[council] GAC Communiqué-Mexico City
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- Subject: [council] GAC Communiqué-Mexico City
- From: "Bruce Tonkin" <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2009 13:24:11 +1000
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- Thread-topic: GAC Communiqué-Mexico City
GAC Communiqué-Mexico City
Governmental Advisory Committee
Mexico, 4 March 2009
GAC Communiqué - Mexico City
The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) met in Mexico City, during March 1-4,
38 members, 2 observers and one invited country participated in the meeting. 2
members participated remotely.
The Governmental Advisory Committee expresses warm thanks to AMIPCI of
Mexico for hosting the meeting in Mexico City and ICANN for supporting the
II. IDN ccTLDs
The GAC welcomes the release of the second version of the Draft Implementation
Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process which has been amended as a result of
public comments. However, it does not address the important issue of the cost
recovery rationale for the imposition of fees. Nevertheless, it represents a
basis for further discussions.
The GAC comments on the Draft Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast
Track Implementation plan released prior to the Cairo meeting are attached at
Annex A. The GAC reiterates its view that documentation of responsibilities and
fees should be kept voluntary.
The GAC notes the growing interest and level of preparedness in many countries
and territories to introduce IDN ccTLDs under the fast track process. The GAC
hopes that the development of the IDN ccTLD fast track and new gTLD
implementation plans should proceed smoothly and that decisions on their
will be taken by the Board in its 2009 annual meeting. In the event of any
the new gTLD implementation plan, the GAC believes that the IDN ccTLD fast
track should not be affected by such a delay.
The GAC appreciates the exchange of views on these issues with the ccNSO.
III. New gTLDs
The GAC's comments on the new gTLD Program: Draft Applicant Guidebook,
posted on 24 October 2008, are attached at Annex B.
While recognising the enormous amount of work that ICANN staff accomplished
in preparing the Draft Applicant Guidebook version 2, the GAC regrets that the
late posting of the document did not allow the GAC sufficient time to consider
provide comments on the proposed changes. The nearest opportunity to comment
on the Draft Applicant Guidebook version 2 for the GAC will be the meeting in
The GAC appreciates engagement inter-sessionally with ICANN staff providing an
overview of the changes made to the Draft Applicant Guidebook version 2 as a
result of the public comments received on the initial version, given the GAC's
desire to ensure that the recommendations contained in the GAC new gTLD
principles document are incorporated.
The GAC appreciates the exchange of views on these issues with the GNSO.
IV. Contractual issues between intergovernmental organizations and ICANN
Experience from the 2003 round of new gTLDs leads the GAC to propose that, in
specific cases, when the applicant is an intergovernmental organization bound by
treaty obligations, the relevant adjustments should be made to standard ICANN
contractual provisions in order to ensure that public international law is fully
respected by ICANN contractual arrangements and policies.
In this regard, the GAC noted with concern the extended delay in the completion
contract negotiations with the Universal Postal Union for the .post sTLD, and
urges ICANN to quickly conclude negotiations in line with the above principles.
V. GAC input to the PSC report
In line with its commitment taken in Cairo, the GAC has communicated to the
Board its input to the 19 September 2008 PSC report Improving Institutional
Confidence in ICANN. The GAC letter of 22 December 2008, is attached at Annex C.
The GAC would welcome an early opportunity to discuss an agreed joint approach
to the review of the GAC's role within ICANN as outlined in Annex A, Art 7 of
September 2006 Joint Project Agreement between ICANN and the US Government.
Pending clarification of the Board's intentions with regard to the PSC report,
Improving Institutional Confidence Plan, of 27 February 2009, the GAC would
anticipate commenting on the report in Sydney.
VI. IPv4 to IPv6 transition
The GAC welcomed the interaction with the NRO which confirmed the
importance of the management of IPv4 resources in the public interest and
urgency in promoting IPv6 deployment.
