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Governmental Advisory Committee Statement on ICANN Reform
(26 June 2002)


Governmental Advisory Committee
Statement on ICANN Reform
26 June 2002
Bucharest, Romania


1. The GAC reaffirms its statement of March 2, 1999 endorsing the principles behind the creation of ICANN and commits itself to work through ICANN to contribute towards its reform. The GAC notes the production by the Evolution and Reform Committee (ERC) of ICANN of "ICANN: A Blueprint for Reform" and makes the following observations on this and previous ERC documents. It should be noted that some members of the GAC have requested that statements of explanation or disassociation with aspects of this statement be expressed in the attached annexes.

ICANN Mission Statement and Core Values

2. With the addition of the following italicized phrases, the GAC is satisfied with the proposed Mission Statement and Core Values:

ICANN Mission Statement

3. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the private-sector body responsible for coordinating, at the overall level, the global Internet's systems of unique identifiers.

4. The mission of ICANN is to coordinate the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems. In particular, ICANN:

a. Coordinates the allocation and assignment of three sets of unique identifiers for the Internet, i.e.

  • Domain names (forming a system referred to as "DNS");
  • Internet protocol (IP) addresses and autonomous system (AS) numbers; and
  • Protocol port and parameter numbers.

b. Coordinates the operation and evolution of the DNS's root name server system.

c. Coordinates policy-development as necessary to perform these technical functions.

ICANN Core Values

5. In performing its mission, ICANN adheres to these core values and principles:

[1]. Preserve and enhance the operational stability, reliability, security, and global interoperability of the Internet.

[2]. Respect the creativity and innovation made possible by the Internet by limiting ICANN's activities to those matters within ICANN's mission requiring or significantly benefiting from global coordination.

[3]. To the extent feasible and appropriate, delegate coordination functions to or recognize the policy role of other responsible entities that reflect the interests of affected parties.

[4]. Seek and support broad, informed participation reflecting the functional, geographic, and cultural diversity of the Internet, at all levels of policy development and decision-making.

[5]. Where feasible and appropriate, depend on market mechanisms to promote and sustain a competitive environment.

[6]. Introduce and promote competition in the registration of domain names where practicable and beneficial in the public interest.

[7]. Employ open and transparent policy-making mechanisms that (a) promote well-informed decisions based on expert advice, and (b) ensure that those entities most affected can assist in the policy development process.

[8]. Make decisions by applying documented policies neutrally and objectively, with integrity and fairness.

[9]. Act with a speed that is responsive to the needs of the Internet while, as part of the decision-making process, obtaining informed input from those entities most affected.

[10]. Remain accountable to the Internet community though mechanisms that enhance ICANN's effectiveness.

[l1]. The majority of the GAC considered that this Core Value should read: While remaining rooted in the private sector, recognise that government or public authorities are responsible for public policy and duly take into account governmentsí or public authoritiesí recommendations. The U.S. believes that the language in the ICANN: A Blueprint for Reform document, posted 20 June 2002, is sufficient and does not need to be amended.

Policy Implications

6. ICANN should engage in policy development to the extent – and only to the extent – as is necessary to enable ICANN to fulfill its mission in conformance with its core values.

7. In considering the phrase "Internet Community" in the context of the ICANN reform documentation, the GAC does not mean any specific legal or international entity, but rather it interprets the term to refer to all of those who are affected, now or in the future, by the operation of the Internet.

GAC proposal for private/public partnership

8. The GAC shares the view put forward in the Presidentís Report of February 2002 that a private-sector/public-sector partnership will be essential to ICANNís 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 February 23, 2000.

9. The majority of GAC members agree that the GAC is the principal forum for the international discussion of public policy issues related to the ICANN mission and the Domain Name System. The delegations from France and Germany disassociate themselves from this wording and direct readers to alternate language contained in Annex 1.

10. The GAC considers that the relationship between ICANN and governments and public authorities is a central one for the ongoing achievement of the ICANN mission.

Funding for ICANN

11. Recognizing the potential politicizing implications of doing so, the GAC does not support the concept of governments and public authorities contributing directly to the budget of ICANN, with the possible exception of contributing to the costs of the GAC Chair and secretariat functions. Rather, the GAC supports the principle of payment by beneficiaries. The GAC suggests that the names and address functions could be possible collection mechanisms for the payment by the beneficiaries.

