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Communiqué from Bucharest meeting

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ccTLD Response to the Committee on Evolution and Reform's Blueprint for ICANN Reform

Bucharest, 24 - 25 June 2002

  1. The cctld members meeting in Bucharest Romania on 25th June have considered the Blueprint issued on 21st June. This response concentrates on the ccTLD aspects of the structure of the new ICANN proposed by the ICANN Board Evolution and Reform Committee (ERC). Due to the time available, the ccTLDs do not in this response address all the details of the Blueprint document and lack of comment should not be taken as approval.

  2. The ccTLDs are in favour of a number of aspects of the Blueprint, including the formation of an SO for developing policy on ccTLD domain name matters, and the provision of staffing.

  3. In the spirit of "bottom up" development, the ccTLDs prefer to continue using the established name for this SO, ("ccSO") which is used in all of our documentation, website domain name, committee names and lists, and which reflects the cultural and historical language of the internet.

  4. The ccTLDs are committed to a continuing dialogue within ICANN in good faith on a number of matters in which the ccTLDs disagree with the recommendations or discussion in the Blueprint. The following paragraphs outline the most important of those differences.

  5. The board should not make policy in those areas for which a support organization exists. The function of the board is to receive and respond to policy that has been developed by those organisations specifically intended, designed, populated and staffed for the express purpose of developing policy. It is not the board's job to make policy, but rather to ensure that policy developed is timely, useful, appropriate, and compliant with the processes of the respective SO providing it. For example, the ccTLDs have determined that "consensus policy" means as follows: "A consensus recommendation is one that is supported by the affirmative vote of two thirds of members voting in each geographic region. If any region votes against a proposed policy, or it achieves less a two thirds majority vote in any region it will be deemed to have failed. " Therefore the Board could not adopt any policy binding on ccTLDs that had not been through this process. The Board may initiate policy discussions in an SO, and might provide guidance and encouragement at various times in the SO's development process but it cannot be the Board's role to make policy in the absence of SO agreement.

  6. Policy for each ccTLD is primarily local and is therefore made locally by the local internet community for the local internet community. The primary purpose of the ccSO is to provide policy on the few matters which are of global significance. Those have been recognized by the ccTLDs as : ". a carefully definable set of global issues which can be put through the ccSO consensus policy development process to the policy making process of the Corporation. These are referred to herein as "global" policies." It will be a part of the ccSO function to characterise issues as either local or global.

  7. The ccTLDs are committed to funding those overheads of the corporation directly related to ccTLD activities, for example the IANA services, and in addition are willing to make a fair contribution to ICANN for its more general overheads. While the level of funding is not a requisite part of the re-structuring debate, we make the following points:

    7.1 The ccTLDs are resolved that there should be no cross-subsidy of non-ccTLD-related expenditure by ccTLD income as we have already engaged in time-consuming and costly local policy processes.

    7.2 When the Budget is approved by the ccSO, the ccTLDs will guarantee funding the contribution agreed.

    7.3 For the ccSO to approve those portions of the budget relating to ccTLD matters, it will require that its delegates or representatives take part in the Budget process and are able to review details of expenditure (which include the allocation and the basis of the allocation of the global ccTLD contribution) early in the budget process. That information is, currently, not provided.

    7.4 The ccSO will determine the allocation of the global contribution among its members.

  8. The ccTLDs are not prepared to have any agency, including the Nominating Committee, appoint members to its Council, the "International Council". We understand that the purpose of these appointments is to provide the council with individuals having the attributes described as desirable for Directors, and with the additional qualification of an "interest in global names policy". Those attributes are present in the members of the ccSO, and will be available to the council, and to the Board by way of the ccSO's appointment of directors.

    We understand the committee's view is that such appointments will provide:

    (1) reporting to the Board on minority view points,
    (2) facilitation in case of deadlock or other stoppages,
    (3) leadership, and
    (4) representation in what is, otherwise, a monolithic structure

    The ccTLDs will work with the committee to demonstrate that those concerns are already dealt with by the ccTLDs and their proposed ccSO structure (a copy of the draft structure for the SO, and its Council are attached). However in summary;

    (1) and (2) above are met by taking appropriate functional (as opposed to structural) steps, such as agreeing on reporting standards, and seeking assistance of outside facilitation when conditions require it. (3) above appears to raise inappropriate "top down" considerations. The ccTLDs believe that leadership from within (subject to the usual checks and balances) is far more appropriate than leadership from outside. In respect to (4), far from being monolithic, the ccTLDs represent, through their domestic policy procedures and interaction with their local internet communities (including governments) a diverse international community that engages in open and vigorous debate.

  9. The ccTLDs are prepared to work in close liaison with the GAC, in relation to those matters of interest to governments. We do not believe that an appointed liaison officer will be an efficient way of arranging that. A single representative will not necessarily be culturally, linguistically or professionally competent in the issue which gives rise to the government interest. We are committed to working with the GAC to improve liaison, and point instead to the first joint ccTLD-GAC workshop held in Bucharest, and which agreed to develop a process for establishing further working groups, possibly on a regional basis, as likely to be more effective. Regular reporting of progress on this matter could be arranged.

  10. Each SO should have 3 seats on the Board. In the case of the ccSO this is because the volume of cctld registrations is growing, as is the number of countries increasing or opening their internet, and for ICANN to have credibility as an international organisation, those interests should be represented on the board. A further and significant reason for three directors is that that number greatly facilitates fair geographic representation. With two directors, at any given time, three ccTLD regions are unrepresented.
    No greater number is appropriate for the ccSO, as it is recognised that the great bulk of ICANN policy work will continue to be related to gTLD matters, for which ICANN itself provides the Local Internet Community.
    We suggest that the Board seats in question be re-allocated from those appointed by the Nominating Committee, reducing those to 5 (1 per geographic region) rather than creating any additional seats. This would mean that there would be 3 directors from each SO (a total of 9) providing specialist input, 10 directors from the wider community (5 voting and 5 non-voting) providing general, public interest perspectives and the CEO. The ccTLDs believe that this represents a more balanced structure than the one presently proposed.

  11. We have reservations about the concept and composition of the Nominating Committee, and ICANN's ability to find and select members in an open transparent and contestable manner in the time frame. If there is to be such a body, it is essential for the reputation of the Corporation that there be no allegation that it was not created under conditions of the greatest fairness and openness. The ccTLD representation in the Nominating Committee is disproportionately small (1 of 19 seats). We recommend that should a Nominating Committee be created there should 1 representative of the ccTLD mangers and 5 regionally selected representatives of local internet communities, with the ccSO recommending candidates to the Board.

  12. The ccTLDs recommend that there be no extension of the current 2 term limit for directors.

  13. The ccTLDs look forward to working with the ERC to develop a transition plan and schedule that can be implemented.

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