DCA Exclusive Commentary on the African Ministerial Table Outcome and Resolution
October 22, 2011
DCA OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO THE DRAFT RESOLUTION OF MEETING OF EXPERTS AND THE AFRICAN MINISTERIAL ROUND-TABLE IN DAKAR FOR THE ‘AFRICAN AGENDA ICANN
The DotConnectAfrica Organization (DCA) attended the Meeting of Experts and the African Ministerial Round-Table that took place from 19th to 23rd October 2011 in Dakar for the ‘African Agenda ICANN’ as an observer, and would like to express its official opinion on the outcome and draft resolution of the Meeting of Experts and the African Ministerial Round-Table meeting that was convened for the purpose of discussing and adopting the resolution for an ‘African Agenda’ for presentation to the ICANN 42 Meeting that will take place in
DCA re-affirms its earlier position that the programme of the meeting agenda excluded many important stake-holders, which made it impossible for the voice and technical views of many organizations including DCA to be heard at the meeting(s). DCA therefore believes that this deliberate exclusion was pre-determined in a stage-managed fashion in order to produce a certain ‘runner-stamped’ outcome by the meeting.
2. The meeting of experts was made up of a certain coterie constituting various vested interests, and as such quite unrepresentative, and in similar fashion, the African Ministerial Round-Table could hardly qualify as such in the clear absence of African Ministers in attendance. Therefore, DCA strongly believes that in light of the fact that African Ministers were actually not present, and no proper Ministerial Quorum was formed, then no resolution could be passed and attributed as the outcome of an African Ministerial Round-Table, since such a resolution will not be legitimate if adopted in the name of absent African ICT Ministers against the backdrop that they were not invited either by official Note Verbale or other diplomatic communication protocol to officially invite them to attend a meeting that was convened in their name.
3. That the draft resolution which says that the names: DotAfrica, DotAfrique and DotAfrikia should be reserved for the AU should be rejected and not approved since this goes against the governance structure of the Internet.
4. DotAfrica, DotAfrique and DotAfrikia are ‘string similar’prospective names of a new geographical name DotAfrica generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) which cannot be reserved by any organization, but can only be applied for officially for delegation through the global ICANN new gTLDs programme that starts on January 12th 2012. The latest version (19th September 2011) of the ICANN Applicant’s Guidebook – Module 2 – already lists the reserved names under Section 184.108.40.206 and that the AU’s strategy of making DotAfrica a reserved name is simply to make these strings unavailable and put them out of the reach of prospective applicants.
Top-Level Reserved Names List
AFRINIC IANA-SERVERS NRO
ALAC ICANN RFC-EDITOR
APNIC ESG RIPE
ARIN IETF ROOT-SERVERS
ASO INTERNIC RSSAC
CCNSO INVALID SSAC
EXAMPLE* IRTF TEST*
GAC ISTF TLD
5. DCA hereby calls on all stakeholders and especially ICANN not to accept this type of imposition and to strongly resist, and not support any move by the African Union to put DotAfrica (or similar name strings) under the list of reserved names.
6. That if the AU insists on controlling, owning and leading the process of DotAfrica by using its political influence to gain official control of this new gTLD,
then the AU should be treated as any other prospective applicant that also needs to abide by the ICANN Applicants Guidebook and should not be given an preferential treatment to the detriment of other applicants.
7.That the AU’s commitment to the globally accepted multi- stakeholder model of Internet Governance should now be seriously questioned in light of its push to use its political influence and ‘muscle’ to take control of the new DotAfrica gTLD.
8. That AU’s involvement in DotAfrica is already sending a wrong message to many stakeholders and is now seen as an unnecessary disruptive interference even by ICANN and other interested watchers and observers.
9. That the Meeting of Experts and the ‘African Ministerial Round-Table’ should; not adopt any resolution that gives official or quasi- sovereignty over DotAfrica to the AU since the AU has not been able to demonstrate transparency, accountability and competence in the DotAfrica process. Similar sentiments have also been expressed and documented by the Experts Meeting of the Africa ICT Ministerial Roundtable on ICANN. This is especially worrying against the backdrop that the AU had committed itself to an open, transparent and accountable EOI process, and the present aura of secrecy is not only alarming but also a cause for great concern
10. That the example of DotEU Top Level Domain (TLD) that has been used to justify the AU’s involvement is inappropriate and not germane to the issue, since DotEU is simply a 2-code country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), and not the same as DotEurope which is a geographical domain. It is unfortunate that what could have been a DotAU TLD is similar to the country code for Australia (AU), but this does not justify the AU’s need for wanting the new DotAfrica generic TLD
11. That the AU’s prospective application for DotAfirca will be largely unsuccessful because the AU is ill-suited to run and operate a new gTLD like DotAfrica – either as a sponsor or registry; since the AU is a bureaucratic inter-governmental organization and not an agile business organization that can successfully operate a global generic Top Level Domain.
12. The AU’s involvement in DotAfrica will be interpreted as stifling competition and will not be seen as adding any value to the ICANN new gTLD programme, and its application for DotAfrica will not be favorably evaluated in light of the expectations that have been scrupulously stipulated in the ICANN Applicants’ Guidebook
13. DCA also believes that the position adopted regarding an African-based organization is meant to exclude Africans from having a world-class registry solution that would result from unfettered and fair international competition. Again, since the original EOI process did not include this requirement, DCA is of the view that this has been deliberately included to promote an outcome that will favour certain vested interests, and that this position should be rejected and not supported nor approved by anyone since this is contrary to the open competition aims and objectives of the new gTLD programme introduced ICANN.
14. DCA hereby reiterates its blame for the AU DotAfrica Task Force for their wrong advise and proposals of wanting the AU to lead and own the DotAfrica process, thereby misleading the AU into a dark and convoluted path of interfering in the DotAfrica process based on an infeasible scheme, since the AU was only supposed to endorse the project but not to participate in it, and the AU DotAfrica Task Force should now be held responsible and disbanded for their lack of technical competence and the problems they have created themselves and for everyone on DotAfrica.
15. That the ICANN new gTLDs process will not accept any resolutions by Council of Ministers or a Ministerial Round-Table, whether representative or unrepresentative, since these dubious resolutions do not qualify as endorsements,
but that if the AU decides to apply for DotAfrica based on the ICANN Applicant’s Guidebook, then it has to properly produce the required endorsements in the appropriate manner, but should not use its political influence and clout to take control of the DotAfrica process which it does not own as a legitimate and sovereign right.
16. That a community-based Application for DotAfrica by the AU will not meet the stringent requirements of the ICANN Applicant’s Guidebook since DotAfrica is a
geographical gTLD that is not representative of any community.
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The DotConnectAfrica (DCA) group is a Pan-African organization that was formed with an objective to advance education in the digital economy in the African society and, in connection with that objective, to benefit the general African public access to Internet resources including the digital transformation of Africa.