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IANA Report on Redelegation of the .ng Top-Level Domain


IANA Report

Subject: Request of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for Redelegation of .ng Top-Level Domain
Date: June 2004

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (the IANA), as part of the administrative functions associated with management of the domain-name system root, is responsible for receiving requests for delegation and redelegation of top-level domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests. This report gives the findings and conclusions of the IANA on its investigation of various requests for redelegation of the .ng (Nigeria) country-code top-level domain (ccTLD).

Factual and Procedural Background

In 1995, the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (which then performed the IANA functions) approved a request for establishment of the .ng ccTLD. At that time and today, that two-letter code was and is set forth on the ISO 3166-1 list maintained by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA) as the approved alpha-2 code for Nigeria.

Upon its establishment on 15 March 1995, the .ng ccTLD was delegated by Dr. Jon Postel (then in charge of the IANA function at the Information Sciences Institute) to Ms. Iyabo Odusote from Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria as administrative contact; and Mr. Abraham Gebrehewit, from IAT, Pisa, Italy, as the technical contact.

In March 1998, IANA received two expressions of interest to redelegate the .ng ccTLD to Nigeria Telecommunications Limited, PTT (NITEL) but also to Nigeria Internet Group (NIG). Because those requests happened before the formation of ICANN, the records regarding them are not available to the ICANN staff. Moreover, these requests were not pursued further by the parties involved, and therefore ICANN has taken no action regarding them.

In the Nigerian National Policy for Information Technology (IT) dated March 2001, approved by the Federal Executive Council in March 2001, in Chapter 3: Governance, under 3.3 strategies it says (ix) safeguarding the effective use of the dot NG (.ng) Domain name for Nigeria, with NITDA as the operating agency. Following the approval of the National IT Policy by the Federal Executive Council, NITDA was established. NITDA's mandate is diverse and vast, but all their responsibilities fall under the aegis of fostering the development and growth of IT in Nigeria. In an effort towards ensuring that the policy's implementation proceeds with maximum effectiveness, NITDA will regulate, monitor, evaluate, and verify progress on an ongoing basis under the supervision and coordination of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

In a message dated 8 December 2003, the Nigerian Government, through the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology recognized The National IT Development Agency (NITDA) as the appropriate delegee for the .ng ccTLD and expressed an interest to have NITDA formally recognized by ICANN as the delegee for the .ng ccTLD.

Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, the existing Administrative Contact, has expressed support for the redelegation request. Mr. Randy Bush, who became the Technical Contact on 30 July 2001, has also expressed his support for the redelegation.

To clarify and document the relative roles and responsibilities of NITDA, the Government of Nigeria, and ICANN; representatives of the parties have drafted the bilateral communications between each pair of the three parties. A NITDA-ICANN Agreement was entered in April 2004. The Nigerian Government has also sent ICANN communications recognizing ICANN's role in coordinating the DNS to preserve global interoperability. In December 2003, NITDA expressed its desire to execute the appropriate MOU with ICANN, and on April 2004 the ICANN Board authorized the entry of such an agreement with NITDA.

Evaluation

This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the IANA function between the United States Government and ICANN. Under that contract, ICANN performs the IANA function, which includes receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning ccTLDs, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, making its recommendations, and reporting actions undertaken in connection with processing such requests.

In acting on redelegation requests, the IANA currently follows the practices summarized in "Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation" (ICP-1). ICP-1 represents an update of the portions of RFC 1591 (which was issued in March 1994) dealing with ccTLDs, and reflects subsequent documents and evolution of the policies followed by the IANA through May 1999. Relevant guidance is also provided in the GAC Principles.

In considering delegation or redelegation of a ccTLD, the IANA seeks input from persons significantly affected by the transfer, particularly those within the nation or territory which the ccTLD has been established to benefit. As noted in ICP-1, the parties affected include especially the relevant government or public authority: "The desires of the government of a country with regard to delegation of a ccTLD are taken very seriously. The IANA will make them a major consideration in any TLD delegation/transfer discussions."

Based on the materials submitted and the IANA's evaluation of the circumstances, NITDA qualifies as an appropriate manager for the .ng registry. It has the support of both the Nigerian Internet community, and the Nigerian Government. As noted above, the government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry for Science and Technology has formally endorsed NITDA as the appropriate delegee for the .ng registry.

Mutual agreement of the old and the new delegees is a factor that ICANN takes very seriously when considering redelegation requests. Here, the former administrative contact supports the change in delegation and the technical contact has stated that they have no objection.

The GAC Principles serve as "best practices" to guide governments in assuming proper roles with respect to the Internet's naming system, which the GAC has observed is a public resource . . . administered in the public or common interest. In general, they recognize that each government has the ultimate responsibility within its territory for its national public-policy objectives, but also that ICANN has the responsibility for ensuring that the Internet domain-name system continues to provide an effective and interoperable global naming system. The GAC Principles recommend that governments and ICANN pursue their respective roles by creating a framework for accountability memorialized in communications with each other and with the ccTLD manager (see clause 2). The GAC Principles guide governments on how to responsibly structure their relations with ccTLD managers (see clauses 5.5 and clause 9). Among these specific principles, the best practices contemplate that governments will assist in ensuring that the ccTLD manager complies with ICANN polices related to global coordination of the Internet DNS (clauses 9.1.7 and 9.1.8).

By migrating the delegation of the .ng ccTLD to a more formal, legally enforceable set of arrangements between a delegee organization, the relevant government, and ICANN (which performs the IANA function) the proposed delegation will promote service to the local Internet community and will help assure continued Internet interoperability through the global technical coordination that ICANN was created to provide.

According to the relevant communications, NITDA is well-suited to be inclusive of, and accountable to, the Nigerian Internet community; and to operate through appropriate open, transparent, and inclusive processes.

Conclusion

The structure proposed by NITDA and endorsed by the Nigerian Government is to have NITDA undertake management of the .ng ccTLD under appropriate oversight of the Nigerian Government concerning the national policy interests. NITDA and the Nigerian Government also acknowledge and support ICANN's responsibility for coordinating management of the DNS, including the .ng ccTLD, to safeguard global technical coordination interests. In reviewing the request, in light of the Nigerian Government's endorsement of NITDA as the appropriate manager, and in view of achievement of agreements documenting the framework of accountability described above; the IANA concludes that the .ng ccTLD should be redelegated to NITDA.


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