Hi, I’m VA Phavan, and I hold dual degrees in Media Management and Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I am pleased to tell you about my experience related the Internet Governance Forum (IGF2023), where I will be able to learn new things and advocate for them. This one-of-a-kind annual meeting has allowed me to participate in important discussion on the eight related themes of “The Internet We Want – Empowering All People”:
- Artificial intelligence and emerging technologies
- Avoiding Internet fragmentation
- Cybersecurity cybercrime and online safety
- Data governance and trust
- Digital divides and inclusion
- Global digital governance and cooperation
- Human rights and freedoms
- Sustainability and environment
The 18th Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will be held in Kyoto, Japan, from October 8-12, 2023. And as a selected committee to join the forum through the support of Open Development Cambodia, I will describe how I got engaged, what I learned at the Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum, and what I hope to see during the annual meeting in Japan.
The Path That Led Me Here:
I came across a post by Open Development Cambodia (ODC) encouraging young people to participate in internet policymaking while surfing Facebook. Interestingly enough, it was the first time that I made aware of the word “Internet Governance’’. I made the decision to apply to join the organizing committee, and I was tasked with Media and Evaluation lead. I was one of the fortunate twenty other committees selected to contribute to the success of the first Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum in 2023. In addition to working hard and collaborating with all the fantastic people I have met over the past four months of preparation for the CamYIGF 2023, I made the most of this opportunity to learn new things and have productive discussions.
Notable Discussions at the Cambodian Youth Internet Governance Forum:
Engaging with like-minded people and delving into many facets of internet governance at the Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum was a life-altering event. About 250 people attended the two-day event, which happened at the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT) and focused on the topic of “Digital Empowerment: Ensuring Access, Safety, and Opportunities for All.” The event featured 36 speakers including guests from Japan, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
With over 30 sessions on the three subthemes: Introduction to artificial intelligence (AI) governance, Digital rights and online responsibilities, and Internet security and data privacy, my favorite would be the Question and Answer discussion in each room. Working as a camerawoman meant I could continue to work on my role while also absorbing the information from the speakers. Additionally, hearing a panel discuss the government’s response to the continued issues posed by cyberspace was a highlight. Participants dug deep into the obstacles that underprivileged groups experience while trying to get online and discussed ways to overcome them. As the seminar fostered an atmosphere of cooperation, prompting us to brainstorm possible remedies and lobby for more digital access in our local communities, two of the participants particularly mentioned about how fortunate they were as they were able to attend the CamYIGF 2023, and even suggested the forum to be held again next year while promoting more people from minority groups to join.
What to Look Forward to at This Year’s Internet Governance Forum Annual Meeting in Japan
Two of the eight subthemes, “digital divide and inclusion” and “sustainability and the environment,” strike out to me as I prepare to attend the next IGF Annual Meeting in Kyoto, Japan. I anticipate that the issues plaguing these fields will become clearer after these discussions, which will then open the path for innovative solutions.
In the contemporary globalized society, it is of utmost importance to address the issue of digital gaps and actively foster digital inclusion. In order to facilitate universal participation and equitable benefits inside the digital realm, it is imperative to critically evaluate existing regulatory frameworks and formulate novel strategies. I am anticipating engaging in activities such as seminars and panel discussions that aim to foster diversity and inclusion within the digital realm.
Furthermore, I am enthusiastic about acquiring further knowledge on the correlation between internet governance and the sustainability in the long run. It is imperative to promote sustainable activities and undertake measures to offset the adverse impacts associated with digital technologies. The Annual Meeting will provide a platform for the exhibition of successful projects, the enhancement of public comprehension, and the coordination of endeavors aimed at fostering sustainability and ecological friendliness in the realm of the internet.
Conclusion: The Internet Governance Forum has opened my eyes to the possibilities for influencing the future of the internet for the better. The Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum provided me with the foundation I needed to begin participating in important discussions about the digital divide, inclusivity, sustainability, and the environment. I am looking forward to participating in discussions, gaining knowledge, and advocating for a more equitable and environmentally sound digital future at this year’s IGF Annual Meeting in Japan. If we work together, we can make the internet a better, more just, and more ecologically conscientious pl