Global Internet Forum Report July 2012


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This report provides a synopsis of the global Internet forum on International Leadership for the MDGs and Leveraging Technology for Human Rights and Peace

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Global Internet Forum Report July 2012

  1. 1. EOTO World Global Internet Forum Report International Leadership for the MDGs & Leveraging Technology for Human Rights and PeaceThe following report is only to serve as a synopsis for stakeholders andbeneficiaries of EOTO World. Forums are hosted in accordance with EOTOWorld’s project EXCHANGE program that connects Human Rights Activistsaround the globe in online spaces to discuss and build skills to affect the MDGsand a culture of peace. Following every forum, participants receive a customizedresource guide related to the forum theme, designed to continue to assist globalefforts toward anti-poverty and peace.1
  2. 2. On 18-20 July, 2012, EOTO World hosted the global Internet forum. 21 Activists from 9countries participated in a variety of sessions throughout the forum. A list of countriesrepresented via participants from that area of the world is recorded under each sessionsummary.Forum RationaleAs the 2015 deadline approaches for the completion of the MDGs, world leaders havebegun the process to think through remaining challenges to halt extreme poverty. Theimportance of the MDGs spans across all nations and populations. The MDGs is ofparticular consequence to the youth within these nations, whom often inherit poverty viaeconomic, gender and social inequalities. Whereas there are advancements happeningfor the MDGs overall, the most vulnerable people are being left without much recourse.In a statement made within the 2011 UN Millennium Development Goals Report, the UNSecretary General Ban Ki Moon revealed: “progress tends to bypass those who arelowest on the economic ladder or are otherwise disadvantaged because of their sex,age, disability or ethnicity... and disparities between urban and rural areas remaindaunting.” Thus, EOTO World believes it is important for Activists to share and buildresources that will help them address the MDGs in more innovative ways to advancethe anti-poverty agenda.In addition to cultivating leadership for the MDGs, technology for both human rights andpeace are becoming staples to activism. As the world becomes more digitalized, it isimportant for Activists to have affordable access to technology and capacity building toidentify and use technologies to advance their causes. Leveraging technology can bringa wealth of information to stakeholders in a cause, and mobilize mass amounts ofpeople faster. Furthermore, tools to collaborate among peers, organize work andmanage contacts are as important for Activists to leverage as strategies to move themasses into action.Forum GoalsEOTO World embarked on a mission to host a forum on International Leadership for theMDGs and Leveraging Technology for Human Rights and Peace to:  Engage youth with innovative ways to move the MDG agenda forward  Shed light on Indigenous populations as one representation of vulnerable people on the margins of the progress of the MDGs and ways to assist the movements And2
  3. 3.  Provide guidance on the basic use of technology to enhance human rights documentation and the dissemination of strategic messages to stakeholdersNotes from forum sessions Session: Indigenous populations and the Millennium Development GoalsLanguage: SpanishCountries represented: USA, Mexico, El SalvadorPercentages from polls:100%-A little bit aware about the Millennium Development Goals100%-Everyone is affected by the MDGs equally66% MDGs very important for your community33% My community is not informed about MDGsParticipants felt that the information for the MDGs was often watered down, making itharder to address.Views on the diffusion of information about MDGs:1. There isn’t enough info in the local news that can be applied to the present reality onthe ground in communities in Mexico. Funds are misappropriated because the budget isnot used effectively for Indigenous persons.2. El Salvador experiences similar situations. Primarily, there is not enough practicalinformation for civil society to integrate Indigenous groups into popular participationspaces like university or television.Participants identified that funding for Indigenous MDG projects were hard to come by,particularly where sovereignty of Indigenous people is held in high regard. Participantswere asked for examples anywhere in Latin America that has received MDG fundingand how it has affected the community.Views on how the MDGs affect specific communities or countries in LatinAmerica:1. Mexico: Chiapas has been the only State that received funding for 2-3 projectsgeared towards the MDGs, mainly due to the rise of the leftist group Zapatista Army ofNational Liberation, back in 1994. Unequal distribution of the funding, affect the majorityof the population in that area, which is Indigenous. More information should be given inpublic schools and throughout all areas of society and forms of communication, with astart in local efforts as well.3
