Redelegation of the .ML domain representing Mali to the Agence des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication

11 February 2013

This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function between the United States Government and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Under that contract, ICANN performs the “IANA functions”, which include receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning TLDs, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, making its recommendations, and reporting actions undertaken in connection with processing such requests.

Factual Information


The “ML” ISO 3166-1 code is designated for use to represent Mali.

Chronology of events

The currently designated manager for the .ML top-level domain is Société des Télécommunications du Mali (specifically, “SOTELMA”), as described in the IANA Root Zone Database.

On 10 January 2005, Agence des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (AGETIC) was established by law as a public institution. Its role is to manage “research, training and promotion related to ICTs”, and specifically, “is in charge of ... managing the .ML domain name”.

In July 2009, SOTELMA was privatized. The applicant has stated this has necessitated the transfer of the management of .ML ccTLD.

A two-day workshop concerning the Naming Charter for Mali domain name was held in August 2011 involving a number of community participants, including representatives of SOTELMA, various government agencies, Internet Service Providers, Orange Mali, AGETIC, the Mali Association of Free Software (AMULL), the Mali Association of Intellectual Property (AMPRIT), UNESCO and CACTIC. The outcome of this meeting is reported to have selected AGETIC as the future sponsoring organization for the .ML domain.

Since December 2011, AGETIC became involved in the management of .ML ccTLD and took over responsibilities for handling all new registrations of domains under .ML ccTLD. The proposed name servers for the .ML domain commenced publishing the contents of the zone, which continues to be maintained by SOTELMA until the redelegation is conducted.

On 9 January 2012, AGETIC commenced a request to ICANN for redelegation of the “.ML” top-level domain. A revised request was tendered in August 2012.

On 3 October 2012, ICANN received a communication from Dr. Alioune Badara Traore, the currently listed administrative contact for .ML ccTLD, stating that he does not agree with the proposed redelegation of .ML to AGETIC. During the next few weeks, ICANN staff were in communication with both current and proposed operators clarifying the position of all the involved parties. ICANN staff met with Dr. Traore and AGETIC representatives in Canada during the ICANN international meeting, and the discussion results in a commitment that Dr. Traore and AGETIC representatives would meet further in Mali during November to discuss and address their outstanding issues.

A “ML Consultative Committee” meeting was held in Mali on 1 November 2012. Representatives from various organizations were present, including the currently listed sponsoring organization, SOTELMA. The meeting decided that Dr. Traore would be appointed to the Committee as a representative of SOTELMA. ICANN staff subsequently received communication from Dr. Traore in December 2012 withdrawing his objection and agreeing to the proposed redelegation. 

Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts

The proposed sponsoring organisation is the Agence des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication, a public institution formed under Law 05-002 of 10 January 2005 “Portant Creation de l’Agence des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication”.

The proposed administrative contact is Berthe Hawa Diakite, Head of .ML Service Management for AGETIC. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Mali.

The proposed technical contact is Adama Traore, System Engineer, AGETIC.

Evaluation of the Request

String Eligibility

The top-level domain is eligible for continued delegation under ICANN policy, as it is the assigned ISO 3166-1 two-letter code representing Mali.

Public Interest

Support for the application to redelegate the domain was provided by Modibo Ibrahim Touré, the Minister of Post and ICT in Mali. Additional statements in support of this redelegation were provided from the Coordination of ICT Associations and Clubs of Mali (CACTIC), Internet Society Mali, Iserv (a local IT company), and Datatech (a local ISP).

The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Mali.

The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.

Based in country

The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in Mali. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Mali. The registry is to be operated in the country.


The request is deemed uncontested, with the currently listed sponsoring organisation consenting to the transfer.

The appropriate transfer plan has been provided. Based on the information submitted, ICANN staff evaluated stability aspects relating to registry transfer and does not see any stability issues given all parties act in accordance with the agreed upon transfer plan.


The application has provided satisfactory details on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the .ML domain. Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.

Evaluation Procedure

ICANN is tasked with coordinating the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with the U.S. Government. This includes accepting and evaluating requests for delegation and redelegation of top-level domains.

A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), and are assigned by ICANN to responsible trustees (known as “Sponsoring Organisations”) that meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the trustee has from its local Internet community, its capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and its applicability under any relevant local laws.

Through ICANN’s IANA department, requests are received for delegating new ccTLDs, and redelegating or revoking existing ccTLDs. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, the requests are implemented and a recommendation for delegation or redelegation is made to the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Purpose of evaluations

The evaluation of eligibility for ccTLDs, and of evaluating responsible trustees charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.

In considering requests to delegate or redelegate ccTLDs, input is sought regarding the proposed new Sponsoring Organisation, as well as from persons and organisations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated.

The assessment is focussed on the capacity for the proposed sponsoring organisation to meet the following criteria:

  • The domain should be operated within the country, including having its sponsoring organisation and administrative contact based in the country.
  • The domain should be operated in a way that is fair and equitable to all groups in the local Internet community.
  • Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that the prospective trustee is the appropriate party to be responsible for the domain, with the desires of the national government taken very seriously.
  • The domain must be operated competently, both technically and operationally. Management of the domain should adhere to relevant technical standards and community best practices.
  • Risks to the stability of the Internet addressing system must be adequately considered and addressed, particularly with regard to how existing identifiers will continue to function.

Method of evaluation

To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the trustee to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed trustee; and the nature of government support fort he proposal. The view of any current trustee is obtained, and in the event of a redelegation, the transfer plan from the previous sponsoring organisation to the new sponsoring organisation is also assessed with a view to ensuring ongoing stable operation of the domain.

After receiving this documentation and input, it is analysed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed sponsoring organisation should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.

Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed sponsoring organisation’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries correctly. Should any anomalies be detected, ICANN staff will work with the applicant to address the issues.

Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and its suitability to operate the relevant top-level domain.