Communiqué of the Governmental Advisory Committee
Communiqué of the Governmental
WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH 2002: The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) met on 11 and 12 March 2002, in Accra, Ghana. The attending GAC Members, which included 36 representatives from national governments, distinct economies as recognised in international fora and multinational governmental and treaty organisations had useful discussions relating to the Internet.
The members of the GAC welcomed the President's Report of 24 February 2002, acknowledging the need for a public discussion on evolutionary reform of ICANN. Since its establishment in November 1998, ICANN has been successful in ensuring the technical coordination of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. However, the GAC recognizes that some of these functions give rise to public policy issues which have proven to be more difficult to manage and have generated much debate about ICANN's role, its mandate and its processes.
The GAC considers that the President's Report has identified a number of issues within the ICANN process that require serious and timely consideration. The GAC reaffirms its statement of 2 March 1999 endorsing the principles behind the creation of ICANN and commits itself to work through ICANN to contribute towards its reform. The GAC is of the view that, three and a half years after its establishment, there is a need to specify ICANN's mandate and review and clarify its mission and the specific functions for which it is responsible. The debate engendered by the release of the President's Report reveals that perceptions vary widely on the extent of ICANN's role and functions. This situation underscores the need for clarity and organizational reform.
The GAC is sensitive to the concern raised in the President's Report that the ICANN process, including the various community discussions about the development of an effective mechanism for at-large participation, may have revealed unrealistic expectations about the scope of the organization's responsibilities. While process and structure need to be addressed, the GAC is of the view that, at this juncture, reform should serve to focus ICANN's mission, mandate and functions while discussing specific structural proposals.
The GAC recalls that the principles of internationalisation, representation, geographical diversity and public interest are essential to the management of the DNS and should guide our reflections for ICANN reform.
Through its technical coordination of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems, ICANN is responsible for a public resource of growing economic and social importance. The GAC shares the view put forward in the President's Report that a private-sector/public-sector partnership will be essential to ICANN's future success. This view underlies a number of statements issued by the GAC and in particular the Principles for Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains of 23 February 2000.
While it would be premature to comment on the most appropriate framework and structure for this private-public partnership, the GAC will follow closely the public discussion which has now been engaged and will be considering and consulting on matters relating to ICANN reform between now and the meeting in Bucharest and expects that consideration to continue through to the November meeting.
The GAC is of the view that it is reasonable to expect that an innovative organization like ICANN will require evolution to achieve an efficient, effective and focused operation. Much work has been done within the ICANN process on structural issues. The recent reports of the At-Large Study Committee are valuable contributions which should be given full consideration in the broader discussion of organizational reform.
Recalling its communiqué of the Marina del Rey meeting in 2001, the GAC also looks forward to ICANN providing detailed updates to the GAC and the community on the urgent issues of IPv6 deployment status at the next meeting, including the migration issues from IPv4 to IPv6. The GAC strongly supports the efforts of ICANN and related groups in smooth and safe deployment of IPv6.
The GAC welcomes the draft report of the ".info" Country Names Discussion Group (ICNG). We support the recommendation to make the names of countries and distinct economies available to governments and public authorities for their use in the ".info" top-level domain. We look forward to the Board adopting this recommendation. The GAC expects to provide a proposal regarding the assignation of these names to the appropriate government bodies and public authorities.
The GAC also looks forward to further exploring the issues surrounding the possible creation of a new top-level domain for the use of governments and public authorities around the world.
The GAC will be having ongoing discussions over the next months and will
have a face-to-face meeting in June 2002 in Bucharest, Romania, to coincide
with ICANN's next round of meetings.
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