Author: Rafael “Lito” Ibarra (Member of ICANN’s Board of Directors, SVNet’s Founding President and Executive Director).
ICANN is, by definition and its very essence, an organization that seeks the participation of a great number of people and entities around the globe, with the purpose of establishing policies, processes, and inquiries, as well as other aspects pertaining to their mission, which is to oversee the functioning and operation of unique identifiers in the Internet: domain names, IP addresses, autonomous systems and protocols.
This modus operandi stems from the fact that ICANN was conceived as and considers itself to be a multistakeholder organization, in which all actors and sectors are able to participate and get involved with equal rights and duties. In that regard, most of its events and meetings are public and transparent; in almost all cases, any person, as individuals or as representatives of an entity —be it public or private— can attend those meetings and debates, and express their opinions in many of them.
Diversity is another key topic for ICANN. In fact, it has, on the one hand, a working group devoted to the development of this topic and, on the other, different polls that aim at: analyzing the way in which diversity is promoted and enabled; collecting statistical information about it and; in particular, finding out which the main obstacles that lessen generalized participation are.
In our region, language and the possibility to travel are some of the main difficulties. We systematically try to solve these problems through the use of translations and live transcriptions of meetings (both on-site and online). Besides, there are supporting programs to afford travels and participate in the regional meetings or events.
The regional ICANN office, located in Montevideo, aims at encouraging and promoting the involvement of actors and members of the community in its meetings and activities. To that end, ICANN intends to maintain its visibility in many of the regional and local events. During these events, ICANN explains its role within the Internet ecosystem, supports activities conducted by other national and regional organizations, and presents and shares publications in our languages. Moreover, ICANN also has a strategic plan for the region, which is currently underway with the involvement of all of those who want to be a part of it.
Being consistent with participation issues, which can be seen in the work of other Latin American and Caribbean organizations related to the Internet, such as LACTLD, LACNIC, and ISOC, significantly helps promote and enable the active involvement of individuals and institutions in the region on topics that, since they are global, are of interests to all communities.
This way, and from several work areas, it is crucial to continue promoting the participation of more Internet users and actors from Latin America and the Caribbean in meetings, debates, working groups and organizations that are part of the Internet ecosystem, with the purpose of knowing and positively and actively contributing to the common definition of the “Internet” that we would like for our fellow citizens.