The GAC, at its meeting in Rio in March 2003 established a ccTLD working group (WG 4) and gave it two short-term priority tasks: 1) Preparation of a GAC advice on the ccNSO; and 2) consideration of the appropriateness of an updating of the February 2000 GAC principles for delegation and administration of ccTLDs.
On the second of these priority tasks, the Working Group considered appropriate to prepare a preliminary discussion paper for the GAC meeting in Montreal. Based on the response from the GAC, the real redrafting work will take place after the Montreal meeting and in view of the Carthage meeting.
No GAC member has opposed the idea of updating the GAC principles or any of the ideas expressed in the initial non-paper.
The GAC is asked to endorse the lines proposed and instruct WG 4 to update the GAC principles with a view to proposing a text to the GAC meeting in Carthage.
This paper addresses the possibility of updating and adapting the GAC Principles to take into account the various experiences since the year 2000 and the recent developments concerning the ICANN reform. The updated principles should set an appropriate framework for the relationship of individual governments with ICANN in relation to their ccTLDs.
The ICANN reform has recognised an enhanced advisory role for the GAC. It has also, for the first time, recognised the ccTLDs as a separate constituency with an own SO (ccNSO). These aspects of the ICANN reform should be reflected in the GAC Principles, as well as the newly defined ccTLD-related ICANN mission. Another goal of the updating exercise may be to clarify delegation or re-delegation processes which have been causing dissatisfaction among certain governments and ccTLD managers and which have not enabled ICANN to deal with all requests in a timely manner. The present GAC Principles are not sufficiently clear regarding the procedures for designation and delegation of a ccTLD.
Moreover, there may be a need to clarify certain statements in the GAC Principles which either need more specific language to ensure that their purpose is understood correctly (e.g. clause 10.2.1 with respect to zone file transfers to ICANN), or which need to take into account national law provisions in GAC member countries.
As a corollary of the effort undertaken to clarify the relationships among the various parties concerned and their respective roles regarding ccTLD issues, the update of GAC Principles could be a stepping stone to improve internationalisation of delegation and re-delegation processes.
It is proposed that the GAC initiates an updating of the GAC Principles having the following objectives in mind:
Statements made in GAC Principles should be reviewed in light of the newly revised ICANN mission, the role of governments and GAC, the creation of the ccNSO and the distinction between global and local policies as regards ccTLDs, as they are or will be reflected in ICANN Bylaws.
In accordance with its role vis-à-vis public policy issues, the GAC should be given a role of contributing to the definition of global ccTLD-related policies, together with the ccNSO. GAC Principles could describe the role the GAC could play in this field.
GAC Principles should address the requirements to which the performance of the ccTLD-related IANA function should conform, in order to guarantee a smooth, consistent and reliable operation of the IANA database. The smooth operation of the IANA function is crucial for the adequate performance of ccTLDs.
Experience with re-delegation processes since the approval of the GAC Principles shows that clearer, predictable and more streamlined procedures are needed to deal with delegation and re-delegation requests. GAC Principles could better delineate the respective roles and responsibilities in these processes, as well as the procedures to be applied.
The starting point would be that delegation or re-delegation is a government.s right. This means that the administration of a ccTLD can only be delegated or re-delegated to an entity designated or recognised by the respective government. The GAC and the international organisations represented in it could play a role in facilitating re-delegation processes, in cases of doubt or contentious requests. The provisions contained in this part of the document should ideally be accepted by ICANN and the ccTLDs as a new procedure and replace RFC 1591, ICP1 insofar as they are used to address re-delegation requests.
GAC Principles could also include a set of "best practice" guidelines for the designation of ccTLD managers by governments (consultation with LIC), for the exercise of their public authority over them (public policy issues they can take care of...) or for the structuring of their relationship with them (laws, agreements...).
Clarification could be useful with regard to principle 10.2.1, which seems to mandate a zone file transfer that may be contrary to data protection laws or problematic in respect of legal protection of databases in certain countries.
Conversely, broader terms should be used to define ccTLD Registries, since the conditions embedded in the definition of "delegee" (principle 3.5) . that is, designation by the relevant government and recognition through a communication between ICANN and the designated entity - are not met by all of the existing ccTLD managers.
The updated GAC Principles could reflect a more mature stage in ccTLD relationships that should allow for some initial steps to be taken in the internationalisation of ccTLD delegation and re-delegation processes. In this regard, GAC Principles could assert each country.s right to have a ccTLD in the root zone file.
Some colleagues find the current principles too prescriptive and would prefer to use conciliatory wording: a light-touch framework, not instructions, particularly where it refers to the role of governments. Some don.t consider appropriate that governments need to notify ICANN of the details of arrangements between them and private or public entities constituting national ccTLD Registries or of subcontracts signed by those Registries. They put in question some references distinguishing Registries which accept registrations from users resident outside their territory and see no particular role for ICANN in this regard. There also seems to be some divergence of views on the value of some of the current GAC principles. The question has been raised of not unduly regulating the ccTLD Registry operators more than other communications operators. All these and any other points GAC colleagues may wish to raise are matters for consideration by WG 4 in the context of the updating of the GAC principles, after Montreal.
Before adopting updated GAC principles it would be useful to discuss certain issues with ICANN and the ccTLD community in order to create a common understanding and commitment to the GAC principles, and to achieve a maximum efficiency in applying the GAC principles in practice.
To the extent they refer to the role of ICANN, the updated GAC principles would have the standing of "GAC advice" according to article XI, section 2.1, paragraphs j) and K) of the new ICANN bylaws.