event) asked the session panellists five main policy questions which address how newer ways of computing and digital advances can improve the sustainability of current productions models and benefit society. First of all, it is important that we define the concept of sustainable computing and make society understand that there are ways to optimise and reduce the energy consumption of the existing computer infrastructure. The context setting in this regard was done by giving some background of the topic and explaining the status quo.

Ms Jaewon Son (Committee Member, Korea Internet Governance Alliance) explained how Korea is increasing its investment in the economy, especially towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and businesses that provide online services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She shared her personal professional experiences in regards to the advancement of sustainability  work.  Mr Daniel Jr Dasig (Associate Professor, De La Salle University Dasmarinas) explained that the geography of innovation continues to shift, and the sustainability of computing is an issue that affects both developed and developing countries. He stressed upon the need for a strong curriculum at University level and adoption of green lifestyle as well. Mr Mohammad Atif Aleem (Regional Engagement Director for Asia Pacific Group, Youth Special Interest Group, Internet Society) clarified that sustainable consumption is about doing more and better with less. He added that information and communications technology (ICT) penetration is still a challenge in many developing countries. This is especially relevant when addressing the climate change challenge. For example, in the sub-Saharan region, there is still a lack of meteorological stations, and hence a scope for technology to assess the risks related to the Climate. He advocated for a positive use of technology and balancing the trade-offs between sustainability and profits for organizations. Ms Chineyenwa Okoro Onu (Founder and Managing Director, Waste or Create Hub) stressed the importance of putting people first and equipping them with information and knowledge. Education being a key component to understand the complexities of such issues, needs to be taken seriously right from the budding stage, and some valuable case studies were highlighted as discussed in the session.

Furthermore key takeaways were drawn and the ways to mitigate environmental constraints and lead a green lifestyle through different means, digital empowerment, ways of gender inclusion and education were highlighted with relevant examples.

The key takeaways of the Session were:

– Insights on how SDGs 9, 12, 11 and 13 can be fostered digitally and lower the impact on the environment

– Potential that digital technology offers in the field of production and consumption

– Role of quality education in enhancing sustainable initiatives

– Information on how gender equality can be promoted through digital ways, and in the associated SDGs for equitable distribution and representation

– Information on Sustainable Computing and digital advances to improve the sustainability

Youth4DigitalSustainability: 1-1 session + invitation to webinars

The Internet offers many opportunities for communication, development, and collaboration, but we can also acknowledge concerning environmental, social, and economic effects of digitality. Young people are at the forefront of advocacy for a more sustainable world, and have impact on policy development. For the UN Internet Governance Forum 2020, the Youth4DigitalSustainability Program wants to highlight the opportunities of digital sustainability and point the way forward.

The key policy topics that this program is concerned with are: Greening the Internet, Fair Digital Businesses, Internet for Social Good, and Sustainable Internet Governance. For each, a global working group is established in order to draft policy recommendations to be presented to decision-makers in the public and private sectors, civil society, academia, and the technical community.

Youth who are between 16 and 30 years of age from across the globe are part of these working groups and we are happy to inform that Lily Edinam Botsyoe (Secretary), Juliana Novaes (Global Engagement Director), Eileen Cejas (Regional Engagement Director-Latin America and the Caribbean region), Elnur Karimov (Regional Engagement Director- Eastern Europe region) and Mohammad Atif Aleem (Regional Engagement Director- Asia Pacific region) were selected for this program along with other active members of Youth Observatory also have been chosen to work in the above mentioned 4 working groups.

Young people in all world regions, with diverse backgrounds and levels of professional and academic experience are contributing through this interesting initiative.