VII. Interaction with the Board
In order to facilitate better GAC input to ICANN policy making, the GAC
proposes that all documents to be considered at ICANN meetings, be posted not
less than 15 working days before the meeting. In the event that this is not
possible, the GAC may need to defer discussion until the subsequent meeting.
The GAC welcomes the agreement by the Board for greater involvement in the
planning of the schedule for future meetings, starting with the Sydney meeting,
order to facilitate the participation of GAC members in other ICANN events.
* * * *
The GAC warmly thanks all those among the ICANN community who have
contributed to the dialogue with the GAC in Mexico City.
The next GAC meeting will take place during the period of the ICANN meeting in
GAC Comments1 on the Draft Implementation Plan IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process
GAC supports the introduction of IDN ccTLDs and believes that the procedure for
delegation of an IDN ccTLD should be similar to that of the ASCII ccTLD and
should equally follow GAC ccTLDs principles: "Principles and Guidelines for the
Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains".
Module 7: Discussion of Additional Topics
7.1. Relationship between ICANN and IDN ccTLD Operator
* IDN ccTLDs should be similarly treated as ASCII ccTLDs.
* The GAC emphasizes that it is primarily for the local Internet community,
including the relevant government or public authority, to determine the manner
in which a string should be selected, the manner in which a registry operator
should be selected and the registry policy that should apply for the selected
* A documented relationship between ICANN and IDN ccTLD operators should be kept
* A documented relationship on the basis of the proposed "Documentation of
Responsibilities", either as it stands today or in a modified format, may be
encouraged but should not be a condition for IDN ccTLD delegations.
* As it has always been the case, it's in the best interest of IDN ccTLD
operators and the entire IDN community to adhere to all relevant IETF standards
including IDNA protocol, IDN Guidelines and commit to complying with future
7.2. Financial Contributions
* IDN ccTLDs should be similarly treated as ASCII ccTLDs.
* Financial contributions should be calculated on a cost recovery basis. Full
disclosure and breakdown of the costs involved in the IDN program would be
desirable for better understanding of possible cost recovery models.
* Financial contributions should be kept voluntary and should not be a
condition for IDN ccTLD delegations.
* Further information, from ICANN staff, on the different possible cost recovery
mechanisms and concrete proposals would help advance positions on the subject.
7.3. Association of IDN ccTLD Operators with the ccNSO
* The GAC supports the suggestion of participation of new IDN ccTLD operators
* Early association of new IDN ccTLD operators to the ccNSO would maintain a
of ongoing exchange of information that would help fine tune the fast track
process and guide the ccNSO Policy Development Process (PDP).
7.4. Discussion of Contention Issues with Existing TLDs and new gTLD
* ICANN should avoid country, territory or place names, and country, territory
or regional language or people descriptions, unless in agreement with the
relevant government or public authorities.
* Early coordination between both, the new gTLD process and the IDN ccTLD fast
process, should be encouraged.
* New gTLD applicants are encouraged to take early contact with relevant
governments if their applications may be considered as representing country or
* Should contention still arise between a new gTLD and a new IDN ccTLD, meeting
criteria set for the fast track, priority should be given to the IDN ccTLD
7.5. IDN Table Procedure
* Collaboration, between language communities using same languages or same
should be encouraged.
* Outcome recommendations of such language communities' working groups should
into the IDN ccTLD fast track process and guide the work of the ccNSO PDP.
* Different requirements of different language communities should be
considered, despite the fact that protocol rules cannot differentiate between
such languages if they are represented by the same script, it is recommended
that registries manage that
* The GAC looks forward to a tutorial on this issue during the Sydney meeting
provide more detailed comment on this issue at that meeting.
7.6. Proposed Evaluation of Fast Track the Process
* The GAC supports the suggested evaluation every 12 months to help an ongoing
tuning of the process.
* Such annual evaluation should not delay the finalization of the ccNSO PDP.
GAC comments on the new gTLD Program: Draft Applicant Guidebook
(posted 24 October 2008)
As stated as early as 1999 in its GAC Operating Principles, and subsequently in
its Principles on ccTLDs and Principles on new gTLDs, the GAC considers that
the Internet naming and addressing system is a public resource that must be
managed in the interests of the global Internet community.
