ICANN Meetings in Lisbon Portugal
Transcript - President's Strategy Committee workshop
28 March 2007
Note: Although transcript output is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Umm, umm, umm, umm.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the report of the President's Strategy Committee.
That's great translation, isn't it? Look at that, umm, umm, umm.
While we're trying to get the technology to work up here, I thought I might just make introductions.
And note in particular, the joining of the committee of two new board members since Sao; Paulo; particularly, Steve Goldstein and Raimundo Beca.
We're going to take an agenda of just going through the process of the committee's work, then we're going to review the recommendations. We are open for discussion regarding the recommendations in an open mike. We will then will request any further topics that members of the community might think are relevant for such a committee to consider in the future. In other words, a potential future work list.
And we'll also then make some observations or some announcements concerning the membership of the committee.
So that's the sort of five-point agenda.
Peter Dengate Thrush and I will deal with the first item of the agenda, just going through the process. That's somewhat dependent upon Mehmet, here, conquering technology.
We have overcome our technology problem.
So let's lead off, then, and look at the process of the committee's work.
And just to give you some background, under a board resolution at the Montreal meeting in December 2005, the board directed the president to appoint a President's Strategy Committee. I will make the following observation. We have a tendency in our organization, if things are not board's committees they are president's committee. So that partly explains the wording here.
And the purpose was that the ICANN community could benefit from the advice of a group responsible for making observations and recommendations concerning strategic issues facing ICANN.
The committee presently consists of 12 members, and the membership does reflect the sort of approach I think the board had in mind in establishment of the committee.
So there are three chairs: Myself, Peter from the board, and there has been, until I think the date is November I might be wrong -- no, it's a bit earlier, Carl Bildt was a chair. But Carl is now the foreign minister for Sweden, and from the date of the election of that government -- I think that was October last year -- Carl has not participated in the committee and we don't consider him to be a member of the committee. Although we have not received a formal communication to that point, I assume that would be the natural state of affairs.
Other members of the committee, as I mentioned Raimundo is a new member of the committee. Marilyn Cade. Vint Cerf is the ex officio member of the committee. Art Coviello, the CEO of RSA. Pierre Dandjinou, Steve Goldstein. Janis Karklins and Adama Samassekou were invited to be members of the committee. They are invited to be members of the committee because they were the two chairs of the preparatory process for the World Summit on the Information Society, Adama for the first phase, the first two years, and Janis for the second two years.
And then Tom Niles who is formerly a board member and Ambassador to the United States.
It is not a complete set of people we would want for that committee and further diversity of the committee is an agenda item for us to take into consideration.
I'll ask Peter to talk through our process of consultation.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thanks, Paul, the items are on the screen so I will go through them reasonably quickly.
We had a first set of consultations in July, and the point about this was that this was a couple of days nonstop consultations. I joined them by telephone from Wellington, others joined by telephone, but they ran two days. Excellent oral contributions from a wide range of people, and we will be going through mentioning those as we move forward a bit. So a genuine attempt, I think achieved in the end, to get feedback from leading players. We approached some, others approached us.
The transcripts are available on the Web site. It's been translated into those languages.
During the consultations, as it began to emerge that one of the key issues was going to be the nature, the legal nature, of any structure that we might transition to, we approached Hans Corell, the former secretary-general for legal affairs and a former legal counsel of the United Nations.
The results of those consultations have, as usual, been posted. The first posting, November 2006. It was, again, an open session, discussion of the papers available at the stage in Sao Paulo.
And most recently, a further round of consultations, very recently, 19th of March 2007. And as usual, transcripts and other materials are available on the Web site.
And consolidated versions of those recommendations and our report were released a few days ago on March 25th.
I just want to indicate, because I think there was some curiosity if not suspicion when this committee was first announced about what it was going to do and who it was going to talk to, and some of that came from the board of ICANN itself wondering whether this was going to be a job the board itself should be doing and others came from the community wondering who was going to be consulted and about what. Here are some of the people who had input into this process. INTA, the trademark association; ISOC; Network Solutions; the ISPCP constituency; and Sebastian. If you go to the next slide, just to give you an indication of the range of views, Erika Mann, member of the European Parliament; Hans Corell I have already mentioned; Roelof Meijer, CEO of SIDN, so there's a CEO of one of the major ccTLDs; Stefano Trumpy, who has had a number of roles in ICANN. He came originally as the ccTLD manager of dot IT, but he has been a long-serving GAC member for Italy. Becky Burr, the !
original U.S. government representative on the GAC, now appearing as a partner of a U.S. law firm. And Jon Nevett, vice president at Network Solutions.
I'm not going to spend time describing all of these people. There is Bhavin Turakhia, and Tim Ruiz, and Bernie Turcotte, and Margarita Valdes, Mark McFadden, all well-known members of the ICANN community. Chris Disspain, Naomasa Maruyama, Danny Younger, David Maher, Milton Mueller, a lot of very familiar names. And then these are participants at the most recent round of consultations. We have put those up deliberately so you will get a sense of the wide range of contributors to the consultation process from all spectrums of the ICANN community and from outside the ICANN community as well.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thanks, Peter. Perhaps just going on to, then looking at the feedback because there was also public feedback received. There were 36 comments posted to the specific list, and the comments showed there was support to the draft recommendations and the suggested further ways forward. Most were positive comments coming off the draft that was published the end of last year.