On August 16, Elnur Karimov had a 1-1 online session with Elisabeth , organiser of the Youth4DigitalSustainability Program. You can watch the recording and read the slides here

Register in the links below to participate of the webinars:

Webinar 1: Greening the Internet

August 20, 2020; 4 PM-5PM/16:00-17:00 CEST (Berlin Time)

Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3035337496791218702


Webinar 2: Fair Digital Businesses

August 27, 2020, 4PM-5PM/16:00-17:00 CEST (Berlin Time)

Link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3106850832574131470

Webinar 3: Internet for Social Good

September 3, 2020, 4PM-5PM/16:00-17:00 CEST (Berlin Time)

Link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/607881904476491022


Webinar 4: Sustainable Internet Governance

September 14, 2020, 4PM-5PM/16:00-17:00 CEST (Berlin Time)

Link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/9118174471230220814

Youth SIG is part of the Global Citizens’ Dialogue in Argentina

The Youth SIG (also known as Youth Observatory) is participating at the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue as a National Strategic Partner for Argentina for the We The Internet. This initiative is launched by Missions Publiques, a high impact social entrepeneur founded in 1998 and localy boosted by our Regional Engagement Director for Latin America and the Caribbean region Eileen Cejas in Argentina.

We, The Internet is a two phases global event: first, there was the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue in June 2020, and the second phase is composed by the Global Citizens’ Dialogue, happening in October 2020.

Global Stakeholders Dialogue

At the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue, stakeholders from around the world participated in the deliberation regarding the three model of arquitecture of digital cooperation, which were picked by the High Level Panel in Digital Cooperation of the UN to be discussed by the global stakeholders. The second phase is composed by the Global Citizens’ Dialogue, happening in October 2020.

Photo updated by Paola Gálvez from Twitter: “#WetheInternet stakeholders’ dialogue last session has started to discuss about #digitalcooperation Glad to be here!!”

After the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue, the gathered recommendations made by the attendees of the event were compiled into a report, which was shared as one of the recommendations collected by the German government as part of the High Level Panel follow-up process. Moreover, the results of the event are part of the process for the Roadmap of Digital Cooperation issued by the UN Secretary General’s office.

Some of the recommendations collected at the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue were:

1. A shift is required towards a hybrid architecture for the future of Digital Cooperation.
2. Providing the right resources in a fair way is key to impactful Digital Cooperation.
3. Improving effective inclusion must be at the heart of governance reform.
4. Greater coordination and cooperation is required between stakeholders and the different bodies.
5. Transparency and guidance are essential in navigating the complex system.
6. Trust must be established with transparent, fair coordination and effective, stable leadership.
7. The IGF+ needs to move from a discussion forum to a decision-making body.


Upcoming Global Citizens’ Dialogue

On October 10th and 11st of 2020, the Youth SIG in Argentina will host the local version of the Global Citizens’ Dialogue, where inhabits from all around Argentina will discuss these thematic areas:

-Internet and me

-Digital Identity

-Digital Public Sphere

-Artificial Intelligence

-Data Privacy

In order to introduce attendees into these themaric areas, the We The Internet Argentina team will facilitate an online introductory webinar (‘Conversatorio virtual’) on August 17. More details on registration are available here (only available for Argentina).

If you are from Argentina, you can check the We The Internet Argentina website for further details : www.wetheinternet.com.ar.


Other countries and organizations participating of this initiative:

Youth Observatory participated in EuroDIG2020

Youth Observatory (Youth SIG) was invited by the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance to participate in the session Youth Coalition on Internet Governance: Creating synergies and the Way Forward”. This session was part of the Day 0 program at EuroDIG2020.

EuroDIG is the pan- European dialogue of Internet Governance, where participants from countries of all Europe gather to discuss issues of the region. This year, the online event chose the overarching theme “Towards a sustainable governance of the Internet” to discuss the focus areas: a) Cooperation, legislation, standardisation; b)Leverage connecting the unconnected; c)Data governance and data security; d)Media issues (ongoing); e) all matter DNS.

On this session, our Regional Engagement Director for Eastern European Group Elnur Karimov introduced the audience to Youth Observatorys initiatives we have done in the last years, including Youth Atlas, Creating Networks and the session proposals we worked within the IGF Working Groups for the IGF2020.

Elnur said “more youth participation means better Internet Governance” while highlighting the achieved projects by the Youth Observatory and our enthusiasm for the future involved in IG.

Our Regional Engagement Director for EEG also mentioned what we have done in the last months, including submitting sessions proposals to the IGF2020 and the launch at Regional Activities, which have the goal to feature young individuals from our community to share their thoughts on relevant topics for youth.

