ICANN Marrakech opening ceremony

I’m at the opening ceremony of ICANN’s Marrakech meeting and it’s due to kick off in eight minutes and apparently the Moroccan prime minister Driss Jetou is coming.

PM Jetou ICANN Marrakech

I have to say, this is the best conference centre I’ve been to for a quite a while – it’s the Palais de Congres and, rather helpfully, only two minutes walk from my hotel. Of course, there is the eternal shortage of power points, but the wireless is working, the rooms are big, have comfy seats and are well ventilated. As ever the classic test will be at lunch time.

First feelings about Morocco? No idea. Arrived 2am this morning, went to my hotel room , slept, got up, ate breakfast and made my way to the Palais. The people are very friendly but slightly officious, and slightly wary. And there are the pictures everywhere of the king – all of which immediately points to the fact that we’re in a North African country.

I ran into GAC chairman Sharil Tarmizi in the corridor and he confirmed that the main aim of the GAC this meeting will be to come up with some solid guidelines for the eternally thorny issue of “enhanced co-operation”. The meetings will, as ever, be held in secret, but there are a few open meetings that should prove interesting. Soon after the opening ceremony, the big one: GAC and what it thinks of Whois – let’s see who the US has persuaded to “make its concerns known”. It will be the Aussies, but who else?

ICANN staff have scheduled a press conference in the middle of this with Paul Twomey, Vint Cerf and some Moroccan minister – let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was jusy coincidence.

And then the GAC meets up with the Board this afternoon. Who knows what will happen there. There should be no shortage of stories, with luck, we shall see.