Update on ATLAS II
In an earlier entry to this blog, the second global At Large Summit (ATLAS II) was discussed. The final report, ATLAS-II-Declaration,has been released and offers a number of useful recommendations for ICANN improvement.
The report focuses on the 5 thematic themes of the summit:
- Future of Multi-Stakeholder Models
- The Globalization of ICANN
- Global Internet: The User Perspective
- ICANN Transparency and Accountability
- At-Large Community Engagement in ICANN
In each of these categories, the summit offers concrete suggestions for improvement. Some of them have special importance for the LGBTQI+ community that is the core of the dotgay community.
Recommendation 1, for example, is important to our community, “ICANN should continue to support outreach programmes that engage a broader audience, in order to reinforce participation from all stakeholders.” Up to now, the effort for outreach has primarily been geographical, a continuing need. But the is need for outreach that is broader that just geography. The outreach needs to extend to communities whose concerns have not yet been discussed within Internet governance ecosystem, for example the global LGBTQI+ community, as well as other communities of endangered minorities.
Recommendation 13 reinforces this further: “ICANN should review the overall balance of stakeholder representation to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to all views, proportionally to their scope and relevance.” While there is not indication that they were referring to communities such as the gay community, it is obvious from the the experience of dotgay over the last years in ICANN that this is essential.
One of the appendices included in the report ICANN’s obligation to serve the Public Interest.
Public Interest in ICANN
The term ‘Public Interest’ within ICANN’s remit remains ambiguous and ill defined. Consequently no consistent measure of the basis and quality of its decisions is possible. The At-Large Community supports the draft ‘FY15 Strategic Plan’s focus area to develop and implement a global public responsibility framework in this regard. This could also clarify that the Internet users are stakeholders and not “consumers”.
This has been a subject that has frequently come up in regard to dotgay’s community application. Getting ICANN to treat community applications, such as dotgay’s application for .gay, as being in the public interest has been painful, and expensive, both for dotgay LLC and for the community organizations that are its foundation.
The gay community can and should get involved in the efforts of the At-Large to bolster accountability and service in the public interest at ICANN. The At-Large is organized around 200 At Large Structures that around the world. Members of the dotgay-community are encouraged to find an ALS in their region and get involved. Beyond that there is an opportunity for any regional LGBTQI+ organizations to form their own chapters, that is their own At Large structures (ALS). The At-Large is the voice of the users in ICANN global management of critical Internet resources, and often acts as the organization’s conscience. As the gay community gets more involved in the Internet ecosystem, the community must assert itself as a stakeholders. At-Large is a good place to do this..