ICANN's next meeting - ICANN52 - will take place in Singapore on 8-12 February 2015. ICANN meetings provide the opportunity for an internationally diverse group of individuals and organisations to come together and discuss and develop policies for the Internet's naming systems. A broad range of Internet-related topics are discussed at each meeting.
What is an ICANN meeting and what happens?
ICANN meetings provide the opportunity for an internationally diverse group of individuals and organizations to come together and discuss and develop policies for the Internet's naming systems. The organization’s staff of around 100 runs the meetings and coordinates with its volunteer supporting organizations (SOs) and advisory committees (ACs). The SOs and ACs are represented by governments, managers of Domain Name System elements (registries, registrars, ISPs), technical, business and intellectual property communities, academia, Internet users, and so on. ICANN’s Board, which is international in nature, ultimately weighs and makes the final decisions about Internet policies and processes.
One committee, the Governmental Advisory Committee or GAC, is made up of representatives from governments and governmental entities. Currently numbering 130 members, they come together at each meeting to provide a unique regulatory, legal, linguistic and cultural perspective on the issues being discussed during the meeting.
ICANN’s international meetings have been a staple of ICANN’s multi-stakeholder bottom-up consensus-building model since its formation in 1998. At the annual general meeting, one of each year’s three meetings, you have the opportunity to meet newly seated members of the Board of Directors and thank outgoing Board members for their service.
What topics are discussed?
A broad range of Internet-related topics are discussed at each meeting. The agenda is ever changing and as dynamic as the Internet itself, but typically they cover contractual issues with the retail and wholesale arms of the Domain Name System, ways to respond to illegal or abusive use of the Internet’s naming systems, internal restructuring, and new initiatives for increasing competition on the Internet.
Who should attend?
ICANN meetings are all about participation, collaboration, and finding solutions to the small – and large – problems that the Internet constantly faces. As a meeting attendee you could be from almost any profession and from any corner of the planet. ICANN is set up to allow everyone affected by its work – and that is pretty much everyone – to have a say in its processes.
To ensure that the organization stays flexible and changes to meet the needs and demands of a rapidly changing Internet, not only do the SOs, ACs, and the Board go through regular reviews, but ICANN also maintains a strong culture of general public participation.
Typical attendees include government representatives, business managers, IT managers and consultants, DNS industry managers and experts, intellectual property managers, academics, and others invested in the continuing stable, secure and resilient operation of the Internet. End users are also well represented. If you prefer to participate remotely, there are a wide range of mechanisms that make that possible.