Communiqué of the Governmental Advisory Committee
(25 March 2003)

Communiqué of the Governmental Advisory Committee
25 March 2003
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 23, 24, and 25 March 2003.The participating GAC Members, included representatives from 30 national governments, distinct economies as recognised in international fora, and multilateral governmental and treaty organisations. They had useful discussions concerning ICANN and related Internet naming and addressing issues.

The Governmental Advisory Committee expressed warm thanks to Brazil for hosting and organising the meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

GAC confirmed the results of the election in December 2002 of the new Chair, Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi and three Vice Chairs, Lena Carlsson, Vanda Scartezini and Michael Katundu.

GAC welcomed the presence of two new Members participating for the first time: Greece and Trinidad and Tobago.

GAC continues to focus on the implementation of ICANN Reform and in the light of the decisions taken in the Shanghai meeting, on the reform of GAC itself and its contribution to the policy development process.

On this occasion, Members addressed several aspects of GAC’s role in the new ICANN structure, including:

  • the appointment of Liaisons between GAC and ICANN’s constituent entities,
  • the constitution of Working Groups in several policy areas, and
  • responding to recent requests from ICANN for Advice from the GAC.

GAC continued and intensified its dialogue with ICANN and with the ICANN operator and user communities.

1. Outreach

1.1 Several of the countries in the Americas organised a workshop prior to the GAC meeting in Rio, in order to discuss outreach strategies for the region. This meeting saw a meaningful exchange of views, as the participants in the workshop proposed steps to further the outreach work in the region.

1.2 These steps included the following:

  • Prepare a standard presentation or template in the regional languages, on the workings of the GAC and ICANN for use by any GAC member in outreach activities;
  • Consider liasing with other fora that have an interest in the Internet naming and addressing systems
  • Encourage GAC members to co-ordinate with their representatives in relevant fora to better acquaint them with the GAC and relevant ICANN activities; and
  • Establish a mentoring system, such as the EU member countries have established with their new member countries, to encourage wider participation.

1.3 The GAC noted that these steps would be relevant to its outreach activities in all ICANN regions.

2. GAC-ICANN Liaisons

2.1 GAC decided to appoint several Liaisons to various ICANN constituents. The list of Liaison appointments is in Annex 1 to this Communiqué. With the exception of the GAC Chair, whose appointment is ex-officio, these appointments are for a one year term. GAC will review its experience with Liaisons at the Montreal and Tunisia meetings.

2.2 The GAC Liaisons will facilitate two-way communications with the aforementioned ICANN constituents, and address policy matters only if these have already been agreed by the GAC.

2.3 GAC encourages ICANN Board and its constituent entities to work closely with the GAC Liaisons to optimise the possible synergies between GAC and ICANN constituents, consistent with the public-private partnership embodied in the ICANN Reform.

3. GAC Working Groups

3.1 Following preparatory discussions in Shanghai, GAC has constituted six Working Groups to address several areas of public policy. The Working Groups will engage, as appropriate, in a dialogue with the ICANN Supporting Organisations and Committees concerned. The Working Groups will provide GAC with the analytical resources to facilitate GAC Advice in the respective policy areas.

3.2 The initial list of agreed Working Groups is in Annex 2 to this Communiqué. GAC encouraged in particular the working groups dealing with Whois, ccTLD and Root Server Security issues to take up their work as soon as possible.

3.3 The ccTLD Working Group should examine as a priority the recommendations of the ccNSO Assistance Group. It should also examine the appropriateness of an updating or the ccTLD principles of the GAC.

4. WIPO II recommendations on names of countries and Inter Governmental Organisations (IGO)

4.1 GAC considered the WIPO communication to ICANN of 21 February 2003 and the ICANN request for Advice, 12 March 2003. GAC took note that the WIPO II recommendation to ICANN was based on a formal decision by Member States, resulting from more than two years’ work in the official WIPO instances.

4.2 GAC's Advice to ICANN is as below:

1. GAC endorses the WIPO II recommendations that the names and acronyms of IGOs and country names should be protected against abusive registration as domain names.

2. GAC advises the ICANN Board to implement the WIPO II recommendations regarding the protection of the names of Inter-Governmental Organisations (IGO) and the protection of Country Names in the Domain Name System.

3. As the practical and technical aspects of extending this protection, and notably the implications for the UDRP, need to be fully understood, GAC proposes that a joint working group should be established in conjunction with other interested ICANN constituencies, in particular the gTLD and ccTLD communities.

5. Trademarking of ISO 3166 alpha 2 codes

5.1 GAC took note of the request of 10 February 2003 from ICANN for Advice on this matter and considered the analysis of the issue that had been provided by the International Bureau of WIPO. GAC also recalled that the GAC ccTLD Principles state that:

Clause 4.2:

"No private intellectual or other property rights should inhere in the ccTLD itself, nor accrue to the delegee as the result of delegation or to any entity as a result of the management, administration or marketing of the ccTLD."

