The 7th United Nations Internet Governance Forum (UNIGF) was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 6-9 November 2012. It is a multi-stakeholder forum for policy dialogue and discussions on Internet Governance issues. NetMission has been participating in UNIGF since 2009 at Egypt and we are always dedicated to promote youth engagement on Internet Governance. This time 2 of our NetMission Ambassadors, Bianca Ho and Desiree Ho (Class 2009-2010), were leading the younger team of 5 NetY Ambassadors to join.
In IGF Vilnius 2010, we hosted a workshop “Developing Civil Society and Youth Participation in Internet Governance” where various programs for preparing civil society and youth participation were explored and introduced such as Youth IGF Camp, IG Summer School and NetMission, etc. After 2 years time, we believe it is the time to further evaluate the effectiveness and common characters of these programs to see how we can better engage more young people sustainably.
Therefore we hosted our 2nd workshop last year in Baku – WS119 Defining the Successful Factors of Different Models for Youth Participation in Internet Governance. We are very happy that a multi-national youth panel was formed together with other experienced professional in educating Internet governance as well as an European Parliament member. The youth representatives come from different programs of different format including NetMission Ambassadors Program, ICANN or ISOC Fellowship, European Youth forum or UK Summer camp of Childnet, and essay-writing competition of NetY Ambassadors Program. It was a very fruitful discussion and we found out that a supporting circle among the youth themselves as well as relationship established with the trainers and industry people are some of the key factors to encourage their constant participation. It was also agreed that prior training is crucial in facilitating their real participation and by exposing them to a wider topics can allow the youth to really choose what they would like to talk about. Yet we do believe that more could be done to bridge the youth participation into real policy-making process.