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My First 90 Days Leading the ICANN Asia Pacific Hub

26 April 2016
By Jia-Rong LowJia-Rong Low

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It has been 90 days since I started my new role as VP and Managing Director of the ICANN Asia Pacific (APAC) hub. I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the past three months, which have been nothing short of eventful.

Global Developments

In my earlier blog post, I highlighted how 2016 is a year of transitions. Our incoming CEO Göran Marby was introduced to the ICANN community at the 55th ICANN Public Meeting in Marrakech. Now, both the ICANN staff and community look forward to Göran’s official joining in late May.

On 10 March, our community’s proposal package on the IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN’s Accountability was submitted for review to the U.S. government. We await the U.S. government’s review of the proposal package against the criteria set by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA). If approved, the implementation phase is expected to be completed before the contract between NTIA and ICANN expires in September 2016.

I would like to thank our APAC community for your strong participation in the IANA Stewardship Transition and ICANN Accountability discussions. Our region has been sometimes called as a “price taker” in Internet governance. However, statistics demonstrate our increased confidence and readiness to take an active role:

  • Of the world’s five regions, APAC participation in discussions stood at 17% for the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group and 26% for the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability.
  • Of over 1,100 events worldwide that discussed these topics, the APAC region organized 183 of these events, most of which were community led. These events helped to increase awareness of the proposals and spurred participation and contributions.

The APAC region can play a bigger role in shaping the future of the Internet, and ICANN in particular, through the multistakeholder model.

The APAC Hub

In the past three months, my focus has been two-fold:

  • Working with the teams in the hub to enhance coordination, with a goal of delivering services to you as a united hub.
  • Working with you, our stakeholders, to strengthen our efforts to bring ICANN to your community and make it easier for the APAC region to participate in ICANN.

I’d like to highlight two recent initiatives.

Improved ICANN Readouts

As a follow-on to the ICANN55 Marrakech meeting, our teams reached out to Chinese stakeholders in Beijing. We organized what the local community called “ICANN Day.” Events included an ICANN Readout Session, where the Chinese community learned about key discussions at ICANN55 in Marrakech, and discussed issues of interest. Our Global Domains Division and Contractual Compliance teams also held capacity-building training workshops for local registries and registrars. Watch my recap of the day.

Working with our local community partners, an ICANN Readout session was also organized in Tokyo (by the way, community-led Readout Sessions were first started in Japan). In the first collaboration of its kind, our APAC Communications team and local partners invited local media to a panel session at the Readout.  The media reports helped to inform the Japanese community about important developments in the IANA Stewardship Transition. For those of you who read Japanese, check out two of the reports – from Nikkei and Asahi Shimbum.

I would like to thank our partners from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) and Japan Network Information Center (JPNIC) for their collaboration in these events.

ICANN Readouts have been an effective way to bring ICANN issues to local communities and encourage discussion. Discussions could then move to the regional and global level, contributing to policy development at ICANN.

APAC Space in Web Conference Format

The APAC Space, usually held on the sidelines of ICANN meetings, is a community-led platform to facilitate discussion of ICANN issues at the regional level. In consultations with our community, we agreed to increase the frequency of APAC Space sessions.

Last week, we organized the first APAC Space session in web conference format. The session was well-attended. Collaborating with the ICANN Policy team, APAC hub staff briefed participants on the ongoing Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Organizational Review. After the briefing, participants discussed how to strengthen the APAC community’s participation in the GNSO, and more broadly in ICANN. If you missed the session, you can listen to the recording.

Our hope is that the ICANN Readouts and APAC Space web conferences build on each other – that discussions of ongoing policy development issues during Readouts at the local level will be shared at the regional level at APAC Space. Our goal is for members of our community to gain more exposure and contribute to ICANN’s policy development work globally.

On behalf of the APAC hub, I thank you for your support and collaboration. The APAC community’s passion has been infectious, and we are very proud to be working with you. We hope to continue this collaboration with you.

To keep informed about APAC hub activities, follow me on Twitter: @jia_rong_low.

Authors

Jia-Rong Low

Jia-Rong Low

VP, Stakeholder Engagement and Managing Director - Asia Pacific
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