Attachment A to Reconsideration Request
Date: 3 January 2002
Dear Dr. Lynn,
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Stockholm on 22 May 2001. To date 111 Governments have signed the treaty.
Under international law, the Stockholm Convention is an independent international legal entity and the Convention as well as its organs enjoy independent legal personality. Like many other global environmental treaties, the Stockholm Convention, under its Article 20, designated an organization, in this case the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to provide the functions of the Convention Secretariat. These functions are legally distinct and functionally independent from UNEP. In similar arrangements, UNEP provides secretariat functions for other global environmental treaties, including the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal and the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade for which IANA has already granted .int top level domain names (www.basel.int and www.pic.int, respectively). There are also examples of other international environmental conventions established under the United Nations that have received top level domain names including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (www.unfccc.int) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (www.unccd.int). There is no significant substantive difference in the independent legal natures of these conventions and that of the Stockholm Convention.
In early September 2001, my office, acting as the Secretariat for the Stockholm Convention submitted to IANA a request for the top level domain name www.pops.int that was to serve as the official website for the Stockholm Convention. This request seemed rather straightforward since it complied with IANA rules included in RFC 1591 that the .int domain "is for organizations established by international treaties, or international databases" and also there was clear precedent set by IANA in assigning .int domains to other Conventions with secretariats provided by UNEP and the United Nations.
After several months of delay we learned on 22 December 2001 from IANA Administrator, Michelle Cotton, that our request was denied because "to obtain .int domain name, the treaty/convention must establish a separate entity with independent legal personality." As mentioned above, the Stockholm Convention, upon the adoption by the plenipotentiary representatives from over 120 countries at the diplomatic conference, has already been established itself and its organs in totality as a new legally distinct entity with independent legal personality under international law. This status is exactly the same as other global treaties that have been given .int domain names. The above IANA rejection of according an .int domain name to the Stockholm Convention does not have any legal foundation, and in our view, may be deemed as unjustified discrimination against the Stockholm Convention without any legal basis or compelling reasons.
This is to strongly urge IANA to reverse its decision to reject our request for the www.pops.int top level domain name. Should IANA insist on rejecting our request, we would appreciate a legal explanation of the term "separate entity with independent legal personality" and why it applies to the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions and their respective secretariats but not to the Stockholm Convention and its secretariat. By providing a compelling justification, IANA must prove that it is not abusing its authority. Without this, it is difficult for us to see how IANA's decision making process is either sound or transparent as required in the U.S. Government White Paper of 5 June 1998, Statement of Policy, Management of Internet Names and Addresses, -- 63 Fed. Reg. 31741(1998).
I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.