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Furthering Government Participation in ICANN

6 March 2018


In my previous blogs (parts 1 and 2), I discussed the need for the Asia Pacific (APAC) region to participate in ICANN's multistakeholder model. I want to share a recent engagement to facilitate government participation and opportunities for our region to collaborate further.

In conjunction with the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) 2018, we organized the first Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) capacity-development workshop for Asian GAC members in Kathmandu, Nepal from 24-25 February 2018.

An initiative of the ICANN GAC Under-served Regions Working Group, this is the fifth workshop around the world, focusing on developing the capacity of GAC members to facilitate more effective participation in ICANN. The Asian GAC-focused workshop helped the 20 participants from 13 Asian economies better understand ICANN, our ecosystem, and participation model.

Since we were at APRICOT, community leaders who were in Nepal also participated. For example, we took the opportunity for Akinori Maemura, member of ICANN Board of Directors, who hails from the region - Japan - to share with participants and it turned out to be very interactive and engaging. Workshop participants also had opportunities to network with APAC Internet organizations like the Internet Society Asia Pacific Bureau, the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain (APTLD) and Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).

Overall, participants shared that the content was very good and particularly appreciated the interactivity of the sessions. They exchanged views, shared best practices and learned from one another. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our GAC Vice Chair Guo Feng for his leadership in facilitating some of the discussions.

Some notable discussion points that open potential opportunities for collaboration include:

Further awareness building: Participants shared that awareness of ICANN and the Internet ecosystem was still relatively low in developing and least developed countries. As such, governments tend to prioritize other public policy issues. This is an area where the ICANN org regional team can partner with GAC members. We have partnered with governments to engage with their local communities in the past, and seen success in places such as Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Coordination and collaboration with regional community: Participants agreed that it would be useful to engage more frequently as a region during ICANN meetings, and commit to explore leveraging regional fora such as the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF). They were also impressed by the ICANN Readout sessions - organized by community members to provide ICANN meeting updates to fellow community members unable to attend the ICANN meeting in person - conducted in local communities as a model to explore with their own communities. Such platforms would allow GAC members to engage with other stakeholder groups and communities in the region.

The above are opportunities for us to work together as a region to foster participation in ICANN's multistakeholder model. I hope that we can collaborate as one region and learn from one another. For starters, join us at the next APAC Space in San Juan during ICANN61. APAC Space is a platform for our community to share views on ICANN policy issues and discuss how to better participate in ICANN.

Lastly, I'd like to thank my colleagues from the various ICANN org teams for contributing to the success of the workshop. This includes the teams from Government Engagement, Policy Development Support, and Office of the CTO.

If you'd like to see other photos of the GAC workshop in action, please visit my twitter handle.

Fun Fact: Since establishing the APAC regional office in 2013, we have facilitated 4 new GAC members - Cambodia, Palau, Timor Leste, and Nepal. The Oceania region has 100% GAC participation.


Jia-Rong Low

Jia-Rong Low

VP, Stakeholder Engagement & Managing Director - Asia Pacific