Banner WTPF 2009

ICANN
Statement by Mr. Roberto Gaetano, Vice-Chair


Introduction
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Secretary General, dear distinguished guests. I’m honored to be here today to speak at this conference at the kind invitation by the ITU.

I would like to start by pointing out the ongoing collaboration between ICANN and the ITU that has been distinguished over the years by mutual exchanges. We have particularly appreciated the participation of the Secretary General at our meeting in Cairo last year.

ICANN Responsibilities
I would like to say a few words about what ICANN does and what can contribute to the topics of this forum. ICANN has a limited technical responsibility for the management of the unique Internet identifier system; basically, the names and the numbers that are used to reach people over the Internet.

Key issues that ICANN is dealing with are related. For instance, we are in the middle of the process of introducing new top level domains and finishing the policies for this introduction.

This role that ICANN has — that is, introducing new top level domains — is affecting the global Internet community a great deal. If I can just recall for you the fact that 10 years ago the prices for buying a domain name were much higher than today and that by creating some competition in the marketplace — not only with the introduction of new gTLDs, but also with having registrars that are now all over the world operating close to the local communities and also in developing countries — we have eliminated a monopoly system.

ICANN is also dealing with country code top level domains on issues that relate to their interoperability.

Another very important aspect is the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet. The importance of establishing a secure Internet at a global level is something that is acknowledged by every party.

ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee is addressing these security and stability issues and is concerned about the introduction of DNSSEC and the propagation of secure communication — from the root system down to the DNS tree.

ICANN is also involved in the Internationalized Domain Names — the introduction of domain names that are not written in ASCII characters at the top level — and that is going to be an immense contribution, especially for the countries and populations that use different languages and language scripts.

IDNs will not solve multilingual content — that will only come from the generation and use of content — but it does enhance the multicultural and multilingual aspect of the Internet. The ”multilingual internet” is another area where I would like to mention our fruitful collaboration with the ITU. As the Secretary General also mentioned in his report, there is collaboration between the ITU, ICANN, UNESCO and other international organizations to achieve this important objective.

We are also involved in IP addressing by distributing blocks of addresses to the regional registries, that now exist and operate in all geographic areas, and are part of the ICANN community, and these addresses then flow down to the domain registries. We have fought to distribute the addresses close to the local communities because doing so brings the issues close to the end users.

With cooperation and hard work from the RIRs, we now have consensus policies on equitable distribution of the last IPv4 address blocks, and are working on the introduction of IPv6 in all regions.

Observations
So what can we say in terms of conclusion of this? What’s needed for the Internet’s success to continue is not only ongoing innovation at the edge, but access to the Internet, the ability to be online, the infrastructure. The task of ICANN is to manage the parameters of the Internet.

We all have a responsibility to make sure that once online, people can communicate. And to do that we need the strengths of all industries, all sectors, working together to address issues and identify solutions.

In today’s economic climate, this is of course particularly important and true. There are many organizations, businesses, and stakeholders involved.

I think that the Internet is a technical innovation that has changed the way people and organizations communicate, and it has produced a new model for communication that also has social impacts.

We believe that the governance model of this new thing on the Internet has to be adapted to the technology. It needs an equally innovative, participative model that is inclusive of all people and organizations that have an interest at stake. This is the leading idea of ICANN’s philosophy — the multistakeholder model — and that means cooperation and collaboration with all entities involved in the Internet — governments, business, civil society, technical community, end users.

ICANN’s approach is to have all these different entities around the table to take part in the development of consensus policies. ICANN’s task and ICANN’s approach is to involve these different organizations and individuals in the establishment of consensus policy.

Conclusion:
I would leave you with one parting thought — a single, interoperable Internet is essential for a successful information society, a knowledge society, a contributor to the success of coming out of the current global economic situation by empowering and enabling innovation, efficiency, cost cutting measures while also fostering new businesses.

And I think that the key issue is to bring together in this process all the organizations, all the stakeholders, and to have continuous participation and contribution from all the parties that have an interest at stake.

We look forward to continuing participation, and contribution, to these discussions.