The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Hello, everyone, welcome to the session at the IGF. I am Nicolas Fiumarelli, with the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance. As you know, it is the space of the annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum where young people can exchange their experiences and points of view on the Internet issues around the world. This year, our session is called "The Road to Future IGFs," so we will focus on the opportunities to help people plan for future youth engagement in the IGF in the following years.
For those that don't know, the YCIG was established to advocate for the voice of the children and the youth and young professionals in the Internet Governance fora and similar processes, particularly at the Internet Governance Forum and the IGF, the YCIG's also a space for youth interested in related issues and this is a platform for engaging with stakeholders on equal footing to amplify the youth voices. This is open to all young professionals from all over the world and all relevant stakeholders interested in Internet Governance issues, regardless of their social status, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, et cetera. So, it has been, the YCIG, very successful in securing the commitment for the IGF to include young panelists at their annual meetings as well as organizing panels of different levels of engagement, producing clear statements during the IGF closing plenary sessions.
So, here with us, I have the main panelists. I will proceed to present the speakers. Here with me is Emilia Zalewska from Youth IGF Poland and also the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance, Lily Edinam Botsyoe, both from Ghana Youth IGF. Welcome also.
And we have two online speakers, Jenna Fung from the Asia‑Pacific IGF and Mauricia Abdol Tshilunda from the Youth Standing Group. I will start with our panelists, starting from Lily.
So, can you bring your insights from your countries and regions regarding your experience in the participation of youth in Internet Governance?
>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: Right. Hi, everyone! Especially to those online, we are happy that, regardless of the time zone, and I mean, you've been away, you've been able to join. So, just to appreciate the work that YCIG does for providing an entry avenue for young people into the space. I mean, if you are new to the space, I would suggest to you to look at the toolkit they put together, which is called the ABCs for IGF Newbies. And I think that it's really important. It's a good document that can start you off on a good road.
So, for insights on what is happening in the African Region, I will bring you on a journey from what is happening in the countries, what you've seen, what can be put together as, like, a best practice for maybe other IGFs who want to see things that are happening on the other side of the world. And then, I can also share some insights from the IGF Youth Track that we held in Malawi.
So, I will put up the report as well, but just to say what it looks like on the continent. So, I coordinate the Ghana Youth Internet Governance Forum. And one of the things I was seeing is now that engagement of young people in processes around IG, not only when the event is already set up and ready to be run, but in the preparation. And I think it's one of the things that we've been advocating for long ago. So, we're saying that we don't want to just be attendees or we don't just want to be present in the sessions after they've been organized; we want to also bring our insights and to spotlight our needs so that they are captured in the agenda and they are discussed during the main IGF sessions when they kick‑start.
So, we had various countries organizing their Internet Governance Forum. It began from the West African Region with Ghana; there was Nigeria, I think the Gambia, also. And then we saw other countries in Eastern Africa; that is Kenya, Uganda, also doing some work in the space. And I think although we've seen across the board is that there is interest of young people, and we are not understanding what it means.
You know, one of the questions that we've been hearing often is, what is the role of young people in Internet Governance space, especially on the African continent? So, we have been able to establish that, aside from just being attendees, we have the opportunity to bring together, or to bring to bear what our thoughts would be in the whole IGF process, and also to make sure that beyond the event, we are constantly engaging.
So, by way of insights, there is the angle young people have been currently able to build up and to be active participators in the process that we know on the continent, and then to be able to also go back to our communities of impact. So, it is the approach of a learner turning into a trainee and going into the community to also be a trainer. Right.
So, I want to give right now some of the things we saw from the session in Malawi, which is exciting. We had one of the largest crowds. And I feel like one of the things that made it very important that people can attend is sponsorship. Usually when we talk about IGF and youth, we forget funding, we forget support for young people. It can be connectivity support, it can be travel support, but anything that would ensure that young people are present, we have to add it as things that are helpful for our participation.
So, we had the Malawi event, and it was under the theme "Transforming the role of youth in a data world," and we looked at challenges and also the opportunities. So, one of the things that were pretty much big for us as young people in the African continent was issues of connectivity and digital illiteracy. We want to have people connected onto the Internet space and have the benefit of the online space, but what most often you are asked the question, are they able to? Or what is the first step to having people get into these spaces and have them maximize the use of the Internet, and maybe for their work or for education, and whatnot.
So, now that we know what has happened or what is happening on the continent, where we see a gradual increase of youth, not just being attendees, but also part of the process, we would just ask that those efforts would be redoubled. And this is why. We don't want just their representation, like maybe all older folks and one young person is available. We want it in such a way that it is integrated into the whole process. It shouldn't be a clear‑cut youth representation, but just based on integration of what the expectations are to have young people infused in the process.
Now, looking at this and moving into what the future of IGF looks like for Africans, African youth, even Ghana youth, it looks something like having young people who are well grounded in the process and are able to raise topics of interest for young people for discussions and are able to get the support to continue in advocacy or implementations of what recommendations are post‑event. So, we've moved from that process of just pouring into the session, but we want to continue it so people are able to see the results that follow. Right.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Microphone, this one. Okay. So, now we are heading to Emilia. Can you bring insights for your countries and regions regarding the experience of youth participation in IGF?
>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you. It's working. Thank you very much. First of all, I would like to say that what Lily talked about is something, she made a few very, very important points. Also, that I have had the pleasure to participate in a couple of African IG events. And every time, the engagement of young people was incredible. So, huge congratulations, Lily, to Lily and to other facilitators of the youth engagement in the region.
