IGF 2017 WS #76 Multistakeholder governance of the Domain Name System, lessons learned for other IG issues

Short Title: 

Governance of the DNS: Lessons for other IG issues

Proposer's Name: Mr. Nigel Hickson
Proposer's Organization: ICANN
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Dierdre Sidjanski
Co-Proposer's Organization: ICANN
William J Drake; Civil Society, University of Zurich Farzeneh Badii, Civil Society, Georgia Tech, Atlanta

Session Format: Round Table - 90 Min

Country: Switzerland
Stakeholder Group: Technical Community

Country: Switzerland
Stakeholder Group: Technical Community

Speaker: William Drake
Speaker: Matthew Shears 
Speaker: Arda Gerkens
Speaker: Grace Mutung'u
Speaker: Jordan Carter
Speaker: Farzaneh Badii
Speaker: Mark Carvell
Speaker: Markus Kummer
Speaker: Lilian Deluque Bruges

Content of the Session:
Key elements of the Domain Name System (DNS) are governed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is a not for profit multistakeholder organization based in the US but with a global presence. Unlike in intergovernmental organizations, policy making is not dominated by any one group, but rather through equal engagement with business, the technical community, civil society, end users and governments. Anyone at ICANN has a voice and can contribute expertise to the search for policy solutions.  The governance structure of ICANN and its policy development processes are procedurally complex and demanding but have yielded sustainable solutions with broad buy-in from all actors.  The IANA Transition, where certain key responsibilities for the technical governance of the DNS were transitioned from the US authorities to the broad Internet Community is perhaps the best example of a complex policy negotiation – with a concrete result – being managed by a group of different stakeholders.

The multistakeholder Roundtable, while reflecting on the effectiveness of the multi-stakeholder process for the DNS at ICANN (and there are problems as well as achievements) will assess how it could be used for other IG issues which pose challenges for policy makers. The way we govern the Internet in the future will surely be a contributory factor in shaping our digital future.

A key Internet Governance questions addressed, through these Roundtable discussions is how bodies – especially those that are inter-governmental in nature, can adapt to benefit from the plurality of multi-stakeholder voices.

Relevance of the Session:
As the Internet issues faced by the international community proliferate, the governance of them becomes of increasing importance. National and Regional solutions are increasingly being found inadequate to deal with the global complexity of the digital transformation we are witnessing.

Tag 1: Multistakeholderism
Tag 2: ICANN
Tag 3: Digital Transformation

The Session will be organised in the form of a Roundtable with the discussants answering (arranged) questions from the moderator and then also the audience (both physically present and also on-line). 

The Discussants are drawn from different sectors, from different geographical areas and gender. They also include those experienced at the IGF and those for whom this IGF will be their first.

Onsite Moderator: Bill Drake 
Online Moderator: Dierdre Sidjanski
Rapporteur: Nigel Hickson 

Online Participation:
In addition to taking questions, through the moderator, of those taking part remotely, we will in advance have at least one discussant taking part virtually and will also, in advance of the session, pose specific question on appropriate social media. 

Discussion facilitation:
In the spirit of an interactive roundtable the Moderator will ensure that all the discussants are involved in the conversation (they are not giving up their time for no purpose) and contribute to the overall theme. There will be no opening statements or introductions. He will go straight to questions.

He will also involve the audience for questions (not statements) and the on-line audience. He will group questions together and not simply ask each discussant in turn to answer, but ensure that the relevant discussant speaks.

Before the end of session, he will pose final questions to discussants , allowing them a brief time for reflection.

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: Yes
Link to Report: https://www.intgovforum.org/cms/igf2016/index.php/proposal/view_public/6

Additional Speakers: 

Keith Drazek; VP, Public Policy and Government Realtions; Verisgin

Larry Strickling; Former Assistant Secretary at the NTIA, US Deaprtment of Commerce


Lori Schulman,  Senior Director, Internet Policy; International Trademark Association   


Ben Butler, Director of IT Security, GoDaddy


  1. Introduction of session (moderator)
  2. Brief explanation of how the Domain Name System is governed in a multistakeholder manner
  3. Perspective from stakeholders around the table
  4. Could this model be used for other Internet Governance issues and topics?
  5. Discussion with Audience
  6. Conclusion


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