The APAC Space face-to-face meeting was held during ICANN66 in Montreal on 6 November 2019. The main agenda was to discuss ICANN’s 5-year Strategic Plan for FY21-25 and how this could be implemented in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. 41 participants, including those who joined remotely, attended the meeting.

In summary, Nathalie Vergnolle (Strategic Planning Director, Multistakeholder Strategy & Strategic Initiatives, ICANN) gave a brief overview of ICANN’s 5-year Strategic Plan. Jia-Rong Low (VP, Stakeholder Engagement & Managing Director, ICANN APAC) went through some APAC perspectives to the strategic plan. Edmon Chung facilitated the community discussion and participant introductions as the APAC Space Community Facilitator. There were 2 main areas of discussion: 1) IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) and UA (Universal Acceptance); and 2) Improving participation in ICANN policymaking.

During AOB, Mili Semlani and Manju Chen introduced the Youth4IG initiative.

Action Items

  • Community members were encouraged to participate in the UASG (Universal Acceptance Steering Group) to join efforts to promote UA.
  • ICANN APAC regional office will share a template for organizing ICANN readouts at a community member’s request.
  • Community members were encouraged to join Youth4IG and participate in the pilot mentorship programme.

Links to the meeting recording and presentation slides can be found at the APAC Space Community Wiki page here:

Details of the session are as follows:

ICANN 5-Year Strategic Plan FY21-25

Nathalie highlighted that there was a new vision in the ICANN 5-year Strategic Plan for FY21-25 (refer to pg. 5 of the Strategic Plan). The ICANN 5-year Strategic Plan for FY21-25 will come into effect on 1 July 2020. It is complemented by a 5-year Operating Plan and an Annual Operating Plan & Budget. The strategic plan would continue to evolve as it is being implemented.

Nathalie shared the 5 strategic objectives which were identified in consultation with the ICANN community, namely:

  1. Strengthen the security of the Domain Name System (DNS) and the DNS Root Server System.
  2. Improve the effectiveness of ICANN’s multistakeholder model of governance.
  3. Evolve the unique identifier systems in coordination and collaboration with relevant parties to continue to serve the needs of the global Internet user base.
  4. Address geopolitical issues impacting ICANN’s mission to ensure a single and globally interoperable Internet.
  5. Ensure ICANN’s long-term financial

APAC Perspectives to the FY21-25 Strategic Plan

Jia-Rong shared that the ICANN APAC regional office will be facilitating a series of discussions with the APAC community to discuss the strategic plan’s implementation in the region. He mapped planned engagement activities in the APAC region to each of the strategic objectives, and sought inputs to these activities, as well as ideas for other activities in collaboration with the APAC community going forward:

  • Security
    • Jia-Rong shared that a key activity in this area was the deployment of some 30 ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) instances in the region so far. The ICANN APAC regional office continues to seek prospective hosts in the region.
    • In addition, the APAC regional office is also seeking prospective partners to work on hyperlocal root server deployment.
    • Jia-Rong also highlighted that the APAC regional office was seeking to collaborate with partners on various technical partnerships and projects. These include:
      • Measuring DNS use and abuse through the Identifier Technology Health Indicators (ITHI) and DNS Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR)
      • Other areas could also be explored. For example, ICANN org partnered with India’s NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) focusing on technical research. Such research would contribute to the Internet ecosystem e.g., via RFCs (Request for Comments) in the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force).
    • A key pillar and continued area of focus would be DNSSEC (DNS Security Extensions) deployment; and technical training on DNS Security and DNSSEC.
  • ICANN’s Governance
    • To achieve this strategic objective in the longer run, a key focus area has been to facilitate community building by fostering a network amongst the community APAC. Success has been found in platforms such as:
      • APAC Space, which has been successful in gathering a regular group of community members together.
      • APIGA (Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy) – 1 in 4 APIGA alumni continue to participate in the Internet governance space.
      • ICANN readouts – which were first started in Japan and are now also carried out in China and India.
      • Working with APRALO leadership to engage potential and current at-large structures.
      • The APAC regional office also supports regional and local Internet governance fora (such as APrIGF) as they foster a community network as well.
      • Based on the above, Jia-Rong noted that we now have a group of APAC ICANN “regulars” in addition to the ICANN “veterans”. He asked for thoughts on how to facilitate effective participation by the “regulars” in ICANN work. One way was to strengthen their links with the “veterans”.
  • Unique Identifier Systems
    • Jia-Rong highlighted that Internationalised Domain Names and its related topic on Universal Acceptance remains a key focus area of the APAC regional office. The strategic plan having an objective related to these topics further strengthens the mandate of the APAC regional office’s work.
    • Jia-Rong highlighted that the APAC regional office has been working closely with the UA Steering Group, currently chaired by Dr Ajay Data, and will be supporting the work led by the UA Local Initiative.
  • Geopolitics
    • Jia-Rong highlighted that geopolitical issues, such as new legislation around the world might impact ICANN’s mission and a single global, and interoperable Internet. There was a need to continue tracking such issues/legislation. Jia-Rong noted that the APAC regional office had a small team and would not be able to do this on their own. He sought the collaboration of the community.

Community Discussion

Discussion highlights are as follows:

IDNs and UA

  • Community members made several suggestions to promote IDNs and UA:
    • Registries and registrars can play a role to promote IDNs by providing a consistent user and registration experience.
    • UASG Chair Ajay Data informed that the UASG Technology Working Group targets technology enablers and developers to promote UA standards globally. ICANN’s stakeholder groups such as GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee) and ALAC (At-Large Advisory Committee) have also initiated working groups to discuss UA.
    • ICANN could register IDNs for and allow users to access the website in their own local scripts. To enable this, Jia-Rong asked the APAC community to raise their voices and make this demand known from the region.
  • A community member said that technical discussions related to IDNs should be referred to other technical organisations such as IETF, Unicode, etc. so as not to reinvent the wheel and duplicate discussions.

Improving Participation in ICANN Policymaking

  • A community member shared the practice e.g., in Japan and Vietnam, to collectively discuss positions on certain policy issues before voicing them out during APNIC meetings. This was useful to determine the collective positions of stakeholders made through deliberative discussion rather than individual opinions.
  • More capacity building such as an informal mentorship programme, and training in policy writing and policy webinars could enable community to participate in ICANN policy development.
  • A community member encouraged ICANN org to focus more on engaging within ICANN rather than regional/local fora. Also, more APAC community participation was needed in GNSO (Generic Names Supporting Organization) to help develop ICANN policy.
    • Jia-Rong clarified that the purpose of wider community engagement was to raise awareness of ICANN by bringing ICANN and its policy discussions to the region first. Thereafter, people could start to get engaged within ICANN. Reiterating his presentation, the question now was how to help the now-established group of regulars to plug into ICANN’s policy discussions.



Manju introduced a mentorship programme which was being developed within Youth4IG where mentees could meet their mentors on a bi-weekly basis. The pilot mentorship programme plans to start recruitment in early 2020.

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