…..Now is the time to wend away….until we meet again…. … and often.

Although the auDA team and the ccNSO has already devoted a number of blog posts and YouTube clips to the recent ICANN meeting in San Francisco, I wanted to add a few of my personal observations and comments, particularly as the meeting was my last as Chair of the ccNSO Council before taking up a seat on the ICANN Board.

In their inimitable style, Australians have a saying (simultaneously sarcastic and deferential) that those that linger as they depart the limelight have “more farewells than Nellie Melba”. This was never my intention coming into the San Francisco meeting, so I was truly moved by the number of tributes and kind wishes I received at the ccNSO Dinner, during my last ccNSO Council meeting, during the presentation of SO/AC reports and at the ICANN Board meeting.

As I mentioned in San Francisco, there have been a number of achievements over the last nine years – dating back to the Assistance Working Group that worked to establish the ccNSO – of which I am very proud. Not because they are my achievements, but because I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in the conception, establishment and development of a model for multi-stakeholder collaboration and cooperation that stands out as a template for any number of international organisations and fora.

Back in 2002, ccTLD managers were a disparate and ferociously independent bunch, mostly unified by their wariness of ICANN. Not much has changed and yet we have come a long way.

While the independent streak and the wariness remain, the ccNSO now counts 113 ccTLD registries as members, and works as an effective and efficient forum for nurturing consensus, technical cooperation and skill-building, exchanging best practices in ccTLD management and developing policy advice for the ICANN Board on relevant matters.

On more than one occasion, I have had the opportunity to extol the virtues of the ccNSO’s collaborative model, the role ccTLD managers can play in bridging the digital divide, and the important and independent technical and policy contributions we make.

ccTLDs have not only shown that we can – and will – participate within the ICANN machine, but that we are capable of leading the way in refining ICANN’s processes to ensure they deliver decisions and outcomes in the sorts of timeframes demanded by the ever-changing and ever-expanding Internet governance environment.

We have much to be proud of and much more to do.

Before I gracefully dismount my soap-box, I would like to offer my heart-felt thanks to the many people with whom I have collaborated over the last nine years. We truly are One World, One Internet ;-). Mentioning all of you individually would be impossible, so I hope you will all accept a collective “Thank you” and my standing invitation to exchange “war stories” in whichever far-flung bar the ICANN road-show may lead us.

A particular thank you to Gabi, Kristina and Bart, the ccNSO council and many of the members who went to extraordinary lengths to make my last meeting emotional and laughter filled. Secret surveys, clandestine discussions, a movie, gifts and speeches. Thank you all.

And with that, I would like to sign off with a reference to the topic of this post.

Yes, I am leaving the ccNSO. Yes, I will assume a broader set of responsibilities to ICANN and its many stakeholders. But I will not forget where, how and why this all started. See you at the ‘Jordan in Singapore’, meeting and beyond.

Chris.

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