People highlighted the importance of accountability and oversight components to reach full corporate maturity. Suggested the ICANN model be strengthened to address a number of challenges. Invited ICANN to enlarge its civil society component. That was quite a theme.
And stressed that the legal status not affect its ability to scale internationally. And that was a key theme that emerged. It was perceived limitations upon being a private company, corporation, not-for-profit corporation in California, and these were people's perceptions.
So the recommendations we're going to go through shortly, but they basically fall into three broad areas. One is ICANN status and continued improved responsiveness to an evolving global environment. Secondly, contributing to capacity development. And finally, participation and role of stakeholders.
And under each of those particular headings, members of the committee are going to sort of go to the report. Janis Karklins who is here briefly, because he has to return back to the GAC, is going to speak to the first item. Pierre Dandjinou is going to speak to the second, and Peter is going to speak to the third.
Before we have that, just to give people context, the final report will be submitted to the ICANN board, and the committee and the community will look forward to feedback and instructions from the board on next steps.
And the committee is open to feedback from the board and the community, both on this report but also on any further topics that the community thinks are important for this sort of broad consultation about long-term strategic issues facing ICANN.
Before I ask Janis to take us to the first step, first stage of the report, I should inform the community that Janis tendered his resignation as a member of the committee to me not long prior to the meeting itself, and that resignation comes into effect as of the end of this workshop. And that I have accepted on behalf of the committee that resignation.
But we'll talk more about that at the end.
>>JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you, Paul.
I was asked to do the introduction or presentation of committee's recommendations on institutional aspects, and that most probably is because that part of the report reflects the outcome and spirit of discussions during the World Summit on the Information Society, particularly the second part.
I also participated in the work of the committee and tried to brought in the consideration -- or in the deliberations of the committee all my knowledge and experience of WSIS. And I hope that the WSIS spirit, though not explicitly mentioned, is present in these recommendations.
One of the major issues during the summit was internationalization of Internet governance. And the committee members at the beginning of the work asked the question whether ICANN is sufficiently international. And the committee recognizes that ICANN's existing international character, including organization -- operations in multiple countries, staff from multiple countries and geographically diverse board and council structures is a feature of internationalization, but it is not sufficient. Therefore, committee believes that there are several areas in which ICANN should continue to work to improve itself as a global organization to ensure long-term stable operations, responsive to its global stakeholders.
During the WSIS, the issue of California-based not-for-profit corporation was very high on the agenda of many government representatives, and there were a number of expressions of discomfort with this situation. And therefore, we analyzed whether there would be some possibility to -- possibility of evolution. And in this respect, the committee drafted the chapter on legal status and identity.
The committee noted that in conjunction with the Joint Partnership Agreement, the ICANN board affirmed a statement of responsibilities, and in particular, committed to conduct a review of ICANN's corporate administrative structure.
As one contribution to that review, and in order to further enhance ICANN's internationalization, the committee encouraged the ICANN board to explore with the U.S. government, other governments, and the appropriate -- and all ICANN communities whether there are advantages and appropriate mechanisms for moving ICANN's legal identity to that of a private international organization based in the United States.
The committee also emphasized that such exploration should not change the fundamental multistakeholder model of ICANN or the evolutionary process for organizational improvement outlined in ICANN's bylaws, or the need for clear accountability mechanisms for ICANN's processes and decision-making.
Accountability mechanisms could extend to mechanisms not only for contracted parties but also third parties affected by ICANN's decisions. And further, the incorporation of relevant California or U.S. federal laws into ICANN's arbitrary processes could also be appropriate.
The committee considered that such developments may contribute to further improvement of stability. The committee also encouraged the ICANN board to explore the private international organization model as a part of the review, and to op- -- sorry oper- -- and put in place, in other words, whatever outcome, results of such a review would bring.
In follow-up to committee's consultations and discussions provided by Hans Corell, the former legal counsel of United Nations, regarding the international organizational issues, further educational material has been made available and provides a good basis upon which the further discussions can be conducted with participation of all community.
It needs to be stressed that move towards private international organization should not be viewed as a development of a treaty organization, nor development or establishment of a new intergovernmental organization.
Committee noted that as ICANN continued to internationalize, the issues of transparency, trust, values, and accountability must be maintained in a manner acceptable to the global multistakeholder environment.
The committee believed, as ICANN finalized the joint project agreement, it must adhere to a model that reflects first and foremost operational excellence in its mission, credibility and trust of all stakeholders globally, including governments, and the historical developments of Internet and its open, global nature.
The balancing of all these aspects is essential to maintaining not only a single global interoperable Internet, but also a model that is sufficiently versatile to adjust to the Internet's growth and development.
The private sector-based multistakeholder model repeatedly demonstrates itself as the most viable, responsive mechanism to ensure stability and security of the Internet infrastructure.
On the question of moving ICANN's headquarters, we had a pretty extensive discussion. And it was clearly understood that the headquarters of ICANN should remain in the United States. But it is needed to continue and strengthen the regional presence, staffing, and regional outreach.
