On 5 to 10 March 2016, the 55th global meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), took place in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

With great support from the monarch, Morocco’s ICT Minister Moulay Hafid El Alamy delivered the country’s internet development. The biggest tech was the way the speakers spoke in French or Arabic, and the ICANN team transcribed that live into English.

Marrakech ICANN 55
Marrakech, Morocco | ICANN

On the agenda were several issues, including the IANA Transition as well as the farewell speech by outgoing ICANN President, Fadi Chehade. There were over 400 meetings and sessions taking place throughout the week of the meeting.
However, the biggest news of all was the fantastic news that ICANN is going to open its ,a href="https://twitter.com/bswitaba/status/706776371960348672" target="_blank">first outreach office in Nairobi starting in April 2016. ICANN has come closer to home and the news was celebrated all through the week, especially by the Kenyan contingent. Steve Crocker, the ICANN Board chair, was quick to add that Africa will be the continent to write the next chapter in the Internet’s history.

“Africa will write the next chapter in the Internet’s history.” - Steve Crocker, Chair of ICANN Board of Directors Tweet

Also, it was extremely encouraging to have eleven remote hubs for #ICANN55 across the globe, all part of the organizations development and public responsibility job to improve participation. This underlines the fact that the world is truly a network of many villages. From 100,000 internet connections in 1998, today, the number is at 3 billion and rising.

All delegates finally agreed on the IANA transition, and the final draft is set to be presented to the US Congress, for it to decide whether the US Department Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will finally hand over its oversight of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community. The handover is expected to happen on the 30th of September 2016, a year’s extension from the original date.
The multi-stakeholder process proposal has been guided by various principles including the maintenance of the security, the stability and the resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS), meeting the expectations and the needs of all involved in the IANA services, and ensuring the Internet remains free.

ICANN accountability has been an underlying issue.

In Marrakech, all of the chartering organizations of the Cross Communication Working Group on enhanced accountability (CCWG) approved the plan. The Government Advisory Committee (GAC) issued a statement to endorse the plan on Tuesday, the GNSO (Generic Names Supporting Organization) approved the plan in big ways on Wednesday, but the biggest endorsement came from the ccNSO (The Country-Code Names Supporting Organization).

Later at the gala held that Wednesday evening at the beautiful Menara Gardens, the mood was a gallant one, with realism that the US Congress may accept or reject the plan. We can only wait and see.

With the departure of Fadi, Goran Marby from Sweden takes over at the helm of ICANN. Wishing him success at the job, which surely has the world watching and intrigued, especially with the impending transition.

Oh, and the new ICANN language is “Swenglish”. He said it.

Cover Image, Defending ICANN | Veni

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