And I would like to tell you a few words about how the situation of youth engagement looks like in Poland and also in the Eastern European Region. So, firstly, maybe I will quickly share with you the story of how it has developed in Poland. So, two years ago, together with my two colleagues and with research institute NASK, we founded Youth IGF Poland, and I think it was the first organization of this kind in Poland, because in 2020, the Internet Governance Forum ‑‑ the main event ‑‑ was supposed to happen in Poland. Because of the COVID, it was moved to the next year, but we started our work. And thanks to that, we have had almost one year and a half for preparations to the Internet Governance Forum.
And also, what we wanted to achieve is to create a space in which young people would be able to prepare to the IGF and to the Youth Summit that we wanted to happen there. And also, at the same time, we wanted to achieve some, you know, very particular, very specific results. So, that's why, why we started the Project Youth Summit. Firstly, we have had free webinars to attract young people, to get their interest to the project. They were focused on different aspects of Internet Governance, like universal access, green technology, education, artificial intelligence, and aesthetics. And then, after that, together with two organizations ‑‑ one of them me and Nicolas and Jenna has the pleasure to represent today ‑‑ so with Youth Coalition on Internet Governance and with Youth Standing Group, we invited them to the cooperation and we started the project.
So, the main idea was that young people who would apply will be divided in eight working groups, each of them focused on different aspects of Internet Governance. Each group would be led by more experienced youth coordinator from Youth Coalition or Youth Standing Group. And in those groups, they will create points of action, so kind of the policy papers focusing on, what are the problems they observe in their particular field of Internet Governance? What are the potential solutions to those problems? And which stakeholders, particular ones or groups of stakeholders, could help in introducing those solutions, in bringing them into light? And I think that we managed to do that.
We had 80 people from all over the world participating in the project. Also, there were some senior experts engaged in it. They were mentors for the younger people. And we have had the Youth Summit in Poland, as it was, I think, the first time at the onsite IGF when the Global Youth Summit was actually the part of the IGF, so it didn't happen before or after, but it was actually incorporated into the event. And we presented our points of action and got a lot of interest. So, it was really, really great, and it was possible only due to the common efforts of so many young people, and that we could bring so many young people as equal partners. So, of course, the project has to be led by someone, but also so many people has real influence on how it looked like in the end. So, that's what we did last year.
This year, as the Youth IGF Poland, we focused more on our regional engagement. So, we have had a few meetings. We have had the first Youth IGF Poland Summit during the main IGF Poland event. It was also the first time we have had youth track there. And that's what we are planning to do in the future. The next year, we want to hold more meetings, more onsite meetings for more young people, because still, youth people engagement in Internet Governance in Poland is quite low. Like, there are a lot of people interested in new technologies from different fields, but they are still ‑‑ it is very, very hard to get their attention, so that's why I also am very happy I can listen to other youth activists on how to bring this focus, because this is something we need for the next year.
And also, at the end of my speech in this part is huge congrats from our colleagues from Ukraine, who, even though their current situation in our country, they still had their national IGF a few days ago. So, I think this is really, it is really incredible that they are still doing this great job they have been doing for so many years. So, yeah, that's it.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Yes, it's an incredible effort, and also, it's a challenge to get the youth participants to be interested in Internet Governance issues, right?
So, now we are flying to our online speaker, Jenna Fung, that we talk a little bit about her experience in the Youth Asia‑Pacific. Go, Jenna. The floor is yours.
>> JENNA FUNG: Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Nicolas. Can you hear me well? Great. Thank you so much for the time. I will try to summarize everything into ten minutes. My name is Jenna Fung. I am the Digital Policy and Community Relations Manager of dot‑Asia registration, a domain registry. I was lucky, compared to so many young leaders in my region back in time, because I got a full‑time job here. In the industry, I get to lead one online academy about Internet Governance for the youth and Asia‑Pacific as well as leading the Youth Internet Governance Forum in Asia‑Pacific and Hong Kong since 2018. So, this is officially my fifth IGF so far. And from my personal observation also, I believe I can give some inputs also from a personal perspective also.
To respond to questions, I think at this point, in 2022, I would say don't give too much insight from the perspective of youth in Hong Kong, as the environment won't really allow any free discussions on anything so far right now, so I will basically share from the perspective as a youth and then as an individual in leadership in Asia‑Pacific.
So, I think, first of all, I would briefly highlight what we have done in the Asia‑Pacific YIGF this year, in September in Singapore. It's, finally after two years of pandemic, we get to meet face‑to‑face in Singapore. And because of many limitations in terms of funding and resources, our usually three days ‑‑ four ‑‑ three days ‑‑ no, no, four days/three nights ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ youth camp to empower our young people to participate in the regional IGF, which is like the main conference we call, has been shortened into 1.5 days. So, we really had to do a lot of work to revamp our program quite a bit.
But this year, with the help of more than ten YIGF in our regions, we get to do it with great access. And this year, we get to get some help from coordinators or volunteers from different NRIs in Asia‑Pacific, including Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and so many others. We get to do it successfully.