12. ICANN must have a mechanism for generating adequate financial and personnel resources to carry out its mission. As part of the reform process, ICANN must ensure that it has enough staffing to execute efficiently and effectively its decision making processes and its operational responsibilities, including facilitating policy development by its supporting organizations, management of the technical functions, and support for the work of the Root Server System Advisory Committee. ICANN, and its stakeholders, must place priority effort on securing a stable funding base for the organization's operations.

Board Composition

13. The GAC notes the Board Composition and Selection proposals. In particular, the majority of GAC members support the Chair, or, where relevant, the Acting Chair, of GAC being a non-voting ex-officio Board liaison. France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, however, do not support the presence of a GAC member on the Board because it would lead the GAC representative to deal with matters which have no direct public interest implication, create difficulties in discussions about topics where there is no GAC consensus, and be incompatible with GAC independence. The International Treaty Organization members do not offer a view. The delegation of Germany expressed its view that, to facilitate and expedite internal co-ordination processes and keep costs down, the Board of a reformed ICANN should be composed of a noticeably smaller number of members than so far.

14. The GAC would like to see opportunities for broad ranging dialogue between the ICANN Board and the GAC. In that respect, the GAC notes that the ERC encourages the Board to invite the GAC to explore ways in which multi-way communication can be enhanced beyond the recommendations contained in this Blueprint.

Board Selection Process

15. The majority of GAC members do not have a strong opinion on the concept of a Nominating Committee, believing this to be an issue of ICANNís internal corporate governance, nor on the proposition that there be a GAC delegate on the Nominating Committee. A minority, including France and Germany, specifically expresses its discomfort with the concept of the Nominating Committee. The delegation of Germany raised its concerns that, even though the personal properties referred to as selection criteria may basically be unobjectionable, evaluating individuals by such criteria invariably would be highly subjective and, thus, a doubt-raising procedure. The delegation of Germany believes that this would be all the more so if the Nominating Committee as the selecting body was not sufficiently legitimated. The structure and authority presently proposed for the Nominating Committee would more or less mean replacing the bottom-up by the top-down principle thereby counteracting the objective of securing wider recognition for ICANN. The representative of Spain expressed disagreement with the concept of any potential GAC delegate being in the Nominating Committee. Malaysia is of the view that if there is a GAC delegate, that delegate should not have voting powers. The International Treaty Organization members do not offer a view.

16. Because of the risks of politicization, the GAC does not support the selection to the Board, of staff members of public authorities with the exception of the ex-officio participation of the GAC Chair.

17. In the Board selection process, the GAC stresses the utmost importance of giving full weight to internationalization, transparency and fairness and tomaintaining the principle of geographic diversity and representation.

18. The GAC supports the suggestion that the number of ICANNís regions be reexamined.

Liaison with Supporting Organizations and Advisory Councils

19. The majority of GAC members support the appointment of non-voting liaisons to each of the SO Councils and the RSSAC, the TAC, and the SAC, and look forward to discussing implementation issues with these bodies and ICANN. Brazil, however, supports having regular participation of representatives of the SOs and Advisory Committees in GAC meetings. Germany would support a voting liaison on the CNSO. The International Treaty Organization members do not offer a view.

Liaison with IANA

20. The majority of GAC members support the appointment of a contact point to help provide advice and information to relevant government officials and help with liaison between IANA and these particular government officials when there are delegations or redelgations pending. This contact point could also provide a focus for advice and information on other administrative issues related to the IANA function. The International Treaty Organization members do not offer a view.

Policy Development Structure and Process

21. The GAC notes the Policy and Process proposals.

22. The GAC supports the expectation that all Policy proposals would be circulated to, and get comments from, all constituencies before Board consideration. The GAC notes in particular the ERCís statement that Ďthe GAC should receive adequate notice and an opportunity to comment on all ICANN policy decisions before they are takení. This notice should be timely.

The delegations from Germany and Spain disassociate themselves from this wording and direct readers to alternate language contained in Annex 1.

