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Andrew Mack, AMGlobal Consulting IIC Comment

  • To: iic-implementation-plan@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Andrew Mack, AMGlobal Consulting IIC Comment
  • From: Andrew Mack <amack@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 12:28:33 -0700 (PDT)

To the Board,

I am writing – as a consultant with many
years experience working with tech focused businesses in emerging markets – to
express some real concerns about the Draft Plan for Improving Institutional
Confidence.  While I think the IIC offers some advances, overall the
document does not go far enough to give me a sense of real confidence, and in
some areas, I question just whose confidence ICANN is hoping to build.  In
no instance do I think it goes far enough to focus on the concerns of emerging

Regarding attempts at transparency and
responsiveness, I note that for the major plenary sessions translation services
have often been available.  Still we need to be realistic – very few ICANN
attendees from emerging markets speak at these sessions, in part because all of
the presentations and Board comments are made in English.  Based on my
experience they choose to participate in smaller group meetings, where
translation is often unavailable, and where the lack of English fluency can be
a significant impediment to participation.  Despite much talk, efforts to
promote a more language-neutral environment have, to this point, been fairly

Moreover, I have heard complaints over many
years now from ICANN attendees who are not native English speakers about the
timeliness of documents provided for the meetings.   In
Recommendations 2.5.1 and 2.5.2 the IIC plan calls for “executive summaries”
and “standardized formatting and timelines” for all published documents. 
However, in just our last meeting in Mexico City, one document that was the 
focus of a great deal
of discussion during the week was the much-anticipated “Economic Study” (which
as many comments have noted, doesn’t even mention emerging markets).  This
document was released – only after pressure from the delegates – not before the
meeting, but midway through the meeting, giving non-native English
speakers no time to read, reflect and react in the way that the process

With this history in mind, the
Recommendations on timeliness as they stand are inadequately vague and should
be changed to ensure that documents are publicized at least one week before the 
start of an ICANN meeting.  This is more than simple courtesy – it is
a fair and honest approach if ICANN is serious about its claim to want more
non-English speaking comment.
Finally, in the section on “strengthening
participation in the GAC to avoid capture” (Recommendation 1.6) the IIC
document calls for travel support to enable GAC representatives from Lesser
Developed Countries (LDCs) to attend the sessions.  This may be helpful,
but what about the possibility of increasing the ability for private sector
representatives from outside the OECD?  The truth is that there are many
kinds of capture, and capture by governments as a group is as great a risk as
any other to ICANN’s stated goal of having a private sector focused, private
sector run Internet.  

If we are to create real confidence in the
future of ICANN, we need to reach out well beyond an audience of governments –
which seem to be most of the focus of this document.  Real confidence lies
in ICANN’s ability to address the needs of users, developers and service
providers, especially those working to address the future of the net in
emerging markets.  I am pleased to see a new focus on LDC
participation.  Still, nearly all of the net’s past growth (and by nearly
all estimates its future growth) will result from private sector-led investment
and innovation.  If the goal of
Recommendation 1.6.3 is to hear more LDC voices, I suggest that ICANN can and
should be looking to support the participation of more LDC private sector 
not just governments.

Thank you.
Andrew Mack

Andrew A. Mack 
AMGlobal Consulting

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