  4. 4. A presentation on the impact of the MDGs for Indigenous women was made by Ms.Dali Angel Perez, Coordinator of Red de Mujeres Jovenes Indigenas, which is a part ofthe Central American and Mexican Indigenous Women’s Alliance. Resolutions forbettering conditions for Indigenous women are cited below.Goals for the political participation of Indigenous women:1. Make it possible for women to be active in the struggle that affect Indigenous womenand children.2. Increase positions of leadership for the youth, increasing their chances to be heard.There are currently no mechanisms within the state to get to those positions of power.Examples of including Indigenous women in political participation include what has beendone in international spaces:  Participation in Rio +20 and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues  2 representatives from the Indigenous network at the Economic Community of the West African States meeting3. Intergenerational support (local): Create a place where older and younger womenshare experiences and wisdom to learn from one another and build a camaraderiebetween adult and young women to become in tune with the rights of all women.An example of creating intergenerational support is when there was a seminar donewith 4 generations of Indigenous women to provide tools at the judicial, national andspiritual levels. The teachers are women who have struggled to get to their positions inlife. Efforts are made by the women in the seminar to stop dependence on statefunding. The safety of the space depends on the lived experience, harmony and sharedbonds in a learning space for the network of Indigenous youth.4. Make efforts to rescue the respect for mother earth through agriculture, conservationof all kinds of life and ritual ceremonies by educating other populations outsideIndigenous shared spaces.An example: The women get involved in activities they already practice daily (e.g.making textiles and tortillas for the community) to become more proficient in their owncraft and educate the rest of the population. Projects depend on state funding at first,then on organizations and their own labor. The entire experience empowers Indigenouspopulations to rely on themselves, lived experiences and to know what they want andhow to ask for it.Present challenges for political participation of Indigenous women:1. Advocating for the rights of Indigenous women’s rights to land; the majority of theland is given to men. Women have to be married in order to gain rights. When her4
  5. 5. husband dies, she can administer the rights until her son becomes of age.2. There is not enough consultation with the Indigenous populations aboutimplementation of projects. The educational models imposed by the state do not respectidentity and mother tongue. The same dismissal of values by the state happens with theteachings from older generations of Indigenous peoples.3. The challenges of the Millennium Development Goals cannot be discussed in generalterms for Indigenous populations; the census does not reflect Indigenous realities. Inputis neither asked nor required to implement the projects that involve Indigenouspopulations in most cases. Additionally, there is no explanation of legal terms. ToIndigenous populations, words such as “development” do not mean to appropriatelands or to promote immigration to the city.4. There are laws that produce paternalist and existentialist programs that disruptIndigenous collectivity and self-governing character. These programs only assignactivities (i.e. cleaning and sweeping in schools) with low pay, which exacerbate povertylevels of the Indigenous populations in Central America and Mexico. Instead ofaddressing the root of the problems, only a temporary band aid is applied as a solution.Moreover, there is no mention of multiculturalism.Participants wrapped up this session agreeing that greater efforts of Indigenous peoplesmust be made to become a united voice. Alliances of organizations, young Indigenouswomen and sisters who have become prominent at the international levels are priority. Session: MDGs & YouthLanguage: EnglishCountries Represented: Ghana, Costa Rica, Mexico, Pakistan, Uganda, USA, NigeriaPercentages from polls:100% believe that youth 35 and under can impact the MDGs90% agree, 10 % disagree that there are some MDGs that are more important toaddress now than others100% of participants work toward the MDGs in their communityA presentation on how youth can impact the MDGs and the way forward was made byDr. Raphael Ogar Oko, International Coordinator of the Millennium DevelopmentAmbassadors which is centrally housed in Nigeria.Views on the MDGs:1. The MDGs are a well formed strategy because each goal compliments the other. Thegoals are mutually interdependent.2. Within each nation, there are developed and developing individuals, so nations can5