The committee recognized that ICANN has -- already has undertaken steps to improve its operations, including the establishment of the regional liaison network and an office in Brussels, Belgium. The committee believes that building on the existing work that will -- will greatly benefit the global community and its awareness of and participation and involvement in ICANN.
Contributions also noted the need to continue globalization, and especially outreach and improving relations with respective communities to ensure effective and efficient participation at the local and regional level.
The committee noted that the correct approach is being taken with regard to regional presences and further regional presences and regional activities should continue to be structured with sufficient flexibility to meet requirements of regional stakeholders, while preserving the integrity of the global focus and identity.
In essence, the -- with regard to improving ICANN's global operations, the community encouraged the board to consider in a manner described above the benefits of international private organization model and its related potential immunities to limit liabilities or instabilities. The board should ensure, however, that appropriate full accountability and review mechanisms are established, including utilization international arbitration panels.
As a part of ICANN's process of enhancing its internationalization, the committee thought it would be worth encouraging the board to consider the strengthening of multistakeholder partnership approach to build on awareness, participation, partnership, and a better understanding of specific components and competencies of ICANN. Because during the WSIS process, it was clearly visible that many -- in many quarters, the role and mandate of ICANN is clearly misunderstood.
Another very sensitive and important issue many governments addressed during the World Summit on the Information Society was the question of management of root zone file. And in this regard, committee made the following proposals.
The process surrounding root zone file updates have been clarified through the IANA function with explanations of steps undertaken by the root zone changes.
In addition to this, the committee encourages ICANN to discuss with the Department of Commerce methods for clarifying and simplifying the root zone update process. The committee considers that such discussions could include a number of options. One could be to substitute the role -- the U.S. role of auditing or authorizing amendments to the root zone file with a two-phased outsourced process, such as, for example, an auditor contracted by U.S. Department of Commerce to undertake this function, with reporting back from auditor to United States government and ICANN. And the second step would be that this contract to the third-party auditor could be taken over by ICANN if proven sustainable.
Another complementary approach could be to discontinue authorizing the simple changes in the root zone file through automation process, sometimes referred as e-IANA, with ICANN ensuring more visibility to the existing public reporting of such changes. This approach has been suggested already at the early stages of ICANN's formation and could be an important contribution to overall internationalization of ICANN.
Additionally, the inputs received by ICANN acknowledged the improvements already received not only related to IANA function and clarification of ICANN's role, but also in ICANN's operational performance and overall transparency.
Committee also gave some thought to contingency planning. And the result of that reflection was formulated in the paragraph which reads, as a part of ICANN's contingency planning, the committee encourages the board to continue discussions with the community's various stakeholders, in particular, with the United States Department of Commerce, how some of its policy objectives related to the zone file and DNS could be better achieved through the implementation and/or evolution of contingency triggers and appropriate back stop mechanisms as expressed in ICANN's existing contingency plan. This could be achieved as part of the review of corporate administrative structures.
So that brings me to the end of the part related to institutional arrangements or potential institutional evolution of ICANN. And I would like to give back mike to you, chair. But before doing that, I would like to say that I really enjoy working in the committee. I really enjoy interaction with colleagues in the committee, and I hope that the committee's contribution will be useful in -- useful contribution in our common reflection on the future evolution or possible evolution of ICANN.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Janis. And thank you for your contribution throughout the period. And we look forward to talking to you about this with another hat on, I suspect.
I wonder if we can ask Pierre if he would then like to take us through about the reporting on capacity development.
>>PIERRE DANDJINOU: Thank you, Paul. And good afternoon to all.
So I'm going to kind of brief on this part of the report that concerns the capacity development issue. And, of course, this report stems from the different consultations that the committee held and also is a result of our (inaudible) on what one might be able to suggest for the sort of (inaudible) to ICANN.
I would like to recall some point during the kind of last few years that ICANN made certainly different things to different people, at such point that ICANN was even being compared to the situation whereby you request blind people in a room to describe whatever they were seeing, whether it was an elephant or not, and each of them would be, of course, describe being the part of this elephant they were touching. So you end up not really knowing what sort of, you know, beast that was.
But it seems one of the things that we needed was sort of common, I would say, knowledge on what ICANN is here for. And one of the ways to do this especially should be about better communication. And also, there's a need for providing this knowledge that people need if they were to really contribute to, say, for instance, policy development process of ICANN.
So the committee recognized that in that area, specific area of capacity development, that ICANN has already started a few steps, basically, with the work being done in collaboration with other key institutions. And to cite a few of them, DiploFoundation, for instance, has been doing some job on certain Internet governance issues, for instance. We also have the U.N. economic commission for Africa, or UNECA in Addis Ababa, which also is partnering with ICANN. Another institution is Francophonie. And Francophonie certainly was instrumental, at least for kind of better communication, but also provision for participation from those countries that speak French, and also better translation also into different other languages.
And we do have PITA, and, of course, ISOC, which basically deal with the capacity development issues.
So committee thinks that ICANN should proceed with this and even enhance this collaboration.
So information, communication, I said, but just about educating people on what ICANN does.