And then, some organizations in Taiwan and in South Korea, they managed to fund their representative to participate in Asia‑Pacific also. So, that's a new observation and model that we all serve. Because for youth, financial barriers, it's been the biggest topic or biggest, like the highest or top barrier that we are facing. And as a leader that organize Youth IGF for quite some time ‑‑ like four or five times right now ‑‑ I would say this is a big achievement realized. Decentralized funding models may be something that youth can seek, because previously, we tried to source, sponsor, to fund our fellowship program, but we have always been facing lots of challenges. But this year, because each of these organizations have been funding their own local representative and get their local discussion to the regional discussion table, we managed to get at least, like, two to three more local representatives of those jurisdictions or territory to participate in our program, which is very inspiring and very exciting.
The topic of the Asia‑Pacific YIGF was "Youth at Crossroad: Trusting in a common future where no one's left behind," because we believe the advancement of technologies and global Internet connectivity has accelerated the spread of information, human process, and innovation across a diverse area, while we are expecting the benefits of the important of the improvement of the Internet, you know, as well as the pandemic has changed our way. And also, given the time, or the age of the youth, usually they are at a crossroad, feeling confused about the future, and given the position we are in, in Internet Governance, we often feel very ‑‑ they're unclear about their position. So, that's why I think taking advantage of myself being in, like an influential or a leadership role in the youth community, I think, especially as coordinators of the Regional Youth IGF, I would, like, spend time in thinking how to improve the program by design to help, like to help youth to stay engaged and then to also make policy‑making more accessible to youth that has been here for many ‑‑ for quite some time, like a few years. Because continuing our capacity‑beating or empowerment, like for newcomers, of course, we have to continue, and it's always important because that's one way to bring new people and bring more people in order to make our voice in the representative of youth more obvious at the bigger arena.
For a youth who's been here for like five years, like me, sometimes I feel like I know we need to get youth voice heard. I want to participate in so many other discussions, too, but then, often, we feel like we are lacking the knowledge. One thing we identified was that stakeholders should get more involved in filling the gaps, and then at the same time, beating mutual understanding of different generations also. I think that's, like, something, as a leader, we should work on, to see how we can make policy‑making more accessible in a way to advancing youth with more experience in the Internet Governance world, to have more knowledge on certain topics so we can actually contribute.
So, from the past two days of conferences, and here in IGF, I also got inspired to think of more collaborations with, like other NRIs, globally, regionally, as well as, like having more collaboration with DC at the IGFC, probably should be one of the way that we can help advance that because we have lots of experts in here which can fill out this part, which I just raised it.
I don't know how much time I have left, Nicolas, but I will try to wrap it up here. YIGF has been a platform that we've used in the past ten years, and it's been evolving every year. But this year, we take advantage of finally getting to meet each other. We stress so much ‑‑ we try so hard in putting effort in making our program as inclusive as possible, so hybrid, you know, a hybrid form is needed. We also try to get more ‑‑ get some mentors involved to give them daily briefings during the main conference, which is the Asia‑Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum, so they really get to participate in the discussion. And this year, we have lots of great, like, great improvement from the youth. Every year, the Asia‑Pacific Regional IGF, they publish a services document, and this year we have more than, like, 400% of increase in numbers of input from youth. Because previously, we encouraged them, but no one really felt comfortable enough in actually typing in the comment and then contribute, like, their, just another community member in the region. So, that's like a great achievement from the youth community in Asia‑Pacific.
Another thing was, with the support of all the NRIs, coordinators in our region, we managed to have this ‑‑ starting to be this momentum in having an annual meeting, more coordination or action‑oriented meeting at YIGF in discussing what NRI in Asia‑Pacific could do. I think this is something other regions could do more effectively. I was also taking, for example, Europe or Latin America as an example. Because I've been here five years and I feel like Asia‑Pacific was kind of behind for many reasons. And so, I think it's like a process for us to learn from each other also.
And then also, lastly, I probably should not mention anything further, but this year, we have a new statement. And also, we mentioned a call for actions from the Asia‑Pacific Youth IGF organizing a meeting in our report ‑‑ very different from what we have done before, because usually, we just, like, discuss all the topics, put it into a report, send it to IGF Secretariat, make sure it's on the website so other people can access, make sure our reports are published online. But this year, we added an additional session where the organizing community can call for action from a perspective as a leader in the youth community and then try to gather people who have an influential role in the Internet Governance world so we can make a change with action‑oriented, and then make real change at a different level, especially to those who get to have a role in this community.
I think that's it from me. I have been talking too much also. I hope my sharing gives you some kinds of insight and will help with our discussion later today at this session. Thank you.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Thank you. Thank you so much, Jenna. It is very good to see how you sorted out all the challenges, and also the Net Mission Academy is very useful and having regional coordinators with Youth IGF is something we have seen in different regional Youth IGFs this year and I think is something wonderful, to have this kind of cooperation and collaborations.
So, now we are flying to Belgium for Veronica Piccolo. So, tell us, what have been your experiences in Youth IGF?
>> VERONICA PICCOLO: Hello, everyone. I hope you can hear me fine. Greetings from Brussels, from the heart of Europe. My greetings to people attending onsite. I saw many people actually attending onsite. And greetings to people connecting from all around the world here online, and especially to the Bangladesh Remote Hub. They are connected with us, and I can see them on the screen here.
So, I had my points to share with you today, but I'm not sure I will be able to have the time to go through all of them. So, I will try to summarize them in some way. I am Veronica Piccolo, Chair of the Internet Society Youth Standing Group. The Internet Society Youth Standing Group is a global ‑‑ it's a group, an interest group of the Internet Society, specifically focused on young people. We have a global reach. But I would like to share also some points related to my region, and specifically, to the West European, you know, geographical space.
