A guide on internet governance for the youth

Internet governance is the process by which governments, private companies, and members of civil society work together to define and implement common principles, conventions, rules and programs that influence how the Internet grows and is used.

In 2003, the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) was established by the UN Secretary-General as part of the World Summit on the Information Society‚Äôs (WSIS) initial phase to identify and outline public policy concerns with regard to internet governance. 

Following the WGIG report, proposals were made on how to implement internet governance policies, including the establishment of an Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

To help you know more about the importance of internet governance, especially for the youth, Nigeria, Nigeria Youth IGF gives you this guide. 

DNS war

No central government or planning were in place in the early days of the internet. Since then, this decentralized strategy has changed. The importance of the internet as a global network began to dawn on governments and the commercial sector. 

The internet base was managed by the US National Science Foundation at the time. When Network Solutions Inc. was founded in 1994, it opted to outsource the management of the Domain Name System (DNS). 

International groups and national governments were also included in the DNS war because of this step. 

Importance of internet governance

One of the greatest inventions in human history is the internet. It makes it possible for billions of people on the other side of the world to communicate with each other in a split second, via a variety of channels. We can also learn about foreign cultures, academics and other people’s work by searching on the internet.

The internet is still evolving naturally, but it has already established its role as a universal means to stay connected with people from across the globe. 

Numerous countries, even in 2017, continue to censor the internet and social media to limit the freedom of the public to access data. When there are major revolutions in the new millennium, the internet is virtually always cut off.

Managing the internet requires sensitivity to human rights and the rule of law. The alternative is that it will likely continue to divide and build walls within itself.

With good internet governance, the internet can continue to be a powerful force for humanity’s future growth. Personal data maintained by companies, and government-produced data paid for by taxpayers, should be accessible to the public. Having access to more relevant data will lead to a higher rate of growth for our society.

Digital and cyber governance and internet policy

Internet governance is still subject to rendition more than 10 years after WSIS. It has its complications, especially on how it relates to cyber governance and internet policy. 

The scope of the phrase is where the issue of diverse meanings arises. Some believe, for example, that internet governance includes cybersecurity. Others consider this to be a whole other field. 

‘Online governance’ and ‘digital policy’ are used as umbrella ideas by the Digital Watch observatory to cover more than 50 internet public policy concerns organized into types such as infrastructure, security and human rights, economics and social and cultural factors.

Forms of internet governance

There are many challenges in cyberspace that cannot and probably will not be dealt with by traditional national groups, which is why we use the term Internet governance instead of the government. 

To solve problems and maintain the openness and networks of cyberspace, governance requires cross-border partnerships among standards makers, network operators, online service providers, and international groups.

Although the national policy has a major impact on the internet, new institutes and governance structures have been and will continue to be developed to meet the particular needs of cyberspace.

It is based on institutional economics, which categorizes governance into three basic categories: markets, hierarchies, and networks. To put it another way, private transactions and price mechanisms are what drives the market.

A state’s enforcement of the law, a legally binding agreement, or the management of a company’s organizational structure are examples of hierarchies that govern interactions. 

Collective actors have the option of working together or acting on their own without an overarching authority in networks. There are many different forms of self-government by market actors in the internet governance process.

Internet governance groups

The internet is not under the control of a single group. The ‘development and use’ of this network are shaped by a variety of stakeholders, including governments, the commercial sector, the technical community, and civil society.

It’s no longer a one-man show when it comes to the internet’s governance. The Internet Governance Ecosystem is made up of internet companies and non-government groups, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the United Nations, and other international groups.

Internet Governance Forum

WSIS founded the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in 2005, and the first global IGF was convened in Athens, Greece, that year. IGF has no decision-making power and serves as a forum for poor countries to join in the debate on internet governance.

Its goal is to serve as a forum for civil society, industry and technology, governments, and academia to openly discuss and debate internet governance concerns. Participation in the IGF is free and open to all parties. 

Policy problems related to the internet, such as how to utilize internet trends and address risks and difficulties that develop, are discussed by 1500-2200 participants from various stakeholder groups. On Public Access in Libraries, the Dynamic Coalition, and the IGF work together closely.

Importance of libraries in IGF

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has included public libraries as a cross-cutting problem on a number of its core issues such as internet governance, access and diversity, security, and youth. 

Participants in the IGF can engage in a discourse with library officers, policymakers, and other IGF participants to discuss the potential of libraries in key internet and growth policy areas, such as free access to information and education.

Public access to the Internet is becoming more significant since it helps meet several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as global sustainable development relies on the availability of data.

Nigerian Youth Internet Governance Forum 

The Nigerian Youth Internet Governance Forum (NYIGF) will be held on the sidelines of this year’s Nigerian Internet Governance Forum in line with the criteria of the United Nations Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Objectives of the event:

  • Educate Nigerian youth on internet governance concepts and encourage them to take an active role in the country’s groundwork, policy, and standard-setting efforts.
  • To promote the engagement of young Nigerians in internet-related public policy forums and events across the country.
  • Internet trends and challenges must be taken advantage of to the fullest extent possible.

Various policy dialogues at the global and regional levels have benefited from the contributions of youth. They are the voices of a wide range of stakeholders with different viewpoints.

Among the many ways that youth are reshaping the internet are as active participants in the digital economy and as technology developers and designers. The internet user base is heavily skewed toward young people. They focus on the youth who support social movements that bring major issues to the forefront of the public eye via the internet.

The number of youth-led Internet Governance Forum activities grow at the national and regional levels allowing their voices to be heard more often in global stakeholder talks. This is all thanks to the IGF community’s interest and commitment to increasing the number of young people who participate in the IGF. 

Taking advantage of the IGF’s positive and proactive approach, the Nigeria Youth IGF serves as a platform to push the IGF’s agenda by enhancing the participation of youths in the Internet Governance Ecosystem by promoting open and inclusive discussion.

IGF events

National and regional IGFs are also held throughout the year in addition to the yearly IGF summit. Librarians can participate in Internet governance issues in their own communities by attending these events. 

You can meet people from government, business, and non-profit groups who are interested in how the internet is evolving, and you can participate at a more localized level. To better grasp the current state of Internet governance in their respective countries, IFLA uplifts library staff to attend their local national IGFs.

Regional IGFs, such as the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), have a greater number of participants. The main IGF receives guidance from both national and regional IGFs, which are reflected in the program and agenda of the main event. 

It is the goal of IFLA to send library officials to regional IGFs, and IFLA urges national library unions to do the same.

Remote participation

At least 200 workshops are streamed live each year at the International Game Developers Conference, and the main sessions are streamed live and transcribed as well (opening and closing ceremony, thematic main sessions).

It is possible to join in the sessions remotely, from asking questions to handling the workshops remotely. It’s an interesting idea for libraries to host remote hubs where those who aren’t able to attend the IGF can watch the live stream and submit questions to be answered by IGF panellists through text or video.

For more information about internet governance, visit our site, Nigeria, Nigeria Youth IGF.

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