Now, I think the committee also, for that -- key to capacity development I would say is going to be partnership. But also key to this capacity development should also be the design of our specific programs. Especially for specific needs that distant regions might have.
So this second area, again, ICANN should proceed with maybe assisting people from these different regions to come up with those specific programs they feel are important for their own takeoff of ICANN procedures, but also participation with ICANN, again, in collaboration with whoever is already covering the ground.
Committee noticed that we should also avoid duplications in these efforts, which means that at some point, there should be a need to harmonize ICANN's steps in that regard.
Well, a continuous engagement, partnership with other players on the ground, developing specific programs that are aiming at capacity-building in the different regions, and region particularly cited, Africa, the Middle East, central Asia, and the Caucuses, Southeast Asia and South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, where some specific problems are felt.
If I may take one example that we did in the African region, for instance, was about establishing sort of registrar business, for instance, 'cause one of the region where we hardly have a registrar.
So how you do this? Whether for business planning, you need for that, what kind of capacity you need to develop, maybe this might be specifics from this region where ICANN, for instance, would like to put a few more efforts on.
I've already said that the work of the committee will actually like ICANN to avoid duplications. I would also like to mention that some of the issues that we felt that capacity development will be most needed on is definitely the different approaches to security and stability of the Net. There again, committee is urging ICANN to take appropriate steps on capacity development.
Committee stressed that this is important part of ICANN's task. Since capacity development will actually facilitate the role of different stakeholders in ICANN, especially the effective participation to different tasks that ICANN performs.
And also, this will certainly favor better participation of all stakeholders.
So that is, in a nutshell, what the committee felt that ICANN should be doing as far as capacity development is concerned.
And with that, I would like to thank you for your attention and hand over to Paul for the continuation.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Pierre. Why don't we move to the final stage of the report, which deals with, as you said, participation and the role of stakeholders, and ask Peter to speak to this.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Thank you, Chair.
I think just to put this in context, the most evolutionary recommendation that the committee has put to the board is the suggestion that we -- that the board explore transitioning ICANN to become, instead of a U.S.-registered corporation, a private international organization. That as the report, I hope, makes sufficiently clear, nobody on the committee and nobody that submitted in support of that kind of transition wanted to lose all of the advantages of the ICANN structure that we've carefully built from initiation and through a really serious reform process, particularly the balance, the inclusion of the stakeholders that we've got, and the balances of rights and responsibilities between them.
And consistent with that was also the recognition that as we move that set of balances forward, we need to keep examining those to make sure that we have the right participants and the right responsibilities and relationships between them.
So this part of the report deals with continuing efforts to make sure that those things are taken care of and begins by noting the responsibility in the bylaws to conduct periodic review, and notes that they're an important part of ensuring a multistakeholder organization that remains responsive to the environment in which it operates.
And we note that the greatest impediment to any organization is becoming stagnant in its environment, either its own environment or in relation to the community that it reports to.
We comment about the current review that's underway, the review of the GNSO, noting that the report provided by the LSE gives us an opportunity to take an important step in that review, particularly representation of stakeholders and their participation. And we noted that the LSE's report includes an observation that stakeholder representation in the GNSO itself requires review to ensure it is reflective of the emerging Internet environment.
And our committee also acknowledges the work done by the current ALAC, which has conducted a self-review, and which has identified several key areas in which ALAC needs to grow stronger.
So we encourage the board to initiate and conclude the required reviews of supporting organization, advisory committees, the Nominating Committee, and the ALAC, particularly to clarify and strengthen their respective roles, contributions, expectations, and responsibilities, and just stepping out for a moment from the report and putting on my hat as a board member and a member of the BGC that's responsible for managing those reviews in the ICANN structure, we hope to be making some significant steps at the board meeting this week. The GNSO review is underway, as this report notes. We've posted for review the terms of reference for the review of the Nominating Committee. And we hope to be making announcements about the SSAC review and the ALAC review on Friday.
So this recommendation, I'm happy to say, is much in the mind of the board already.
But building further, building on the existing structure and mechanisms, the committee encourages the board to challenge the community to work together to establish a clear topology, including examining roles and responsibilities of various participants in the ICANN process, and particularly in relation to the broad classification of civil society and respective roles we say of suppliers, users, noncommercial entities, individuals, and the at large would be an effort for clarification.
Hopefully, those will -- that clarity will come from those reviews. But we would like -- this committee recommends that attention be paid to that.
We also suggest that the diversity of participation in the ICANN structure and processes -- which I think everyone acknowledges are important -- would be enhanced by enabling participation through smaller working groups, using local languages as well as by establishing means for knowledge to be captured and transmitted to new participants.
And I think we're already seeing developments along these lines already with the development of the ICANN alert, for example, which is pushing information out to subscribers instead of just requiring people to find things on the Web site.
We say that multistakeholder participation is an important part of the long-term accountability of the organization.
Back to you, Paul.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Peter. And if you'll excuse my following up on your area that you just went through, I would make the point that the issue of topology of the broad classification of civil society exercised the committee for quite a period of time. People like Carl Bildt, before he left the committee, was a very active leader of that discussion. So that was quite a very active discussion, from my memory, in the community -- or in the committee about just the distinctions and the implications of those distinctions.
