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Diversity Is Neither an Option Nor a Secondary Requirement for ICANN

While enhancing ICANN’s diversity has been agreed on as a principle, previous discussions were often characterized by conflicting views on priorities, dimensions of diversity, or the current levels of diversity. As a new group is about to be formed to enhance ICANN’s diversity, the importance of the purpose cannot be underestimated: “Maximum participation and transparent deliberations by all affected stakeholders are necessary in order to capture the diversity of views that constitute the (global) public interest in a given instance”.1

Through the provision of a data collection framework, and a snapshot of ICANN’s current diversity metrics the pursued goal of this publication is to enable:

  • In the short term, a quick and fact based assessment of the current situation
  • In the medium to long term, provide a clear baseline for tracking progress

The initial effort has focused on 190 “ICANN community leaders” as a first step. The 190 individuals, have at least one the following roles within ICANN at the time of collection (April 2016):

  • Board Director
  • Supporting Organization or Advisory Committee member of the Council or equivalent body2
  • gNSO Constituency Executive Committee or Bureau member
  • Nominating Committee member
  • CCWG-Accountability members

This analysis had led to some early findings.

  • ICANN community largely remains North American Region centric. Close to 40% of the 190 leaders considered in this study are from the North American Region. This is by far the largest delegation of the “ICANN leaders” population. On the other hand, Africa, Latin America and Asia are under-represented.
  • The dominance of native English speakers within ICANN is very strong. Close to two thirds of the “ICANN Leaders” speak English as their mother tongue. The repartition of languages within ICANN is in stark difference with the global population. It is unclear of course whether the fact that English is the working language is an outcome or a cause for this situation.
  • 26% of “ICANN leaders” are women. While this is obviously far from gender balance, it remains difficult to assess whether this ratio is representative of the population of ICANN participants in general. This ratio was not available at the time of writing. It is hard to find a reason for the very limited women representation within the ICANN Board (4 out of 16) and Nomcom (2 out of 20). It would be useful to assess whether the gap in the Board is related to the gender imbalance in the Nominating Committee.
  • Across the population of 190 “ICANN leaders”, the business sector and academic / technical community are most prominently represented. They represent about 80% of the individuals in the study. On the other hand, Civil Society and Government represent only 10% each approximately.

This publication is a pilot, an experimental attempt at providing facts and figures about ICANN Diversity. Much remains to be done to provide even more insights.

For any request related to the above, or interest in following the latest developments of this initiative, please contact Afnic at [email protected]

1 See CCWG-Accountability Supplemental Report, Annex 12, https://community.icann.org/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=58723827
2 For the GAC, Chair and Vice-Chairs were included in this category

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