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Report on PICISOC @ ICANN46 Beijing

 

MAUREEN HILYARD – PICISOC BOARD CHAIR

 This first meeting of ICANN for 2013 was hosted by the Asia Pacific Regional At Large Organisation (APRALO) – one of five regional sections of the At Large Advisory Council (ALAC). The At Large community consists of At Large Structures (ALS) which are the individual organisations which are members of ICANN and with whom ALAC consults regarding policy decisions that impact on ICANN’s role in the management of the global internet infrastructure and related governance issues.  The ALS are important to the ICANN process which employs a multi-stakeholder bottom-up approach – involving technical, government and end-users – to decision making relating to the global development of the internet.

                   

 APRALO covers an area that stretches from the Mediterranean to Japan, and then southwards to include India, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.  The map indicates the distribution of ALS groups within the region. The Pacific was well represented at this meeting. APRALO sponsored the attendance of its ALS members including the three PICISOC members from the Pacific (the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society – Maureen Hilyard, The Cook Islands Internet Action Group – Pua Hunter, and the Nuie Internet Users Society  – Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui). Government representatives from three Pacific islands who attended the Government Advisory Council (GAC) –  Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Nauru – plus two ICANN Fellowship participants from Papua New Guinea.

As the host organisation for this event, APRALO organised several events to highlight our theme – Celebrating Diversity.  The roll call which featured at the Showcase event clearly outlined the wide diversity of countries, cultures and internet related activities that are taking place in the various countries across the region.  An organising Committee was created to work on events for Beijing since the previous meeting in Toronto. My role involved coordinating the Showcase, ALS Liaison, Promotional items and the Capacity Building programme – organised primarily for APRALO participants but included ALAC members from other regions as well.

1.       ALS Capacity Building and Training Sessions, Sunday to Thursday

This programme was organised for the APRALO ALS members for whom this meeting was their first ICANN experience. It was planned to give them an overview of the complexity of the organisation and its various sections. The first session began on Sunday – the first day of the meeting – and involved nearly a whole day which focused on a general introduction to ICANN’s multistakeholder model and its key component areas. Early morning sessions (7am-9am) over the next days followed up on more in-depth explanations from high level personnel from within the various sections about how their section fit into the ICANN infrastructure. The Monday session was based on ALAC – the parent organisation for the ALS members. The ALS team reported positively on this programme during the wrap up session at the end of the week.

2.       The Multistakeholder Policy  Roundtable Discussions – Monday

This session was organised by Rinalia Abdul Rahim, ISOC Malaysia, and focused on two very topical themes  – Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) and International Domain Names (IDN).  ICANN’s new gTLD Program will bring a dramatic expansion of the Top Level Domain Space where 1930 new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) applications have been received.  303 (15.7%) of the new gTLD applications are from the Asia Pacific region and 100 (86%) of the applications for Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) new gTLDs are for the languages of the Asia Pacific region.

The topic of the first discussion related to the implications end user/consumer protection with regards to gTLDs  in the event that they may fail or be unsustainable, and the enforceability of contractual obligations. The panel included:  End User/Consumer – Izumi Aizu (Deputy Director, Institute for HyperNetwork Society, Japan) / Jeremy Malcolm (Project Coordinator, IP and Communications, Consumers International);  Government – Peter Nettlefold (Vice Chair, ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee);  Business – Zahid Jamil (Executive Committee Member, Business Constituency & Member, GNSO Council);  ICANN Compliance – Maguy Serad (Vice President, ICANN Contractual Compliance Services)

The second topic was Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Implications for the Asian-Australasian-Pacific region – community readiness and whether the introduction of IDN Variant TLDs would de-stabilize the Internet and undermine its security. The topic was discussed by:  the Arabic Language Community – Sarmad Hussain (Al-Khawarizmi Institute of Computer Science, Pakistan); the Chinese Language Community – Qian Hualin (China Domain Name Consortium & China Internet Network Information Center Steering Committee); the Indic Language Community – Ram Mohan (Affilias); the Japanese Language Community – Hiro Hotta (Japan Registry Services); Khmer Language Community – Norbert Klein (Internet Society, Cambodia); Korean Language Community – Young-eum Lee (Korea National Open University); Thai Language Community – Kanchana Kanchanasut (Computer Science, School of Engineering and Technology, Thailand); Sinhala Language Community – Harsha Wijayawardhana (ISOC Sri Lanka); ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee – Jim Galvin (Deputy Chair, SSAC)

3.       APRALO Showcase, Monday evening

This involved a display of the individual cultures and activities of the ALS groups in the APRALO region. The meeting was introduced by welcoming addresses from the Board Chair of ICANN, Steve Crocker; the President and CEO, Fadi Chehade; and the Chair of the ALAC, Olivier Crepin-Leblond, Head of ISOC England. The Showcase was hosted by the Chair of APRALO, Holly Raiche of ISOC Australia and featured 37 members from 26 ALS groups from 21 different countries. (A list of the ALS members of APRALO follows this report). RED predominated at the event, as the colour for APRALO and the APRALO ribbon became a badge of honour for the united ALS team. The event included a full roll call powerpoint presentation as well as video presentations by several of the ALS members, depicting their work in their various countries. A feature was a vegemite tasting session provided by ISOC-AU.

Maureen and Cheryl Langdon-Orr (ISOC-Au) with Lianna, Siranush and Samvel from Armenia.

