Exploring APNIC’s 2021 themes: Capacity for Internet development

By on 9 Jul 2021

Categories: Community Development

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This is the third in a short series of blog posts describing the four themes from the APNIC 2021 Activity Plan and what they mean for the APNIC membership and community. You can read the other posts in the series here.

In 2017, APNIC established the APNIC Foundation to help grow its Internet development activities in the region. Since then, the Foundation has proven its success in raising several millions of dollars for additional training and technical assistance, on top of APNIC’s existing activities.

The Foundation can be considered a part of APNIC, with a purpose to raise resources, partnerships, and funds. As such, it is hosted and underwritten by APNIC, and APNIC staff are involved in implementing many (but not all) of the Foundation’s projects. Other projects are implemented by the Foundation itself, or by partners in the region.

With the growth of the Foundation over the last three years, APNIC has been able to employ more trainers and specialists — including more than 20 Community Trainers — to support Foundation-funded activities. Of course, these trainers also support APNIC’s overall training and development program, with benefits to all APNIC Members.

In 2021, with the establishment of the Asia Pacific Internet Development Trust, the growth in the APNIC Foundation has accelerated. This year the Trust has provided USD 6 million so far to Foundation projects, of which nearly 50% involve APNIC in implementation. This has meant additional growth for APNIC as well, as it scales up to deliver more service and more benefits to Members.

Those projects include:

  • Accelerating deployment of M-Root anycast instances in the Asia Pacific
  • Development of the APNIC Academy online platform and training curriculum for blended training to create new courses, extend multilingual support, and manage training and technical assistance activities
  • Expanding the volume of training activities overall and the network of APNIC Community Trainers in the region
  • Developing an introductory Internet curriculum for non-technical audiences

Already in 2021, APNIC has funded eight staff in the following roles to support these projects (with two more to come):

  • Technical training delivery
  • Training coordination
  • Training curriculum development
  • Platform development
  • Infrastructure operations engineering

This makes 2021 the largest year ever for APNIC staff growth and brings the risk of ‘growing pains’ if not well managed. Some adjustments have been made already, such as the restructure of the finance and business support functions within APNIC, and the adoption of Agile methods throughout the organization.

The APNIC Foundation has also scaled up its own dedicated resources to oversee the increase in financial resources and projects under management. In addition to project staff, three new APNIC staff are dedicated to the Foundation in finance, grants management, and reporting/evaluation roles.

The increase in resources for the Foundation’s operations means that APNIC’s funding provision for Foundation expenses has decreased this year and is unlikely to be required at all. However, APNIC will retain this underwriting responsibility for up to 10 years, under its commitment to the Foundation.

With the ongoing COVID lockdowns, and the uncertainty of ‘returning to normal’, it’s hard to plan for the future, making it critical that APNIC increases its agility. This will be the topic of the next update in this series. The final theme for 2021 will be ‘APNIC Agility’.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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