Today we are back in South Eastern Europe, in Skopje precisely. Many of us in the ICANN community and those who know the region are well aware that Macedonia and its neighbors boast some of the most active and dedicated Internet communities in the region.
Beside a dynamic population of Internet users, Macedonia is strongly represented at ICANN meetings and in the global debate on issues such as Internet governance and broadband penetration with full participation from all parts of their society – private business, citizens, and government.
And yet, there are plenty of opportunities for development. For a start, we want and need to globalize ICANN further. Increasing participation of stakeholders from Macedonia and from the wider region as well is an ongoing objective for us, an integral part of ICANN's long-term vision.
Thanks to its dynamic and entrepreneurial spirit, Macedonia also has the opportunity to tap even deeper into the potential of the Internet, and grow its domain name industry. Part of ICANN's job is to make sure they have all tools necessary to do that.
This is a young country, open to new ideas and new ways of working – a place where the model of multistakeholder governance can flourish, bringing people together to get the most from everyone's particular perspective and expertise.
So we at ICANN are taking concrete steps to work with the Republic of Macedonia to help it achieve its potential, and to reflect the continued high interest and involvement in ICANN and Internet Governance shown by local community members.
Following discussions with Ivo Ivanovski, the young and charismatic Minister of information Society and Administration, we are very excited to announce that ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry, to formalize our cooperation with the Republic of Macedonia. This MoU will focus on supporting the development of the Domain Name industry and the use of Internationalized Domain Names, and promoting the multistakeholder model of Internet Governance at the national, regional and global levels.
The real work begins now. We will assist in rolling out concrete activities on the ground in partnership with the Macedonian Government and the local Internet community, from capacity-building workshops to ad hoc advice on Internet matters, and facilitating the creation of a multistakeholder structure locally. We will keep you informed as this partnership progresses, and encourage anyone interested in taking part in this endeavor to contact us.
Contributors to this blog were:
Veni Markovski, VP for UN Relations
Michael Yakushev, VP Stakeholder Engagement, Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia
Jean-Jacques Sachel, VP Stakeholder Engagement, Europe