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ICANN Rio de Janeiro Meeting Topic: Country-Code Names Supporting Organization

Posted: 13 March 2003

Compiled Recommendations of the ccNSO Assistance Group


When ICANN was established, ccTLD registries were incorporated under the then established Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO), together with other constituencies.

As reflected in the "President's Report: ICANN – The Case for Reform", the original incorporation of ccTLD registries under the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) needed to be rethought. It was, in essence, essential to rethink the original constituency concept, reflected in the DNSO, and reconfigure the DNSO to help generate participation, facilitate meaningful deliberation, and structure input.

Purpose of the ccNSO

The Country-Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) is a supporting organization for the purpose of engaging in activities relevant to country-code top-level domains, specifically (1) developing policy recommendations to the ICANN Board; and (2) nurturing consensus across the constituencies, including the name-related activities of ccTLDs.

In its Blueprint, the Evolution and Reform Committee (ERC) acknowledged the intense discussion and work of the ccTLD community, in its diversity of positions and opinions, concerned with what are the responsibilities of the ccTLD administrators that fall strictly under the purview of national or otherwise local jurisdiction, and those that lead to the need for global harmonization and coordination. The ccNSO is conceived as the forum where this distinction will be further understood and developed, and from which the global aspects will continuously emerge.

The global aspects cannot be solved by the sole sum of national jurisdictions. Rather, they can only be addressed through an interplay between policies concerning the ccTLD domain names and other identifiers whose global policy coordination ICANN is charged with. This requires an intense interaction within the ICANN sphere, and a separate Supporting Organization.

The ccNSO is not intended to be only an elevated ccTLD constituency, but is also a body for development of global policy. As such, its voting membership (such as in voting for ccNSO Council members) should include representatives of those ccTLD registries – and only those ccTLD registries – committed to global policy development through the ICANN process.

The business of the ccNSO should be coordinated by a ccNSO Council composed of (a) regionally elected members selected by and from among the voting ccTLDs as defined above; (b) several additional voting members selected and appointed by the Nominating Committee in accordance with the criteria used to select Directors, but with emphasis on particular individuals who have a demonstrated interest in global names policy, and (c) a non-voting GAC liaison.

The exact structure of the ccNSO was put to the ccNSO Assistance Group to provide recommendations. The guiding principles were that it could not be (1) a separately incorporated entity, or (2) a trade association for ccTLD administrators. Such functions can and should take place outside of the ICANN structure.

The ccNSO Assistance Group

Formed in September 2002, the ccNSO Assistance Group was established to assist the ERC by proposing recommendations on a structure and set of operating procedures for the Blueprint's Country-Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO). The ccNSO Assistance Group developed recommendations on five category areas identified out of the Blueprint. Those were: scope of the ccNSO as a global policy-development body; process of policy development in the ccNSO; ccNSO membership; structure of the ccNSO; ccNSO Council.

Participants of the Assistance Group included ccTLD managers, participants of the GAC, and other knowledgeable members of the community. All participants contributed to the Assistance Group in their individual capacities and contributed based on their personal views and experiences.

The Assistance Group conducted its work through conference calls, on-line discussions, and some members having face-to-face meetings.

In approaching its work plan, the ccNSO Assistance Group sought to leverage the prior work of both the ccTLD registry community and other ERC Assistance Groups. The existence of prior work was of great assistance to the ccNSO Assistance Group efforts in working towards recommendations.

In its work, the Assistance Group sought to mould a high-level framework and recommendations to assist in the formation of a Supporting Organization that has the components and tools to focus authoritatively on the needs for effective global co-ordination at ICANN. The Assistance Group recognized the complex history of DNS management and explored frameworks that it believes provide a sound methodology for the future. The Assistance Group has also to defined responsibilities and other roles in functional areas of the DNS management to build confidence in the ccNSO as a major component of the Universal Domain Name System and the collective role of ccTLDs in the global management of the Internet at ICANN.

Explanatory Points of the ccNSO Assistance Group Preliminary Recommendations

The ccNSO Assistance Group in preparing its preliminary recommendations took into account comments received from the community during each stage of the five categories of recommendations.

  • Scope of the ccNSO as a global policy-development body – The Recommendations on Scope set forth a framework for analyses to address issues that fall into the mandate of the ccNSO policy development role. This framework for analyses distinguishes between three elements or roles as to which responsibility must be assigned on any given issue.
  • Policy Development Process in the ccNSO – The ccNSO Assistance Group used the GNSO Policy Development Process (PDP) as a starting point for its recommendations, making adjustments as appropriate for the ccNSO. This policy-development process accounts for the membership of the ccNSO playing an important role, in relation to the Council. To facilitate a simple membership process, interested members will submit a letter to the Launching Group (and subsequent to formation, the Council) recognizing the role of the ccNSO within the ICANN structure, its policy-development process and agreeing to adhere to the rules of membership and fees.
  • Membership of the ccNSO – The membership of the ccNSO is open to all ccTLD registries, or designated representatives, that agree to adhere to the membership criteria as set out in the recommendations. The Assistance Group discussion reflected the need to ensure that membership was possible without any economic barriers, but with a commitment to the role and responsibility of the ccNSO.
  • Council of the ccNSO – The ccNSO Council should be comprised of 18 voting members, 15 of which are elected by the membership and 3 that are put forward by the nominating committee.
  • Structure of the ccNSO – The issues addressed under structure reflect how to transition to the ccNSO. The ccNSO Assistance Group recommends there be a Launching Group, which has the responsibility to formalize the arrangements for the ccNSO, liaise with the ccTLD community and ICANN regarding this, and to organize the election for the first ccNSO Council. The Launching Group would also accept applications for membership of the ccNSO. Elections for the Council should be held within 120 days after the adoption of the bylaws.

Public Consultations to Date

As noted above, the Assistance Group conducted its work by posting for public comment each category of the five recommendations as they were completed. The following is the schedule of postings, and comments received.

Next Steps

The ccNSO Assistance Group has compiled and set forth its recommendations on the five categories of its work plan. As noted above, those five categories are: Scope of the ccNSO, ccNSO's Policy Development Process (PDP), ccNSO Membership, ccNSO Council, and ccNSO Structure.

The compiled recommendations are open for public comment, and will be discussed at the upcoming Rio de Janeiro meeting. Given the importance of the ccNSO, and the role it plays in the ICANN structure, the ERC will seek during the Rio de Janeiro meeting time to engage in a learning-discuss session with the ccTLD community and with the GAC on the compiled recommendations. The ERC of course welcomes discussions with any other interested parties.

Subsequent to discussion and feedback, the ERC will prepare its recommendations to the Board, for discussion and adoption.

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