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DotConnectAfrica gTLD Application Update and Current Engagements with the U.S.Congress

Following the ICANN-46 International gathering that took place in Beijing China, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) body of ICANN also met and issued a Communiqué dated April 11, 2013 which contained policy advice on new gTLD applications to the ICANN Board of Directors. A copy of the ICANN GAC Beijing Communiqué may be found here.

Update on GAC Objection Advice & Initial Evaluation

DotConnectAfrica Trust's independent new gTLD application for the .Africa name string was directly affected by a GAC Objection Advice; and following the public notification procedure, DCA Trust was given a 21-day period to respond officially to the GAC Policy Advice pertaining to its .Africa application. DCA Trust had articulated a comprehensive response and submitted same to the ICANN Board on May 8, 2013.

A copy of DCA Trust's Response to the GAC Advice has now been published by ICANN and may be found here [PDF]. ICANN staffs are presently summarizing all the Responses to GAC Advice received from affected applicants, and this assignment will be completed by May 31, 2013.

At this time, it is understood that the ICANN new gTLD Program Committee has already prioritized its work and is now considering all the GAC responses and public comments received, and would communicate its views and decisions after completing its deliberations on the matter. DCA Trust expects that the ICANN Board would publish its GAC Advice decisions after the third week of June 2013 prior to the next ICANN-47 International Meeting that will take place in Durban, South Africa in July 2013.

In the interim, DCA Trust remains confident that the ICANN Board would allow its .Africa new gTLD application to proceed on the basis of the response that it submitted.

It is to be noted that no Initial Evaluation (IE) Results have been published so far by ICANN for the two contending applications for the .Africa name string. The prioritization draw number for UniForum ZA Central Registry (307) has already been passed (view list here), whilst the draw number for DCA Trust (1005) has not yet been encountered. At the current release rate of 100 Initial Evaluation Results for prioritized new gTLD applications per week, DCA Trust expects that the outcome of the IE procedure of its .Africa new gTLD application will be published by ICANN in late June 2013. DCA Trust is optimistic of passing the Initial Evaluation process since it has no outstanding application-related issues on the main technical, operational and financial Evaluation Criteria.

Update on Letter of Escalation to the U.S. Congress

It may be recalled that DCA Trust had sent an official letter to the United States Congress in February 2013 to escalate its complaints and grievances over the new gTLD program. The letter was jointly addressed to Senator John Rockefeller, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation; and Honorable Congressman Greg Walden, Chairman of the House Sub-Committee on Communications and Technology. The letter may be found here [PDF].

During the month of May 2013, DCA Trust held several high-level meetings in Washington D.C. with congressional staffers in pertinent committees to discuss the general and specific issues conveyed in its letter to Congress. The meetings were quite encouraging and provided DCA Trust an opportunity to further explicate its recommendations to Congress. The meetings have enabled joint understanding on the way forward regarding the issues raised by DCA Trust in its escalation letter to Congress. The prospects for a congressional investigation remain on the table.

In the coming weeks, DCA Trust shall continue to engage on a consultative basis with the relevant officials of the relevant Committees of the U.S. Congress to ensure that its recommendations that call for the appointment of a Special Independent Counsel as new gTLD Program Ombudsman would be implemented.

By DotConnectAfrica, On Mission to Operate DotAfrica gTLD Serving Diverse Needs and Purposes – 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. Visit Page

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