ICANN seeds of engagement sprout in Barbados
The inaugural Barbados IGF came to a successful conclusion on 23rd June 2017 with substantial coordinating, technical and facilitating input from ICANN fellows Ashell Forde, Jason Hynds, and Bartlett Morgan. The hosting of the IGF in Bridgetown Barbados marked a significant milestone on a journey formalized between ICANN and the Caribbean Telecommunication when ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade and CTU Secretary General Bernadette Lewis signed an MoU in Jamaica on December 4th 2013 agreeing that ICANN and the CTU would explore opportunities to foster the growth, development and utilization of the Internet and also to further the secure, stable, multi-stakeholder management of core internet resources with particular regard to the Caribbean.
In August 2014 this seed of engagement and agreement to collaborate received nurturing at the Caribbean IGF when Bernadette Lewis made a passionate call for the establishment National IGF's to feed input from stakeholders in Caribbean countries into the Caribbean IGF and thereby to the Global IGF. This nurturing continued with the consistent encouragement of the ICANN Organization to Caribbean countries to have national multi-stakeholder dialogue and discussions on issues of National interest related to the Internet so that substantive national positions could be formed with broad input. To facilitate this the ICANN Organization participated in several capacity building and related events in Barbados to lay the foundation for national multi-stakeholder dialogue there including an ICANN55 Remote Hub, an ICANN56 Readout, the CTU ICT week and a "Girls in ICT" event.
The Barbados IGF itself was a two-day event live streamed globally with active remote participation from around the region and characterized by broad multi-stakeholder participation, high quality presentations on important and relevant topics and national issues, and rich engagement and participation of the audience. Presenters included regional experts such as Bevil Wooding one of the keyholders of the key used to sign the root of the Internet and an advocate for IXP's and regional Root server instances, as well as Bernadette Lewis from the CTU and high level representatives of international and local technology companies, Cyber security experts, ISP's legal luminaries, the Barbados Director of Public Prosecutions and representatives of regional and global internet organizations such as ARIN, LACNIC, ICANN and ISOC. Further specifics on the event can be found at igf.bb including the schedule of topics that were covered.
A number of the presenters and panelists advocated planning and executing specific actions related to the outcomes of the discussions of the Barbados IGF in the example of the Caribbean IGF which has produced 3 iterations of the "Caribbean Internet Governance Policy Framework" covering topics including Internet Technical Operations and Awareness Building among others.
Now that ICANN engagement in the region has contributed significantly to the sprouting of three national IGF's ( Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and Belize) it is expected that the trend of establishing structures to facilitate national multi-stakeholder discussions of important Internet related issues will continue and Caribbean stakeholders will gradually become more involved in contributing to the governance of the important resource that is the Internet