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The Proposal on Geographical Diversity

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1999.6.10

Kilnam Chon

Diversity – Internet Globalization 
“Geographical Diversity” has been discussed in ICANN, and this memo tries to address its issue and scope.

The Internet is being globalized with over 244 countries and regions connected to the Internet by now.  There are several issues to be considered for the Internet to become truly global;

1. Geographical Diversity

Geography is one of the fundamental measurement on diversity, and ICANN recognizes 5 regions with appropriate representation of all regions such as at least one ICANN Board Director from each region and at most three Directors from any region to represent At Large members. Each Support Organization is expected to send one from each region. In DNSO Names Council, this is not well kept so far by waiving the geographical diversity requirement.

2. Cultural Diversity

Single most posing issue is English, which is almost official language in the Internet. If you see any ICANN meeting, you will find almost all speakers are native English speakers even though there are many more non-native English speakers in the meeting.  Procedures carried out at ICANN tend to be of USA and of the western civilization.

3. Economical Diversity

Difference of GNP of various countries are 100 times or more. ICANN meets four times a year now.  This is nearly possible to follow for almost all countries.  Many meetings are announced in very short notice such as one to four weeks.  Most countries would not be ready to participate economically to start with.  We have to be more sensitive economically, too.

Several recommendations are as follows (for discussion):

1. Find out what is appropriate for geographical diversity on ICANN activities.  Need to set up a committee to study.

2. Cultural diversity should be considered starting from multi-lingual support in as many aspects of ICANN activities as possible.

3. Meetings should be scheduled with economically sensible way if possible. Plan to have ICANN meetings less frequently, possibly with longer meeting period.  Four times a year is too often, and twice or three times would be more appropriate.  Consider other Internet-related organizations such as IETF, which meets three times a year.

4. Consider outreach to:
Less developed regions
Non-Internet regions and users

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