The first roundtable between youth ambassadors and three policy makers took place this Thursday in the youth engagement project YouthxPolicyMakers, which the German Informatics Society (GI) is heading since August. The discussion revolved around the topics Internet governance ecosystems and how to make the decision making processes and fora surrounding Internet governance more inclusive. Apart from youth, also persons from the Global South and socio-economically disadvantaged persons are underrepresented in fora such as the United Nations Internet Governance Forum. Participant Innocent Adriko described the importance of inclusive digital policy making using the example of his home country: “ 78 percent of the population of Uganda is under 30 - so nothing will run smoothly unless young people are engaged.”
The invited policy makers were Kim Pate, Senator from Kanada, Mattia Fantinati, Member of Italian parliament, as well as Livia Walpen, Senior Policy Adviser for international relations at the Swiss Federal Office of Communications. They shared the participants' view that many are still not reached through current engagement initiatives. Kim Pate commented: "Too often the young people who are in a position to respond are among those who are more privileged and already have resources. I am interested in generating ideas about engaging underpriviliged youth."
The roundtable was the first of four such meetings which will take place in the coming weeks. Already next week, the youth participants will meet further policy makers to discuss questions of access to and accessibility of the Internet. In all, about 20 youth representatives participated in the roundtable. The program admitted a total of about 60 youth ambassadors after receiving more than 1700 applications from all world regions. The exchange serves as a preparation for the UN Internet Governance forum in December. Over the past months, competence building workshops took place on a range of internet governance topics and enabled the participants to gather expertise and consolidate positions and demands ahead of the Roundtables.