Communiqué of the Governmental Advisory Committee
(10 March 2001)

Communiqué of the Governmental Advisory Committee

10 March 2001

Melbourne, Australia

SATURDAY 10 March 2001: The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) held its eighth meeting in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday and today. The attending GAC Members, representing 32 national governments, distinct economies as recognised in international fora and multinational governmental and treaty organisations, had fruitful discussions across issues relating to the Internet worldwide, and issued the following statement:

A. With regard to the election of the First Chair of the Governmental Advisory Committee, that:

The GAC has held the First Election for Chair of the GAC, and that Dr Paul Twomey of Australia, the Initial Chair, was elected as Chair of the GAC, to serve for a term of two years, in accordance with the GAC Operating Principles.

B. With regard to issues relating to the delegation and administration of country code top level domains (ccTLDs) that:

The GAC had a constructive, open and useful dialogue with the ccTLD Constituency of the Domain Name Supporting Organisation (DNSO), and the ICANN Board and staff, on issues relating to the delegation and administration of ccTLDs.

The GAC reaffirms its commitment to the appropriateness of a three-party communications regime among ICANN, the relevant government or public authority and the ccTLD administrator, as provided for in the GAC document “Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains” (the GAC Principles). The GAC considers that such a three-party regime should be the goal of relationships between ICANN and ccTLD administrators, and GAC members will take steps to facilitate implementation of the GAC Principles.

Meanwhile, should ICANN and the ccTLD administrator envisage entering into bilateral (“legacy”) agreements, such agreements should be provisional and interim in nature, pending appropriate expression by the relevant government or public authority for participation in a tri-partite regime.

Any bilateral agreements should contain provisions for early termination should a tri-partite communications regime be reached within the term of such an agreement.

There should be no such bilateral agreements in the following three cases:

  • with administrators of ccTLDs for which redelegation requests are pending;
  • in instances where the relevant government or public authority has advised ICANN that it is taking steps to implement a tri-partite regime; or
  • where the ccTLD administrator is not within the jurisdiction of the relevant government or public authority, unless the relevant government or public authority is comfortable with such an arrangement.

In drafting and negotiating agreements with ccTLD administrators, the GAC hopes that ICANN will have regard to standard commercial practice for private international legal agreements in the country or territory corresponding to the ccTLD.

C. With regard to GAC working methods, that:

In recognition of its goal to implement efficient procedures in support of ICANN and to provide thorough and timely advice and analysis of relevant matters of interest to governments and public authorities, the GAC has established working groups to examine and report on issues for consideration, including issues relating to:

  • multilingual domain names;
  • geographic and geopolitical terms as top level and second level domains; and
  • the applicability of international conventions.

D. With regard to international domain names (IDNs), the GAC confirms the importance and interests of this development to the benefit of Internet users worldwide. Further, regarding IDNs, including testbed initiatives, the GAC considers that three key public policy areas need to be kept at the forefront of the considerations of ICANN, its Supporting Organisations and the broader Internet community. These are:

  • the essential importance of interoperability of the present and future Internet;
  • the prevention of cybersquatting and resolution of disputes in the IDNs environments should be addressed by appropriate means and processes such as an appropriate dispute resolution policy and implementation of sunrise periods; and
  • the application of competition and market access, consumer protection and intellectual property principles.

Specifically, the GAC states that:

Anti-cybersquatting principles and mechanisms should translate from the current ASCII character set environment to any non-ASCII character set environments, and that technological implementation should appropriately keep pace with any developments in this area.

Preserving the universal connectivity and accessibility domain name system is vital to the continuance of the Internet as a global network. While various technical experimentation may need to be investigated in the pursuit of unified standards, ultimately, a unified or interoperable standards for multilingual domain names should be achieved, with the ability of systems to work ubiquitously across the Internet.

IDNs registration in top level domains should benefit from effective and fair conditions of competition, at appropriate levels and scale of activity. ICANN should take steps to communicate to operators of IDNs testbeds that they should note any legal obligation they have to inform consumers regarding both the status and operation of their testbeds, including the status of their registrations within that testbed, particularly in circumstances where registrations are taken prior to full system implementation.

The GAC notes its thanks to the Government of Australia, and particularly to Australia’s National Office for the Information Economy, for hosting its meeting and for hosting and administering the GAC website.

The next meeting of the GAC will be held in June 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden, to coincide with ICANN’s next round of meetings.

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