We will soon share news on our social media, stay tuned!

We want to thank Youth Coalition on Internet Governance for the invitation-

Participate in Regional Activities!

Youth Observatory, as Special Interest Group of Internet Society focused on Youth, has prepared a series of community outreach activities to engage young people in capacity building.

We believe in these times of pandemic, we should foster a closer relationship with our members, giving a space to share with the community about their leadership experiences and share their insights on an area of their interest.

The Community Outreach will include:

LEADERSHIP EXCHANGE: Informal gatherings on Zoom platform to share experiences on leadership. In this space, we can meet to know more about our members and learn on their leadership experiences.

YOUTH AT FOCUS: Live session at Instagram to talk about an area of their expertise. Instagram is a great platform to have a 1-1 discussion, when everyone can leave a comment to our featured young speaker.


If you are a Youth Observatory member and you want to apply, kindly fill this form. Regional Engagement Directors will reach you for the next steps.



List of Regional Engagement Directors:

African Group- Joshua Joshua

Asia Pacific Group- Mohammad Atif Aleem

Europe- Elnur Karimov

Latin America and the Caribbean- Eileen Cejas

Western Europe Group and Others- Ana Jovanovic

COVID STORIES

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and its development into a global pandemic, we are implementing measures to safeguard our community as well as maintain our community activities to the extent that innovation and technology allows. In line with this, the Youth Observatory is collating stories of what youths around the world are seeing in terms of Internet use and access during the Coronavirus pandemic, how you are navigating the times and recommendations. We invite you to share your story:
Here’s the link :


https://bit.ly/YouthObsCovidStories


Listen to Nidhi Singh from our Board of Directors talking about our project on “COVID 19 Stories”, where we are collecting stories on the impact of the COVID 19 on the Youth.

YouthLACIGF 2020 on the way!

The Organising Committee of the YouthLACIGF is preparing great activities for the YouthLACIGF 2020. This year the event will be entirely online on August 1-2. Chilean Time Zone.

The online event will address these 4 thematic areas:

Online education and access to the internet. Digital Literacy matters!

Misinformation, problems with social media

COVID 19 related to privacy and cybersecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean region

Online democracies: a new model of democracies after the pandemic?

If you are a young resident of the Latin America and the Caribbean region, you can submit your application by filling this form. Applications in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese are accepted.

Read more information on formats, deadlines and speakers at the website.


In adittion, the Organising Committee has prepared an Open Course with the support of Internet Society. Taking into account the situation of COVID-19 in the region, we considered to provide this capacity building tool as preparation for the YouthLACIGF and LACIGF online meetings. We will have webinars with experts of the Latin American and the Caribbean region on selected topics relevants for the region.

You can enroll in the course here. Deadline to enroll: May 14, 2020, 11h59pm UTC

Our Story

The Youth Observatory is a non governamental organization, created on September of 2015, being a Special Interest Group of Internet Society (ISOC) since 2016. It is composed by members of around the world, between 18 to 32 years old committed in the training of the knowledge of Internet ecosystem and Internet Governance. We have accepted the challenge of increasing the participation of new actors through their involvement in forums and divulgation of workshops that increase the academia research.

This has been our journey since 2015:

In 2015, we wrote the ‘Youth’s Declaration’ (“Declaración de la Juventud”), which was introduced in the Internet Governance Forum in 2015. Later, in 2016, the “Gender Youth” Group wrote the ‘Declaration of Young Latin American Women, to empower young women and build a feminist Internet Governance’ (“Declaración de las Mujeres Jóvenes Latinoamericanas, para empoderar a las mujeres jóvenes y construir una Gobernanza de Internet feminista”). This document was presented at the Internet Governance Forum 2016 and the Internet Freedom Festival in 2017.

Since 2015, we have participated actively in many national, regional and international events such as Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2015,2016,2017, LACIGF 2016, 2017, Internet Freedom Festival 2017, among others. One of our main contributions happened in 2017, where we organised 2 workshops: 1# Workshop 193 about the commitment of youth in the Internet Governance ecosystem and 2# about the gender challenges and youth.

