Senior Internet authorities and decision-makers from more than 100 countries are in Toronto this week for high-level discussions that will not only impact how the Internet operates, but also how it will be governed in the future.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (www.CIRA.ca), the organization that manages the .CA top level domain, is hosting ICANN’s 45th public meeting, the latest of three annual meetings held each year by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as part of its multi-stakeholder approach to coordinating the Internet’s addressing system.
The meeting is taking place at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle hotel from October 14 to 19.
ICANN is the non-profit organization responsible for the global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers, including country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) such as .CA, generic TLDs (gTLDs) such as .COM and .ORG, and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers communicate over the Internet.
“We are honoured to work with CIRA on ICANN 45,” said Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN. “ICANN, and the multi-stakeholder model on which it is based, demonstrate the goodwill and spirit of cooperation that exists in the global Internet community. All stakeholders play a crucial role in helping ICANN define its policy direction and we expect to build upon these relationships in the years to come.”
“ICANN’s bottom-up, light-handed approach to governance has allowed the Internet to become an incredible economic and democratizing force and the greatest driver of social change since the printing press,” said Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA. “This is a governance model that reflects the uniqueness of the Internet itself which we must work to preserve and evolve.”
CIRA has previously noted with some concern that Canada is well-behind in its Internet infrastructure, a situation Holland has described as “unacceptable”.
CIRA has called for national and industry-wide efforts to improve the security, speed and network resilience of Canada’s Internet.
This morning’s agenda featured an opening keynote by the President of the Treasury Board, Tony Clement. He discussed the Government of Canada’s Action Plan on Open Government, and described efforts to promote digital openness and innovation and provide Canadians with greater opportunities to learn about and participate in the democratic process, the economy, and government.
These principles are seen as aligning with ICANN’s multi-stakeholder approach to governance, a model that is relatively free of undue political interference and allows a myriad of stakeholders – such as engineers, marketers, coders, civil society and security experts – to have a voice equal to that of nations, NGOs or corporations.
From CIRA’s perspective, ICANN 45 comes at a critical juncture in Internet governance. The agenda and timing of this meeting offers stakeholders the opportunity to discuss who will govern the Internet in the future.
There are a number of competing visions for who should govern the Internet and the manner of such governance. CIRA continues to be a strong supporter of ICANN’s multi-stakeholder approach, and is calling on ICANN 45 attendees to continue to work together to foster a collaborative environment that will create a stable foundation upon which ICANN’s new leadership can succeed.
As ICANN’s new President and CEO, Chehadé plays a critical role in safeguarding and championing the multi-stakeholder model, Holland said in his speech during the opening ceremony.
“I think all of us who are gathered in Toronto for this important meeting have an obligation to act as ambassadors for that model, and support the good work of ICANN and its leadership,” said Holland. “The discussions and decisions taking place this week have global impacts. What we do here will advance the Internet for the well-being of everyone on Earth.”
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