The Seventh Annual The Internet Governance Forum that was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 6-9 November 2012 has finally come to a close. DCA was not present physically but participated in various sessions of the IGF meetings remotely.
The meeting's main theme was: 'Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development'. Internet experts and advocates from around the world attended the conference.
The Baku IGF comes at a time when major changes are happening to the internet and telecommunications landscape. For example ICANN is currently evaluating over 1390 applications that were made during this year's new gTLD program.
Other remarkable changes in the offing include the ITU changes for the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR). These regulations have not been updated since 1988. A broad consensus was made on the need to update the ITRs to comply with the 21st century's ICT landscape. Therefore, in 11 July 2012, the ITU Council decided that the Draft of the future ITRS be made publicly accessible for an open consultation process, where all stakeholders could express their views and opinions on the content of the Draft of the future ITRs or any other matter related to WCIT.
DotConnectAfrica as a concerned stakeholder in the ICT sector of the African continent submitted several recommendations to that effect. DCA's contribution has been published at ITU's Public Views and Opinions page.
DCA's submissions on ITU's ITRs looked at the various sections that need to be critically analyzed to take account of coming changes. These will include the current advancements to the Telecommunications sector including Mobile and Internet. With the major technological changes that have occurred, the world is looking at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) which runs from 3-14 December in Dubai.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Hamadoun Touré stressed the importance of the forum in terms of the participation of the representatives of the global information society in fruitful discussions. Azerbaijan's Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov said that holding such an important event in Baku is a clear example of the country's ICT development.
Major discussions at the forum came even as delegates sought to look at the deliberations that were made last year at the Nairobi IGF. Major deliberations centered around the "pending expansion of the Top Level Domain Space" as well as, Mobile telephony advancements. This comes as the world is fast adopting mobile devices. It is reported that Africa is the continent with the fastest growing usage of mobile phones.
Other discussions focused on emerging issues that come with the rapidly expanding internet landscape. For example, to what extent do Internet based services offer new and radically different opportunities to help families, social groups, communities and broader structures in society. Could they organize themselves when challenged by natural disaster or strife?
The issue of content was also discussed as a major source of growth especially from the developing countries. UNESCO is tasked with helping governments preserve the languages from disappearing. The internet which has a long memory was identified as the best tool for preserving culture. Africa would be a great beneficiary of this since it's the continent with largely untapped natural resources that would easily be branded through the .africa gTLD.
Security, Openness and Privacy came as an important discussion stressing on the need for improved services online to protect users, this comes at a time when nations are expending huge resources to establish systems to tackle cyber crimes. This also focuses on the protection of children online.
The managed IPv4 markets and the transition to IPv6 was also deliberated upon. The IPV6 is seen as the best address system since the worlds need for more IP connected devices is increasing exponentially. This is mainly due to the needs of mobile devices. They stressed need for more IPv6 training and awareness since it took 20 years of preparation before "IPv6 day" was declared in June 2011.
DCA also participated in the African-IGF meeting held on Friday, November 9, 2012. It is to be noted that the African-IGF Agenda for Baku was not widely circulated ahead of time nor was there consultation on the Agenda so as to allow DCA to present its views or initiative. This is in contrast to the so called "AUC dotafrica" which was presented for participants for their comment and views. The majority of the discussion as led by Alice Munyua was to oppose to DCA application on the grounds of no government support at the GAC Early warning. DCA will express its concerns and opinion on this Agenda and discussions that took place in a separate commentary to the organizers of IGF Baku and the general public.
Overall, DotConnectAfrica was pleased to participate in the various sessions and make its contributions.
DotConnectAfrica a non-profit, non-partisan org registered in Mauritius, along with DCA Registry Services located in Nairobi, Kenya will sponsor, establish and operate a gTLD registry with global recognition and regional significance dedicated to the needs of Pan-African & African constituency. Learn More
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