As the report concludes -- and I think this is important to comprehend the context of the report -- the members of the committee trust that the above recommendations are a thoughtful and useful observation and recommendations concerning strategic issues facing ICANN. We hope the board and community could benefit from these advices which contribute to ICANN's strategic planning processes.
Very carefully, we're coming back within the terms of the resolutions of the board to put that to as we hope it's a useful contribution of observations and we wait for the board and the community to respond.
It's not in the hands of this committee to state what happens next.
The -- I'd like to now move to an open mike period and let people make any observations here on the floor or from online participation to the -- to this presentation.
>>VINT CERF: Vint Cerf, chairman of the board of ICANN.
Paul, were you anticipating any more concise or concrete recommendations coming out of this report to the board? There's a lot of food for thought there. But it is essentially food for thought. And I didn't take it as actionable except in some respects, for example, increased transparency, increased mechanisms for participation among the stakeholders.
I wasn't sure how to interpret the question of international status.
Was it your expectation that there would be more precision coming to us? Or are you in fact satisfied that this is as much as you could reasonably get from this consultation?
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Thank you, Vint. This is a report that is a reflection both of a wide range of consultations and of a committee. Committees tend to design camels, not horses.
[ Laughter ]
>>PAUL TWOMEY: And so I think you need to take it as being a product of that.
I suppose, frankly, as president, I'm glad for that, because it does need to reflect that full range.
I suppose, in a pragmatic sense, it is in the hands of the board to ask the committee, staff, or anyone to sort of say, "Well, what's the consequences of this," and for you to consider it.
I would, having been sitting inside this, think that there are some fairly clear messages. But it's been written -- I accept it's written by a committee. Therefore it's clearer to the committee what the messages were, if you like. But I think there are some pretty clear messages.
But we'll wait to see what further comments there are.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: I'm not sure I can add much to that, Paul. I agree with what you say.
I think, Vint, the point is that at some point, we need to come back out of committee and into public consultation. And we started with a completely open canvas, and a great range of ideas about the best structure for ICANN were put to us. And I think we thought that, having come to this point, that in fact rejecting a lot of suggestions -- committees, United Nations-type structures, all sorts of things -- that this kind of approach in the end emerged as a consensus view of the way forward. And we think it's time to come back to the community and the board to say, if you are happy with this, we would be, I think, prepared to accept a -- a further charter to carry on and do some further exploration. But I think this is now time to test the water and make sure that this is understood and that the community thinks this is an avenue worth pursuing.
Does that answer that?
>>VINT CERF: I'm sorry. You go ahead.
>>STEVE GOLDSTEIN: By the way, I would say, you know, in relation to what Paul said, that it is more of an elephant than a camel. And people used to give elephants as gifts and then the upkeep of the elephant would ultimately drive the recipient bankrupt.
>>VINT CERF: Well, considering there's a lot of input and a lot of output to elephants, one thing -- I would probably have to discuss this, of course, with the board, but one immediate thought is to ask for further analysis of the options for organizational structure. And I don't mean by this the internal structure of our Supporting Organizations and the like, but, rather, the corporate character of ICANN.
I had the sense from the summary, anyway, that there were some options considered, but how deeply the implications of those options were analyzed I think is open to some question, from me, anyway.
So if there were an action from my point of view to take from this, that would be one of them, is to actually evaluate and analyze what the various advantages and risks are of specific structural choices.
>>WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: My name is Wolfgang Kleinwaechter from University of Aarhus. Janis has referred to the WSIS spirit in the report. And as a former member of the Working Group on Internet Governance, I can only reconfirm that this is really true. If you read the report, then you remember a lot of the ideas which has been discussed in the WSIS process are reflected.
As a WGIG member, I couldn't avoid to be pulled into this very critical ICANN debate, if I remember the two years back. And a lot of the criticism was more symbolic than substantial. And I really want to congratulate the committee that reacted to these two types of criticism.
A lot of issues are really symbolic, and you got the message, and I think the message from the report is you understood this criticism and said okay, we have to react.
And the substantial issues in particular with the root zone file management, I think it is indeed a step forward in significance to the community that you think about the criticism and that you try to move forward.
And that brings me to the next point. In this process it became clear that ICANN indeed cannot be put into a box of already existing organizations, including what Hans Corell has proposed, the IOC and the (inaudible) and all the different organizations. ICANN has to create something which is new. ICANN is a pioneer. ICANN has entered new territory and has now to find a way to be as creative as possible to create something which does not yet exist.
And more or less, you know, I think this is what you make clear in the report. You move forward, you take all the criticism on board, and so far I think it's an important step in the right direction.
And I would add also that you have to take it very seriously that what you have in the annex also to the joint project agreement that you want to become a model for a multistakeholder organization.
That means whatever the plans are for the future, I think this is extremely important to keep this as a main guideline for the future of the organization.
And here I have a very concrete proposal. When I look into the structure of ICANN -- and indeed, all stakeholders are more or less involved, but, you know, for me the missing point is that you do not have really procedures in place for the interaction among the stakeholders. So we have the public debate. It's okay. We have the liaisons in a huge number of working groups. That's also okay.