I, first of all, I'd like to debunk a myth which goes by that, in Europe, we have many more opportunities to participate in Internet Governance processes than everywhere else. I'm not sure where this misconception comes from. Maybe it comes from the fact that European countries are, on average, richer than others, but you will see that there are many, like, opportunity for young people, at least in Europe to actually participate actively in Internet Governance discussion.
First of all, we tend to think that we progress vertically in our participation, starting locally, so in our national IG space, and then grow locally. That would be the normal way of doing things, but ironically, I did not start my journey in Internet Governance in Italy, nor in Europe. Those who know me are aware that my training started, thanks to an empowering program of the Internet Society called IGF Youth Ambassadors Program. If you don't know that, I hope that someone will post the link to the program somewhere. I know that they talk about this program during the CLX. And basically, it's a program on the Internet Society which select 30 under 30 to participate to the IGF as Youth Ambassadors. Thank you, Nicolas, for posting the link to participate to the IGF as Youth Ambassadors of the Internet Society.
I believe that is one of the most complete and well‑structured programs that I have participated in, and it's perfect for newcomers. It has online courses, live webinars, simulation and mentorship with experts. So, in this regard, allow me like a minute to say hello to Tracy. I don't know if he is onsite, but in case he's not, just tell him I say "hi," because he has been a great mentor, like in the past year for the Youth Ambassadors. And you know, he has been one of my mentors during the mentorship track.
Well, like mentoring, the IGF Youth Ambassador as mentoring with people like Tracy, but also peer mentoring. This year, the mentorship phase has been carried out by the YCIG, the Youth Standing Group and the Gender Standing Group. Some mentors are senior experts, but some others are foreman ambassadors, and we wanted to have that in order to create a link between past and present ambassadors to strengthen the community of the Internet Society, you know, and grow together.
Then, in Europe, we have the YOUthDIG Program, which is a track or a training program for young people of the EuroDIG. The EuroDIG is the European Dialogue on Internet Governance. And for those who don't know it, it's basically the European IGF. The YOUthDIG program is sort of shortened for Youth Dialogue on Internet Governance. And it's a program that goes ‑‑ it's built around a training track, I would say. We have training webinars on topics. They touch what the Internet Governance is, the multi‑stakeholder model, but also discussion topics like cybersecurity, disinformation, green tech, et cetera.
This year, I had the pleasure to co‑organize the YOUthDIG program, coordinated by Nadia Tiyaya. And with me, there was like, as a co‑organizer, Daphne ‑‑ she is a rapporteur in this session ‑‑ and during the YOUthDIG two‑day event, we had the chance to allow our participants to learn more about disinformation and misinformation, about cybersecurity, mental health in the digital space, DFD and blockchain, but also environmental sustainability and how digital technology impacts on climate change, I would say.
Then, the YOUthDIG participant has the chance to come up with the messages. These messages are presented during the EuroDIG. And what I really liked this year is that the YOUthDIG presentation of messages was the only event, was a high‑level, like a high‑level event. That means that it was the wholly event happening during the EuroDIG. So, there was no simultaneous session during that day. That allowed us to have the full space, you know. And then, after the presentation of the messages, there is a conclusion of the program. And usually, alumni of the EuroDIG gets elected as organizers for the next year.
The problem is that the two programs that I mentioned are in English. English is not my native language. In Italy, English is not a second language either. It is very complicated to get young Italians involved in Internet Governance spaces because we cannot assume that everyone speaks English. English is a huge language barrier for the participation. In Italy, we don't have any School of Internet Governance or any training or empowering program for Italian‑speaking people. We don't have Fellowship that promote the participation of young Italians in discussion forums.
As young people from G7 and G20 country, we are not eligible for travel support to travel to the IGF, for example. So, also, at national level, the participation of Italians are almost non‑existent. And in this regard, I think that one of the things that we should actually think about is that to focus a little more on training and empowering program at national level, because the impact is made locally. We can discuss in this IGF level, like global forum, but the real impact is made locally and national level.
And what Jenna said was very true ‑‑ you cannot as a newcomer, you should be able to navigate the Internet Governance space, and you should have a training. If you have something to say, that would imply that you also know how this ecosystem works. It is very important to have a training program that allows newcomers to understand the Internet Governance ecosystem, how it works, how the multi‑stakeholder model works, and how you can contribute and participate.
The second thing ‑‑ and then it's my final word ‑‑ is, what I always tell the people I connect with that ask me for tips and recommendations in this space, I always tell these things to my mentee of the IGF Youth Ambassador Program, is you know, you have to really participate in sessions that you really care about, because the participation implies that you have something meaningfully to say. That's the real importance, the real ‑‑ the important thing of participation. Because if you attend sessions without having anything to say, it's like just wasting time. So, just be aware of the facts that the Internet Governance space gives you this space that you deserve. You have to earn it. And in order to earn it, you have to meaningfully contribute with something meaningfully to say.
So, I will leave you here, and I thank you for your attention.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Thank you so much, Veronica. It is good to hear about the YOUthDIG, and we covered other regions in also like the Youth IGF that happens under the LACIGF, so it is the same format.
The thing you say is very true, right, that the young people advocate for some of the topics, because we hear in the youth some Internet Governance issues all the time, it's not really associated with the Internet Governance, but this is the space where the young can advocate for the thinkings, advocate for their ‑‑ and all these spaces are designed for them. So, that is the way they can engage, like participating in the sessions that they are most aware or that they are most interested, right?