23. The GAC also calls for a mechanism, such as an amendment of ICANNís bylaws if necessary, to allow the GAC to put issues to the Board directly, either by way of comment or warning, or by way of specifically recommending action or new policy development or revision to existing policies.

24. The proposed consultation process should ensure that the advice of the GAC on public policy matters is duly taken into account both at the policy-drafting and at the decision-taking stage. In all cases ICANN will inform the GAC on how its advice has been taken into account. There may be policy proposals with public interest implications, on which, exceptionally, the views of the majority of the ICANN Board are in conflict with the GAC advice. In those cases the GAC and the ICANN Board will try, in good faith and in a timely and efficient way, to find a mutually acceptable solution. In the absence of agreement being achieved, the Board will act according to its own best judgement. In any case, governments have the right to take decisions, in line with their laws, in order to protect the public interest.

The delegation from Germany disassociates itself from this wording and directs readers to alternate language contained in Annex 1.

Reliance by ICANN on Expert Bodies

25. The GAC supports the ERCís call for the use of advice from external expert bodies, especially in the area of interaction with public policy. For instance, competition policy, consumer protection, privacy policy, and intellectual property protection. In particular, the GAC believes there may be opportunities for constructive participation by International Treaty Organizations. The GAC will facilitate the consideration by the ICANN Board of the advice in question.

26. With respect to intellectual property issues, the GAC notes that this mechanism was particularly useful in the case of WIPOís significant, beneficial contribution to the development of the UDRP. The GAC proposes that the ICANN Board use the GAC as a resource for the identification of other potential expert bodies.

27. The GAC is of the view that it would be preferable to institutionalize the ability of the ICANN Board to refer specific issues to recognized outside experts for their advice, rather than making use of an appropriate expert only on a case-by-case basis, when questions for expert opinion arise.

28. The GAC recognizes that relevant intergovernmental organizations have a valuable contribution to make in their areas of expertise. The GAC offers to assist the ICANN Board and staff in exploring ways of working with these organizations.

Accountability

29. The GAC notes the three accountability mechanisms outlined in the Reform Committeeís paper of 20 June 2002.

30. Members of the GAC consider that as well as implementing dispute resolution methods, more attention could be paid to the prevention of these disputes – focusing upon ICANN staffing issues and work processes.

Transition

31. The GAC expects that the period between the Bucharest and Shanghai meetings will be dedicated to the defining of detailed implementation steps, including rewriting of ICANNís bylaws. The GAC expects to be closely involved in the development of these implementation steps.

32. The GAC encourages ICANN to consider whether it should continue to operate a registry and a root server.

33. While acknowledging ICANNís recent efforts to clarify the process steps involved, the GAC considers that progress on ccTLD redelegations still requires strong, continuous action. Further to this, the GAC acknowledges the commitment of the GAC and the ccTLD community to reflect on what steps might be taken to improve the interactions between ICANN, local governments or public authorities and the ccTLDs.


Annex 1 to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee Statement on ICANN Evolution and Reform Bucharest, 26 June 2002

Paragraph 9 - [Public Private Partnership]

The GAC members agree that, at this stage, the GAC is the main forum for the international discussion of public policy issues that may arise in ICANN´s sphere of competence, along with the competent international organisations (e.g. ITU, OECD,WIPO). Due to the evolutionary nature of ICANN`s mission, a different organisation of government participation, on a different legal basis, may be contempletated in the future.

Paragraph 22 - [GAC Information]

Governments and public authorities are responsible for the pursuit of public policy objectives. Where ICANN`s activities are likely to involve public policy implications, the GAC calls for a compulsory prior consultation by ICANN with the GAC. The GAC and ICANN should seek to define in advance which areas involve such implications.

Paragraph 24 - [Conflict]

When there is an ICANN Board majority against a GAC advise, the matter should be further discussed in good faith between the ICANN Board and the GAC, with a view to reaching an agreement. Decisions taken by the ICANN Board against a GAC advise do not prejudice any steps governments may decide to take in order to protect the public interest. In all cases, ICANN should inform the GAC on how its advice has been taken into account.


Annex 2 to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee Statement on ICANN Evolution and Reform Bucharest, 26 June 2002

The International Telecommunication Union disassociates itself from portions of this document.


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