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ICANN51 and After: ‘Tis the Season … for NTIA Transition!

12 November 2014
By Jean-Jacques Sahel

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ICANN's Jean-Jacques Sahel speaking next to Poland's European Affairs Minister Rafal Trzaskowski and representatives from NASK, FWIOO and the Ministry of Administration and Digitisation

This autumn is busy with ICANN outreach, specifically with increased efforts to inform and generate input on the transition of stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions.

ICANN51 saw a renewed focus and interest from our various constituencies. What marked me was the sense of community and shared purpose, even passion I could see amongst our community. The impressive number of remote participants, along with the numerous hubs that allowed dozens more to join in the ICANN51 discussions, only further excited this sense of passion and shared purpose.

One of the highlights for me was seeing two Brits (2 Europeans, yes!) in a row receiving the ICANN Leadership Award. ICANN51 honoree, Jonathan Robinson, chair of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and Executive Chairman of Afilias, received a well-deserved endorsement for all his hard work and as Fadi said, "has brought a true community spirit to his work."

Post ICANN51, we have recently seen an invigorated ICANN European community become increasingly active. The dialogue on the IANA Stewardship Transition is now in full swing across the continent following an excellent CENTR event in Brussels late September. Furthermore, on the heels of the Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation between ICANN and the Macedonian and Bulgarian governments, we are seeing promising, collaborative efforts by Internet communities across the Balkan and South Eastern European region. They are gearing up for an impressive series of events on Internet policy and governance in the coming months, including the Winter Cybersecurity School for the West Balkans, part of the Young Faces Network, and the annual Domain Name Forum on Sofia, Bulgaria on 5 December.

This past October, a group of ICANN staff and community members headed to Warsaw to meet with 200 delegates from across government, business and civil society in an event organised jointly by ICANN, the Polish Government, Naukowa i Akademicka Sieć Komputerowa (NASK) and Foundation for Free and Open Software (FWiOO) to discuss a range of topics including the IANA transition. [Short movie from the workshops here (choose subtitles – English or Polish – in settings)]. I am confident that the enthusiasm we experienced that day will transform into reality for the local stakeholders' earnest wishes of organizing a first national IGF in Poland – watch out for this in 2015!

From a tech business community roundtable with ICANN Chair, Steve Crocker, in Paris, to the official opening of AFNIC's new offices near the French capital, the IANA Functions Stewardship Transition has been the center of much discussion. Steve gave a speech to 100+ guests of AFNIC including French Digital Minister Axelle Lemaire, recalling the humble beginnings of the ARPANET, INRIA's application for '.fr' in 1985 and subsequent creation of AFNIC, today's evolution of the Internet, the IANA Functions Stewardship Transition and AFNIC's strong participation.

Dr. Crocker speaking at the AFNIC office inauguration with Sebastien Bachollet, AFNIC Chair Emmanuel Sartorius and French Digital Minister Axelle Lemaire

Dr. Crocker speaking at the inauguration of AFNIC's new offices in front of Sebastien Bachollet, AFNIC Chair Emmanuel Sartorius and French Digital Minister Axelle Lemaire

In coming weeks, we will be visiting yet more European countries to talk about ICANN and to inform and encourage participation in the IANA transition process. In 2015, it will also be time to prepare for Eurodig 2015 (for which, please submit your excellent proposals here) and for the many national DIGs / IGFs happening in the first semester, among other events.

As you can see, it is a busy yet inspiring autumn. And it is all about you and what you can do. In short, the key is to make your (European) voice heard. Input for the IANA Functions Stewardship Transition process is due by 15 January 2015 – and you all have the opportunity to contribute your ideas as ICANN reaches this next stage. We count on you!


12 November IANA Workshop with European Commission DG Connect Brussels
19-20 November International Domain Names Conference Paris
24-25 November  Sweden Internet Days Stockholm
1 December IANA Transition Workshop with Danish Internet Forum Copenhagen
3 December IEEE Summit on Internet Governance Brussels
9 December IANA Transition Workshop with ECO  Berlin
10 December Chatham House & Oxford Martin School & Oxfor TBD
  Cyber Capacity – Building Centre – (more details to come)  

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Jean-Jacques Sahel