As I’ve already expressed my delight and enthusiasm to have been selected to be a part of the NetMission Class of 2020, it’s needless to emphasize how super excited I was to attend the first training of the academy. Training I that focused on Internet Governance Ecosystem and Internet infrastructure took place on 09 January 2020. Luckily I was picked to represent my team (Digital Economy and Emerging Technologies) during the presentation. My team was asked to deliver on a very relatable and hence, interesting topic – NRIs and Youth Initiatives. So, below I’m sharing with you all my key takeaways from the 1st training of the NetMission Academy.
Although we all go around talking, writing, discussing, and campaigning a good lot for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, in reality, we’ve failed to infiltrate/relate the noble idea and its essence to the future level stakeholders of the society by ignoring a very important pillar of our future economy and the future world – the internet. How can we even imagine something sustainable without involving the “future base of our everything” – the internet – init? To make people comprehend and treat “Internet Governance” as the key to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that too with clarity and grave seriousness, we must communicate, cooperate, collaborate, and comprehend that the Sustainable Development Goals numbered 4: Quality education (“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”), 5: Gender equality (“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”), and 17: Partnerships for the goals (“Increasing international cooperation to ensure that countries and organizations cooperate instead of competing and develop multi-stakeholder partnerships to share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial support) CANNOT be attained and/or will remain infeasible in the long run if the internet is not governed with proper care.
Hence, internet governance must be given due importance in public debates, policymaking, and legislations to make both the contemporary and posterity lives better and meaningful.
And how can anything meaningful ever take place if the future stakeholders of our world – the youth – aren’t involved in it?
National and Regional IGF initiatives (NRIs) are organic and independent formations that are discussing issues pertaining to Internet Governance from the perspective of their respective communities while acting in accordance with the main principles of the global IGF. They are more than 120 in number at present. National IGFs are those which focus on one country at a time but Regional IGFs are those which focus on one region – more than 1 country – at a given time. Some examples of National IGFs are those which are based in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. A good example of Regional IGF is APrIGF, which this year is going to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal. The core objective of APrIGF is to raise awareness and encourage participation from relevant stakeholders around the region on Internet governance issues, as well as to foster multi-lateral, multi-stakeholder discussions about issues pertinent to the Internet in Asia.
But Youth IGFs are specifically organized forums that discuss the issues pertaining to the Internet arena from the youth’s point of view. A good example is India YIGF which was held in November 2019 in Kolkata. It helps the youth to be equipped for future participation in actual Internet policy-making discussion.
Both NRIs and Youth Initiatives work according to the core principles of IGF – Open, transparent, inclusive, not-for-profit, Bottom-up and multistakeholder. Discussion topics in NRIs and Youth Initiatives include but are not limited to the digital economy, gendered internet, cybersecurity, IoT, fake news, etc.
Such initiatives have had a wide range of impact – they created a better understanding of the Internet ecosystem and infrastructure, preserve the sustainability, robustness, stability, and development of the internet, and finally, drafts a public policy that comprehensively covers inclusive and balanced regional growth and usage of the internet.
At the end of our presentation, we outlined some feedbacks for these initiatives like increasing its geographical coverage, make the inclusion process easier, welcome discussions on burning topics, adopt new formats for dissemination of information on IG and create an archive of resources toolkits.
We thoroughly enjoyed the training and can’t wait to attend Training II tomorrow! Thank you so much, NetMission!
About the writer
Ananya Singh (NetMission Ambassador of class 2019/20, India)
Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, BJB Autonomous College