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RIPE NCC Response to Government Interest in an Arab RIR

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Over the past weeks and following on from talks at last year's ITU WTSA and WCIT events, both AFRINIC and the RIPE NCC have been asked to participate in discussions concerning the possibility of establishing a new Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for the Arabic-speaking community.

In the spirit of open community discussion, both AFRINIC and the RIPE NCC feel that this should be brought to the attention of our members and community.

It is imperative to note that these discussions have not in any way been instigated by the management or staff of either AFRINIC or the RIPE NCC. The matter has been raised and promoted by representatives of certain governments in the Arab community.

The RIPE NCC is proud to serve the needs of our members in Arabic-speaking states, and we believe that the existing system can meet the needs of a growing membership in the Arab region.

As you are all aware, an RIR provides a range of services, including managing its service region's Internet number resources (IPv4, IPv6 and ASNs), maintaining proper records of all registry activities in a publicly accessible database (the RIPE Database), as well as capacity building and training on use of these resources. RIRs also provide general support for regional Internet Infrastructure, and facilitate community discussion and engagement.

The RIPE NCC has been particularly excited to contribute to the development of forums such as the Middle East Network Operators Group (MENOG), the Middle East Peering Forum and the Arab Internet Governance Forum, and initiatives like the MENOG IPv6 Roadshow. Through these activities, we have supported the growth of the local industry and the development of an active professional community within the region, including a RIPE NCC representative office in Dubai.

RIRs are community-governed organisations. If the RIPE NCC membership and Internet community in the Arab region feels that there is a need to establish a new RIR, the RIPE NCC and AFRINIC will be happy to support this development appropriately. There are steps, via the open, bottom-up policy development process, to facilitate this. ICP-2, "Criteria for Establishment of New Regional Internet Registries", is a global policy, approved through consensus by the communities of all the existing RIRs, which sets out this process:

This, like all RIR policies, was a result of "bottom-up" policy development, based on the premise that those who use Internet number resources and have a stake in the Internet, including actors from civil society, business, the technical community, government and law enforcement agencies (LEAs), should take the lead in developing policies relating to the management of those resources.

"Top-down" policies developed without the participation of those who operate the Internet carry the risk of significant unintended consequences for the Internet and Internet users.

It is vital that the Internet technical community have a voice in deciding such an important issue. We encourage community members to raise any questions or issues on the RIPE Discussion list [[email protected]], or to email the RIPE NCC directly. We are also happy to work with anyone who wishes to raise this issue in upcoming community forums such as MENOG 12 (5-14 March in Dubai) or RIPE 66 (13-17 May in Dublin, Ireland).