Civil society involvement in ICANN: Strengthening future civil society influence in ICANN policymaking

Robin Gross

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was established in 1998 by the United States Department of Commerce to oversee a number of internet-related tasks. One of its core duties is to manage the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA), which allocates IP addresses to various regional asigning bodies.

ICANN occupies a unique role in that it manages a global public resource (the internet’s domain name addressing space), but it shares this responsibility between businesses, governments, and civil society participants from many nations.
It represents a unique blend of “multi-stakeholderism” governance: the different parties that will be impacted participate in the decision-making process, and policies are determined based on consensus.

This paper investigates ICANN’s processes, the role of civil society within decision-making, and highlights lessons learned from this multi-stakeholderism experiment as well as reccomendations for future similar initiatives.

« Go back