Third Status Report: Formation of ccNSO Assistance Group
13 September 2002

Committee on ICANN Evolution and Reform
Third Status Report: Formation of ccNSO Assistance Group

At its meeting in Bucharest on 28 June 2002, the ICANN Board adopted and endorsed the Evolution and Reform Committee's (ERC's) Blueprint for Reform, and directed the ERC to oversee further detailed implementation and transition work based on the Blueprint for Reform, with the continued involvement and participation of the ICANN community.

In carrying out this responsibility, the ERC has found it useful to establish several Assistance Groups to provide valuable input on global name policy development, accountability, and the formation of an At Large Advisory Committee. These efforts are not intended to substitute for broad community input and review of the ERC's implementation efforts. Rather, these efforts are specifically to provide the ERC with additional qualified and experienced hands and minds to help it complete its work in the short time available. The reform process has benefited from extensive community participation so far, and the ERC and Board see these efforts as just one facet of that community-based process. The members of these Assistance Groups are not bound to support any subsequent ERC recommendation that may be based on their work, and the ERC remains free to adjust or modify their input when it presents its recommendations to the ICANN Board and community. Assistance Groups are not intended to provide a process for obtaining the formal views or positions of particular groups or segments of the ICANN community. All input received in response to requests for assistance is publicly posted, and will be considered by the ERC along with all other inputs in formulating its recommendations.

The ERC has established an additional Assistance Group to help complete its work on the implementation of the Blueprint's Country Names Supporting Organization. The Assistance Group for the ccNSO will be responsible for providing recommendations on the structure, membership, scope, and processes of the ccNSO within the framework of the Blueprint. The following ccTLD managers, participants of the GAC, and other knowledgeable members of the community have agreed to participate in this Assistance Group: Sebastian Bachollet; Bart Boswinkel; Becky Burr; Chris Disspain; Hartmut Glaser; Alf Hansen; Hiro Hotta; Geoff Huston; Michael Katundu; Christian de Larrinaga; Pierre Ouedraogo; Patricio Poblete; Oscar Robles; Philip Sheppard;Mohd Sharil Tarmizi; Kiyoshi Tsuru; and Bernard Turcotte. All participants, including those who are also participants in the GAC, are contributing to the Assistance Group in their individual capacities and based on their personal views and experience.

The ERC greatly appreciates the willingness of these individuals to contribute to this effort. The issues surrounding the creation, structure, and operation of the ccNSO are challenging. The ERC also appreciates that all the participants in this Assistance Group may not fully agree with all aspects of the Blueprint's recommendations in this area. Indeed, the Group deliberately includes knowledgeable persons with a wide range of experience and views on the subject. The willingness of the Assistance Group members to participate as individuals in the difficult process of adding the necessary detail to the broad framework outlined in the Blueprint for the ccNSO, notwithstanding these differences and other responsibilities, is a demonstration of a commitment to work together towards a constructive and pragmatic outcome. This and the ability of all to contribute to dialogue is the essence of the ICANN concept.

As always, any and all individuals or groups are encouraged to provide suggestions and input to the Assistance Group as it considers the implementation details of the Blueprint for Reform. The Group’s recommendations will be posted when received, and will be given careful consideration by the ERC in formulating its recommendations for the ccNSO. The Group has been asked to provide an initial report on its progress by 27 September 2002.

As the Assistance Group conducts its work, continued community participation and input on the ccNSO issues is vital. As noted above, the issues surrounding the ccNSO are very challenging, and require thought and dialogue as the work proceeds. The more minds and more perspectives engaged, the better. The ERC and the ICANN Board are following the process closely, seeking bottom-up input to ensure that any constructive solution has received thoughtful consideration by all interested parties. As the Assistance Group drafts recommendations for an implementation plan, progress reports will be posted for public comment and input, in addition to the opportunity for discussion at public comment forums at the upcoming ICANN Board meeting. As always, comments on ccNSO issues are invited to reform-comm@icann.org (Forum closed 18 August 2003), and there will be a category specifically established for that purpose.

Blueprint Excerpts on the CNSO (now ccNSO)


The CNSO (Country Names Supporting Organization) 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 CNSO's constituencies, including the name-related activities of ccTLDs.

The ERC acknowledges 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 CNSO is conceived as the forum where this distinction will be further understood and developed, and from which the global aspects will continuously emerge.

The ERC has concluded, after extensive – and still ongoing – analysis and dialog with members of the ccTLD community, that the global aspect is of extreme importance, that it cannot be solved by the sole sum of national jurisdictions, and that the interplay between policies concerning the ccTLD domain names and other identifiers whose global policy coordination ICANN is charged with, requires an intense interaction within the ICANN sphere.

Composition and Selection

The CNSO is not intended to be just an elevated ccTLD constituency, but is rather a policy-development body. As such, its voting membership (such as in voting for CNSO Council members – see below) should include representatives of those ccTLD registries – and only those ccTLD registries – committed to global policy development through the ICANN process (evidenced through signed agreements or by other means, such as full funding support).

CNSO Council: The business of the CNSO should be coordinated by a CNSO 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 NomCom 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 regionally elected members should comprise about two-thirds of the voting members.

The exact structure of the CNSO should await further developments, but it cannot be (1) a separately incorporated entity, or (2) a trade association for ccTLD administrators. Any such function can and should take place outside of the ICANN structure.

ccTLD Agreements

In the original Lynn document "ICANN: A Case for Reform", one problem that was highlighted was the challenge associated with consummating stakeholder agreements. This problem has not been addressed thus far in detail in the work of the Committee on Evolution and Reform. Nowhere is this problem more complex than in the case of reaching agreements with ccTLDs, although some progress has been made and more can be anticipated. ICANN operates within the framework of ICP-1.

As a step towards addressing this issue and possibly considering whether policy changes may be required, the Committee on Evolution and Reform recommends that the Board encourage the GAC and delegates from the global ccTLD community to explore possible paths to resolution of this problem.

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