  6. 6. look inward to their own communities instead of outward to places like the UN toachieve the MDGs.Group Questions:1. MDGs are important but they are not achieved by countries, so what can done toachieve some of them by 2015?Responses:  Focus on youth to facilitate and drive MDGs within their community to make it personal.  Create family and community development goals. If you think about it, a millennium is actually longer than 2015 because a millennium is 1,000 years! Each of us can work toward achievement of the goals.2. What is your view about the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) thatcame out of Rio+20 and how do you see them in relation to the MDGs?Responses:  The world wants to see more than just some developed nations but a completely developed world. Several initiatives to facilitate development connect to a common point, but the task is to establish a culture of global development.  The global community must learn to share and sustain resources for everybody, not just the elite or privileged.3. Do you see the SDGs and MDGs as interconnected? Should they be combined?Responses:  The SDGs are meant to be more detailed than MDGs.  The MDGs are only a starting point for holistic development, each goal is meant for people to dig deeper. For example- MDG 2 focuses on primary education, but what about higher education? There is a need for full education that incorporates human rights throughout each level of education, on all levels.*Facilitator shares agreements from the session on technology and the studentmovement and MDG & youth session participants agree with the same sentiments.4. Have you already combined what you think should be SDGs and use them with theMDGs in your work?Responses:6
  7. 7.  No, the development agenda needs to have specific goals and targets that are sustainable for each region. Most nations do not have clear goals and clear goals when the SDGs are crafted will help.  No, but plan to. In most nations, people focus on environmental development but ignore human development.5. What could some action oriented goals look like for the SDGs?Responses:  Focus goals fashioned from the Decade for the Education for Sustainable Development and how educators in formal and non-formal settings can apply these goals into their work. Goals should focus on what needs to be done instead of what should not happen.  Goals should be focused toward eradicating extreme poverty instead of focusing on creating wealth.  Goals should take into consideration current national agenda plans and compliment them. For example, there is concern around nations in Africa like the Nigeria 2020 vision, Kenya 2030 and Rwanda 2025 visions that are setting other agendas that may not go well with the new international development strategies.  Goals should consider world peace and interreligious cooperation as additional means to achieve its aims.Examples of ways to achieve goals:  Earth Charter International was recently appointed as a UNESCO Chair for the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and has recently opened a new educational center to promote the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development. The center seeks to empower and educate young people to use the Earth Charter as their ethical framework towards building a more just, peaceful and sustainable society. This initiative also serves as a solution to the call for ESD integrated into formal, non-formal and informal education that came from the Rio+20 outcome document.  In Abuja, Nigeria, youth are using technology for development via the MDG radio education program run by the Millennium Development Ambassadors.6. What can we do as Human Rights Activists to promote the MDGs in our countries onthe grassroots level?Responses:7
  8. 8.  Mobilize at local levels to help formulate community development goals and share best practices on efforts that are working.  Relate the issues to the local areas  Promote local issues in the global community.Resolutions on Topic:1. There are still challenges around harmonizing formal, non-formal and informaleducation because there is no clear global curriculum for MDG education.2. Youth need platforms guidance, especially in developing world, to learn andstrategize about the MDGs.3. It is necessary for civil society sectors and governments to work together with youthto achieve the MDGs.4. Volunteer movements and youth to youth contacts are important to exchange ideasand experiences. The goals are to inspire youth, empower them, connect them toresources as well as utilize and celebrate youth to motivate the best from them. Session: Technology and the Global Student MovementLanguage: EnglishCountries Represented: USA, Uganda, PakistanPercentages from polls:100% were aware of a student movement in their country100% believe that technology can be used to move their causes forward90% of participants are not current studentsParticipants used the session to discuss individual experiences with student movementactivities, challenges and successes. The facilitated portion of the session challengedparticipants with broader ideas on how to impact student education throughout thehuman development span.What impacts need to happen for Higher Ed?Perspectives:  Focus on K-12 with better curriculums that include parent-teacher collaborations so that by the time the individual gets to Higher Education, the system for Higher Ed does not have to try teaching basic skills.  Greater emphasis on K-12 teachers and parents should be a priority. In the USA, teachers are degraded and undervalued and parents seem not to care. Participants were challenged that low income parents are identified in research as too busy trying to make ends meet to help teachers give students a good education. Instead, parents can tend to leave the academics portion of rearing their children to teachers. Participants question if this is helpful and were left8