The GAC's main concern is to ensure that the careful expansion of the domain
name space does not cause any threat to the stability and security of the
Internet. This is a strategic issue for the future of the DNS and its
contribution to the global information society.
The introduction of new gTLDs must therefore be viewed as a means to enhance
the social and economic value of the name space. It should be conducted with a
view to provide benefits for the users, while respecting the legitimate rights
and expectations of other stakeholders, and reducing the risks of confusion or
market distortions. It should pay attention to a fair and equitable treatment
of not only applicants but the affected communities.
In this context, the GAC wishes to provide the following comments in the
perspective of further community-wide discussions:
General vision of the Domain Name Space
ICANN's bylaws contain as a core value "the introduction and promotion of
competition in the registration of domain names where practicable and
beneficial in the public interest".
In this context, the GAC considers that the study requested by the Board in its
meeting of October 18, 2006, on "economic questions relating to the domain
registration market" and particularly on "whether the domain registration
market is one market or whether each TLD functions as a separate market" would
have provided useful insights to develop a common vision within the whole
Internet community and a needed reference framework for many of the pending
issues regarding the introduction of new gTLDs.
In the absence of such a study, key decisions and stakeholder responses remain
ill-informed about market and competition issues associated with the planned
broad expansion of the domain space. For this reason, the GAC recommends that
the requested study be completed as soon as possible to allow the ICANN
community to make informed decisions about this important issue.
Limits of the single-fee structure
The GAC has concerns about the proposed single fee structure and its deterrent
effect on the prospective proposals for new domains emanating from innovative
SME or developing countries, as well as those serving non-commercial purposes.
In particular, it is likely that some proposals addressing specific cultural,
linguistic, local or regional communities may not be able to afford the entry
costs and recurring costs envisaged in the current framework. Many countries
and territories have significant linguistic and cultural minorities who stand
to benefit from an Internet tailored to their particular needs with a DNS
reflecting their particular cultural and social needs and aspirations. ICANN
should give urgent consideration to the immense potential for social and
cultural exploitation of gTLDs both in
Latin and other scripts.
The GAC proposes therefore that consideration be given to the introduction of a
new type of TLD which could be designated in the new gTLD round, the scTLD -
social and cultural TLD which would be designed to address the needs and
interests of a clearly defined social and/or cultural community and would
essentially be non-commercially based. The GAC would be willing to discuss with
other stakeholders the characteristics that such a new class of TLDs might have.
Fee level and management of surplus
The GAC notes a lack of transparency about cost evaluation principles applied
in determining the current fee level and how these compare with previous new
gTLD Rounds. In this context, GAC recalls that the fee structure should also
encourage a level playing field between new applicants and incumbent gTLD
operators, especially for those new gTLDs that will be commercially run. High
start-up costs mean higher initial prices for registrants and a greater risk of
failure for the registry, which would be prejudicial both to competition and
stability. The GAC fears the current fee level will not be conducive to
innovation and will unduly favour wellfinanced
applicants and purely commercial proposals.
Moreover, and in line with GAC comments on the PSC report regarding the general
budget of ICANN, community consensus should be sought on appropriate uses for
any revenue surplus.
Importance of contract compliance
It is essential that ICANN show sufficient capacity to enforce contract
compliance of both existing and new registries, and indicates how it intends to
Reducing the cost to business (defensive registration)
The GAC shares the concerns of business stakeholders about a range of
overarching issues relating to overall costs to business. In particular efforts
should be made to help limit the need for defensive registrations in the new
This also includes ensuring that registries provide appropriate mechanisms to
prevent fraudulent registrations. The GAC believes it is important to gain a
clear understanding of the views of the business community on those issues.
