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ARIN Increases Support for Caribbean Internet Development

Gerard Best

For anyone wondering how Internet development is evolving in the Caribbean, an international conference held in Bridgetown, Barbados, hosted by the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), provided more than a few positive clues.

The second annual ARIN Caribbean Forum attracted Internet policymakers, computer networking and cybersecurity experts and law enforcement officials from across the Caribbean, North America and Europe for high-level talks under the theme "Caribbean priorities for the global Internet."

ARIN is one of five regional Internet registries that coordinate the development of policies for managing Internet protocol number resources. The Washington DC-based non-profit organisation manages Internet number resources in Canada, the United States and several Caribbean territories.

"Governments are waking up and realising that the Internet is so crucial to their economy, to their citizens, to their businesses," said John Curran, president and CEO of ARIN, during his feature address.

"We are entering a new era. The dam has broken and governments are now saying, 'We're not going to let the Internet evolve on its own. We're going to get involved and try to guide it to a productive end that meets our public policy goals.' Civil society is saying, 'We're at the table and we want to protect people and people's economic interests and social issues.' So you're finally beginning to have dialogues that are more than just technical people working on technical solutions," he added.

"The ARIN Caribbean Forum provides the environment for these groups to engage in dialogue that defines development priorities, share experiences and gain insights into global and regional Internet trends," said Bevil Wooding, the Caribbean outreach liaison for ARIN and facilitator for the event.

The forum is made up of three distinct streams: an Internet public policy group, a justice sector group and a technical community group. It is organised in collaboration with several Caribbean-based development organisations, including the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, an inter-governmental policy-making body; APEX, the justice technology agency of the Caribbean Court of Justice, and the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), a volunteer network of computer experts.

The ARIN Caribbean Forum took place on April 10 to 12, immediately following ARIN's public policy and members meeting, held at the same location from April 8 to 10. It was the second installment of the forum, first held in Miami on April 19, 2018. It is the most recent example of a notable increase in ARIN's outreach to the Caribbean since 2017, encouraging greater regional involvement in global Internet policy development processes.

By Gerard Best, Development Journalist
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