As part of the #Youth4DigitalSustainability project, 50 experts under 30 from all parts of the world have developed twelve recommendations for the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the Internet. We are happy to say 5 of our Youth SIG board members have been involved in the process of creating the messages within the 4 Working Groups, including Lily Edinam Bostyoe, Juliana Novaes, Eileen Cejas, Elnur Karimov, and Mohammad Atif Aleem.
These are now presented to the United Nation’s Internet Governance Forum.
The Internet and digital technologies contribute significantly to global CO2 emissions, e-waste is a cross-border challenge and global inequalities are increasing. Digital policy and the climate crisis are two issues that particularly affect young people. Therefore, the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI) has called on young experts from Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America to analyze the social, economic and ecological sustainability effects of digitization in the project #Youth4DigitalSustainability. The aim was to develop solutions that go beyond a purely German or European perspective.
Twelve concrete demands emerged from the working process, which lasted several months, in four working groups focusing on environment, economy, society and governance. Key aspects of these demands include environmentally friendly Internet access, circular economy, the inclusion of marginalized groups, and the democratization of the sustainability discourse. The complete paper is available to download.
These are the 12 recommendations:
- We should actively strive to mitigate the environmental impact of the Internet and ICTs. Both public and private stakeholders should strengthen collaboration by following a framework that allows for responsible growth, consumption of digital resources, and promotion of innovation;
- Promoting access to the Internet and other ICTs is inherently a matter of sustainability. If we want to connect the next billion, we must do so in an eco-friendly way, taking into consideration the significant environmental impacts that digitalization comprehends;
- The environmental impact of the Internet and ICTs must be communicated in an accessible and effective language. It’s important to compel stakeholders to action by framing the environmental crisis as an opportunity for change, while being based on scientifically accurate information;
- Businesses should champion diversity and sustainability by (1) hiring C-Suite representatives and/or consulting subject matter experts and (2) strengthening their commitment towards principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion and ecological digital infrastructure;
- Governments should offer economic incentives to businesses that commit to a circular economy model and Fair Trade standards, in order to re-imagine supply chains that discourage e-waste, and improve the quality of life of those residing in emerging economies;
- Businesses should create an open data environment to promote transparency. By acquiring user consent and anonymizing personal data, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to carbon neutral and humane practices that encourage behavioral changes in consumption practices;
- Youth accounts for one out of three active users of media content platforms. Such platforms need to assure youth representation in internal advisory bodies and self-regulation processes to improve on the decisions that affect this age group;
- Big Tech and other companies that produce Internet products and services should have more indigenous languages built into automated translation tools and technologies to help bridge the language barriers and Western cultural bias of the Internet;
- Women and gender diverse people are facing restrictions in accessing information on the Internet 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;
- We urge states to pursue cross-border alliances in the governance of the Internet as a shared resource based on democratic ideals. Entities collecting and managing data should adopt alternative forms of data governance that grant individuals greater control over their data;
- Rules for AI and standards for ethical AI should be formulated through a multistakeholder approach rather than by technology companies. AI systems should be audited based on these rules by external parties for fairness and their working should be made transparent to the public;
- The companies that develop and sell AI systems should be held accountable for them and any entity that uses these systems should implement a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system throughout the lifetime of the system
Make sure to register to the “WS #231 Youth&Sustainability: Creating change through collaboration” and get to know more what activists and experts of environmental advocacy and Internet governance will deliberate on how digital sustainability can be mainstreamed in Internet governance discoursed, and where the movements for climate justice, and for the inclusive, open, and accessible Internet intersect. Link here