ICANN has decided to donate $1 million to the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, an international organization that helps people stay connected during times of crisis.
The donation was announced at ICANN 73 in early March, not long after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and ICANN has spent the last six weeks picking a recipient and doing its due diligence. For ICANN, that’s basically warp speed.
The ETC is one of 11 “clusters”, overseen by the UN’s Inter-Agency Standing Committee, which provide relief during humanitarian crises. Other clusters help with food, medicine, and so on.
Its partners include UN agencies, other governmental bodies, charities, and private companies such as Cisco and Iridium.
The ETC has been on the ground in Ukraine since March 3, preparing to provide emergency communications and strengthen infrastructure against cyber-attacks, though its latest report notes that Ukraine’s infrastructure is holding up pretty well so far.
ICANN CEO Göran Marby said in a statement:
This is an initiative for which we have no precedent; it is a first for ICANN. I am proud of the org for the drive and commitment to quickly identify the best path and organization to efficiently deliver meaningful support. The ETC’s vision of “a world where safe and local access to reliable communications is always available” is well aligned with our mission to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
ICANN’s board has approved an ongoing program of similar donations, not just for Ukraine.