Katim S. Touray
kaamt at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 11 20:33:50 SAST 2009
I've been meaning for the past few days to write this one, but it's been a bit hectic. So please pardon me.
I am writing to congratulate all of you for coming together to craft a response (http://www.ntia.doc.gov/comments/2009/dnstransition/) to the call for comments (http://www.ntia.doc.gov/press/2009/OIA_ICANNJPA_090427.html) on the imminent end of the JPA between ICANN and the US Dept. of Commerce. It's great that you were able to work together to send your comment in, and on time. As a subscriber to the list, I have been following the genesis of your response with interest, and satisfaction, and I'm glad your opinions have been counted. As an ICANN Board member, I felt that I should not contribute to the content of your response, in view of the fact that ICANN is a party to the JPA. But all the same I am proud, as an African, that we stood up to be counted. That is the spirit we need to keep moving forward.
I am also glad that some individuals (Nii, and Esam) sent their own replies. I would like more of us to do this, wherever possible, because it will also go to illustrate the diversity of opinions we have. I also like the fact that we voted (so to speak) early, so that our comments are not lost in the flood of comments that came in on the last day of the comment period. The old saying "vote early, vote often" really does make sense here, even if not in politics.
Moving forward, I have a few suggestions:
1. Sydney 2009 - Can we talk? I think it would be great to have a chat (even if informal in Sydney). In all likelihood, there will be a smaller number of participants from Africa at the Sydney meeting compared to Mexico City, or even Cairo. For this reason, it might be much easier to get us all together. I suggest Anne-Rachel look into this possibility, and let us know.
2. Developing Countries Interest Group - I've been thinking (and talking with some people) about the wisdom of having an ICANN interest group on issues that affect people from developing countries. I know there are many support organizations and committees we have representation in. However, I think over and beyond the mandates of those entities (government affairs for the GAC, and ccTLDs for the ccNSO), we have a lot in common with other developing countries. For example, a Bhutani in the GAC probably has much more in common with a Burkinabe in the ccNSO, that with the French in the GAC. It thus makes sense, I think, for us to have some mechanism for people from developing countries to be able to share ideas on how their interests in ICANN, and the global Internet at large can best be taken care of. Now, notice that I am not talking about a new "constituency." I think we can, for now, concentrate on building a platform or forum (even if
informally) to discuss issues and ideas about ICANN and people from developing countries. When the interest group is strong enough and we, over time, build a case for a proper ICANN constituency, we can then talk about formally structuring and pushing for the group to be formally recognized as a constituency. This is just a thought, and I think it can well be a discussion item at an informal Africa-group meeting in Sydney, if ever we have one.That's about it for now. For those of you going to Sydney, I wish you bon voyage! Congratulations again for a job well done, and best wishes!
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