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ccTLD Communiques: Guidance Notes

Nigel Roberts, ccTLD AdCom

Revision information:  Version 0.4
Last major change:     Addition of Section 4
Date:                  14 June 2002

  1. What is a communique?

    The English word 'communique' derives from an almost identical French word (which has a slightly more generic meaning.)

    A communique is a short, one or two page document, summarising a number of issues, often in connection with a meeting or conference. It is quite different to the minutes of a meeting. Although slightly similar to a press release in that it makes a public statement, it serves a somewhat different purpose. (Where a press release is issued, the meeting Communique should be attached as a background paper.)

    A communique is written in a rather more formal style than a press release, and its intended audience is different.

    The audience for a communique could be be viewed as the participants in the meeting or group, and other significantly interested parties as well as the public.

    The purpose of a communique can be seen as documenting (as a starting point for further discussion and for future reference) a consensus or position which existed at a specific point in time such as in discussions of governmental or private international organisations.

    Where there are important and significant minority opinions, a communique may also refer to these opinions indicating the level of support for them. (See the section on "Use of appropriate Language", below)

    A communique, even if issued without objection, does not bind any individual participant to a particular policy or course of action either at the time of issue of the communique or subsequently.

  2. Use of Communiques at ICANN meetings.

    The first interest group within the ICANN process to use communiques within the ICANN process was the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), many of whose members are used to them from an international and intergovernmental context.

    Subsequently ccTLD Managers (and others) have found the communique format very helpful in indicating to the ICANN Staff and Board in particular, the views and consensus from particular meetings. Communiques have become a useful tool in the process of negotiation and co-operation with ICANN.

    All previous communiques which have issued by the ccTLD managers can be found here.

  3. Process for development of a ccTLD Communique.

    At previous meetings of the ccTLD managers, there has been an ad hoc call for volunteers to work on the ccTLD Communique.

    This has generally worked after a fashion but there have been some minor procedural difficulties and is always reliant on suitably qualified and interested people being present at the time the Communique is produced..

    There has also been some confusion as to how a ccTLD Communique is approved, and how and when it is presented.

    This document has been prepared in advance of the ICANN Bucharest Meeting in order to improve the efficiency of producing the ccTLD Communique at Bucharest and future meetings, and to assist in consolidating support for the contents of such communiques.

    • 3.1 Responsibility for producing Communique

      Each meeting of ccTLD managers should produce a Communique for release at the end of the meeting. The ccTLD Communique should highlight the major items discussed and the consensuses which were developed and/or agreed.

      It has been agreed that the responsibility for ensuring the Communique is produced should belong with the Chairman of the meeting, consulting with those members of the ccTLD managers' Administrative Committee who are present at the meeting, as necessary.

      The Meeting Chairman shall appoint a Rapporteur and, in consultation with the Rapporteur set up a Drafting Committee.

      The drafting committee should be appointed, and the names of its members notified at or before the start of the meeting. This will ensure that Drafting Committee members are able to take careful note of proceedings and positions.

      At the end of the meeting (or at the end of each day if the meeting lasts for more than one day) the Chairman may summarise important points which are under consideration for the ccTLD Communique.

      It shall be the responsibility of the Rapporteur, assisted by the Drafting Committee to produce a draft communique for consideration (either in plenary , or by circulation of a paper draft) by the ccTLD managers.

    • 3.2 Composition of Drafting Committee

      The drafting committee should consist of between two and four people, in addition to the Chairman and Rapporteur.

      In view of the public nature of a ccTLD Communique, and the importance of precisely expressing the positions of the ccTLD managers, if the Rapporteur is not a native speaker of ICANN's official language (currently English), the Drafting Committee should contain at least one native speaker of that language. The specific role of such person or persons is to ensure correctness of language, appropriateness of style, and generally to ensure that the ccTLD Communique can be clearly understood by its audience.

    • 3.3 Use of appropriate language

      Where there is majority support for a position, but there were some dissenting view points, langauge such as "the ccTLD managers felt", "the ccTLD managers agreed that" should be used in the Communique.

      Where there is supermajority support for a position, language such as "the ccTLD managers resolved", "the ccTLD managers require" or similar should be used.

      Where there is little or no disagreement, language such as "the ccTLD manager agreed unanimously", "the ccTLD managers agreed nem con" or "the ccTLD managers overwhelmingly agreed" should be used.

      It is /highly/ desirable to present in the Communique only those positions and views on which there are widespread agreement.

      However in some exceptional circumstances it might be considered useful if points are included upon which there is majority support but upon which there is also a significant dissenting minority viewpoint.

      The necessity of this should be considered very carefully and this should only be done where it is immediately obvious that there is a clear benefit to all ccTLD managers in doing so.

      In such cases language such as "the ccTLD managers agreed " but some/a few ccTLD managers felt

    • 3.4 Representation of the views of those not present

      Self-evidently, a Communique can only represent the views of those present, and that on the particular day it is issued.

      It should be explicitly understood that a Communique does not purport to represent the viewpoint of any party who is not present at the meeting.

    • 3.5 Input to Drafting Committee

      Normally drafts of Communiques should not be circulated to any party who is not attending the meeting , nor should published in draft form or sent to any third party in advance of being approved by the meeting.

      As the Communique is issued by those who are present at the meeting (and not by those who are not), amendments to the text of draft Communiques (except for minor spelling or stylistic amendments) should not be considered except from those who were present at some point during the meeting.

    • 3.6 Timetable

      The Rapporteur and his/her Drafting Committee should produce and circulate a draft of the Communique in good time for consideration by all those present. (i.e. before the end of the meeting).

      All such copies should be clearly marked as drafts and should not normally be circulated outside the meeting until the meeting has had the opportunity to consider their contents.

      Where it is see as desirable to provide advance copies of the Communique to others present at the meeting (in order to facilitate joint discussions, e.g. with ICANN Board, or GAC) the Communique should be clearly marked as 'Draft: Subject to Change'.

  4. Presentation.

    • 4.1 Approval

      The meeting may approve the contents of the final ccTLD communique in plenary session or it may delegate the Drafting Committee to issue the draft communique as final following amendments.

      In the latter case, where the Drafting Committee is tasked with releasing the Communique, individual ccTLD managers should have an opportunity to review the final version. In this event the Rapporteur will notify the ccTLD managers in plenary of the date and time that the final version may be inspected. Such date and time to be in advance of the release of the document as final.

    • 4.2 Presentation to ICANN

      The final Communique should be presented formally to the ICANN Board in ICANN's Open Session, and ICANN should be requested to provide adequate time on the agenda, possibly equivalent to and perhaps immediately before or immediately after the Government Advisory Committee's communique is presented.

      The responsibility for presenting the Communique in open session is that of the Chairman of the meeting or such other person as he or she may delegate.

© ccTLD Managers
Page updated : 2003-05-27 19:54:26