Thank You, Africa, for a Successful ICANN59
It has been over a month since ICANN59, and yet it already seems like such a long time ago!
I'd like to take this opportunity to share a few takeaways from the meeting, which was the third hosted in South Africa, the eleventh on the African continent, and the second meeting dedicated to policy development, per ICANN's new meeting strategy. ICANN59 had a total of 1,353 checked-in participants, with 498 of them from Africa, representing 37% of the total onsite attendance. This was complemented by over 1,900 participants from around the globe who joined the meeting remotely through our online platforms. You can read more about this here.
During the four days of ICANN59, stakeholders in their respective constituencies worked on outreach, advancing policy, and advice development efforts. There were a variety of cross-community sessions exploring topics such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the details of ICANN's budget, the continuation of Workstream 2, new gTLD auction proceeds, an amendment of the fundamental law on reconsideration requests, and much, much more. If you're interested in learning more about the many policy-related topics discussed during ICANN59, please download the Post-ICANN59 Policy Report here [PDF, 672 KB].
I was encouraged by the strong level of participation from the African Regional At-Large Organization. (AFRALO). With over 50 At-Large Structures (ALSs) located in 30 countries in Africa, AFRALO is an important avenue for stakeholders to participate in the multistakeholder process. AFRALO also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) during ICANN59, which will increase collaboration between the two groups.
A few encouraging words came from our fellowship program alumni. I would like to share one in particular from Evelyn Namara, a second-time fellow. "As (a) returning fellow, I felt very privileged and honored to be at this event. The impact of the Fellowship Program can be felt across the ICANN meetings. One fellow is even a member of the ICANN Board," said Namara. "As I prepare for my journey past the Fellowship Program, I want to be able to contribute to the community as much as the fellows before me and continue to work on pertinent issues regarding Internet governance. I want to thank ICANN again for providing this rare opportunity for people like me to be engaged in this multistakeholder process of Internet governance."
With this in mind, I am convinced that the high percentage of African attendance, both onsite and remotely, will go a long way towards encouraging more Africans to fully and effectively participate, especially within the new Empowered Community framework.
Still, more needs to be done regarding the level, quality, and regularity of participation. The meeting statistics highlighted a low gender balance for ICANN59, with 61% male participation versus 29% female participation. On the stakeholder classification, while governments and civil society were relatively well represented (19% governments and 27% for civil society/end users), the technical community accounted for 18%, and 15% of participants came from the private sector and domain name industry.
Last but not least, I would like to congratulate the recipients of ICANN's 2017 Multistakeholder Ethos Award, Hiro Hotta and Patricio Poblete. These two community members are setting great examples for the rest of the ICANN community to follow.
I would also like to extend a warm thank you to all who made ICANN59 another success, especially our gracious local host ZADNA. I look forward to seeing you all at ICANN60 in Abu Dhabi!
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