But just exactly what happened yesterday when the Governmental Advisory Committee and the board discussed the dot xxx question. It became very legalistic and said what is the agreed procedure, is it the advice. And if the advice comes to the board, then according to the bylaws, what we have to do with that.
So that means we have a procedure in place for the interaction between governments and the board.
But there are no such procedures in place for the interaction among other stakeholder groups. And probably on the way forward, this could be another issue, you know, to discuss more in detail: How the interaction can be channeled by procedures which, indeed, guarantee that concerns, proposals, recommendations, whatever, find the right way. And at the end of the day, you come to a balanced solution which takes on board all ideas of the broad community.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: I just want to respond very technically to an impression that may have been created by the way that Janis referred to the importance of some of the WSIS discussions on this, Wolfgang.
This committee and its work is not a response to the WSIS. As a matter of fact, this process started years ago, and many of us on the committee have been discussing the need for this kind of planning.
It came to a head actually as part of the strategic planning process which we began a couple of years ago. And in fact one of the more driving forces was the imminent expiry of the current MOU. And we realized what we needed to do was separate this issue out from the other strategic planning process which was going on and which has resulted in the planning cycle which I think the community is now largely happy with.
But this needed to be taken out and given a slightly different perspective, and that's given us the opportunity of including views like Carl Bildt and some of the other outside agencies.
So I just want to get that clear, this is not a response to the WSIS. The WSIS happened at about the same time as these things and has certainly had input into it, but this is not a reaction to that, just for historical accuracy.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: And, Wolfgang, just to perhaps get buried down in the detail, your end comments, the only observation I would make is those procedures for interaction across stakeholders are set in the bylaws. I think the challenge we are finding at the moment is that the PDP language which was put in after the evolution reform process put those consultations at the end of work. And increasingly what we are finding is the value of the dialogue would actually be at the beginning of the work when questions are being set around the particular issue.
So at the moment, once the PDP finishes, say, in the GNSO, it has to go to the other Supporting Organizations and the committees for their consultation and response before it can come to the board.
But I think what you are reflecting is a growing concern in the (inaudible) community that maybe we should be trying to find something procedurally earlier in the process.
The working group have been an attempt at that and they are taking longer and they are evolving and mutating to try to meet that need.
But your quite right, at the moment it's an informal mutation. It's not necessarily part of the procedures. And I think some people have raised the question of review, and potentially this will be the case with the GNSO review, that the PDP process and its timetable and the way it structures consultation with other committees, maybe that's something that has to be considered.
>>SUSAN CRAWFORD: Susan Crawford, ICANN board member.
As a member of the board, I want to thank the committee for its very thoughtful work, and also urge it to do some more work.
As this organization contemplates floating free of whatever oversight the U.S. government and litigation has provided, it becomes increasingly important to focus on the details of accountability mechanisms.
It would be very helpful to the board for the committee to do some further legal consultation with experts about how we will be subject to oversight.
It's very dangerous, I think, to have oversight be so internal to our own processes.
We need to look outside ourselves, and so I urge the committee to take this on as a further item of work. Thanks.
>>VITTORIO BERTOLA: Vittorio Bertola from the At-Large Advisory Committee. I wanted to ask whether there was any more specific elaboration on the recommendations that you make about our committee. You point out there are a number of areas where we should be reviewed and which, in the end, you rightfully point out that the self-review that we did already identified a number of areas. I was wondering if there was anything more than that, more specific than that.
>>STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Excuse me, Vittorio, I was not bowing down but I was asking you to speak a little bit more slowly. The transcribers couldn't pick up everything you said. Could you repeat that?
>>VITTORIO BERTOLA: The question was if you had anything -- speaking specifically with about the At-Large Advisory Committee or any evolution of the At-Large Advisory Committee and civil society participation, if you had any specific recommendation or detail about it than what is written there.
>>PIERRE DANDJINOU: Well, Vittorio, I think the committee actually discussed this issue. Of course, it boils down to participation. Especially from all stakeholders.
And particularly on the ALAC, and of course the committee recognized the work of the ALAC so far.
But the committee also noticed, and it is also partly due to the WSIS process, that, okay, we also have a form of sort of participation, or stakeholder I would say that came out of the civil society, for instance, that play its role during this multistakeholder sort of consultation that the WSIS was.
I think the committee felt that definitely it has to be about sort of inclusion, and that somehow we need to come down to sort of a definition of those users that we are having in mind so that we are able to contribute.
I think the issue here is that different committees now actually get down to further defining. And of course at-large is going to have a say in that regard.
For instance, who are the users and what operation do we give to sort of noncommercial entities, for instance.
How do you come up with sort of grouping that really cater for the needs of each of them.
I think the committee senses that there is some work to be done to clarify the situation. And hence the sort of recommendations that were made. That of course the evaluation that's going to happen for the at-large I think is a good thing, but definitely if that also could supplement that has been already achieved for the GNSO, I mean the LSE, the recommendation there, certainly there is some food for further thinking about what really would like to spearhead as, you know, sort of stakeholder within that specific group.
I think that was definitely what the committee came up to. So there was no real specific as to what at-large should be doing in that regard.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: If I can just add by reference to the precise wording, Vittorio, the reference is not to do more and analyze the at-large. The actual recommendation is in relation for the at-large to get on with the review for the purposes of strengthening the at-large and getting all the usual benefits from review.
