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Key Highlights of the High-Level Government Meeting at ICANN63

4 October 2018
By and Tarek Kamel

On Monday, 22 October, ICANN will be holding its fourth High-Level Government Meeting (HLGM) in Barcelona, Spain, where it will be hosted by the Spanish government during ICANN63. ICANN's HLGM meetings are traditionally hosted every two years, alongside an ICANN Public Meeting, and in addition to Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) meetings. Previous meetings were held in Toronto (2012), London (2014), and Marrakech (2016).

Over 150 ministers and senior officials from governments around the world, as well as the leaders of various inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), are expected to attend the HLGM. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss and get acquainted with the technical, legal, and geopolitical challenges that ICANN faces as it works to fulfill its mission in an ever-changing Internet ecosystem.

The meeting will be chaired by Spain's Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, with the support of the GAC Chair, Manal Ismail. ICANN President and CEO, Göran Marby, will also be making remarks during the meeting's opening ceremony, where he will be outlining ICANN's priorities. A lunch address will be given by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary General, Houlin Zhao. Closing remarks will be provided by ICANN's Board Chair, Cherine Chalaby, and the Secretary of State of Information Society and Digital Agenda of Spain, Francisco Polo.

What to Expect

The objective of the meeting is to demonstrate the evolving role of ICANN in the global Internet ecosystem. It will also reinforce the critical role that governments play in ICANN's new Empowered Community in developing policy relating to the secure and stable functioning of the Domain Name System (DNS).

This year, the agenda is divided into four key sessions:

  • The Role and Opportunities for Governments in ICANN – Post IANA Transition
  • Thematic Challenges in the IG Ecosystem – Cybercrime, Data Protection, and Privacy
  • The Internet Technological Evolution and the Role and impact on ICANN
  • Global Digital Agenda and Internet Policies

Discussions will mainly focus on the growing importance and influence that regional and national legislation is having on the borderless governance structure of the Internet, as well as the work that ICANN has in place to assess their impact on its role in coordinating the global domain name system (DNS).

As an example, some of these are creating conflicts with some of the services that ICANN and its contracted parties provide with respect to the personal information of domain name registrants in the WHOIS.

Such developments have generated vibrant debate within ICANN and the DNS community. It has also made it clear that timely and meaningful engagement with governments needs to be achieved on relevant public policy issues when new legislation is being developed. This will give us an opportunity to explain the technical facts about ICANN's role as the coordinator of the DNS.

The HLGM will also consider the technological challenges that ICANN and the DNS community face as new technologies and business models develop and exploring how these challenges may impact the future of the DNS.

Finally, there will be a debate on the critical importance of the wider global digital agenda. Panelists will discuss the transformational work of global and regional initiatives, how they help in addressing critical issues of the digital economy, and how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help achieve the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their associated targets.

The ICANN63 HLGM will provide government leaders with a significant opportunity for government leaders to discuss priorities and strategies with the ICANN leadership team, Board members, and the wider ICANN community.


Sally Costerton

Sally Costerton

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

Tarek Kamel