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Highlighting the Work of ICANN's Development and Public Responsibility Department

10 July 2014

Nora Abusitta

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Last week at ICANN50 in London, a very fruitful discussion on the work of the Development and Public Responsibility Department (DPRD) highlighted efforts to implement recommendations made by the Strategy Panel on the Public Responsibility Framework.

At this session, Panel Chair Nii Quaynor and ICANN Senior Advisor to the President, Tarek Kamel, emphasized the array of work ICANN already carries out to support the global public interest. Of particular note were the bottom-up, multistakeholder-created Regional Engagement Strategies which were highlighted by our regional Stakeholder Engagement VPs Pierre Dandjinou (Africa), Rodrigo de la Parra (Latin America and the Carribbean), and Baher Esmat (Middle East).

Over the past year, ICANN has worked to streamline and formalize its approach to development and public responsibility through the new DPRD, as one of the Strategy Panel's recommendations.

This process originated with a request by the community for ICANN to define "public responsibility" and to establish a framework through which it can continue to carry out its development and public responsibility programming. That led to the creation of the Strategy Panel on the Public Responsibility Framework. The Panel has since proposed a framework through which ICANN can build capacity within its community, expand its base of diverse, knowledgeable and engaged stakeholders, and provide direction on effective programs and initiatives aimed at achieving these goals.

During the London session, ICANN and community members discussed how ICANN could best implement the Panel's recommendations on ICANN's public responsibility and serving the global public interest, which the Panel defined as follows:

"As one of the stewards of the Internet, ICANN recognizes it has a responsibility to protect and promote the global public interest, both throughout its work, and in collaboration with other entities. ICANN's public responsibility permeates all areas of its work and is at the core of its operations.

ICANN defines the global public interest, in relation to the Internet, as ensuring the Internet becomes, and continues to be, stable, inclusive, and accessible across the globe so that all may enjoy the benefits of a single and open Internet. In addressing its public responsibility, ICANN must build trust in the Internet and its governance ecosystem."

The core value of ICANN is our commitment to the bottom-up, multistakeholder approach. This commitment is embodied and broadened by the DPRD to build global inclusivity as it seeks out and incorporates community input on its activities and programs. In order to meet the needs of the changing global landscape, ICANN, and the DPRD in particular, will continue to review and evolve its multistakeholder processes and to enable broad, inclusive, multilingual engagement; new forms of participatory, consensus-based decision-making; and to fulfill the needs of the global public interest.

The DPRD session held in London engaged the community along the Department's four focus tracks: Education; Localization and Language Services; Next Generation Projects; and Participation in Global Internet Cooperation and Development. The session was well-attended and the community provided positive input on the Department's plans, including the development of a partnership program that will provide funding and service assistance to organizations and institutions that also can contribute towards meeting the needs of the global public interest.

Stay Connected

The DPRD will continue to work towards fulfilling ICANN's commitment to public responsibility. It welcomes, and relies upon, public participation and recommendations to ensure that its programs are relevant and geared towards the greater Internet community.

We at ICANN and the DPRD are working hard to meet our commitment but we need your participation. The best way to participate is by emailing DPRD@icann.org and by staying informed through the ICANN website, our news and press page, free newsletter, or through @ICANN on Twitter and ICANN on Facebook.

Panel announcements, meeting dates and minutes, and member profiles can be found here.

We hope you'll get involved!


Nora Abusitta is VP of Development and Public Responsibility Programs at ICANN.

Nora Abusitta