The programme of the Young Leaders’ Forum 2021 focussed on questions connected to e-governance, digitalisation, and renewable/green energy. There were two main topics that were discussed in different formats during the forum: security challenges for e-governance and green energy developments in the V4 region. The main purpose of YLF was to foster a lively dialogue among young innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, PhD researchers, and young professionals, working at companies that are investing in innovative projects. During the three-day event, participants had the opportunity to exchange best practices, experience, ideas, and knowledge, and improve their skills through panel discussions, seminars, and workshops. The programme made it possible for participants to develop their leadership skills, gain more practical knowledge, and listen to personal experiences on how to create their own business or start-up.
The experts of the panel discussions brought crucial topics to the table, such as the most common risks and challenges connected to e-governance and questions related to transformation to renewable energy in the V4 region.
The forum started with the opening remarks delivered by Dr Attila Péterfalvi, President of the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. In his opening speech, Dr Péterfalvi presented participants of the Young Leaders’ Forum 2021 the principles that should be kept in mind when talking about data protection. He also touched upon problems related to data breaches, which are becoming more and more widespread in today’s society. Therefore, as he emphasised, it is very important to analyse how data breach is treated by the law and what national data protection authorities can do in order to prevent them in line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The panel discussion entitled “Security Challenges for e-Governance—Threats, Risks and Responses We Need” started with the presentation of Ms Anushka Kaushik, Associate Fellow at Globsec, who talked about the trade-off between e-governance and in-person administration, and how important it is to close the gap between them. When it comes to e-governance, it is a crucial step to talk about security and threats for states and individuals. Ms Kaushik also mentioned an index called ‘Digital Economy and Society Index’ that measures to what extent countries and organisations use ‘e-solutions’. During the discussion that followed, the speakers touched upon the most typical risks and challenges connected to e-governance and digitalisation, emphasising that, with the development of technology, we can also see an increase in crimes. The panellists called attention to the seriousness of crimes, such as cryptocurrency fraud, espionage, data hostage, attacks on critical infrastructure, or economic threats. They emphasised the role of the state in preventing such crimes, highlighting that it is important for them to keep track of the technology and not demonise it in order to protect citizens and the economy. At the same time, they underlined that global cyber discussions and adapting to the changing security environment could provide solutions to cyber threats.
In the first part of the second panel discussion on “Renewable Energy Developments in the V4 Region–Results, Challenges, and Future Perspectives”, the experts talked about events affecting the energy market and the reasons behind the high prices of gas and electricity. They mentioned two important factors: the coronavirus and Russia’s role, as they use the prices as a pressure on the European Union. The panellists agreed that renewable fossils, such as solar and wind power, can help overcome high prices, although offshore wind power is not available everywhere. It was underlined that the transformation to renewable energy might have some social impacts since, for example, Poland is highly dependent on mining, and in the Czech Republic, there is a risk of losing jobs as well.
Besides participating in workshops, panel discussions, seminars, and social events during YLF, participants also had the opportunity to attend the think.BDPST 2021 strategic conference. The young professionals could listen to very interesting panel discussions and keynote speeches on questions related to trust, data security, and privacy in the era of digitalisation, post-pandemic innovation, after-pandemic sustainable business, or dangers of a superabundance of information.