The first African Internet Governance School (AfriSIG 2013) was organised by the Association for Progressive Communications http://www.apc.org and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency–e-Africa Programme.
There was an exciting mix of participants Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana, Ghana, and South Africa (among others) and included regulators, civil society, academia, government and technical communities. Bill Drake, Chair of the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC), facilitated a panel discussion “The Challenges of Representing Civil Society in ICANN”
The discussion took into account the need to move past general rhetoric and carefully assess how different models of multistakeholderism actually work in settings devoted to decision making rather than just dialogue. The workshop explored this by focussing on the experience of the NCUC in ICANN which has, since 1999, been a home for civil society organizations and individuals who want to follow or participate in ICANN’s policymaking on generic top level domain (gTLD) names like .com, .org and .info
We will discuss both the general dynamics of ICANN as seen “from the bottom up,” and specific examples like the issues raised by the New gTLD Program, and we will outline the opportunities available to newcomers, particularly from developing countries, who might like to get involved in ICANN.
After a brief scene setting by Bill Drake, panellists Wolfgang Kleinwächter, David Cake, and Joy Liddicoat (all NCUC members and GNSO Councillors) outlined experiences of engagement with ICANN, the role of civil society and a few of the current issues under debate.