In 2017, we launched the book ‘Analysis of youth connected’ (“Análisis de una juventud conectada”), which is a collection of articles written by young persons on Internet Governance topics. The book is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Also, during 2017, we organized an interactive hub of InterCommunity in Guadalajara, Mexico, counting with the participation of thousands of young individuals remotely and onsite.

We created the first youth initiative of IGF for Latin America and the Caribbean called Youth LACIGF, which takes place one day before the LACIGF. Since its first edition in 2016, we have committed to give financial support to young individuals in the region to attend the meeting.

Aditionally, since 2016, we have developed projects to stimulate critical thought about youth problems in Internet. One of our main project was ‘Youth at schools’ (“Juventud en las escuelas”) addressed young students in schools in Brazil. Our members helped them to discuss and analyse their relationships with Internet. This project helped to build ‘Cyberneteens’, a project applied by ISOC Brazil in partnership with Youth Observatory for the Internet Society’s Chapterton 2017, which also included taking the critic reflection of Internet at schools.

On 2018, we transitioned from a regional SIG (Latin America and the Caribbean) to an international Special Interest Group; in order to include more young voices in Internet Governance.

Why trust in the Youth Observatory?

Because we are a youth led initiative for young persons, we count with experience in the organization of forums and events related to Internet. We propose and develop in successful way projects in the Internet ecosystem, transforming them in a global reference in the involvement of the next generation of leaders in the regions.

We foster an active exchange of communication among young individuals, through capacity building in local, regional and international debates, so in this way we empower youths and build new lines of debate for the multistakeholder community. We are sure through dialogue and active cooperation, we set the basis for the tomorrow’s leaders.

Youth Observatory Webinar on COVID-19

Youth Observatory has prepared a webinar on COVID-19, with the purpose of joining efforts to fight COVID-19 with Dr. Abhishek Royal.

Dr. Royal is a medical doctor and a public health professional with experience of working with various vulnerable and marginalized population and public health emergencies in India. He is currently pursuing Master’s in Public Health in Implementation Research from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. He has received full scholarship from World Health Organization – Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases to pursue this international master’s program.

Dr. Abhishek Royal will talk to us on April 15th on the Community perspective on the pandemic and the effects of lockdown on Mental health.

Moderator: Mohammad Atif Aleem (Regional Engagement Director- Asia Pacific Region).

Sign up before April 13 at 12 pm UTC here: https://bit.ly/YouthObsAgainstCovid

The webinar on COVID-19 will take place on April 15 at 14pm UTC. Few spots available!


Watch the recording of the webinar below:

Youth Observatory Webinar on COVID-19

Youth Observatory Webinar on COVID-19. Dr. Abhishek Royal (MBBS, MPH Scholar | Implementation Research) will cover 1) Community perspective on pandemic; 2) Effects of lockdown and infodermic on mental health.

Posted by Youth Observatory on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

As part of Youth Obs Challenge, we are also proposing our community to take a short course on COVID-19 (enroll here) and share your certificate, tagging @YouthObs on social media and using the proposed hashtags #onlineandinformed #youthobsonline #InternetUnited #unitedagainstCovid19 #youthuniteagainstcovid.

Youth LACIGF 2019

The youth meeting took place in August 5th, in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. The organizing process started in January 2019 when we invited Youth Observatory members to take part in online meetings to shape the fourth edition of the Youth LACIGF, having our communication at our official Telegram group in order to set the working commissions.

In order to create an Internet Governance Initiative that achieves the goals of openness, transparency, inclusiveness, non-commercial, and multi-stakeholder participation, the main organizers established a dialogue with other stakeholders interested in the event. At the end of July, we had the participation of 5 actors from different stakeholder groups which conform the Organization Committee.


The Committee decided to use the format of “Break-out groups” to maximize the participation of all attendees in our agenda. The event was open to the public, free of charge and was widely disseminated in digital media.

Watch the recording here: https://youtu.be/uVk_p7lDPIc

Read the full report here (English).