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Improving the Engagement Strategy for North America: Seeking Your Comments

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A draft version of the ICANN FY19-FY20 North America Engagement Strategy [PDF, 318 KB] is now open for comments from the ICANN community in North America. Invaluable insight was provided by active volunteers in the Supporting Organizations (SOs), Advisory Committees (ACs), and constituencies (Cs), who suggested goals, tactics, and metrics for the next two years.

Our Regional Challenges

While other regions have long followed stakeholder-driven engagement plans, this is the first year we have sought guidance directly from the North America stakeholder community. I'm grateful to members of the At-Large community in North America for suggesting this approach, and for the stakeholders who have been participating the past 90 days.

North America differs from other ICANN regions in a few ways. For example, it boasts a large population of informed volunteers who have easier access to many ICANN organization support functions that are based in Los Angeles. Furthermore, governments in the region are already proponents of the ICANN model, while language or connectivity barriers to participation are generally lower than in other parts of the world. Despite – or perhaps because of – these advantages, we have been able to focus on some challenging strategic issues, including:

  • How to make remote participation more rewarding, meaningful, and effective.
  • How to 'convert' followers of ICANN into more active participants in work processes.
  • How to reach new geographies and build community in different parts of our region.

A common theme for all of these discussions has been the question of metrics. What can we measure to determine whether engagement efforts are successful in furthering ICANN org's mission of inclusion, participation, and building a sustainable multistakeholder model?

Our Process and Initial Findings

Earlier this year, SO/AC/C leaders were kind enough to nominate individuals from across North America to participate in an Advisory Committee. The team started by reviewing the 2017-2018 Engagement Strategy and responding to a brief survey. We held two webinars and one in-person session at ICANN61 to gather feedback and encourage discussion. Every community structure within ICANN was consulted, and nearly all actively provided input.

"...the spirit of collaboration and desire to help ICANN succeed remains incredibly strong."

The strategic goals, objectives, and tactics laid out in the draft Engagement Strategy link to the global engagement goals outlined in ICANN's Five Year Strategic Plan [PDF, 1.6 MB].

Several issues for discussion emerged from the work, among them: content (how to convey the relevance of ICANN); mentorship; metrics; partnerships; and ICANN structural challenges (i.e. is the model still working). The discussions were thought-provoking and informative. They also revealed that the spirit of collaboration and desire to help ICANN succeed remains incredibly strong across the group who participated.

You have until 30 May 2018 to email your comments about the draft Engagement Strategy to NorAmEngagement@icann.org. A final FY19 -20 Engagement Strategy for North America document will be published in June.

Partnership with the community is key to success in any ICANN endeavor. I am grateful to the community members who, individually and collectively, contributed to this work.

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