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Update: ICANN’s Emergency Assistance Program for Continued Internet Access

15 April 2024

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) organization (org) has developed an Emergency Assistance Program to support access to Internet infrastructure during emergency situations. This effort fulfills a request by the ICANN Board and is intended to be a part of ICANN's ongoing activities.

Last year, ICANN org solicited Expressions of Interest from eligible organizations focused on supporting Internet access and recovery for local populations during natural disasters and human-caused emergencies. I am now happy to share that we have signed master service agreements with three qualifying organizations that stand ready to support Internet accessibility when operators or other relevant actors might otherwise not have the resources to do so.

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) is an interagency network of humanitarian, government, and private sector organizations that provide communication services in humanitarian emergencies. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the lead agency of the ETC, allowing for speedy access to emergencies worldwide.
  • NetHope is a consortium of leading global nonprofits working across geographies and missions to solve some of the world's greatest development, humanitarian, and conservation challenges. Over 65 nonprofit members and 50 technology partners collaborate to leverage digital solutions for exponential impact. Collectively, NetHope members deliver more than 60 percent of all annual international, nongovernmental aid, serving over 1.67 billion people in 190 countries.
  • Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), founded in 1998, is the world's first nongovernmental organization focusing on emergency response technologies. During humanitarian crises, TSF provides affected people the with the ability to contact their loved ones and begin to regain control of their lives, as well as building rapid response communications centers for local and international responders.

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. Moving forward, ICANN org will proactively seek out and consider project proposals from the qualifying organizations, as and when emergencies arise where ICANN could provide support.

The qualifying organizations may bring different abilities and scale depending on the scope and location of the relief needed. ICANN org will determine if ICANN's contribution to a proposed relief project is appropriate in each specific instance. Funding under the Emergency Assistance Program will only be activated in response to specific crisis situations that meet established criteria, and is subject to the availability of funds. ICANN could make available a maximum of 1 million USD toward the Emergency Assistance Program every year, which could be reached through a combination of small and large contributions.

We are proud of this opportunity to support people around the world where access to the Internet is jeopardized by unexpected events. We will continue to keep the community apprised of the steps involved in implementing this program. The latest information and updates can be found on the program's dedicated webpage.


Sally Costerton

Sally Costerton

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