Youth Observatory report on the YouthLACIGF 2020

Youth Observatory report on the YouthLACIGF 2020


YouthLACIGF is an annual initiative that began in 2016 from the growing community of young people in Latin America and the Caribbean interested in being part of the dialogues that take place for the development of the Internet.

In this context, the youth of the Youth Observatory, the Internet Society’s Special Interest Group for Youth, decided to organize a preparatory event for LACIGF which had its first edition four years ago.

We have traveled a long road of community building since the first edition held in Costa Rica, then in Panama, Buenos Aires and Bolivia, until this year, when we were presented with the challenge of organizing the 5th edition of YouthLACIGF entirely virtually.

In the context of mandatory isolation decreed in the various countries of the Latin American region, we organized the regional youth forum on Internet governance: YouthLACIGF under a multistakeholder and open consultation scheme thanks to which we managed to put together an agenda with interesting sessions for the first time in 4 parallel tracks, based on language: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

On September 5th and 6th we carried out fruitful sessions to exchange knowledge and experiences around 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 LAC region; Online democracies: a new model of democracies after the pandemic? As a summary, we comment below on the issues discussed:

  1. On the one hand, the topic of distance education allowed us to reflect that the pandemic has put the educational system to the test, by generating a series of challenges that were not foreseen. In the first instance, in order to preserve the continuity of education, it was essential to apply remote learning strategies, despite the complications that this represents. We shared experiences from Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, among other places, where the situation has made it necessary to adjust the pedagogical strategy, work for an integral connectivity and shorten the gaps working on the digital literacy of the society.  
  2. In relation to online democracies, we discussed the need to think, debate and act in favor of a participatory, paritarian and inclusive digital democracy.
  3. On the other hand, we discussed the importance of protecting freedom of expression when designing regulations and disinformation policies.
  4. Finally, we discussed good practices in the treatment of sensitive data in the context of initiatives that seek to limit the spread of COVID-19, recommending that these allow users to choose and control the configuration of privacy.

As this year it would not be possible to offer fellowships and funding to attend a classroom event, we chose to design an open course on Internet governance, which was developed thanks to the support of the working committees and the Internet Society.

As a result of the open course, the best participants were recognized as YouthLACIGF Ambassadors, who volunteered their time to report and support the sessions of LACIGF, the regional Internet governance forum where we presented the conclusions and general perspectives of the youth forum during the opening.

The very nature of the Internet allowed us to reaffirm that there were many young people interested in discussing the future of the Internet, since we were more than 100 participants from Latin America and the Caribbean connected through the tool that today unites us despite isolation and borders.

We are truly thankful to all the volunteers and organizations that made YouthLACIGF2020 possible, an entirely virtual edition in 4 parallel languages, so we can ensure that the next generation of Internet leaders are prepared to promote a free, open, neutral, globally-connected, and reliable Internet.

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