Communiqué of the Governmental Advisory Committee
(9 September 2001)

Communiqué of the Governmental Advisory Committee

9 September 2001

Montevideo, Uruguay

SUNDAY 9 September 2001: The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) met on 7 and 8 September, in Montevideo, Uruguay. The attending GAC Members, representing 29 national governments, distinct economies as recognised in international fora and multinational governmental and treaty organisations had useful discussions relating to the Internet. They issued the following statement.

Vice Chair Positions

The GAC is pleased to announce the election of its inaugural Vice Chairs:

  • Mr Len St. Aubin, Canada
  • Mr Sharil Tarmizi, Malaysia
  • Mr Christopher Wilkinson, European Commission

Outreach Activities

Progressing outreach activities is a high priority for the GAC. It will be developing a work program to encourage greater participation in GAC meetings which includes current members playing a more proactive role in raising awareness of the ICANN and the GAC in their respective regions. The GAC has developed an Outreach document to assist with these activities.

Since Stockholm, members have initiated many outreach activities through bilateral and multi-lateral presentations and discussions.


The GAC had a constructive, open and useful dialogue with the ICANN Board and staff.


The GAC welcomes the Report of the Internationalized Domain Names Internal Working Group of the ICANN Board of Directors, particularly the Working Group's recognition of the importance of the three key policy areas identified by the GAC in its Melbourne communiqué on this issue. Those being:

  • the essential importance of interoperability of the present and future Internet;
  • the prevention of cybersquatting and resolution of disputes in the IDNs environments should be addressed by appropriate means and processes such as an appropriate dispute resolution policy and implementation of sunrise periods; and
  • the application of competition and market access, consumer protection and intellectual property principles.

The GAC also recalls the recommendation on IDNS in the opinion issued with its communiqué dated 16 November 2000, that: "ICANN, to the extent of its powers, provide relevant governments and distinct economies as recognised in international fora with an opportunity to participate in the development of policy in relation to the implementation of multilingual DNS access to domain names using non-ASCII character sets or letters which apply to a relevant country's culture".

The GAC supports the establishment of a steering committee, with representation from the GAC, to oversee further work on this issue.

The GAC would also like to advise ICANN that, in addition to the key policy areas identified in the Melbourne communiqué, the steering committee should be mindful of the wider cultural and social context of the work to be carried out. The GAC strongly supports the recommendation to form panels of volunteer experts from different countries and distinct economies in a diversity of fields as this would facilitate taking into account various cultures.


The GAC thanks the Chair of the ALSC for his presentation. The draft report of the At-Large Membership Committee is welcomed and the GAC encourages interested parties to respond to the report.

GAC Principles

The GAC appreciates that ICANN is using the GAC Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains as a useful guide in matters associated with agreements between ICANN and ccTLDs.


The GAC invites ICANN to make further information available at the next meeting about IP version 6 deployment issues, including address assignment policies and infrastructure readiness, such as root server resolution.

WIPO Report

The GAC thanks WIPO for its recent final report on the WIPO (II) Process and noted that it will be discussed by the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO at the end of September 2001.

New TLDs

1. Evaluation of new gTLDs

The GAC welcomed the creation of the ICANN Board New TLD Evaluation Process Planning Task Force on the evaluation of the new gTLDs and received a report from the representative of the UK in the GAC.

The GAC confirmed the importance of public policy considerations in the selection and implementation of new gTLDs, and asked its representative to continue to participate in the work of the group and maintain liaison with other GAC members.

2. Two letter codes and .aero

The GAC confirmed the importance of minimising confusion for the user.

Regarding the possible use of alpha-2 letter codes as second level domains, the GAC noted that the WIPO (II) Report addresses this question and recommends that:

"293. If ISO 3166 alpha-2 country code elements are to be registered as domain names in the gTLDs, it is recommended that this be done in a manner that minimises the potential for confusion with the ccTLDs."

The GAC received a presentation from SITA regarding the eventual use of two letter codes representing airlines in the .aero gTLD. The GAC concluded that in view of the clearly specific context identified by the .aero TLD, the potential for confusion could be appropriately minimised provided that SITA made public a disclaimer confirming that there was no relationship between the two letter airline codes and the ISO 3166 codes.

The GAC appreciates the spirit of consultation shown by SITA and the ISO Maintenance Service Agency.

Geographical and geopolitical concepts in relation to gTLDs

The GAC continued its discussions initiated in Marina del Rey, November 2000 on the use of geographical and geopolitical concepts, particularly as second level identifiers. The GAC confirmed that this is an issue of considerable political importance and complexity that merits thorough study by qualified and competent experts. The issue also relates to the overall taxonomy of the DNS and its evolution concerning the expansion of the TLD space. The GAC recalls its communiqué from Marina del Rey, November 2000 to the effect that WIPO member states had asked WIPO to consider and make recommendations in this area.

The GAC notes the WIPO Report's recommendations concerning the registration of geographical and geopolitical concepts. The GAC looks forward to further consideration of the subject matter by the WIPO Member States, in particular with regard to the possible need for new international rules in this area.

Meanwhile the GAC considered the situation arising from the current pre-registration of country names in the .info "sunrise period" that had been drawn to its attention by ICANN.

The GAC notes that the issue of geographical and geopolitical names is very complex and the subject of ongoing international discussion. Without prejudice to any future discussions, general policy or international rules in this area, and considering the very special nature of .info, and problems that have become apparent with the registration of such names in the sunrise period, the GAC agreed that interim ad hoc measures should be taken by ICANN and the Registries to prevent avoidable conflicts in .info. The GAC agreed that the use of names of countries and distinct economies as recognised in international fora as second level domains in the .info TLD should be at the discretion of the respective governments and public authorities.

Therefore the GAC recommends that the names of countries and distinct economies, particularly those contained in the ISO 3166-1 standard, as applied by ICANN in identifying ccTLDs, should be reserved by the .info Registry, (or if registered in the Sunrise Period challenged by the Registry and, if successful, then reserved) in Latin characters in their official language(s) and in English and assigned to the corresponding governments and public authorities, at their request, for use. These names in other IDN character sets should be reserved in the same way as soon as they become available.

The GAC also draws the attention of ICANN and the Registries to the fact that a large number of other names, including administrative sub-divisions of countries and distinct economies as recognised in international fora , may give rise to contested registrations. Accordingly the GAC recommends that Registrars and eventual Registrants should be made aware of this.

ccTLD Constituency

The GAC thanks the representatives of the ccTLD Constituency for their participation and welcomed the opportunity for discussion on matters associated with their proposed formation of the Country Code Supporting Organisation.


The GAC also thanks the DNSO's Whois Committee for their presentation on the outcomes of the DNSO Whois Survey.

The GAC warmly thanks the Government of Uruguay and the sponsors for hosting its meeting.

The next face-to-face meeting of the GAC will be held in November 2001 in Marina Del Rey to coincide with ICANN's next round of meetings.

Comments concerning the layout, construction and functionality of this site
should be sent to webmaster@icann.org.

Page Updated 16-Dec-2001
©2001  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers All rights reserved.