The success of the Internet is due in large part to its decentralized and distributed design. The Internet’s governance structure reflects and reinforces this design choice. The bottom-up, multistakeholder model of governance has addressed burgeoning policy issues in a remarkably agile and successful manner. It has addressed key challenges (secure DNS; IPv4 address exhaustion) without impeding the Internet’s enormous contribution to social welfare.
As anyone who has followed the global discourse on Internet governance knows, the multistakeholder model is under threat. Some governments have expressed a clear interest in putting multilateral organizations in charge of Internet policymaking. As the Internet has taken on a larger role in the economy and society, some governments have grown increasingly uncomfortable with their perceived lack of control. More recently, ICANN has received requests to expand its remit to address issues beyond the coordination of the Internet’s unique identifiers. This we will not do.
The ICANN Board recognizes that the single, open, global, interoperable Internet is under threat of failing due to emerging pressures on multistakeholder governance. As a consequence, the Board gave the ICANN CEO a mandate to work with other key organizations and leaders to establish a coalition to evaluate and participate in the formation a movement or initiative for an Internet cooperation agenda. We are pleased with his initial engagement with the Internet organizations and the broader multistakeholder community.
Please join us in the fight to strengthen the multistakeholder model. Together, we can prevent the fragmentation of the global Internet.