Below is the verbatim response submitted by DCA Trust to ICANN GAC expressing objection to its independent “.africa” gTLD bid:
May 16, 2013 – DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust), the contending applicant that submitted an independent bid for the .Africa new generic Top-Level Domain name, recently submitted another fulsome response to the ICANN Board of Directors to defend the GAC Objection Advice that was issued against its .Africa new gTLD application by the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) body within ICANN.
It may be recalled that DCA Trust previously submitted a response to the GAC Early Warning in November 2012, and was therefore adequately prepared to articulate another detailed defense and response to the GAC Objection Advice that came out of the ICANN GAC Meeting in Beijing, China.
DCA Trust submitted its response to the GAC Advice within the mandatory 21-day window that any application that has received a GAC Policy Advice is given to respond as per new gTLD Program Guidebook stipulations. The response by DCA Trust was submitted ahead of the general deadline that expired on May 10, 2013. DCA Trust will publish its response document for general circulation after its details are posted publicly by ICANN.
In its response to the ICANN Board, DCA Trust disagreed with the GAC Objection Advice, and noted that its .Africa new application has not received any other Formal Objection on the basis of the four (4) main objection criteria allowed under the new gTLD Program. During the Objection Filing period that expired on March 13, 2013, DCA successfully defended itself against the threat of Community Objection that was issued by the Independent Objector for the ICANN new gTLD Program.
DCA Trust remains confident that the well-argued and compelling response that it has submitted enabled it to further substantiate its case to the ICANN Board of Directors. The new gTLD Applicant’s Guidebook provisions suggest that the ICANN Board is not necessarily expected as a rule to follow any GAC Policy Advice that it may receive. This line is also supported by the ‘Core Principles’ of the ICANN GAC.
DCA Trust therefore remains highly optimistic that the processing of its application by ICANN will continue, and that the ICANN Board would allow DCA Trust’s .Africa application to proceed towards Initial Evaluation and Contention Resolution, and that the GAC Objection Advice will not be implemented by the ICANN Board on this occasion.
Notwithstanding, DCA Trust in its response reiterated its strong belief that the only conceivable way forward is for the existing contention situation regarding the .Africa string to be resolved through a process of mutual negotiation and settlement between contending successfully evaluated parties as encouraged by ICANN based on new gTLD Program Guidebook stipulations.
As an independent new gTLD applicant that is participating in the program based on multi-stakeholder principles, DCA Trust would like to reassure its esteemed supporters that the organization shall continue to follow due process mechanisms to ensure that its .Africa new gTLD application remains viable and in contention for the Africa name string until final resolution.
In the interim, DCA Trust intends to continue seeking accountability to ensure that its public grievances and the issues of illegality that it has already highlighted would be given due credence and properly investigated by the authorities.
DCA Trust would like to thank all its supporters for the unstinting moral encouragement and goodwill that it has continued to receive from different sections of the ICANN Global Community.”