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ICANN’s Emergency Assistance Program Framework for Continued Internet Access

18 January 2023

In April 2022, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) contributed $1 million in emergency financial support to the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) for continued Internet access during the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. I am excited to share with you that the ICANN organization (org), as requested by the ICANN Board, has developed a new Emergency Assistance Program designed to support access to Internet infrastructure during emergency situations, such as natural or man-made disasters. This program is intended to be a part of ICANN's ongoing activities.

ICANN's financial contributions to the ETC support its plans and ongoing activities on the ground. As of December 2022, ICANN's funds, among other projects, have been used to support the establishment and operation of four technology hubs in Ukraine. The ETC is an interagency network of humanitarian, government, and private-sector organizations that provide communication services in humanitarian emergencies. The ETC's work in Ukraine includes assessments, training, help desk support, and secure Internet access for emergency responders. You can read more about their progress here.

We leveraged what we've learned from our experience with the emergency situation in Ukraine to recommend an emergency assistance program framework that will allow us to respond to new or protracted qualifying events, including large-scale natural or man-made disasters, that have resulted in the disruption of Internet access. ICANN org has previewed this framework for the ICANN Board.

The Emergency Assistance Program is intended to have a positive impact on the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet and the management of the unique identifiers. This program will be made available to maintain accessibility when operators or other relevant actors might otherwise not have the resources to do so.

The next step will be for ICANN org to hold a process for Expressions of Interest in early 2023, to select organizations with a global reach and are focused on supporting Internet access and recovery for local populations during emergencies and disasters. As emergencies arise where ICANN could provide support, and subject to availability of funds, ICANN org will coordinate with the selected organizations to determine if a monetary contribution would be appropriate in the specific instance. The total monetary contribution will not exceed U$1 million and could include a combination of small and large contributions.

I am proud of the opportunity to support our friends around the world where access to the Internet is jeopardized by unexpected events and I applaud the ICANN Board for its determination to extend this support where we can. We will continue to keep the community apprised of the steps involved in implementing this framework, and work to identify the most appropriate organizations to contribute toward in early 2023.


Sally Costerton

Sally Costerton

Sr. Advisor to President & SVP, Global Stakeholder Engagement and Interim President & CEO