By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch In an effort to improve internationalisation, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will open hubs in Singapore and Istanbul, to serve the Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa respectively. ICANN’s headquarters in Los Angeles will become the hub serving the Americas.
The hubs shall share responsibilities for all aspects of ICANN work, CEO Fadi Chehade said at the 46th ICANN meeting in Beijing.
ICANN leadership would work from the new hubs, and he himself would rotate for a year. In order to shift ICANN’s “centre of gravity” away from the United States, ICANN also will establish local ICANN engagement centres, with the first such centre to be established in Beijing. Not going to China would lead ICANN to lose some of its legitimacy, Chehade said.
Observers interpreted the move partly as a reaction to the tensions in the international community over internet governance, and applauded the Chehade’s promotion of the multi-stakeholder model. Yet at the meeting unfolding in Beijing, Chehade´s practical support for that model was questioned by stakeholders pointing to the last-minute and poorly consulted additions to the much-debated application process for new generic top-level domains (TLDs) under ICANN. more