[kictanet] Africa @ICANN: Cartagena Statement of the African ICANN community about the support for African participation

Alice Munyua alice at apc.org
Tue Dec 14 21:45:43 EAT 2010

Dear Listers,

Here's a statement from the Africa ICANN community during the just ended 
ICANN meeting in Cartegena:


The African community through AFRALO and AFRICANN is concerned about its 
lack of effective participation in the main activities of ICANN as 
internet users.

The commitment and the participation of the different parts of the 
community require knowledge of the issues being discussed. In order to 
improve the quality of the participation, it is important to explain the 
meaning and the limits of ICANN’s mandate, the stakes and the impact 
sought for.

A major awareness campaign at local and regional levels would be a first 
step towards a due capacity building program for a meaningful participation

Participation can be done by many and different means. They include 
email discussion lists, teleconferences, fora, videoconferences, 
electronic votes, wikis, blogs as well as face‐to‐face meetings in 
respective languages

For online participation, it is important to have a calendar that 
establishes the timing for community input. This calendar would allow 
more effective planning and optimal engagement of the community.

Even as we celebrate the diverse methods and tools available, we 
recognize that many challenges remain to be overcome for effective 
participation of users at the edge. Some are entirely technical and will 
improve with time.

Others, however, will require means and commitment to improvement in 
interactions from all stakeholders, users included.

Volunteered work is not very sustainable in Africa due to the necessity 
to make a living and institutions are unwilling to continue to cover the 
cost of their staff on volunteer assignments. The challenge is to have 
many motivated African experts to participate in a regular and effective 

Therefore, we, AFRALO and AFRICANN members, recommend to call for 
support from development agencies, private sector and other potential 
actors to facilitate African participation to ICANN policy development 

We acknowledge that the ICANN fellowship program is supporting the 
participation from developing economies. Henceforth we urge the ICANN 
Board consider the following:
• The number of fellowships from African Regions should be increased

Recognizing that the present form of capacity building has not produced 
the desired outcome, a more proactive approach needs to be adopted:

• Policy advocates and students’ needs to be identified and recruited in 
a manner that is sustainable.
• Advocates should be situated and employed on a part-time basis in 
existing policy institutions or think tanks that are already engaged in 
local and global internet policy.
• In their capacity as staff, they will be responsible for policy making 
locally, nationally and regionally and will engage internationally in 
policy making fora such as the IGF, ICANN, ISOC and other global policy 
• This function requires support from development agencies who are 
concerned about the dearth of African policy makers locally and in the 
international arena. Support for this sort of initiative must be 
protracted and sustained over a period of time rather than the current 
approach of facilitating developing country participation at conferences 
and international policy for a travel support.
• Policy advocates must act as bridges between their countries/regions 
and the international policy forum. Their host institutions must act as 
bridging institutions in the same capacity as the advocates.
• This dual policy vehicle of person and institution will ensure 
sustained policy development if it is developed and deployed in the 
different regions in the continent. For institutions such as ICANN, they 
provide value and leverage where engagement, direct and immediate 
responses are required for certain policy situations.
• If this model gathers the support of ICANN, it can seek the 
partnership and support from other institutions such as APC, KICTANet, 
IISD or AfriNIC to host policy advocates for a period using an 
internship framework. Policy advocates can also spend certain periods at 
places like ICANN or the IGF secretariat.


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