What needs to be teased out is the relationship between this relatively new concept, civil society. The committee is actually saying we've heard a lot saying through the WSIS process. There's this entity called civil society that we obviously have to take into account, we've got an ALAC, how do we sort out whether the ALAC meets the -- that's the issue that needs to be teased out. That's what we want to examine.
>>VITTORIO BERTOLA: Yeah, if I may just add, I agree. I think there's an unresolved question on whether we are aiming at individuals and whether these are individual citizens or registrants, or whether we are aiming at civil society, which is more tied to NGOs and other types of groups. So I think it is in fact an open question.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Vittorio, I would simply say I think the committee in its discussions were quite extensive. When it looked at the sorts of people who were attending -- just a broad range of things, NCUCs, at-large, civil society and IGF, that all -- well, that fuzzy cloud, what the committee -- the wordings were quite careful. It saw people and analyzed behind it who were wearing those different hats. And they are simply saying it's worth not allowing the cloud to survive, to give clarity about those hats more, because it shows much more than the perception of what's being said.
Because I think there's a certain concern in a multistakeholder environment exactly which stake are you holding.
>>IZUMI AIZU: If I may, with indulgence from Bertrand De La Chapelle, a follow-up question. I appreciate your mentioning and the recognition of the self-review of the ALAC, which you mentioned with footnote ten. Because it was a very difficult work for the ALAC to come to the consensus among the 15 committee members, if Pierre, you remember, and the first version and the second version are very different versions.
And with help of the ICANNWiki, actually, it worked very well to use Wiki to strike out some personal or some kind of subjective differences. And we tried to come to the common expressions and analysis of our own.
So with that, I'm very curious, which areas, if you can remember specifically from the self-review of the ALAC, which draw your attention. And then, you know, could be worthwhile advancing with the coming external review. I would appreciate to hear.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: Can I just suggest that's not terribly helpful, Izumi, today.
The review is not going to be done by us as a committee. The review of the at-large is going to be done by a different body.
>>IZUMI AIZU: Sure.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: So our recollection of what we found interesting in a previous review is of historical anecdotal use right now, I would have thought.
>>IZUMI AIZU: But as an issue, if there are any particular areas where we discussed in the ALAC's review have some weight for you guys about this evaluation of your own report, that might be very much appreciated to hear.
>>PIERRE DANDJINOU: Vittorio -- Vittorio. Izumi. Both are key players in this hat, I think.
I think the committee, actually, acknowledged efforts by the ALAC to do this self-review, but I think basically what we said is since we are going to have also an evaluation of the process itself, what the committee does notice is that, okay, we should move forward for this work of evaluating the ALAC. But also, we were saying, okay, we want to eventually move forward and consider whoever is there, whatever is there, to come up with a much more sort of inclusive, I will say, definition of all, well, ALAC policy. Another thing we stake people are having.
But as the issue, which hat people are wearing exactly.
So I think it was a call for the community to further define those issues.
So there was no specific, I would say, recommendation, as per the self-review by the ALAC per se. But we find it a quite positive move, but definitely the issue was from part of the work of those who evaluate, but those who provide some sound basis for analysis.
So that's what I shall say at this point.
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Good afternoon. I'm Bertrand De La Chapelle.
Sorry, I would have liked to be there at the beginning, but we were hastily drafting the last-minute part of the communique.
First of all, I want to express on a personal basis, and I think it's shared by many members of the GAC, a real appreciation for the report that has been produced by the committee.
And I have one personal remark regarding one quality that is too rare not to be mentioned, which is concision. It is a remarkable short listing of the main issues, and in that respect it has an excellent issues paper, agenda-setting paper as a full report on the solutions that have to be adopted.
In particular, as Susan Crawford has mentioned, it outlines a certain number of very important subjects that are key on the agenda of ICANN in the future regarding the legal structure, the oversight, and the processes that it follows inside. Not that the other issues are not important, of course, but I just highlight those because I don't think, as far as I can recollect that these issues have been delineated as clearly in previous ICANN documents as they have been in this.
So the key question now is how we move forward.
I must confess that I am a bit surprised at the level of attendance. I would have expected the room to be much more full on an issue like this one, but there are probably competing meetings at the same time.
>>VINT CERF: Have you looked at the weather outside?
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: I wouldn't have thought the weather would be a factor of any sort.
>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH: There's an outside?
[ Laughter ]
>>BERTRAND DE LA CHAPELLE: Okay. Anyway, the point is, as I was mentioning in the GAC board meeting the other day, the interesting question is how the different actors will participate in the follow-up activities.
And in this respect, one important element that has been mentioned by others regarding the process, the processes within ICANN, including PDPs, is how early on the different actors are able to interact.
This work within the different, I would say, internal constituencies within GNSO, ccNSO, and the rest. But also with the two external constituencies, the government and the ALAC.
On most of the issues that we have here that I mentioned, at that stage, it is probably very useful that some opportunity for all the different groups of actors to interact on each of the items is provided.
