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Supporting the Work of Our Global Community over the Next Few Months: Leveraging Remote Participation

30 April 2020

ICANN serves a global community. Face-to-face engagement and remote participation are integral to our work, and act as the primary forms of interaction for our stakeholders and community. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging this notion. Today, we find ourselves needing to look at a different mix of tools to ensure that the work being done by our global community can continue with minimal disruption. This includes looking at how we can support community activities remotely for the foreseeable future.

While we have no way of knowing with certainty when the world will return to normal or when social distancing guidelines will be eased, we are operating under the assumption that normal activities will not resume before September. ICANN anticipates holding no face-to-face meetings through September 2020. With that timeline in mind, ICANN org worked with leaders from our Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees on their current list of activities, as defined by each community group, to determine which are the most necessary or practical to accomplish between now and September. ICANN org is also taking into account the Board's priorities in order to develop a comprehensive continuity work plan, which will drive and direct our actions and goals in the coming months. You can read more about the Board's priorities in the Chair's blog here.

Because our interactions will be done remotely, this prioritizing of work is essential. It will ensure that we are using your time constructively, ICANN's critical work can stay on pace, engagement and capacity-building can continue, and the positive collaboration between the community, Board, and org is fostered and strengthened.

ICANN has always embraced remote participation. It is what makes our work accessible to a global community and enables us to get the work done between meetings. COVID-19 has made remote engagement even more crucial, and a very real and practical alternative. In fact, one could say that the infrastructure we had in place is now serving as a lifeline to us all during these times. And we are now innovating how we use our technology to further enhance our virtual engagement.

It is more important than ever that we leverage our remote participation tools to continue effectively engaging and supporting our community in the work that needs to be done; at the very least, over the next four months.

We are also working with the community to ensure the high-priority topics for this period are being addressed; as well creating new opportunities and training for our stakeholders at large. To do this effectively, we are looking at facilitating the efforts being done, as well as a variety of activities to build capacity to attract new participants, educate, and engage. These will include informative webinars, ICANN Learn modules, lectures, and ICANN Public Meeting readouts.

The next step will be to schedule and publish the list of activities mentioned above. This will be a living calendar, available to everyone on icann.org, that provides an overview of all scheduled activities, allowing you, the community, to plan your time.

It will be critical for the ICANN community, Board, and org to collaborate and align on our collective priorities so that together, we can focus our resources on the most important and most practical activities.

One thing is clear: COVID-19 is a global phenomenon that will not go away anytime soon. This reality means that remote engagement is critical for ensuring that efficient, effective, and mission-driven operations continue for the immediate future.


Sally Costerton

Sally Costerton

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