Just to tell some words about the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance work this year ‑‑ I am the moderator, but I will take the chance to do this. We organized an internal workshop proposal for youth‑led sessions for the IGF this year. We created five working groups in Telegram and several calls throughout the planning part of the sessions. And we submitted 13 sessions with a lot of people from around the world. 11 sessions were selected. So, we have this year a lot of sessions organized by the Youth Coalition and the Youth Standing Group joint.
I think this year was a very good opportunity for the Youth Coalition, because all the members of the Youth Coalition were youth coordinators in their regions, not only for the national, but also for the regional Youth IGFs. So, this combination of players I think have had a very good role in the development that we have seen.
And also, this year, we have organized three webinars that were focused on, like, capacity‑building exercises for all the thematic tracks of the IGF as a preparation for the IGF, so people were listening about advanced technologies, you know, enabling security and safety, connecting all people. So, the different topics we have this year.
So, we have a list of half an hour for the rest of the session and we have a question for the Bangladesh youth. Mauricia, our online moderator is telling. So, please, Bangladesh Remote Hub, you have some minutes to take your insights or what your experience is in the Youth IGF. Please, the floor is yours.
>> Bangladesh remote hub: Thank you very much. (Echoing) This is (?) from Bangladesh. I am with ‑‑ (audio difficulty) From our globally, from Youth IGF I would like to ask the question. Do IGF have any (audio difficulty) and policy‑making work for the ‑‑ like Bangladesh, for continuing the goals of the ‑‑ (?) Thank you.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Who wants to address the question?
>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: I think it was more towards Southern Asia, so, maybe she can take it, but I have general pointers as to what youth can do to fit into the Data Compact. So, maybe the person from Southern Asia can take it and then we can leave some pointers afterwards.
>> JENNA FUNG: I'm so sorry, I couldn't quite hear the question, and I'm hearing myself right now. (Echo on Zoom) I think there's some ‑‑ so, can someone ‑‑ oh, okay, now it's better. Sorry, can you hear me?
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Lily will repeat the question for you so you can answer properly.
>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: I'll share with you what I gathered and then ‑‑ I think from Bangladesh, you can type in the chat your name. So, I think she was asking about improving engagement for Bangladeshi youth and activities in the region, essentially how these can fit into the YOUthDIG and EuroDIG compact.
>> JENNA FUNG: Thank you for the question. I think it's very important for, first of all, organizing a committee or the actual coordinators to reach out to your local community, because I think this year we've been advocating for getting more stakeholder involved, because it's very hard for you to do the youth work on their own without any support from the others.
And then, from our Asia Pacific Report for 2022, we also identify the importance of having private sector to get involved in order to achieve the decentralized supporting and funding models. Because sometimes, like to get ‑‑ to get to engage more newcomers, not just about money. It's like, sometimes we don't know where to reach out to them. And so, I believe, you know, reach out to your local university. Get those people involved. And then try your best to reach out to more private sectors to help sourcing, more resources and funding to support your local work.
Because from the Asia Pacific Regional perspective, I believe this year we also discuss onsite also in Singapore, and then I believe, you know, in order to make the regional youth participation robust, we need to do our work locally. And then I would say Asia Pacific is a really big region. Like, East Asia is different from Southeast Asia, and there is a lot of regional discussion also, I believe. And so, I think that, of course, we've been talking for quite some time also. And then your colleagues from Bangladesh IGF also has my contact, and I think this kind of collaboration can always help. If you need any help from Asia‑Pacific IGF or even the regional conference, I think you can always reach out to us in terms of getting connections and leveraging our partnership and seeing what we can do, because I'm always saying we need to do more work in different parts of Asia in order to catch up to different levels of youth participation at the global scene.
But from the video of the local hub, I think you have way better participation than most of the other local hubs we have previously, and that's really inspiring. So, I believe you guys have done a lot of great, great work.
From my understanding, also, Bangladesh IGF just concluded earlier this month, and then they put effort in making Youth IGF session as well as Kids IGF. So, you guys mostly ‑‑ like, you guys are ahead, because you know that we need to start digital literacy training and get the younger youth, like our younger, next generations, like start even earlier to get them involved. So, I think, like you guys are heading a really good direction. And we in Asia Pacific, we are working it together. So, thank you so much for your great work also. If there is any other panelist who would like to add any, like any sharing on top of that question, that would be great.
>> MAURICIA ABDOL TSHILUNDA: Thank you, Jenna. We appreciate your response. My name is Mauricia Abdol Tshilunda. I am the online moderator for our session. I would just like to find out from the participants in the online audience, if you have any further comments or questions for our speakers, please indicate by raising your hand, or you can also comment in the chat section. Whilst we wait ‑‑
>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: The last thing I will just say is you can look at the Global Data Compact. They're taking responses to the Internet, so you have the opportunity to feed into that whole compact with the IGF you have, and this is not just for the issue ‑‑ anybody. Young people, if you have recommendations, please add to it, and it's open till next year, so you can spend the time looking to what is important to you for an open Internet and add to that. So, that's helpful.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Thank you, Lily. Also, to add, the global Digital Compact extension was to March 2023, so you still have time if you are willing to contribute. And all the roadmap of the Global Digital Compact is composed of all the IGF thematic tracks of this year, so you will have like a direction to promote your proposals. Thank you, Jenna, also for moderating the Bangladesh ‑‑
>> JENNA FUNG: So sorry. Sorry to interrupt. I just want to add one more thing about the Global Digital Compact, because I completely forget about that part earlier. Actually, if you would like to also know more or get more involved in contributing to the Global Digital Compact, I think you can also join in other DC main session later today. It's called "Digital future: How Dynamic Coalition support the Global Digital Compact." Two of our YCIG members ‑‑ I'll be one of them ‑‑ thank you so much for having me there, too. We'll address those topics from the perspective of, you know, Dynamic Coalitions and asking youth to contribute to that discussion also. So, if you are interested, I highly recommend you guys to join it. Thank you.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Thank you, Jenna. We have half an hour, so I will bring another question to the panelists. And then at the ‑‑ so, each of you will have five minutes maximum. We will have ten minutes at the end for ‑‑ we will use an interactive tool for you, like a poll, so you from the onsite and online participants can bring your thoughts about how the future.
