Welcome to Kobe, Japan, for ICANN64. As a few of you may recall, the last time an ICANN meeting was held in Japan was in the year 2000, for ICANN06. Quite a lot has changed since then, but the intention of these meetings remains the same – to come together to find solutions to some of the most challenging issues impacting the Internet and its system of unique identifiers.
During ICANN63 in Barcelona, we celebrated ICANN’s 20th anniversary and looked back at some of the challenges we overcame together. Now, it’s important that we continue to look toward the future, not only for ICANN, but for the Internet as a whole. It’s important that we fulfill our mission so that users around the world can continue to rely on the Internet as they do today.
As this is the first meeting of the year, ICANN64 is a Community Forum. While there will be ample time dedicated to key policy work, there are many other events on the schedule. If you’re a newcomer to ICANN’s Public Meetings, ICANN64 offers a great opportunity to learn, explore, and interact with fellow community members. Whether you’ve been coming to ICANN meetings since we were last in Japan, or this is your first meeting, I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and identify sessions on the schedule that you typically wouldn’t attend.
As you meet with fellow community members and contribute to discussions about any of the issues we face today – whether it’s emerging data privacy legislation, the future of auction proceeds, or the next round of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) – remember that you play a key role in upholding ICANN’s role in the Internet governance ecosystem.
In fact, one of our high-interest sessions this week will focus on the future of the multistakeholder model of governance. You may have seen in Cherine Chalaby’s recent blog wrapping up the Los Angeles workshop that the Board of Directors asked me to select a neutral facilitator with knowledge of ICANN, its processes and accountability mechanisms to lead the project by facilitating dialogue with the participation from the community, Board and ICANN org. I am pleased to announce that you will see a familiar face leading this session and serving as the facilitator in this process – Brian Cute. An active ICANN community member for over a decade and former Chair of the first Accountability and Transparency Review Team, Brian will guide us through a transparent discussion of the issues we all have identified and face, and will help us develop a plan that outlines how these issues can be addressed, who will address them, and in what time frame.
I’d also invite you to join us for another open Q&A with the ICANN org Executive Team, which will be held just before Public Forum 2 on Thursday, 14 March. This session is an important part of my commitment to ensure that the ICANN org is transparent and available, so please do join and participate. I recommend reading the most recent ICANN org Report to the Board. It’s an excellent overview of what each org department is currently working on, and will bring you up to speed on the org priorities and areas of focus.
I look forward to talking and working with many of you throughout the meeting. My team and I stand ready to help you in any way we can, so please reach out to us with any questions you have.