[IRP] statement of youth coalition on Internet Governance

Rafik Dammak rafik.dammak
Fri Sep 17 17:19:49 EEST 2010

Hello Everyone,

I want to share with all members of the Internet Rights and Principles
coalitions the statement made on behalf of Youth Coalition on Internet
Governance during the Taking stock session.
you can find more information on our blog ycig.org



 This statement has been created by members of the Youth Coalition on
Internet Governance. We appreciate the Internet as a space where young
people are positively developing and are pleased that many more young people
are participating in the IGF this year to share our inputs and opinions on
how the Internet should be governed. We urge the UN to give the new five
year term for this unique opportunity to share ideas and to collaborate on
action in this multi-stakeholder approach.

While noting that progress has been made towards the inclusion of young
people in this forum, there remains a recurring problem where in many
sessions the voices of children, young people and young adults have not
always been invited or listened to. It is a great shame that sessions
discuss youth issues solely from adult points of view; instead of youth
discussing the future of the Internet as equal stakeholders with all
other participants.We continue to urge the IGF to enhance youth
participation at all levels with the following in mind.
 *Firstly*, young people have a unique experience of the net often as early
adopters of new technologies. Hence, we have first hand information and
knowledge on what needs to be done to make the Internet a better place, for
all of us.

 Already, youth around the world are taking part in the process of Internet
Governance. For example, the YouthIGF project in the UK and the youth IGF
camp in Hong Kong have contributed key insights and action points on the
issues of censorship, privacy and the digital divide.

 Their statements, statements from young people at EuroDig 2010, and from
the Youth Dynamic Coalition meeting at Sharm El Sheik, which we encourage
you to read about at http://www.ycig.org, contain considerable depth, which
has been lacking from dialogues where youth voices are absent, or where
adults have not taken the time to listen.

 *Secondly*, youth reinforce the multi-stakeholder approach of the IGF by
bringing in new ideas and skills. In fact, in many cases young people are
the experts. We can help improve the IGF. After all, we are the decision
makers, entrepreneurs of the future, not just in the future. We are citizens
of the net today.

 *Thirdly*, we bring energy and skills to resolve core Internet governance
challenges. We are more than willing to collaborate with workshop leaders
and IGF stakeholders to support a greater diversity of voices to be
involved. Youth need to be seen as stakeholders and as an asset, not as a

 We believe that the Internet Governance dialogue is made richer by focusing
on the opportunities the Internet presents for the youth and addressing the
times when they are not realized, rather than using fear-based arguments to
restrict Internet freedoms. It is better to focus on fighting ignorance and
building digital literacy than applying ?safety? strategies based on

 We have established a coalition not to compete with, or replace many youth
groups who have come to play a role in the regional and  International IGF
process over recent years. Instead, we want to bring together the messages
from many different groups. There is not a single voice of youth, but there
are many important youth perspectives on the  Internet Governance debate.

 Let us not waste time talking about the youth but let the youth talk as
rightful stakeholders in the Internet space. We could all benefit from the
knowledge that the youth has. It is not enough that young people are simply
showcased, allowed to express their concerns for a few minutes and then
ignored ? as we hope will not happen right now. All youth, children, young
people and young adults, from all genders, backgrounds and cultures should
already be discussing the Internet, instead of stakeholders only discussing
the need for their participation.
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