The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will hold its 59th Public Meeting in the Johannesburg Sandton Convention Center from 26-29 June 2017. This meeting is ICANN’s second ever Policy Forum, which is focused on policy work and outreach. It is also the tenth time an ICANN meeting will be held in Africa, a continent of great online potential.
Hosted by the ZA Domain Name Authority (.ZADNA), the meeting will bring together global and regional Internet stakeholders for four days, to develop policy related to the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS).
One of the highlight topics of ICANN59 for media is the Key Signing Rollover (KSK Rollover). ICANN is in the process of performing a Root Zone DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) KSK rollover to replace the top-level cryptographic keys used in DNSSEC, which will happen on the 11th October 2017. This is another reason for attending ICANN59, the last ICANN meeting before the rollover takes place, as a step towards raising awareness about this important change.
During the meeting there will also be a public presentation launching the final report of the Africa Domain Name System market study commissioned by ICANN. The report highlights the strengths and weaknesses in the Domain Name Service (DNS) sector in Africa and develops recommendations on how to advance the industry to better utilize the opportunities available and address identified challenges.
ICANN59 is also the third meeting since the IANA Stewardship Transition, and a platform for the new empowered community that has taken over the reigns of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers. So another topic of interest is the Empowered Community. Through this mechanism, the global Internet community, through ICANN’s Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) can organize under California law to legally enforce community powers.
ICANN meetings are an excellent opportunity for those interested in getting involved to learn how they can join and have an impact. There are important voices represented via different structures at ICANN from across the globe. Here in Africa, structures such as AFRALO, the home of individual Internet user community for the African region, African Government Advisory Committee representatives including South African Government, observer International Governmental Organizations like ATU, and other businesses in the region like AFICTA help represent the region’s diverse voice. This is what makes ICANN’s multistakeholder model a success, the mixture of voices from around the globe.
As Africa continues to increase its online presence, ICANN hopes that more new users will participate in the ICANN community to ensure their continent’s unique perspective is reflected in DNS policies.
The ICANN Meeting Strategy is also shaped in a way to accommodate this model: ICANN meetings are held three times a year, in different regions around the world, to give all interested stakeholders an opportunity to interact with the rest of the community in person.
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