ICANN’s Global Empire Spreads To Latin America With Engagement Centre

ICANN logoICANN has announced they will be opening an engagement centre in Montevideo, Uruguay, as it opens offices in strategic locations around the globe.

“The opening of this regional engagement centre is part of our growing effort to establish an ICANN presence in all parts of the globe,” said Fadi Chehadé, ICANN’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We are not merely saying to people ‘come to us.’ We are going to them. We are reaching out to the Latin American/Caribbean region with representatives who will live and work in the area.”

The ICANN engagement centre will be based in the House of the Internet, where several other Internet organisations are located, including: The Internet Society, the Latin American and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LANIC), The Latin American and Caribbean TLD Association (LACTLD) and the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Exchange Association (LAC-IX).

The announcement comes about following criticisms in recent months that ICANN is too US-centric, and with calls at the International Telecommunication Union’s World Conference of International Telecommunications conference in Dubai in December 2012 for the ITU to take on ICANN’s role among other internet governance roles.

The opening of the engagement centre is undoubtedly part of Chehadé’s goal to make ICANN more engaged globally, but also to head off criticisms from country’s such as Russia and Brazil who support the ITU becoming more involved in internet governance. The announcement also follows the organisation’s decision to open offices in Singapore and Istanbul, Turkey, and the first engagement centre, which was announced at the ICANN meeting in Beijing, China, and which would be located there.

“ICANN´s decision to establish its Engagement Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean at the House of the Internet makes us proud and at the same time confirms the value of this initiative that recently celebrated its first anniversary,” said Raúl Echeberría, CEO of LACNIC. “All of the organisations in the house will benefit and be strengthened in the achievement of their own objectives and in the joint work for the sake of the community in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

“I recently visited the House of the Internet,” said ICANN Board Chair, Dr. Stephen Crocker. “This is a fantastic model, where a number of different Internet organisations can coordinate their efforts and even share resources, working together for the benefit of Internet users across the region.”

It was during the Beijing meeting that a Multi-stakeholder Steering Committee for the Latin American and Caribbean region presented a 3-year strategic plan aimed at strengthening the Internet critical infrastructure in the region. The committee is made up of regional representatives of Internet users groups, the technical community, the private sector and governments.