[At-Large] Coping with active participation in At-Large during COVID-19

Glenn McKnight mcknight.glenn at gmail.com
Sat May 2 14:28:09 UTC 2020


Here is the draft response from* NARALO* . Note we are still  working out
the logistics of the ideas  and its not final .  I am sharing it for
inspiration purpose.
The  bold and italic comments are excerpts from ICANN's comments direct
from the ICANN page


Supporting the Work of Our Global Community over the Next Few Months:
Leveraging Remote Participation

Link to document




   All ICANN Face to Face meetings on hold to Sept 2020



   The Pandemic will likely be worse in the fall according to the CDC
   comments and likely it will be into 2021. (1)  and resulting in no  Face
   to Face meetings during that year

Item One:  Remote Participation

ICANN has always embraced remote participation. It is what makes our work
accessible to a global community and enables us to get the work done
between meetings. COVID-19 has made remote engagement even more crucial,
and a very real and practical alternative


This is a practical solution to keep the community engaged but the devil is
in the details.  We have a serious digital divide which impacts the ATLARGE
community.  Since ICANN has  Multistakeholderism baked into its DNA it is
critical to provide communities with the tools to properly engage.   In
Canada, especially in the far- north, in the US  tribal lands, as well as
in rural areas(2), among students(3)  and in poor urban communities(4)
there is a serious digital divide that makes it next to impossible to
participate fully in the meetings. In fact, if there are few participants
in such areas, it is not because they don’t want to participate. They
simply cannot participate unless their internet accessibility issues are
addressed. Although ICANN cannot be responsible for all digital divide
issues, it must recognize that these exist and perhaps look for alternative
ways to deal with these -- create support groups, reach out locally with
low tech methods, build partnerships with national, regional, and local
organizations, etc..

Item Two;  Leverage Participation Tools

It is more important than ever that we leverage our remote participation
tools to continue effectively engaging and supporting our community in the
work that needs to be done; at the very least, over the next four months.


It is not just a matter of online tools ie. Zoom,  Adobe, Bluejean etc or
accessibility issues, but about the bandwidth required by any or all of
them. Moreover, many within At Large have uneven connectivity speeds and
others are burdened with very high Internet costs and extremely slow
speeds. This combined with the loss of income by many of the participants
due to COVID-19  making it harder for them to pay for the extra data needed
to participate in the At Large or other ICANN related calls.

 Item  Three   Online Courses/ Webinars

We are working with the community to ensure that high-priority topics for
this period are being addressed and are creating new opportunities and
training for our stakeholders within At Large to participate. As such, we
are looking at facilitating these efforts and adding a variety of
additional activities to build capacity, to attract new participants, and
to educate, and engage these new participants. These activities will
include informative webinars, ICANN Learn modules, lectures, and ICANN
Public Meeting readouts.

However, this strategy of engagement is only possible where high-speed
Internet access is available and the end-user has the funds to pay for the
extra service.  We would be interested in learning about any surveys that
ICANN LEARN staff have done on connectivity challenges of end-users.  A
recent informal ATLARGE survey, although having only twenty responses,
shows that participants in developing countries have limited bandwidth
especially in many parts of Africa and small island states combined with
high Internet costs.

General View

In the short run, the participation in the first virtual meeting (Cancun)
while having very high participation, should be looked at as a novelty,
this will not be the new norm. We do expect that participation in future
meetings will drop until the economy gets back on track. Participants do
not have the available income to spend on the access needed to actively
participate in online meetings. We are at a serious risk of losing valuable
volunteers. At Large participants are volunteers and unlike other
constituencies, they do this outside their paid jobs and often take a
vacation to attend ICANN Meetings.

 Our community unlike the other the government or business community do not
have the luxury of sponsorship to carry on their volunteerism.  Our
community has had to dig into their own pockets to pay to participate. If
the economy does not pick up we can see a substantial loss of participants
from locations we cannot afford to lose.  We propose that ICANN recognize
the value of these participants and create a special connectivity fund. The
process and procedure could be worked out in a simple application and
approval process.



   Provide the stipend to all elected ATLARGE community members

   Provide an opportunity to ALS members to receive an Internet
   Connectivity voucher to offset their high Internet costs so they can

   ICANN LEARN should conduct a true connectivity survey of all users.

   Improve upon the end-user survey at the end of all ICANN Public webinars
   to get feedback on participation and connectivity experiences ie. latency,
   quality etc

Under development




   60% of farmers in the US report very poor Broadband speeds

   Students and digital divide

   Poor and Digital Divide


   Broadband  Infographic

Glenn McKnight
ICANN NOMCOM 2019-2021
mcknight.glenn at gmail.com
Curator for  Internet Governance Hub Blog
www.internetgovernancehub.blog  <http://www.internetgovernancehub.blog>
IEEE Toronto SIGHT Chair
glenn.mcknight at ieee.org
skype  gmcknight
twitter @Inkmedia
289-830 6259

On Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 3:59 PM Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>

> Dear At-Large Community
> In all our recent ICANN meetings, the Board and the senior staff have been
> very mindful of the difficulties that are being experienced by the
> volunteer community of At-Large during this pandemic and its impact on
> their ability to participate as regularly as they used to.
> During his intervention in the ALAC meeting on  28 April, the At-Large
> appointed Board member, Leon Sanchez, raised his ongoing concerns and asked
> the 70+ participants at the meeting how ICANN might be able to help
> volunteers to continue with their active involvement in the work of
> At-Large and contributing to the bigger picture work of ICANN.
> Because he has requested practical and constructive suggestions about how
> ICANN may be able to assist, I am putting this message out to those who
> also already attend online meetings and actively participate and engage,
> even under really trying personal circumstances. I am willing to pass on
> your suggestions to Leon, who will in turn take these to the Board for
> their consideration.
> *Please respond only to this thread* before 7 May, so that the full
> account can be passed on to Leon.  I look forward to your thoughtful
> contributions to this matter.
> Regards
> Maureen
> ALAC Chair
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