Thus GAC, in reaffirming the above principle, noted that issuing a trademark in the ISO country code to the Registry would not be consistent with the letter or the spirit of the GAC ccTLD Principles. The question of whether or not trademark rights may be acquired in a ccTLD code is ultimately determined by national or regional law.

6. ICANN Country Code Supporting Organisation (CCNSO) Proposal

6.1 GAC consulted with representatives of the ccTLD community, ICANN Board and the ERC about the structure, organisation and responsibilities of the proposed Country Code Names Supporting Organisation. GAC requested the newly constituted ccTLD Working Group to examine these issues as a matter of priority.

6.2 GAC appreciates the efforts of the ccNSO Assistance Group in making these recommendations that provide a basis for further discussions of any new provisions that will be included in the ICANN By-laws.

6.3 GAC recalls that its role in providing advice on public policy, as described in the ICANN By-laws, includes policy issues to be addressed by the proposed ccNSO. To this effect, GAC has already issued policy advice in the form of the Principles for the Delegation and Administration of ccTLDs.

6.4 GAC stresses the importance of active dialogue with the GAC as part of the proposed ccNSO’s policy development process and before corresponding ICANN Board decisions are taken. GAC looks forward to being appropriately consulted before any ccNSO-related By-law provisions are adopted by the ICANN Board.

6.5 GAC recalled the terms of the Shanghai Communiqué regarding ICANN Reform calling on

" … all parties concerned including in particular ICANN, but also the RIRs and the ccTLD constituency, to co-operate in good faith in order to ensure a relationship conducive to efficiency and mutual confidence."

7. Consultations with Internet DNS Operator and User communities

7.1 GAC consulted with the Root Server Operators, the Regional Internet Registries, the ccTLD community, GNSO and ALAC. GAC welcomed the exchange of information and opinion. It was agreed to continue and deepen these relationships through the Liaisons and Working Groups.

8. Internationalised Domain Names

8.1 GAC consulted with ICANN Board Members regarding the current status of work in the IDN area and the tasks of the ICANN Committees concerned. GAC will return to this question at its next meeting and meanwhile the newly constituted GAC IDN working group will monitor developments and report back to the GAC Membership.

8.2 The ITU reported on its activities related to Resolution 102 "Management of Internet names and addresses" and Resolution 133 "Role of administrations of Member States in the management of internationalised (multilingual) domain names" as well as its current and planned related activities.

9. Co-operation with International Organisations

9.1 GAC received presentations from ITU and WIPO. GAC welcomed this exchange of information and noted with appreciation the contribution from WIPO to the present meeting.

9.2 GAC received a presentation from ITU giving an overview of the ITU and its activities, particularly with respect to IP based networks, the Internet, next generation networks, and Resolutions 102 and 133. GAC members expressed appreciation for this presentation.

9.3 GAC received a report on the recent ITU ccTLD workshop implemented under the aegis of ITU Resolution 102, organised by ITU TSB. GAC members appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the workshop and to reach out to ITU Members about ICANN and related activities and looked forward to further dialogue and co-operation.

It was agreed that the workshop was timely, useful and resulted in a productive exchange of information.

10. GAC Secretariat

10.1 GAC took note of the report from the Secretariat and welcomed completion of the transfer of the Secretariat from Australia to the European Commission. The Secretariat will continue to give high priority to assisting Members in outreach and new GAC membership.

The new GAC web page is at: http://www.gac.icann.org

11. Next Meeting

The next GAC face-to-face meeting will be in Montreal, June 2003. Meanwhile, GAC will continue its work on-line, and through the new Working Groups and ICANN Liaisons.

Annexes (2)

Annex 1 GAC - ICANN Liaisons

1. ICANN Board - GAC Chair

2. Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) - Audri Mukhopadhyay, Canada (Accr. Rep.)

3. ccTLD Names Supporting Organisation - Gema Campillos, Spain (Accr. Rep.)

4. Root Server Advisory Committee RSSAC - Thomas de Haan, Netherlands (Accr. Rep.)

5. Security and Stability Advisory Committee - Tom Dale, Australia (Accr. Rep.)

6. Addressing Supporting Organisation (ASO) - Robert Shaw, ITU (Accr. Rep.)

7. Technical Liaison Group (TLG) - Richard Hill, ITU (Adviser)

8. At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) - Carlos Valdez, Peru (Accr. Rep.)

9. Nominating Committee - Provisional liaison: GAC Secretariat

Annex 2 GAC - Working Groups

1. Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)

2. International Domain Names (IDN)

3. Whois

4. Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs)

5. Root Server Operation and DNS Security

6. Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)

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