[AFRINIC-announce] AFRINIC Response to Government Calls for an Arab RIR

Babusha Radhakissoon babusha at afrinic.net
Tue Feb 26 14:54:52 SAST 2013

Over the past weeks and following on from talks at last year's ITU WTSA
and WCIT events, both AFRINIC and the RIPE NCC have been asked to
participate in discussions concerning the possibility of establishing a
new Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for the Arabic-speaking community.


In the spirit of open community discussion both AFRINIC and the RIPE NCC
felt that it was essential that we bring this to the attention of our
members and community.


It is imperative to note that these discussions have not in any way been
instigated by the management or staff of either AFRINIC or the RIPE NCC.
The matter has been raised and promoted by representatives of certain
governments in the Arab community.


AFRINIC is proud to serve the needs of its members in Arab speaking
states, in Northern Africa and believes that the existing system can
meet the needs of a growing membership from the region. Through its
structure AFRINIC also allows the region to be well represented in its
governing Board and has held several members meeting in the region since
its creation in 2005.


As you are all aware, an RIR provides a range of services, including
managing its service region's Internet number resources (IPv4, IPv6 and
ASNs), maintaining proper records of all registry activities in a
publicly accessible database (whois),as well as capacity building and
training on use of these resources. RIRs also provide general support
for regional Internet Infrastructure, and facilitate community
discussion and engagement.AFRINIC has played a vital role in unifying
the policies that govern the entire Africa/Indian Ocean region and by
lowering the entry barrier for all African operators to obtain their own
Internet Number Resources has enabled smaller operators in the region to
grow and develop.


AFRINIC has also contributed to forums including the African Network
Operators Group (AFNOG), the African Top Level Domain Association
(AFTLD) as well as the Arab, North African and African Internet
Governance Forums. Through our involvement with these groups, we have
supported the growth of the local industry and the development of an
active professional community within the region.  For example, AFRINIC's
first IPv6 training forum took place in Sudan and since then we have had
thirteen (13) workshops in North Africa, a sub region that has 2
representatives elected on AFRINIC's board. AFRINIC also has part of its
Disaster Recovery based in Egypt.


We have been particularly excited to contribute to the development of
forums including the Middle East Network Operators Group (MENOG) and the
newly Middle East Peering Forum where most northern African countries
participate. Through our involvement with these groups, we have
supported the growth of the local industry and the development of an
active professional community within the region.


RIRs are community-governed organisations. If the multi-stakeholder
Internet community in the Arab community feels that there is a need to
establish a new RIR both AFRINIC and RIPE will be happy to support this
development appropriately. There are steps, via the open, bottom-up
policy development process, to facilitate this. ICP-2, "Criteria for
Establishment of New Regional Internet Registries", is a global policy,
approved through consensus by the communities from all the existing
RIRs, which sets out this process:



This, like all RIR policies, was the result of a "bottom-up" policy
development, based on the premise that those who use Internet number
resources and have a stake in the Internet, including actors from civil
society, business, the technical community, government and law
enforcement agencies (LEAs), should take the lead in developing policies
relating to the management of those resources.

"Top-down" policies developed without the participation of those who
operate the Internet carry the risk of significant unintended
consequences for the Internet and its users.


It is vital that the Internet technical community has a voice in
deciding such an important issue. We encourage community members to
raise any questions or issues on the AFRINIC mailing lists, or to email
AFRINIC directly by replying to this email. We are also happy to assist
anyone wishing to raise this issue at upcoming events such as MENOG 12
(5-14 March), the AFRINIC mini IG event in Tunisia in April or the
AFRINIC meeting in Lusaka 9-21 June 2013.

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