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Internet Governance – Building a Regional Community

12 May 2021

We've just wrapped up the Second ICANN APAC-TWNIC Engagement Forum held from 15-16 April in hybrid format. Local participants attended in-person, with remote participation available for regional participants and beyond.

The Forum was inaugurated in 2019, targeting the local community. We share a vision with our co-host, TWNIC, that Internet governance is a shared responsibility by all stakeholders and hope that the Forum can strengthen our engagement with the local community.

The community in Taiwan is comprised of a high-tech workforce, and takes a proactive approach to the development of emerging technologies, with heavy investments by global companies on artificial intelligence and Internet of Things. Despite these factors, industry stakeholders' participation in ICANN remains relatively low. I think our sister Internet governance platforms, APNIC and IETF, will also stand to benefit from wider community participation.

Engaging Virtually

Plans for the Forum had to change in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as we've quickly learned to engage virtually, the Forum returned this year with a stronger regional and international flavor. The speaker line up featured Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet (catch his opening speech) and included representation from economies such as Australia, India, Japan, Vietnam, etc. The Forum also featured the 35th TWNIC Internet Protocol Open Policy Meeting (IP OPM), which broadened the Forum's discussions on topics such as cybersecurity incident response and management, digital transformation, and IPv6 deployment. Click on the links for the session recordings.

We also offered YouTube livestreaming which garnered many viewers – close to 700 views for day one and 300 views for day two. One of the benefits of virtual engagement is the ability to view a session at your convenience, in the unfortunate event you missed the real-time opportunity to participate.

Participating in Internet Governance

Participation in Internet governance is important as no one person, organization, company, or government controls the Internet. The evolution of the Internet is shaped by multistakeholders through shared principles and decision-making procedures. These result in the development of global standards, such as those at the IETF on protocol parameters; IP addressing at Regional Internet Registries (APNIC in our region); or domain name policies at ICANN.

Participation does not necessarily mean the need to join discussions at platforms like APNIC, IETF, or ICANN. Globally-agreed standards need widespread adoption to keep the Internet safe, secure, and resilient, and prepare for the next billion Internet users. This is where industry – such as Internet service providers – come in to adopt the latest standards and technologies such as IPv6, Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI), Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), etc. Do check out our discussion on this topic at the Forum here.

Awareness is also required to achieve the widespread adoption mentioned above. This is where the civil society and end-user communities play a key role in the Internet governance space. A key topic that needs greater awareness, particularly for software and email providers, is the adoption of Universal Acceptance (UA), where domain names – long or short, or in different scripts – can be accepted by any software or application. This discussion was also featured at the Forum.

Check out the Forum's website for the session videos, as well as more upcoming blogs of key takeaways from the discussions.


Jia-Rong Low

Jia-Rong Low

VP, Stakeholder Engagement & Managing Director - Asia Pacific