|The report that appears below was sent to the
ICANN Board on 20 April 2002 and discussed at its 22 April meeting.
After the meeting, minor changes were made to accomodate questions
and observations from Board members, and a draft was circulated under
a 48-hour no-objection rule. It is published as an interim progress
report vetted as described.
Chairs Interim Report for April
The Evolution and Reform Committee of ICANN was formed by resolution
of the Board meeting in Accra, in March 2002. The Committee as appointed
consisted of Directors Alejandro Pisanty (chair), Lyman Chapin, Phil Davidson,
Hans Kraaijenbrink, and Nii Quaynor. It receives staff support and includes
in its mailing list the Chairman of the Board, Vinton Cerf, and the President
and CEO, also a Board member, Stuart Lynn.
Phil Davidson has made a valuable contribution to the organization of
the Committees work, and left an extraordinarily useful survey of
the questions before us and some sources of input. Unfortunately he has
resigned from the Board and therefore also stopped acting in the committee.
Mailing lists and forums
The Committee, thanks to Louis Touton, has a website and an e-mail
address. The comments received are published on
the ICANN forum web site, classified according to subject and nature.
The URL for the submissions is http://forum.icann.org/reform-comments/
and can be visited by all.
Some discussions relevant to the committees work are also occurring
in the At Large Study Committees public forum and the DNSO General
Assembly. Although few substantive comments with concrete reform proposals
have appeared in either, we monitor them constantly. Some committee
members monitor a few other public sources of input, such as DNSO constituencies.
The Names Council is holding a series of meetings by teleconference,
in a tight schedule, in order to develop promptly a position paper.
We are made aware of their progress through the submission of drafts
by e-mail. While we do not participate in the Names Council discussion,
we do keep tabs in order to follow not only the conclusions stated in
the position paper, but the reasoning and the participation of different
members and constituencies.
The committee website records some submissions which look extensively
and in depth at the structural and functional issues of reform. Among
them mention may be made of the Heathrow Declaration, a
submission by New.net, and very few others.
The ITU has availed itself of the public forums as well as other venues
to make known a proposal. While again not a structural or functional
proposal, it deserves careful reading both of the explicit text and
the text between the lines.
We are also receiving some e-mail directly at our personal e-mail addresses.
Some of it has been valuable, such as a framework by Ian Peter (Australia)
to analyze stakeholders, what they stand to gain, and what they fear,
and two notes by Ms. Ana Vasconcelos which help understand a number
of crucial, general issues.
Unfortunately here, too, the proposals and discussions that can actually
be incorporated into the reform process are scarce. One significant
point to mention is that a number of privately directed communications
are far more supportive of Stuart Lynns reform proposal and directly
related views than some of the public forums would lead one to believe.
There are varied reports by e-mail and on phone calls of a number of
goings-on. A grouping that has called itself the NGO e-commerce forum
met in Washington, DC, with U.S. Department of Commerce officials. At
least two of the people present were James Love (Consumer Project on
Technology) and Danny Younger (DNSO General Assembly), and have given
brief reports of the meeting.
There is a telephone meeting with members of the IPC (Intellectual
Property Constituency of the DNSO) scheduled for this week. A telephone
meeting with the Names Council has also been scheduled for this week,
for A. Pisanty and Stuart Lynn. I would suggest that participation is
invited for both.
S. Lynn and V. Cerf have been engaging in a number of public conversations
which bear on the reform process and which they have made the committee
aware of in full. We have also held a conversation with the GAC Chair
and Vice-chairs in order to gather a sense of their thinking and action.
The Committee scheduled a face-to-face meeting in Amsterdam for the first
weekend of April 2002. Unfortunately due to force majeure two members
could not attend (A. Pisanty and N. Quaynor), and P. Davidson announced
his resignation immediately before. Therefore the meeting was held with
the attendance of Lyman Chapin, Hans Kraaijenbrink, and Joe Sims representing
Stuart Lynn/ICANN senior staff, due to the concurrent meeting with Latin
American ccTLDs S. Lynn was attending. A. Pisanty had partial participation
The meeting was very valuable, going exhaustively into a fresh analysis
of S. Lynns reform proposal and identifying key questions to be
answered in progress of the reform process. The committee is now considering
these matters together with the input described above and the additional
input expected in the coming days and weeks.
Progress So Far
A number of issues have been discussed in public, related to S. Lynns
reform paper. The majority of these discussions are still far from conclusive.
A quick, personal, idiosyncratic report would be as follows:
Mission. Some discussion is on record related to ICANNs
mission. The Names Council has been analyzing the staff paper on what
ICANN does; there seems to be general (though not unanimous) agreement
with the tasks listed there, and expressions that a more general mission
statement should be established for guidance.
At Large participation. A drive for the At Large Membership
continues to take place. An effort in which Esther Dyson and Pindar
Wong have had participation, a related one in which Joop Teernstra and
Vittorio Bertola have had some leadership, etc., are vying for the continuation
of efforts to organize at large members, quoting the Accra resolution
to encourage such activity.
Participation by governments. While this tends to be the first
issue in most lists, and one attracting the most intense discussion,
the conclusions are still not forthcoming. Some people, usually connected
to grass-roots efforts, have had favorable expressions to the participation
of governments in ICANN decision-making, as a way to guarantee accountability
to the community at large. Serious difficulties are pointed at both
by governmental participants and by others; they are concerned more
with the feasibility of obtaining direct government participation in
processes and in funding. This track of thought has led to an activation
of proposals that would give the ITU a preponderant role.
Funding. The question of funding has been discussed in a very
limited extent, outside the discussion on government participation.
There have been some expressions in favor of splitting costs in a fixed
and a variable (or per-service) part, and some in favor of a per-domain
fee. There is a serious need of wider, elaborate thought on this issue,
particularly from parties that could be considered responsible for funding
ICANN, and/or those who obtain a financial gain from its proper functioning.
Policy-formulation bodies. There has as yet been limited discussion
of the replacement of the Supporting Organizations as binding participants
and providers of policy input for Forums. A number of expressions either
point to the disappearance or the continuation of the PSO, and, in a
more positive manner, to the continuation of the ASO which is also shown
as an example of something that works well in ICANN. A number of SO
members have expressed that they do not need Board seats
but will demand a structure that makes sure their voices can be heard.
Nominating Committee. Another set of discussions, limited in
extent at least up to now, have been concerned with the setup, composition,
and operation of the Nominating Committee proposed by S. Lynn. It will
be useful to monitor, and if possible attract, more quality, structured
thought about this subject.
Oversight. Finally, the discussion of independent oversight
over ICANN has had some place of its own. Its visibility has been enhanced
by the fact that Ethan Katsh, a U.S. based law professor, has filed
a reconsideration request for the decision to not continue the Independent
Review Panel and remand it to the Evolution and Reform Committee.
The coming weeks should see an intensification of input and discussion.
The Committee may need to become more engaged in public discussions, without
taking positions in any way final or which can prejudice the outcome of
its work, but which may be required in order to clarify, structure, and
enrich the input it obtains.
Obtaining input from fellow Directors and from people they can call upon
is now vital. The dialogues of the following weeks with the Names Council
and some DNSO constituencies will surely begin to cause public discussion,
in which the Board must become involved.
I wish to warmly thank Louis Touton and ICANN staff for setting up webpage,
mailing lists, forwarding documents, and general, very valuable assistance
20 April 2002
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