Gabriela Szlak, together with Mark Datysgeld and Andrew Mack, was part of the team of experts organized by AM GLOBAL Consulting who, considering the reduced participation of Latin American companies in the ICANN Business Constituency (BC), worked on how to build sustained BC participation in Latin America, being a project aimed at finding new models of participation for these actors.
Thanks to its direct relationship with the main actors in e-commerce businesses in the region, the team was given the task of analyzing data available in ICANN, in the BC, in other public sources of information, and dozens of interviews with key business actors in the Latin American commercial sector. The effort aimed to bring light on questions regarding barriers to access memberships, reasons to participate and stop participating in the dialogues of the ICANN’s Business Constituency, and how relevant are the issues developed by these groups for the regional main commercial actors.
ICANN is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable globally. ICANN as a multistakeholder body develops global policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers through its coordination role of the Internet’s domain name system. In this sense, ICANN has an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.
The Business Constituency gathers the commercial Internet users at ICANN.
Despite seeking a balance in terms of representation and international participation, North American and European actors are the groups with the greatest representation at the ICANN BC. Thus, although Latin America is a region where electronic commerce and the use of the Internet for all types of transactions grow exponentially, its main business representatives are not so attracted to join and contribute with their opinions at ICANN’s Business Constituency. From the available data and interviews, the study team managed to outline recommendations to reverse this trend of separation between Latin American companies and the dialogues held at ICANN’s Business Constituency.
The Report’s recommendations include:
- Collect and Document more and better data about the region and its operators, in order to carry out efficient projects that respond to the profile of this group,
- Continue to promote the inclusion of business candidates from Latin America in their Fellowship Program, paying attention to the feedback provided through their opinions – especially, to their perceived reasons for acceptance or rejection of their applications -.
- Promote more proactive integration of businesses through its Strategic Plan for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
- Emphasize the importance of the Promotion and Projection of ICANN and its events, within LAC, as the fundamental recipient of such communications, taking advantage of regional events where the organizational/budgetary effort is modest.
- Use the languages of the region – Spanish and Portuguese – in materials and events, produced directly by native speakers, as well as reach the existing materials that constitute the bases of ICANN and its Business Constituency (as well as constantly monitor this improvement, by providing resources at least in Spanish to offer access to potential participants who are not English speakers),
- Strive to receive new members from LAC with better tools and personalized guidance, as well as visibility and enough time to answer their questions and recommendations,
- Create a specialized segment about the region, during the bi-monthly video call meetings of the Business Constituency,
- Adapt the options of its web pages to both languages, different regions and countries that could be part of ICANN and the Business Constituency,
- Strengthen the participation of members from this region, by being active in efforts to invite them to attend to ICANN’s events and contribute with their opinions,
- Considering to invest in events specially designed to support leaders in emerging markets in the region, as well as young representatives, and look for candidates for the Fellowship Program,
- Maximize the visibility of the Business Constituency through links on the websites of the members from this region.
Although Gabriela and the rest of the study team wanted to be as comprehensive as possible for this project, they clarify that much remains to be done to achieve the goal: to more accurately represent companies from all over the world, and especially from Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus, they consider that the recommendations presented require a commitment from ICANN and the Business Constituency to implement the changes of low budgetary impact, and to plan the changes that require an economic effort. However, they wish to emphasize the need to offer new participation models for Latin American and Caribbean companies and other underserved regions, in order to give them a relevant space within the ICANN ecosystem.
For more information about the Study Team, the Business Constituency and ICANN, please visit: https://www.bizconst.org/2019-latin-american-outreach-study-and-report