I do not know what the board intends to do in terms of maintaining the committee, making it work further, but if it intends to maintain the committee in one form or the other, it probably will be best if this committee acts as a Steering Committee for an ongoing consultation process rather than as an expert group. The difference being that one is a facilitator and the other one is actually the proper -- the committee itself.
And the facilitation method could be that on each of the items of the strategic report, either at the next session or in the few next sessions, there are thematic sessions devoted to each of the themes. They can be short. And one of the purposes would not necessarily be to be a presentation, as the report itself is very concise, but to rapidly ask the different participants to just express the way they view the given problem and the suggestions. The staff of ICANN would then be in a position to provide after those meetings, based on the minutes, I mean the transcript, a brief outline on each of the sub-subjects of the different viewpoints so that it can be fed again in the committee in an iterative process afterwards.
I think the document is very interesting, and it would be wonderful if it could trigger on each of the issues relatively rapidly a broad discussion, even if it's limited. But broad in terms of participation, even if it's a step-by-step process.
>>LESLEY COWLEY: Hi, Lesley Cowley from Nominet UK. I have three points to make but I will be brief because I am known for my brevity.
First thing, I would like to capture some thoughts on participation in the role of stakeholders section. And we noted a review of the role and responsibilities of various parties in that section. We wonder if there is also actually a strategic opportunity for ICANN to take much more of a leading role in the development of online collaboration and stakeholder participation, because that's what I think we are trying to build and develop here.
And that is also, as you will be aware, a key theme of the IGF.
Secondly, one wouldn't normally expect to see reviews of Supporting Organizations in a strategy document, but seeing as there are, we would also suggest that that section perhaps should include a review of the boards and the role of the boards. And I have mentioned in other events today, we're a long-time ICANN participant and observer, and I have to say there's some really positive signs about things beginning to happen and develop now. But we've also observed that becoming a board member is taking an increasing amount of time for a voluntary role, and is becoming an increasingly onerous role.
And we would like to suggest that a review of the focus of the board, a traditional board would normally focus on strategy oversight, and oversight of the executive team.
But we are quite aware that the role of an ICANN board member is much more significant and substantial than that.
And finally, I would like to echo Susan's comments. It's very interesting, and I think a key development that we are talking about a review of the legal status and identity. But linked to that needs to be further research into oversight mechanisms and processes should ICANN move to that structure.
>>PAUL TWOMEY: Lesley, thank you very much for that. Perhaps I can make one observation, and now I am talking purely as the president.
We have, at this meeting, launched a number of further online tools for collaboration and we would be certainly very keen to get further input from yourselves and others about ways we can amend that and augment that.
And I know that your fellow countryman, Mr. McCarthy, would be keen to get as much as he can in his own enthusiastic way from your ideas, which is great, and exactly why he has come and joined the team.
Secondly, while it's not reported in this report, the board actually has passed a resolution at our last -- I think at Sao Paulo, actually outlining a timetable for reviews as required under the bylaws. And even though it was not required under the bylaws, the board itself put review of the board into that timetable, and that is due to commence early this -- mid this year.
So that has taken the board -- And many people have made the observation that the review of the Nominating Committee, the review of the at large, in some respects potentially, and the review of the board itself have got overlaps about the nature of the board and you have also mentioned what's the responsibilities and obligations of board members.
So thank you for that.
Do we have any questions from online? Has anybody kept a -- No, we don't have any questions online? Thanks, Mehmet.
Well, I must admit, I expect this is one of these things that may well snowball in its impact over time. This was a relatively small group. I do know there was much interest in the Governmental Advisory Committee but many people have been involved in drafting this afternoon.
That's my phone. I'm sorry.
But I would like to thank my fellow members of the committee, those here and those who have been -- who are not here.
I would like to thank people who participated here, and especially all the people who made contributions. I mean, we ran two international town halls, which were both online and telephone based. We had people coming in early in the morning and late at night for them, and it was a really great experience. We had two face-to-face, intensive face-to-face meetings which were also very useful
We will wait for the board's reception of this report and see the next steps.
I think I've heard in this room both a call for further process but also a call for specific detail, which has been interesting.
I don't think those two things are inconsistent.
But we'll wait for the board's consideration.
We haven't heard anything at this stage put up other work for us to do, and I suspect that's probably a good thing, because this is not a make-work exercise, believe you me.
If there's no work for this work of group to do, then it should remain stagnant.
I would like to finish with comments about membership for this committee. I think unilaterally, unless we are informed otherwise, we will expect that Carl Bildt is not any longer a member of this committee.
Janis Karklins has, as he said, resigned effective as of now.
There is an additional appointment to the committee, and a little bit out of coincidence, but it's yet again another Scandinavian. And that is Ambassador Yrjo Lansipuro -- and I always mispronounce his last name -- who is the ambassador ICT for information and society and policy coordinator for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland and has recently been taking the presidency of the European Union in this arena.
There will be further work done by the committee in fleshing out and augmenting its membership. We are quite aware that it is a distorted reflection of the Internet community at the moment, both in terms of gender and geography and ethnicity. And we want to do more work on that.
I think that's best for the time.
Peter's happy. Thank you linesmen, thank you ball boys. Thank you very much.
[ Applause ]