SEEDIG 2018 – Digital transformation and digital society in SEE

SEEDIG is a sub-regional Internet Governance Forum (IGF) initiative dedicated to open, inclusive, and informal dialogue on internet governance issues among all interested stakeholders in the region.

From 23-24 May 2018, the fourth edition of SEEDIG (South Eastern Europe Dialogue on Internet Governance)* was hosted in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This year's programme focused on the theme of "Digital transformation and digital society in SEE". Over the course of two days, a range of interactive workshops and plenary sessions took place bringing together different stakeholders in the field - representatives from the European Parliament, national ministries, industry partners, civil society organisations, academia and youth - discussing how to further development and strengthen the internet governance framework in the SEE region.

Given the importance of this topic, a delegation from the Insafe-INHOPE network actively joined the discussion and contributed to two sessions on digital skills and inclusion, as well as children's rights.

The first session, titled "Digital skills and lifelong learning in the data economy" aimed to discuss how data economy and digital skills can foster inclusion and expand global opportunities for lifelong learning, brought about by the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Higher productivity and greater competition are putting additional pressure on job seekers, while digital migrants have to have more flexibility in order to adapt to permanent digital transformations.
Panel members, together with the audience, discussed in an interactive "fishbowl" set-up the following aspects:

  • Do governments pay enough attention to the digital education of their citizens?
  • Does the private sector invest in such education?
  • Is civil society engaged enough to sensitise the importance of making digital literacy a must-have skill for every individual?
  • How can we ensure the needs of both digital natives and digital migrants are properly addressed?
  • How can digital opportunities be turned into dividends rather than divide?

Furthermore, in the afternoon, the Insafe-INHOPE delegation facilitated a table discussion on children's rights as part of the session on "Digital rights in SEE: Between awareness and enforcement".

In two rounds of 30 minutes, participants discussed the challenges of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and especially Article 8 which contains specific requirements regarding consent for the processing of personal data of children.

In addition, current trends and issues such as (cyber-) bullying, sexting and hate speech were discussed, and how a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to ensure more awareness of online risks and challenges in the SEE region.
That said participants agreed that media education is essential from an early age, but investing in the digital education of adults is equally important and needs to be approached as a lifelong-learning process.

For further information about the annual meeting visit the SEEDIG website or read about the outcomes on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #SEEDIG2018.

* Countries usually represented in SEEDIG activities are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine.


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Auke Pals, 19, is a part-time high school student, a member of the Dutch Digital Youth Council, and a youth representative of European Digital Youth. Here, he reflects on his attendance at SEEDIG – the South Eastern Europe Dialogue on Internet Governance – and his ability to contribute to internet governance issues as a young European citizen.