The process of determining how best to transfer stewardship of key internet technical functions from the US Government to the international community began Monday during ICANN’s 49th public meeting in Singapore and be accessible to as many as possible. ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé said information will be available in all six United Nations languages plus Portuguese as well as for people with accessibility issues.
This was important, Chehadé said, so as many people as possible from as many parts of the world could participate in the consultation process.
Discussions on the transfer of stewardship were driven by the recent announcement from the United States Government.
“Everyone is welcome and ICANN is committed to equal participation by all parties interested to give their opinion,” Chehadé said. “We must all be equal partners.” The consultation will be “inclusive and allow full participation.”
But the consultation process has not yet been clearly defined with concerns being raised about the clarity of how it will take place. Explaining this, Chehadé noted, a memo will be coming out on 7 April to explain more.
“This is indeed momentous,” Chehadé told an international news conference. “The decision by the United States Government validates the idea that people around the world can come together and manage a global resource that is borderless.”
But when asked what the timeline was, Chehadé was non-committal, saying that the security, stability and resiliency of the internet were more important. Further, Chehadé reiterated the NTIA’s recent comments that said no transfer would take place unless the IS Government were satisfied there would be no detrimental impacts on the internet. However Chehadé said that September 2015, the end date for the current IANA contract is what the organisation is working towards. But if it is not ready to happen, ICANN will ask for an extension of their contract.
Explaining the next steps in the transition process, Chehadé went on to say, “We will now take the global process launched today by the ICANN community to the world. We will have meetings and consultations with the public, communities and with our fellow technical organisations, the IETF, the Regional Internet Registries, and here most importantly in the Asia Pacific region, APNIC, who will be partnering with us in getting the word out to involve everyone into that process.”
“I would like to congratulate ICANN for successfully setting up two regional hubs last year, one in Istanbul, Turkey, and the other here in Singapore,” said Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information. “It underscores ICANN’s commitment to serve the global community. and I believe that Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore will be a great vehicle for ICANN to reach out to the region.
“Absolutely central to everything that we do and that matters to the world at large is the security, stability and resiliency of the system,” said Board Chair Dr. Stephen D. Crocker. “The discussion that is taking place now has to do with the stewardship, but with the proviso of continued stability and rock-solid operations of the core functions.”