DESC Working Groups and Steering Group

The Digital-Environment System Coalition’s activities are undertaken primarily through Working Groups. Our governance framework outlines the roles of the Steering Group and three main types of Working Group: Administrative (AWG), Thematic (TWG) and Youth (YouthDESC). For further information about DESC’s Working Groups, see our paper on Working Group Modalities.


Thematic Working Groups (TWGs)

Thematic Working Groups are the means through which DESC’s research, practice and policy activities are undertaken (see Section 8.3 of the DESC Governance Framework for more details). They are convened by any groups of members and partners on relevant themes within the overall remit of DESC,and report annually to the full membership of DESC. Do use our contacts page (or contact the relevant Chairs/Secretaries) to request more information about these TWGs and to express an interest in joining any of them. For information about how the TWGs work in practice, see DESC’s paper on Working Group Modalities.

Current TWGs are as follows (listed alphabetically; for affilations of members see our Members and Partners page):


Business Model Sustainabililty

Exploring the environmental implications of the business models used in the digital tech sector that are often explicitly unsustainable, including issues such as “fast-fashion tech” and the right to repair (use contacts page to find out more)

Chair:

Members:

  • Malcolm Garbutt
  • Tim Unwin

Indigenous DESC

Co-Chairs: Poline Bala and Roger Harris

Members:

  • Christina M. Sayson
  • Dayn Amade
  • Irene Antonopoulos
  • James Crabbe
  • Malcolm Garbutt
  • Paul Spiesberger

Maritime and Deep Sea Mining

Focusing particularly on the environmental implications of deep sea mining for rare-earth minerals used in digital technologies (use contacts page to find out more)

Chair: James Crabbe

Members:


Digital-Environment Toolkit for Partner2Connect

Responsible for delivering DESC’s pledge to the UN’s Partner2Connect (P2C) initiative “to develop a holistic toolkit for use by all partners in P2C that will enable them to assess the environmental impact of their proposed interventions and activities”.

Chair: Tim Unwin

Members:

  • Malcolm Garbut
  • Toby Harper-Merrett

Satellites and Space

Exploring the environmental impact of digital activity in outer space (use contacts page to find out more)

Chair: Tim Unwin

Members:

  • Luc St. Pierre

Spectrum Environmental Efficiency

Developed with the Wireless World Research Forum, exploring the environmenal efficiency of spectrum use (use contacts page to find out more)

Chair: Knud Erik Skouby

Members:


YouthDESC

For details of our youth work, please use this link: https://ict4d.org.uk/youthdesc, or follow us on Instagram @YouthDESC


Administrative Working Groups (AWGs)

Two AWGs are curently in existence:

Working Group on Internal Communications

Members:

  • Leandro Navarro
  • Michael Oghia
  • Natalia Robinson
  • Roger Harris
  • Tim Unwin (Secretary)

Working Group on Governance and Ethics

Members:

  • Isabella Wagner
  • Linda Wong
  • Michael Oghia
  • Tim Unwin (Secretary)
  • Toby Harper-Merrett

We are currently creating an External Communications Working Group, and would welome offers of membership of this.


Steering Group

DESC’s Steering Group has five main roles:

  • To provide oversight and direction for DESC (whilst respecting the decentralised and autonomous character of its Working Groups)
  • To make decisions where necessary on behalf of the membership (these should be ratified at the next full membership meeting)
  • To co-ordinate and provide guidance for DESC’s Working Groups and the Secretariat
  • To enthuse and encourage members and partners
  • To ensure that DESC is a safe place where difficult issues can be discussed openly and freely in line with DESC’s ethical guidelines.

See DESC Steering Group for full details of its role, membership and frequency of meetings. Current membership is as follows:

  • Carlos Álvarez Pereira
  • Isabella Wagner
  • Leandro Navarro
  • Max Hamilton (ex officio)
  • Tim Unwin

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Last updated 21st May 2022