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.
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.
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.
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