  9. 9. thinking: How can such a divide between over-exhausted parents and ill equipped teachers be bridged to create a better environment for students? Students are prepared for tests, but not for critical thinking.  Governments, parents, students and other stakeholders need to make education a better priority world-wide. Corruption must be tackled in order to deal with all levels of education because a lot of funds are intentionally misappropriated.How can we employ community building to create better learning environmentsfor students?Perspectives:  Encourage teachers with better benefits and rights  Ensure that educational planning is a norm that includes the surrounding community to identify the challenges faced and arrive at viable solutions through collaboration on the educational infrastructure  Create more education for parents, including helping adults become literate parents need to also be held more accountable for their children  Network within communities to create awareness and allies on student issuesHow effective can technology be for movements when most of the world is eithernot connected or has poor connection?Perspectives:  It is helpful for those that have the Internet to connect to others around the world that do not so that they can share the skills learned.  “Developed” nations should help build the capacity of “developing” nations since most technologies that are far reaching benefit all nations. However, “developed” countries must be careful to only nurture ideas on technology and not dictate to other nations how to use them because it perpetuates superiority.How to can expanding the reach of technology capacity building happen? Everyday citizens with the ability to provide capacity building would probably not beable to travel overseas.Perspectives:9
  10. 10.  Capacity building can be done on and offline. Creators of advanced technologies should be traveling to do capacity building in person because they can afford it (i.e. Google and Microsoft) and they travel anyway to expand their business.  Online capacity building can fill in the gaps of off-line capacity building on the use of technologies  For places where Internet is not common place, a community can be made through an expanded network that starts from a person well versed in technology to teach through technology in presentations that can be replicated off-line. The effect is to pass on the knowledge from one medium of communication to the other, on the level each person is on to receive and process the information.Participants discussed the link between human rights and sustainable development.The overwhelming consensus was that both are interconnected, but the challengeremains in how to move people out of their siloes for their side of the cause.How can technology be used to further education in your country?Perspectives:  Pakistan: Use of technology can help in spreading education to rural areas faster, so it must be used at all levels. Social media can help disseminate information to people for strategic planning.  Uganda: Education through technology would be helpful to connect students to experiences of others abroad. EXCHANGE session (participant-led topics of choice)Language: SpanishCountries Represented: Colombia, Mexico, NicaraguaAre there technologies that are very useful in advancing your cause? What arethey and how they have been helpful to you?Perspectives:  Technologies are hard to come by in countries like Colombia because it is only for people that have the economic ability to purchase. Many educational institutions in 2012 still do not have Internet access.  Across Latin American countries, technological resources are not accessible to all social classes. The best way to advance the cause is through face to face contact.  Despite lack of Internet accessibility across social classes, citizens have a right to information and access to the Internet spreads information faster.  Virtual communications has exceeded the convenience of normal ways to get information in Colombia10
  11. 11. What are challenges that you face in Latin America, either alone or in your MDG work? Perspectives:  A main challenge is to break the gap of inequality over access to technologies, especially technologies needed by people with disabilities. Technology usually is designed for those without physical or cognitive limitations and overwhelmingly, minority populations like people with disabilities are not taken into account as technologies become more elaborate. An example of better technology for people with disabilities is a participant’s cellphone that allows hands-free dialing and other functions  Another major challenge is the rise in Internet activism that attempts to raise awareness but fails to reach people that are doing the work on the ground and those that live in the communities affected by the issue. The result is that the awareness raising becomes a fad to support the causes within the network of Internet activists instead of a useful avenue to build strategic coordination of concrete actions.What are some challenges that technology experts should prioritize resolving?Perspectives:  Elaborate technologies without creating destructive environmental impacts. Environmental destruction that results in technology design and enhancement are rapidly killing off species.  Provide full technology access to all countries in ways that do not rely upon the country’s economic development. Access to technology should be based upon how it will affect the quality of the environment as well as the human being, including enhancing individual human rights.  Create good practical use of the Internet by making it easier for young people to exercise participatory citizenship without censorship.11