IGF 2023 DC3 Community Networks: Digital Sovereignty and Sustainability

Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (02:30 UTC) - Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (04:00 UTC)
WS 11 – Room J
Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity

Round Table - 90 Min


This session will explore the role played by community networks as vectors of digital sovereignty and sustainability. The first part of the session will discuss how community networks act as laboratories of digital sovereignty for local communities, enabling previously unconnected individuals to learn how digital technology works, building and maintaining hardware and software, enjoying so-called "network self-determination", thus becoming digitally sovereign communities.
Subsequently, session participants will explore how community networks can address the digital footprint. Generally, all community networks work with localised services and edge caching mechanisms, leading to less global traffic and therefore less data passing through high energy consumption data centres. Many community networks are addressing the power generation problem through the use of solar power and other renewable energy sources, while others are promoting a circular economy and reducing e-waste. Additionally, some CNs deploy localised services via sensor networks that can contribute to monitoring climate resilience related indicators.

To conclude, participants will discuss how community networks are supporting local groups working on climate justice and environmental sustainability. The session will feature case studies and stories from the field, showcasing how community networks are addressing local environmental challenges through innovative approaches and collaboration.

The IGF 2023 session of the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3) will focus on exploring the connection between community networks and environmental sustainability. Session participants will provide their standpoints and share experiences and good practices to be consolidated into an Exploratory Paper on Community Networks, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Justice, elaborated as a 2023 DC3 Outcome.


Luca Belli, FGV-CTS
Senka Hadzic, CyberBRICS project/ FGV-CTS


Atsuko Okuda, ITU Asia-Pacific, intergovernmental organisation (TBC)

Raquel Gatto, CGI Brazil - multistakeholder, Latin America and Caribbean

Amreesh Phokeer, ISOC - technical community, Africa

Pedro Vilchez , guifi.net - technical community, WEOG

Carlos Baca, Rhizomatica - civil society, Latin America and Caribbean

Sarbani Belur, Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia - civil society, Asia and the Pacific

Okoro Onyekachi Emmanuel, Media Awareness and Justice Initiative (MAJI) Nigeria - civil society, Africa

Onsite Moderator

Luca Belli

Online Moderator

Senka Hadzic


Senka Hadzic


9.1, 9.a, 13.3
Targets: Community networks provide sustainable and resilient infrastructure with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all (SDG 9).
This session also explores how community connectivity can contribute to environmental sustainability and climate justice, and improve capacity on climate change impact reduction and early warning (SDG 13).

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

There are different dimensions of sustainability, environmenta sustainability being one of them. Communuty networks provide added value, beyond connectivity - local services, content, promote circular economy.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Raise awareness about CNs in urban areas - it's not only valuable for remote rural areas. Option to build community networks to support existing local services, instead of providing connectivity first and adding services on top.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

The IGF 2023 session of the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity focused on the digital sovereignty and environmental sustainability aspect of community networks. Session participants provided their perspectives and best practices. Some panelists authored and co-authored the official DC3 outcome, a report titled "Community Networks: Building Digital Sovereignty and Environmental Sustainability".

The session started with the launch of the report, presented by Luca Belli. The report is a compilation of of five different papers/ chapters.

Atsuko Okuda from ITU Asia Pacific opened the session, presenting some ITU statistics on the state of connectivity in the region and globally.

Raquel Gatto from CGI Brazil spoke about community networks initiatives in Brazil and the newly formed working group within Anatel, the telecom regulator.

Amreesh Phokeer from the Internet Society presented some of ISOC's community network initiatives, and provided insights on their environmental impact.

Pedro Vilchez from guifi.net presented guifi's efforts to incorporate circular economy into their project.

Nils Brock from Rhizomatica / DW Academy spoke about using local materials such as bamboo for building towers, and the positive impact on the environment that comes with the use of local resources.

Carlos Baca from Rhizomatica presented the initiative of National Schools on Community Networks and how capacity building contributes to environmental sustainability.

In his closing remarks, Luca Belli highlighted the link between community networks and digital sovereignty.