So, for the panelists, how do you see the future of the youth engagement? What are the good practices that have been implemented in the past to increase youth involvement? You have mentioned some of these practices. But also, I will like to know what are your opinions for the roadmap of the IGF future in terms of coordination around the youth, especially the Dynamic Coalition, also the BPFs and the policy networks for achieving the Global Digital Compact with the youth. So, Lily, you can start.
>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: Right. So, I feel like we've mentioned a bit of them, and some of us ‑‑ I mean, from the ‑‑ the IGF Youth track in our various countries have hinted much on that. And I think one of the good places to start with the united front for young people, knowing that we can feed into each other's processes and learn best practices from other countries. It is always important to know that though we have different settings in the different regions, sometimes the best practices can be, I mean, studied, and then you bring it into the context of your country to make it work for you. Though there are similar locations, the issues seem to be ‑‑ though they are different locations, the issues seem to be similar, and you're able to pick what has worked for somebody, contextualize it for yourself and use it in your region.
So, for the future of the IGF, like you said, young people are not attending just as attendees now. We are feeding into the process. So, if there is a call for like proposals for workshop, YCIG just told us how to be able to contribute to more than ten sessions, and 11 of them were accepted, right? And here we are in one. So, aside from just attending them, we are feeding into the process by having our voices and the issues that we want to bring to the forefront created into workshops, sessions, and present them as proposals. And when that gets in, we're able to have speakers from the different stakeholder groups present so that we can deliberate on issues and present recommendations. So, the future of the IGF IC is one that is more engaging for young people, having at the forefront with our issues. And also, moving on, to be able to look to see whether there has been any action by way of metric checking to see what has improved around it.
Now, how can we measure something if we don't have, say, a metric to do so? I'm thinking that one of the things that would help us in the future of the IGF is how we are able to map the issues that are discussed to what is in the data compacts that we know are probably just the common agenda to see that there are issues that are discussed, and then these are maybe initiatives that are implemented some of these recommendations. So, when we look at what the recommendations are and what institutions or what projects are using them, we will be able to say that, okay, there's a recommendation and we can see that it's been implemented in a certain project.
Now, the future of the IGF will also be very heavily dependent on funding for us young people. Like most of the coordinators have mentioned, it is essentially support in such a way that we have the participation sustained. So, we come to the IGF, but it doesn't have to stop here, beyond what is happening. Are we able to pool our resources together or have an idea back to continue the conversation or even to implement some of the things we have in mind? And that would be dependent on what support looks like for us when it comes to funding or just expertise and essentially for capacity‑building. So, I'm thinking the future of the IGF would probably, would pretty much look like this ‑‑ support all around and young people pretty much involved, actually.
>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you very much. There is so much to say, but I only have five minutes. Funding was mentioned. Funding opportunities is something really essential because so many people, so many talented people don't have resources, don't have access, and it's something that needs to be tackled. So, just not very ‑‑ not fanning much more on the topic, but it is something that other speakers has also mentioned, and I think it is so, so, so important.
And the second thing, I think it is a more general comment, but that what's really essential is that young people shouldn't be treated like some special category of people, however it sounds. It's because, you know, on the casual basis in our advocacy work, in our careers, at different conferences, in academic lives, young people, even if they are really, really talented, they have a lot of achievements, they are treated like some special category of people. And you know, it is something that is actually a real blessing, because sometimes even applying for a job, even if you have finished, you have written tons of articles, but you don't have ten years of experience. So, you are not accepted. And being treated as too young, so too inexperienced, is a very steep barrier and I think it is something we really need to talk about.
And also, that we need the senior experts ‑‑ maybe not very senior ‑‑ but older than 35, older than 30, so the United Nations age for being young ‑‑ we need them also to advocate for us. Because you know, if somebody doesn't listen to young people, he wouldn't listen that they want to be patronized for being young. But there are a lot of people who are also supporters of their younger colleagues, who listen to them, and I think there's a need that we talk with them and tell them that we need their help, because a lot of their colleagues don't treat us as their equal partners in the dialogue.
So, what I think we really need to say out loud is that we don't want this kind of labelling. Of course, I think it is something also to be recognized if somebody's very young and has already achieved a lot of things, and in this way, it is good if we praise him for achieving so much in such an early age, but at the same time, it can be patronizing. So, I think it would be a good thing to see the statistics. I'm not sure if there are such. For example, how many young people ‑‑ under 35 ‑‑ were engaged as panelists, as moderators, as organizers, rapporteurs in different sessions? Because we know about our youth‑led sessions, but how about the rest of them? How many other organizers who had their sessions here engage young people into their sessions?
