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RIPE NCC Hosts Brussels Roundtable Meeting for Governments and Regulators

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The first 2013 Roundtable Meeting was held in Brussels on 19 March, adjacent to the European Commission's High Level Group on Internet Governance. The event attracted around 40 participants from governments, regulators and industry. These meetings, which are held twice a year, are a major element in the RIPE NCC's efforts to stimulate dialogue and enhance understanding between the public sector and the RIPE community. They also provide an opportunity to identify areas of cooperation between the public sector and the RIPE NCC.

In the period since the last Roundtable Meeting (held in September 2012 during the RIPE 65 Meeting in Amsterdam), there have been a number of significant developments of interest to governments, including the ITU's World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) and the emergence of a trade in IPv4 address blocks.

The agenda of this week's Roundtable Meeting reflected those developments. RIPE NCC Registration Services Manager, Andrea Cima, led a discussion of IPv4 address management in the RIPE NCC service region. Feedback from participants focused on issues including:

  • The potential size and duration of a global IPv4 market
  • Strategies to avoid speculation, including needs-based assessment for approval of intra- and inter-RIR resource transfers
  • Potential for the politicisation of concerns about IPv4 address availability in various governmental forums

Discussion also centered around developments in the IP address registry system, with RIPE NCC Director of External Relations, Paul Rendek, reporting on the RIPE NCC's engagement with the ITU and discussions around the establishment of an "Arab RIR". Participants were able to provide some important feedback and perspectives, such as: 

  • Ongoing and improved communication between the technical community and public sector is vital to informed public policy-making
  • An NRO-led response to the online consultation by the ITU Council Working Group on international Internet-related public policy issues (CWG-Internet) is important; it is also vital that the RIPE NCC respond to the issues raised (regarding IPv4 policies) ahead of the World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum (WTPF) in May, as many of these issues will also be discussed there
  • The issue of "Enhanced Cooperation" (a concept that emerged from the WSIS events) will continue to be politically sensitive over the coming year, particularly with the establishment of the UN CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation
  • While many governments support multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, it would be useful for the Internet technical community stakeholders to document specific evidence of the multi-stakeholder model's successes.

Finally, Emile Aben, System Architect with the RIPE NCC Research & Development Group, showcased some of the statistical and analytical tools being developed by the RIPE NCC, and their relevance for policy makers. Subsequent discussion demonstrated the public sector's strong interest in this work, particularly in tools that can be used for comparative analysis of Internet trends.

The feedback and discussions that the RIPE NCC Roundtable Meetings facilitate are an important factor in shaping the RIPE NCC's strategy in Internet governance, and are a valuable opportunity for public sector representatives to inform their own decision-making. They can also inspire discussion in more open community venues, including the RIPE Cooperation Working Group, which will meet at RIPE 66 in Dublin this May.

If you would like more information about upcoming RIPE NCC Roundtable Meetings, please contact us at [email protected].