4.       OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

a.       ALAC and APRALO meetings

The ALAC and APRALO meeting programmes were packed with topics that covered regional and international themes. I was called upon at two meetings to report on the APRALO Beijing Events programme and its outcomes.  Since Toronto, I had also participated in a Rules of Procedure Working group, specifically in the Meetings and Administration Drafting Team as a penholder with Alan Greenburg of Canada. Alan reported on the final version of this review which is to be presented to the ALAC for endorsement. The ALAC meetings also included discussions with the Board Chair and the CEO of ICANN. 

b.       ccNSO meetings  (Country Code Naming Support Organisation)

Conflicts with the ALAC  programme, particularly sessions related to the ALS team, caused me to miss some of the ccNSO sessions. I attend these sessions as an informal ALAC liaison representative and am on two working groups associated with this section of ICANN. I attended the first introductory session and the meeting with the Board,  and a later session at which various presentations were made by member organisations. I also attended a meeting of the Working Group which has been writing up a Report on the Use of Country and Territory Names. This was drawn up following a survey of ccTLD holders after Toronto. Paul Szyndler of ISOC-AU chaired this session remotely from Australia. Unfortunately, I missed the Freedom of Interpretation Working Group meeting whose monthly sessions I have attended since the Toronto meeting. This working group was established by the ccNSO Council in 2011 to provide a “Framework of Interpretation” for the delegation and redelegation of ccTLDs. The framework offers a guide for the IANA functions manager and the ICANN Board on interpretations of the Policy Statements in the RFC1591 and GAC Principles 2005.  The process has been a lengthy one due to the various interpretations of the wording of the documents by members of the working group.

c.      Breakfast with Women connected with the Internet

At a very early breakfast session, I was very honoured to be able to spend some time talking to Madam Hu Qiheng, President of the Internet Society of China, the former Vice President of China Association for Science and Technology, and several other notable positions. Madam Hu graduated in 1963 from the Graduate Section of Moscow Institute of Chemical Machinery, where she got her Associate Doctorate Degree in Technological Science.  She had been a member of the Strategy Council of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs-Global Alliance for ICT and Development, and a member of Working Group on Internet Governance under UN. Madam Hu has played an important role in the development of Internet in China as well as the international exchange and cooperation in the related field.

d.       The Opening Ceremony of ICANN Beijing

After the Board Chair, Steve Crocker had introduced the Minister in charge of Internet Development in China, Madam Hu was also given an opportunity to give her perspectives. After the formalities, Chief Executive, Fadi Chehade explained his continuing vision for ICANN and more easily accessible information services for ICANN members, and then he announced the opening of two new regional offices – in Brussells and in Istanbul.

e.      PICISOC meeting with the Oeania Team

This meeting was to coordinate future events involving the Pacific and its close neighbours New Zealand and Australia. The meetings will include PacINET in Tonga (Sept 9-13) and a possible Pacific IGF at the same time, plus attendance at the Asia Pacific Regional IGF in Seoul, Korea (in September 4-6) and the IGF in Bali,Indonesia (in October).  The meeting was attended by Save Vocea (ICANN Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement, Pacific); Pua Hunter (CIIAG); Cheryl Langdon-Orr (ISOC-AU); Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui (Nuie); Keith Davidson (InternetNZ); Peter Nettlefold and Andrew Maurer (Australian Government Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and Australian GAC members); Holly Raiche (ISOC-AU) and Maureen Hilyard (PICISOC).  Keith raised the introduction of IXPs and root servers in certain Pacific countries which could be coordinated through the membership  of PICISOC in conjunction with InternetNZ. At a later meeting with Sala Taimanikaiwaimaro of Fiji, proposed to run a national IGF in Fiji.

f.       ISOC meetings

There were two formal meetings held with ISOC Executive members – one was related to ISOC @ICANN where members raised the importance of a more collaborative role between ISOC and ICANN in order to take advantage of the synergies of each organisation for the benefit of ISOC members within the various regions. Support from ISOC in the development of regional strategies was also of particular interest to the Pacific region. The second meeting  looked how ISOC could better help its Chapters. I raised the importance of networking with key organisations who had indicated an interest in supporting ISOC objectives within the Pacific  (see our Oceania meeting).  Naveed who is the Regional Coordinator based at the Singapore office met with the PICISOC team to discuss proposals by a couple of Pacific nations who would like to establish their own chapters. I have recommended that the groups concerned would be better to establish themselves as ICANN ALSes, so that PICISOC can better work on a more strategic approach to internet development across the region. ISOC are not in favour of separate independent chapters within a regional chapter. Another meeting with the leaders of other chapters in the Asia Pacific also looked a coordinating more Asia Pacific chapter cooperation through a google-group discussion list.

 g.       Local visits

Although the meeting schedules were very tightly organised, lengthy daylight hours enabled ICANN participants to take advantage of some of the sights in Beijing. The central location of the event meant that these were not too far away.  Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City were only 20 minutes walk from Beijing International, or a 1yuan bus fare ride (about NZ$0.20). A 45 minute subway trip to the Summer Palace in Beigongmen cost 2yuan each way.  Air China lost our luggage in the transfers between its cargo holders and Air NZ, both going over to Beijing as well as returning to Auckland, so that we arrived at both destinations with no luggage.  Mine arrived in Beijing 24 hours later, but Pua was without her belongings for 3 days and had to make major purchases. One surprising aspect of our visit was the lack of smog which we had been warned about beforehand. The weather was predominantly warm with clear blue sky being the norm for most of the week.

 

Visiting Beijing… (1) with Pua Hunter (PICISOC) outside the Beijing conference venue and (2) eating traditional Chinese dishes with Thip (ISOC Bureau), Anupam Agrawal (India) , Naveed Haq (ISOC Bureau) and Tracy Hackshaw (Trinidad & Tobago, and a frequent PICISOC participant).

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