And at the same time, I think it would be the good thing if young people were engaged more, but it doesn't mean being treated as a special category. It is the same, like women in the workplaces. Like, if there are 90% of men in the particular workplace, it is good to hire more women, but it doesn't mean that women are some kind of special category of people. So, I just think it should be the same with the youth ones. Yeah. And I think that was all my time, so I'm passing the floor to the next speaker.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Yes, please, Jenna.
>> JENNA FUNG: Thank you so much. I will keep it short. I'm not going to repeat what Emilia and Lily mentioned, because those are very important. Instead, I will focus more on how we can take this platform as a space for connections and collaborations, because I am such an advocate for capacity‑building and continuous or consistent participation from youth also.
Very often, we participate in IGF and feel very, like reluctant and feel, like, not confident enough to participate sometimes, when it's, like, your first or second time joining it. But I would say, you know, to make our future bright together, we need to get involved. And I think one step, after today's meeting here, when it concludes, I think one thing you could do is to join, become a member of Youth Coalition. I think there are a lot of things we can take advantage of this platform that we are in right now to do more work together because we have so many amazing people here. We are the future for our next generation. So, I think there's a lot more work.
We can get it done together to make more collaborations, other than like workshop or being on a panel. Right now, after joining all this conference for like five years, I tell myself not to join as a speaker too much because I have to do more tangible work with people who don't really speak or show their faces in the front. We have lots of people contributing to making bi‑weekly newsletter happening, like definitely been contributing so much, and so many other people trying to do reports, blog posts, or research to make topics accessible. But many of us don't really get to see it because, simply because not all of them are comfortable in speaking in front of everyone, but it doesn't mean that youth are not doing that kind of work.
And I think with this kind of space, we could do more than that. Because sometimes as a youth, I feel like we really need to earn respect or recognition from other stakeholders. And I believe with all this work and collaborations and leveraging a partnership with youth and other stakeholders, that will help us to learn from the process as well as making our output accessible to people, because all those materials will eventually be going somewhere and people can get those knowledge that you internalize, and those are very important output and contributions for our youth community. So, I believe that's something I really would like to advocate.
And then, earlier, when Emilia was mentioning, like, how many youth speakers are contributing? What does it look like? I think these are all very interesting and sometimes ‑‑ like, an interesting area we can study on as a youth, because ‑‑ but of course, I understand sometimes it's very difficult to contribute because we have so many other commitments, too, or simply because we don't work full‑time in this industry. It's hard for us to spend extra time on it.
But then I think with YCIG, I hope next year we get to see the new steering committee to do some other work that's even more action‑oriented, to see how we can contribute to continuous engagement and what we can do with all the members in the Youth Coalition. Of course, I know this year we spent so much time in organizing all this webinar, which is really helpful in helping youth to get ready for IGF, but I think we can do more than that, because there is too much work to be done for youth engagement, and I think that's, like, one step forward that I would like to see us doing it. Thank you.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Thanks, Jenna. Going to Veronica.
>> VERONICA PICCOLO: So, I will endorse everything that the other speakers have actually pointed out. And I would like to add something, just to pinpoint one thing, one something that for me is very important, and it's part of collaborations and partnership, you know. This year, the YCIG and the Youth Standing Group have achieved so much. We were able to do something that in the past has never been done before. It's not just the number of the panel we were able to bring to the IGF, but the quality of the speakers.
And also, something that is very important that actually, indirectly Emilia also mentioned, the fact that we, the young people want to be treated like the other stakeholders and not some particular category. This year, many of our sessions brings to the same table young speakers who are experts in some topics and senior experts. And we are bringing to the same table on equal footing. And this time, we were able to bring young people in the mainstream, you know, discussion. And this is what we have been able to achieve this year, while in the past, all the youth sessions were with youths, from youths to youths. So, this year, we were able to break the youth bubble, try to elevate our contribution to a high level.
The second thing that I wanted to stress ‑‑ I actually mentioned it before ‑‑ is the difficulty of some people coming from certain geographical area who don't have English as a driving language, as a working language. I know that many of you may have, like, English as the native or bilingual language, but many of us don't have English as a working language, and this is very important that the same opportunities that we have are given to people that don't speak English. And they, and young people and newcomers, they have to have the possibility to be trained and to understand what the Internet Governance is, how they can contribute, even if not as a speaker, but you know, on a policy level, you know, acting with and working with their national language. And that is also an element of inclusivity, because you know, discussion in English is not inclusive at all, because that implies that you have learned English, like in some part of your life, that you have had some kind of an education. So, this is what I'd like to say. And I'll wrap up here, you know, leaving the floor to the moderator.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Thank you all so much. Before going to our interactive part of the session, I would like to say some words, because I echo what was said. And I think that we have seen an evolution of the youth initiatives around the world. Right now, there are more than 30 national and regional youth initiatives. There is an online toolkit that is available for all of you to create your own youth group, if there is none in your country. You can be in touch with the Youth Coalition and the Youth IGF also to have some help to do that.
Well, what I see is that, I see that there is the necessity of more funding, as Lily said at the beginning, and Emilia also mentioned it, but there is also another opportunity that is the resource persons, right? Because if someone is organizing, for example, Emilia is organizing the Youth IGF Poland, and she would like to have a speaker for some of the topics, they could engage and cooperate with other Youth IGF initiative for a topic, and that helps a lot. I mean, it is a matter of resources for free that we can have, and also about the languages, right, because there are several countries around the world that speak the same language, so that could be a possibility to do that, what was said about maintaining the local language. It is more inclusive, right?
