2014 End of Year Message from DotConnectAfrica! Message from the Founder

As Executive Director of DotConnectAfrica Trust and founder of Yes2dotafrica,. it gives me great pleasure to send this end of year message at Christmas to our entire Pan-African constituency and global community of supporters and well-wshers
Sophia Bekele Xmas 2014 wishes
Sophia Bekele Xmas 2014 wishes
UPPER HILL, Kenya - Dec. 22, 2014 - PRLog -- It is with great pleasure that I write this Year End message to all of DCA Trust supporters that have been with us since we started this campaign for the .Africa domain name several years ago.

2014 proved to be another eventful year for DCA Trust, and its technology sector affiliates; namely, DCA Registry Services (Kenya) Ltd., and the Internet Business Council for Africa (IBCA).

Let me start by updating you regarding our ongoing .Africa new gTLD legal journey and why .Africa names are not yet available on the Internet.

You may all recall that towards the end of 2013, DCA Trust had filed its Official Notice for Independent Review of ICANN Board actions, which DCA considered as irregular and wrongful over DCA Trust's new gTLD application for the .Africa Internet Domain name; which we had laboriously pioneered and strongly promoted both in Africa and all over the world.   The IRP was empanelled under the auspices of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) during the 1st quarter of 2014, and soon after, started making many interim rulings and declarations on procedural matters regarding the DCA vs. ICANN IRP.

Apart from one major ruling on the binding nature of the IRP decisions, which no doubt provides great precedence value for global Internet Policy-related Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), accountability and arbitral mechanisms, even for future IRPs; one other very strong victory that DCA Trust was able to achieve in the ongoing IRP, was the IRP Panel's decision to place a temporary injunction that restrains ICANN from continuing with the delegation process of the .Africa Internet domain name to ZA Central Registry (ZACR), who would otherwise be the illegitimate beneficiary of any wrongful actions that have been wittingly or unwittingly committed by the ICANN Board, if the delegation were allowed to proceed without a juridical examination of ICANN's actions regarding the new gTLD award process for .Africa.

During the last quarter of 2014, the legal representatives of DCA Trust have submitted a well-argued and quite comprehensive Second Memorial on the Merits to the IRP Panel. This has again made DCA's case stronger.

"Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well",  is an apt saying that is very much applicable in this regard.

This explains why .Africa domain names are not yet available on the Internet.  DCA Trust has already explained to its global audiences that the need to properly test and validate the accountability mechanisms of institutions of Global Internet Governance as typified by ICANN, in order to ensure that they are truly accountable to the Global Public Interest that they are supposed to serve, profoundly outweighs the other important necessity of rolling out .Africa domain names faster.

Therefore, Africa must continue to demonstrate that as a member of the international community, it is truly committed to good governance safeguards and global best practices and other acceptable democratic standards that form the building blocks of an equitable and just society.  DCA Trust therefore believes that the activities of ICANN and the African Union Commission (AUC), as a member of the ICANN global community through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) must be properly subjected to an accountability process with binding adjudicatory powers.

DCA Trust is therefore hopeful that the IRP will be fully decided around the beginning of the 2nd Quarter of 2015.  DCA Trust believes that prevailing in the IRP would enable it to completely fulfill its obligations and other implicit and explicit commitments contained in its Mission and Purpose that were made for the benefit of its Pan-African and Global constituencies;  coupled with the attainment of other Charitable Objects codified in DCA's Charter.

Before ending this Year End Message, I wish to make some brief comments on recent developments that would likely shape the architectural landscape of Global Internet Governance in the very near future.

Status of NTIA Transition and US Congress Oversight

During the first quarter of 2014, the US Department of Commerce National Technology & Information Administration (NTIA) decided to outsource the oversight of the IANA Contract to an ICANN-led International Multi-stakeholder Group.  This initiative had remained topical within ICANN circles all through 2014; but even so, still managed to attract the priority attentions of the US Congress who are not too favorably disposed to the idea. Government funding for it was specifically denied in a US$1 trillion omnibus spending bill that was approved by both the House and the US Senate in December 2014.  The bill expressly forbids the US Department of Commerce's National Technology & Information Administration from relinquishing its responsibilities regarding Internet Domain Name functions and the IANA contract to ICANN.  This would therefore delay the 'IANA Transition' until after September 30, 2015 when the funding bill expires.

Even as the debate over which Internet Governance Framework should be adopted - either continue with the status quo that is pivoted on ICANN's multi-stakeholder model, or move the global Internet Governance under an ITU-led United Nations Framework - has yet to die down, a new "NetMundial" initiative was proposed and spearheaded by Mr. Fadi Chehade, ICANN's President and CEO.  Many people have already attacked the NetMundial initiative as an idea that has not been properly developed against the backdrop that there are also other contending models that have already been proposed such as UN/ITU-led model and the existing Internet Governance Forum (IGF).  Moreover, the NetMundial initiative appears not to promote inclusivity, and is seen as not transparent, and counter-intuitive to the current Global Multi-stakeholder model that is open and participatory in nature.

Be all that as it may, DCA Trust believes that a fully accountable ICANN that is truly serving the Global Public Interest is what the world can live with.  This should however be based on the provision that ICANN is properly governed by an enduring institution that can be relied upon to provide the much-needed oversight of ICANN.  Therefore, ICANN's accountability mechanism and processes must be improved upon to ensure that ICANN is not a law unto itself.  ICANN must be truly accountable in terms of the transparency of its processes to ensure complete and unfettered probity.  As an organization that is currently engaged in juridical proceedings with ICANN, DCA Trust demands nothing less than what is ideal for the global public interest.

This then brings us to new congressional initiatives that could cause ICANN to be firmly brought under the legislative and oversight authority of the US Congress.

Messagae continues at this site  http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs123/1102516344150/ar...

Sophia Bekele

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