In an unprecedented turn of events, ICANN 47th Meeting has been scheduled for Durban South Africa.
The meeting at the International Convention Centre has been announced alongside the 46th Beijing meeting. This becomes the 8th, meeting in Africa, the first ever was held in Cairo, Egypt in March 2000 the most recent was held in Africa preceded by a controversial Pre-ICANN ministerial roundtable in Dakar, which proposed among other issues the reservation of .africa names.
ICANN holds three public meetings each calendar year in different regions of the globe, usually comprised of more than 200 different sessions. Even though ICANN normally makes arrangements for meetings 3-4 months before a meeting and especially after one has been concluded, its amazing that the South African meeting registration has yet began in earnest. It is also interesting to note that GAC which advices ICANN on many issues involving governments had “noted that the South African government was not consulted with regards to the planned ICANN meeting in Durban, South Africa in July 2013”.
Just few weeks ago, in the first week of March 2013, there was an ICANN African Multistakeholder Internet meeting at the UNECA Addis Ababa. This event was successful in bringing stakeholders together, however can be rated as a silent scandal in terms of the organization, given that the AU was behind the scene organizer, without officially disclosing that it was the host of the meeting, thereby bypassing the immigration protocols of the Ethiopian Government and issuing Visas to participants. Why AU did not want to disclose until the last day of the meeting was a mystery to many. The absence of the Ethiopian officials was a strong message to the organizers to be considerate and respectful in their dealings in the future.
While it’s may be a prestigious issue to host a meeting, this particular ICANN meetings organization shows that there may be a certain goal to be achieved hence the early preparation. An announcement (especially from ICANN) normally shows that formalization has been done.
Speculative views from previous relations may indicate at an unforeseen influence from within ICANN to warrant a strategic meeting especially given the kind of competition that has been witnessed between the two .africa string applicants.
Alongside the ICANN South Africa meeting announced on 19th February 2013 is the rider for the ICANN 46 in Beijing , People’s Republic of China from 7-11 April 2013 reading “There is still time to register for ICANN 46 in Beijing.” Perhaps the meeting has been announced almost 5 months ahead in order to encourage participants from all over the world who may have concerns at the costs of attending the meeting as well as the security issues that is now become part of South African national concerns.