So, now, going to the poll part. Mauricia will also, hopefully, is sharing in the chat the link to join. And I will share the screen here for all of you. Just a second. Here. Ah, I need to put... So, you all see, yes, the transcript is at the top, but we will share the code, and it is also in the chat. Mauricia will share. The code is: 118623. You need to enter. You can get from your mobile phone, go to menti.com and you can put the number there. Mauricia, can you say the number for all the audience, because I don't see it properly?
>> MAURICIA ABDOL TSHILUNDA: You are actually very correct, Nicolas. The number is 118623. So, it's menti.com. And you would put in the code 118623.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: So, the idea is this part to be more interactive, so the panelists could be talking at the moment that the messages are appearing on the screen. So, if you'd like to mention some of the things that are appearing or if you have some ideas.
>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: Or we can actually, like we planned, have the microphone go around. I mean, you already ‑‑ you're putting in here, but if you wanted to say something or what you envision the future of the IGF to be, you can take the floor and I can give you the microphone. Okay. There's someone here.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, everyone. My name is Jose. I coordinate the Chad Youth IGF. We just had our seventh annual meeting this past two weeks, and we have highlighted some important issues from the perspective of the participant. We had Internet shutdown issues, because nowadays, it is quite difficult for us to get to connect to Internet and follow, for instance, online meetings or online courses.
We have also accessibility issue, because when you leave just the cities and you are in the rural areas, there is no connectivity, so how can we help these young people living in the community, in the rural area, to get the connection to Internet?
We have also the cybersecurity issue, like cyber crimes happen. When these rural community young people try to connect to Internet and they don't understand, what is the Internet? So, how can we create some content using the local digital literacy to help them to understand? Because in my mother tongue, I cannot easily explain to someone how what is ‑‑ I mean, what is cybersecurity, for instance, is.
Last, can we, like, work together to find some funding supports for this EU youth initiative, like to organize properly their annual meetings and how we can also organize a monthly activity to talk about the local issues during that period?
And last, how can we connect youth initiative with the IGF local chapters? Because according to my experience, there is a gap between youth initiative and the local IGF chapters. So, how can we get to connect with them and benefit from their expertise? Thank you very much.
>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: To add that, the points are spot on. We'll be listening and try to respond. Keep it brief so we don't miss out the information. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello, everyone.
Hello, everyone. I am from Tunisia. I'm a digital rights activist. And I would like to congratulate you for the great work you're doing. My suggestion for the next IGF is, well, this is my first IGF. What I notice is that there is a huge number of themes, but during the discussion, the amount of time allowed to discussion or panels is really short. So, the speakers and the people attending do not have enough time to get their point across sometimes, and the people attending do not have the chance also to participate because of the limited time. So, if we can have ‑‑ I understand that there is a need to have different themes for everyone to have something that they care about to attend, but if we can have like less themes and more time for each session for people to be able to interact with each other, that would be great. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, good morning, everyone. Jean Pedro speaking from Portugal. I'll go right to the question just to keep it brief. I think for Youth IG engagement, I mean, this is the perfect example of how it's been working throughout the time I've been involved, and I'm super happy to say that in terms of engagement, and as Lily said also, in terms of us being included in the process, I think we are all to cheer for, because we are doing and we are having a great impact.
But looking forward, I think it would be interesting also to explore other youth initiatives that are outside of the IG bubble. I've worked in the past with some yearly thematics for some youth initiatives at the European level, and I think this is ‑‑ these might be one of the spots where we want to expand the youth participation at IG level. Because if we make sure that the topic reaches out youth initiatives that are not IG‑related, but at the same time, we provide them with the knowledge and the space for discussion, we might be generating more input and more relevant opinions for the discussions when we get back to the process at the IG level. So, yeah, I'll be happy also to talk a little bit with people that are actually having an impact at the local level for these youth institutions, because I think this is a great step moving forward. Thank you.
>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: We have limited time and you are raising great points that would be a bad thing to leave them without answer. So, I would just like to tell you about our other session that's happening today at 5:00 p.m.? It is called "Global Youth Engagement: Opportunities and Successes." And I think we will have more time for the discussion there, so you are all invited, and we will try to also respond to your questions and to your points there because we have, like, two more minutes, so I think we have time for one more comment? Okay.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I'm Jacob. Just a recommendation. In terms of building awareness and I was looking at my children's education in primary education. In Kenya, they are already looking about climate change issues, but IGF is not being part. So, I think one of the things we can take back home to our countries ‑‑ let's engage our countries, educational systems. Let them teach IGF issues. Thank you.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Yes, we will share the link for the future session in the chat. Jenna has a final comment. Please, Jenna.
>> JENNA FUNG: Yeah, I just want to add quickly about the workshop that is happening this afternoon. Workshop 341. I believe we are also going to focus a little bit on what we can do next year in Japan for our Youth Summit and everything. So, with some focus of like a short‑term goal that we all can achieve together, perhaps it's also an opportunity to coordinate a little bit and see what we can do at local level and regional level in order to prepare for next year, too. So, do, you know, really hope to see all of you later this afternoon.
>> NICOLAS FIUMARELLI: Thank you so much. We will do an applause right now.