ICANN Heading to Hamburg (ICANN78) and Los Angeles (GDD) Plus Training For African Registries

ICANN’s meetings are starting to get back to normal with in-person attendances. In an announcement during the recent ICANN74 in The Hague, DENIC, eco and ICANN announced the ICANN78 annual general meeting will be held in Hamburg, Germany, in October 2023. And ICANN has scheduled the first Global Domains Division Summit since May 2020’s cancelled GDD Industry Summit in Paris for Los Angeles in November 2022.

The ICANN78 Annual General Meeting will be held from 21to 26 October 2023. It will be hosted by the eco – Association, DENIC eG (.de), and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg at the Congress Center Hamburg. Hamburg was originally scheduled to host ICANN69, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the meeting was one of seven that became online only.

“For the first time in over 20 years, after Berlin in 1999, we are bringing an ICANN conference to Germany,” said Oliver Süme, Chair of eco – Association of the Internet Industry in a statement. “With eco, DENIC and the city of Hamburg, strong partners from the industry and politics have joined forces to make this a reality.”

“Winning the bid for hosting ICANN78 in Hamburg honours the commitment of the German Internet community,” DENIC Board Member Andreas Musielak said. “The event offers a good opportunity to contribute on an even broader basis German and European views regarding the future development of the Internet, which is so very complex, in both a technical and a social sense.”

The ICANN Global Domains Division Summit scheduled for 3 to 6 May 2020 in Paris, France was another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. GDD Industry Summits provide contracted parties an opportunity to engage and address issues of mutual interest and importance. They are forums enabling direct and one-on-one interaction with members of the ICANN org’s GDD team. But they aren’t typical ICANN meetings and aren’t intended for discussions of policy.

The upcoming meeting in Los Angeles will be the sixth of the annual events. The GDD summits were held each year from 2015 to 2019. According to a post on InternetNews.me, the meeting scheduled from 1 to 4 November has had a venue announced, nor schedule of presentations and events.

Earlier in June ICANN announced it will be providing hands-on training and tools to prepare 10 African country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries to compete in the domain industry. However no date appears to have been given.

ICANN and its partner organisations, the International Telecommunication Union-Development Sector (ITU-D), Africa Top Level Domains Organization (AfTLD), Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) and Association française pour le nommage Internet en coopération (AFNIC), issued a pledge to the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, committing to the goals of the project as well as the overall goal to drive digital transformation in hard-to-connect communities. The pledge was made by ICANN President and CEO Gӧran Marby during the Partner2Connect (P2C) Digital Development Roundtable at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) in Kigali, Rwanda.

The pilot project allows for the 10 ccTLD registries, from Niger, Togo, Benin, the Republic of Congo, Comoros, Madagascar, Angola, Liberia, Zimbabwe and Gambia to leverage the expertise of ICANN and the partner organisations that have a common goal, but cannot achieve it alone. The 10 ccTLD registries will receive specialised training led by industry experts, through a combination of online courses, hands-on workshops, and webinars. The training will cover topics ranging from best practices in domain name system security and registry governance, to business plan writing and marketing, to Internationalised Domain Names and Universal Acceptance.

“The Internet is both global and local. Country code top-level domains are an integral part of the Internet infrastructure, supporting the development of local digital initiatives that contribute to sustainable national digital economies,” Marby said. “By pooling together our talents and areas of expertise, we are working with the ccTLD managers to hone these critical skills, to be able to compete and participate in the digital economy. Additionally, the project will benefit from the opportunities provided by the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, harnessing the power of this multistakeholder alliance and mobilising the resources necessary to achieve our shared goals.”

“AfTLD appreciates and supports the initiative by ICANN to support the development of African ccTLDs,” said Ali Hadji Mmadi, Chair of Excom, AfTLD. “The Association looks forward to playing an integral role in the conceptualisation and implementation of the project as part of its ongoing collaborative efforts with ICANN.”

“AFNIC is proud to be part of this initiative aimed at accelerating and reinforcing the cooperation with and between African ccTLDs,” said Pierre Bonis, CEO, AFNIC. “Since AFNIC started engaging with its African counterparts decades ago, this is the first time such a coalition is put in place, and we are convinced it could be a game changer for a lot of Registries in Africa.”

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau: “I welcome this pledge towards Partner2Connect. The Partner2Connect Coalition is a game-changing opportunity to take a holistic approach, catalyse new partnerships, and mobilise the resources needed to connect those who are still offline. I am calling on all players to step up and help us connect those 2.9 billion that are unconnected. I look forward to welcoming many more pledges soon so that we can truly “Partner2Connect the World”.”

This pilot project is the second initiative ICANN has launched in Africa. In February, ICANN announced that it was expanding the global presence of its root servers by adding two ICANN-operated and managed clusters in Africa. These two projects are part of a larger initiative that will be launched toward the end of the year, in which ICANN and key partners will support the growth and sustainability of the African digital economy by ensuring a stable, resilient and secure Internet.

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