I'm pleased to announce that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has selected the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) as the recipient of ICANN's US$1 million emergency financial support for continued Internet access in Ukraine.
The selection of the ETC came after careful research and consideration by the ICANN organization (org). As I noted in my 28 March blog, we looked at several organizations to ensure they were active in Ukraine and aligned with our mission and operating principles, and to make certain that the contributions would be in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and ICANN's fiduciary obligations.
The ETC is an interagency network of humanitarian, government, and private sector organizations that provide communication services in humanitarian emergencies. The United Nations World Food Programme is the lead agency of the ETC, allowing for speedy access to emergencies in countries worldwide.
One of the ICANN Board's objectives in establishing this emergency support was to ensure unimpeded access to the Internet and the free flow of information so that people can gain knowledge and a diversity of viewpoints and information. Selecting an organization with nearly two decades of experience allows us to make a significant impact as quickly as possible, during a time when it is most needed.
This is an initiative for which we have no precedent; it is a first for ICANN. I am proud of the org for the drive and commitment to quickly identify the best path and organization to efficiently deliver meaningful support. The ETC's vision of "a world where safe and local access to reliable communications is always available" is well aligned with our mission to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems. And, since 2005, the ETC has successfully responded to more than 40 humanitarian crises around the world with vital communication solutions.
The ETC's work in Ukraine includes ensuring the sustainability and quality of communications and connectivity, specifically activities such as procuring communications equipment, including portable satellite communications units; setting up backup satellite communications; ensuring secure Internet connectivity; and identifying and implementing systems to safely access the Internet.
We will be sure to provide updates to the community as the work progresses. The Board resolution taken on 6 March 2022 also directed the org to evaluate whether and how to consider similar contributions in the future. We will provide the Board with feedback and lessons learned about this first experience to inform future efforts.