The Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF), Towards an Inclusive, Sustainable and Trusted Internet, wrapped up on September 30. It was preceded by a youth track, Asia-Pacific youth IGF Virtual Camp. Members of the Youth Council at the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ attended the event.
This year, APrIGF was organized in a hybrid format, with certain parts of the events held online and others hosted by the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. The theme of the forum combined three high-level tracks – Inclusion, Sustainability and Trust. Inclusion in the context of internet governance has to do with the technological and social dimensions alike. The diversity and geographic reach inherent in the Asia-Pacific region pose a major challenge to digital connectivity and integration for everybody.
Speaking about trust, the participants agreed that data has become an important resource for the digital economy and technology innovation. Trust in the internet and its infrastructure relies on upholding all people’s interests and also security. That requires a human rights-based approach to guarantee development for all. On the upside, people’s awareness of their rights to protect their personal information is growing.
To ensure the sustainable development of the internet, it is important to leverage technological advances, and also to accommodate future environmental, human and social requirements for a sustainable world. For example, the potential of internet technology can be used to monitor climate change and to reduce our carbon footprint, making the goal of zero emissions achievable.
The main APrIGF event was preceded by a youth track organized by NetMission.Asia, the virtual internet governance academy for youth in the Asia-Pacific Region. At the final session of the Virtual Camp, participants from Russia, Australia and Papua New Guinea spoke about the contributions to internet governance they had already made and shared their vision of its sustainable development for the near future.
Crystal Kewe, a software engineer based in Papua New Guinea, shared her story of how she co-founded the technology company Crysan together with her father when she was only 15. That made her one of the world's youngest CEOs of a software development company. Crystal said it was difficult to find qualified programmers in her country, and that the local educational system was responsible for that. One of the most effective options for changing that is to have employers complete the recent graduates’ training, and at the same time explain the role that the technical community plays in internet governance, she added.
The Youth Council members spoke about the situation in Russia and presented the Coordination Center’s educational projects such as the Summer School on Internet Governance, a project the Coordination Center has been holding for the second year. The Summer School gives young people from Russia and other countries an opportunity to take their first step in studying IG and topics related to cybersecurity, digital economy, development of information and communication infrastructure, content regulation, as well as other legal, regulatory and socio-cultural aspects. They also talked about the Youth Council, whose members not only participate in forums and discussions, but also help with the organization of them.
Another topic raised at the youth track was digital literacy. The participants generally agreed that users should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of cyberspace alike. Since for many, the internet is limited to social media, internet literacy is extremely important in a globalized world. In this regard, the Coordination Center’s youth projects meet the global demand and help young people from Russia and other countries to raise the necessary awareness.