APTLD 74 Communique

The 74th APTLD Members Meeting took place in the city of Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan. Hosted by UZINFOCOM company, the .UZ ccTLD registry, the Meeting boasts the record-breaking audience of 124 Members’ representatives and guests who proactively engaged in the on-site and off-site activities.

The traditional 2 day-long pre-Meeting training course consisted of a technical class on DDos attacks and ways to counter them. The course was delivered by the RIPE NCC under the MoU signed back at APTLD72. The marketing class on the art of argumentation and business negotiations and a hands-on training on how to craft Power Point slide decks drew a lot of participants, including some APTLD Board members.

The Meeting itself got together nearly 30 Membership’s delegation, as well as a number of participants from Uzbekistan and some neighboring countries, as well as the Americas, Europe, and even Africa. Representatives of major regional organizations, including RIPE NCC, APNIC, and ICANN also were there and contributed to the opening session and ensuing ones.

The local stakeholders very much appreciated APTLD’s status as a major regional organization, and it was the Hon. Shuhrat M. Sadikov, Minister for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan who opened the Meeting with very insightful comments on the country’s path of transformation of the local ICT  and internet industry as a cornerstone of the government’s audacious reform agenda.

As propensity for experimenting with Meetings and sessions formats has already become an APTLD’s hallmark, APTLD74 was no exception. With Davos-style setting, that allowed no-PPT panel discussions, simultaneous English-Russian interpretation and live streaming of the event on YouTube, the Meeting allowed a greater interaction and served as a catalyst for a more active networking during the breaks. A total of 15 sessions were held during APTLD74, and the audience seemed to be never thinning, while attendees posed many questions and comments to the panelists and presenters.

The Meeting saw many new faces of representatives of recently joined members, such as .SU and .СРБ (the IDN ccTLD for Serbia), as well as those whom the community have not seen for a while, such as .SA, .OM, .VU, among others. They all delivered quite illuminating presentations.

IDN-related topics are another APTLD Meetings’ hallmark, and in Tashkent, there were two sessions, one of which focused on security challenges facing IDNs while in other one, reports from several ccTLDs (SA, TH, TW – and CN by reports) show that they have pursued EAI solutions to complement their IDN offerings. These solutions, developed in-house or by private developers, have not been widely advanced generally because the private developers do not see value in putting efforts into the solutions while IDN registrations remain low.

The Meeting has also further corroborated APTLD's standing as a regional platform for, and facilitator of, the best practices exchange. On APTLD74 sidelines, KAZNIC, the administrator of .kz, signed a MoU with Indian Company Data Xgen Technologies to empower about 18 million citizens to have universal acceptance and have EAI-ready email address in the language of their choice in Kazakhstan.

APTLD74 also was a very special event to celebrate the Association’s 20th anniversary, which became a great cause to also celebrate the Association’s rich legacy. To that effect, a special session became homage to ex-Board Chairs represented by Prof. Kilnam Chon, Peter Dengate Thrush, and Jonathan Shea, and ex-GM Don Hollander. Reminiscencing over the past, the veterans were unanimous in their call to the community to keep reaching out and keep going.

The ensuing Members Gala held on 20 September became a fascinating event for the meeting participants, a true showcase of the Uzbekistani hospitality, culture, and cuisine. They also took part in an off-site networking event in the ancient city of Samarkand.

During APTLD74, the Membership has also unanimously approved a draft Community Statement on Country and Territory Designations as Top-Level Domains. Developed by an ad-hoc working group that consisted of Vice Chair Gihan Dias (.LK), Cameron Boardman (.AU), Hiro Hotta (.JP) and Stephen Deerhake, it became yet another sign of the community’s commitment to the bottom-up policy making process and is poised to send a strong signal across the global Internet community on the Asia Pacific ccTLD registries’ unchanged stance on the subject matter. Once approved, the community instructed GM to send it out to the APTLD Membership for prompt review and comment with a view to submit the document to ICANN as its official position.

At the closure of the Meeting, the next destination was unveiled for APTLD75 and AGM, namely, they are going to take place in Dubai, UAE, on 20-21 February 2019. As well, the APTLD75 website was unveiled, already up and running at www.aptld75.ae, and the draft agenda should be sent to Members for review and comments.