Auctions versus Competitive bidding
Auctions have been used in the past by governments to allocate public resources
(with revenues accruing to public finances) but as a private sector
corporation, ICANN is an unusual position regarding its "gate-keeper" function
for the Domain Name System. The GAC questions whether it would be appropriate
for ICANN to select operators for new gTLDs based on auctions in which the
bidders are required to compete by offering to pay ICANN the highest possible
fee for the right to operate a new gTLD registry.
The introduction of domain names in non-Latin scripts is a fundamental
development of the Domain Name Space, necessary to fulfill the vision of an
Internet accessible to everybody in his/her own language.
In view of the explicitly manifested need in some countries which are not using
Latin script, the GAC believes it remains crucially important to progress the
IDN ccTLD fast track successfully to implementation in 2009.
The GAC expects ICANN to apply GAC gTLD principles in respect to the handling of
geographic names and in particular principles 2.21 (including place names) and
2.72 that are not comprehensively addressed in the implementation proposals.
Strings being meaningful representations or abbreviations of a country and
territory name in any script or language should not be allowed in the gTLD
space until the related IDN ccTLD policy development processes have been
The proposed introduction of new gTLDs and in particular any process relating
to the protection of geographic names should not result in an unreasonable
administrative burden for government administrations.
GAC comments on the PSC Report Improving Institutional Confidence in ICANN
The GAC welcomes the report of the PSC and the opportunity to provide comment.
The report provides a useful framework to discuss the potential evolution of
ICANN in a post-JPA environment. The GAC believes ICANN should continue to
operate as a multi-stakeholder organization, with balanced participation of all
interested parties, including governments in their role of providing support
and advice on public policy issues.
IDNs, a potentially broad range of new TLDs and the migration from IPv4 to IPv6
will represent both - major evolution in and challenges for the naming and
addressing system. ICANN must therefore be able to continue to fulfill its
mission in an efficient manner in this evolving environment. The end of the JPA
in September 2009 is a natural target date to conduct a reflection on how to
ensure ICANN's long-term viability and reinforce institutional confidence in
This document presents a contribution by the GAC on the five themes identified
by the PSC report and also on the specific question of the role of governments
and the modalities for the continuation of the consultation process in a truly
multi-stakeholder and participatory manner.
1. Safeguarding ICANN against capture
The GAC notes that the PSC-led consultations have illustrated many possible
dimensions of the notion of capture. It is important, however to ensure that
safeguards against capture extends to the ICANN policy making process as well
as to ICANN as an organization.
The GAC believes that a key contributing factor in that respect will be the
fully multistakeholder nature of ICANN's policy development processes and their
capacity to build and achieve true consensus and engage the whole community in
the pursuit of the wider common interest of all users of the Internet.
The in-depth interaction between constituencies must be encouraged as early as
possible and throughout the Policy Development Processes in order to create
better awareness and understanding of underlying issuers and drivers.
More attention should be given in the PSC process to possible improvements of
ICANN's policy development and decision-making processes, as they represent the
best guarantee against capture by any actor or group of actors.
2. Accountability to all actors
GAC's advice on accountability as provided during the Los Angeles ICANN meeting
remains valid and we acknowledge that many elements of it have been taken into
account in ICANN's Accountability and Transparency Frameworks and Principles.
1. Accountability should apply to all stages of PDPs and to all stakeholders.
While the Board has final decision-making responsibility, Board legitimacy
directly derives from the degree to which its decisions reflect consensus
articulated by the community. The Board's accountability and respect for such
"due process", including the due consideration of GAC's advice on matters of
public policy, also lies at the very core of ICANN's legitimacy as a
multi-stakeholder organization. It is the primary basis for institutional
confidence and the strongest guarantee of ICANN's independence.
2. The GAC also feels that the proposed provisions for Board dismissal would
themselves, provide sufficient incentive for day-to-day accountability; such
remedy might even destabilize ICANN further in a situation of crisis; additional
provisions guaranteeing continuity of operations in the unlikely case the
used would therefore be necessary.
3. Efforts in favor of transparency should not lead to information overload,
reducing the capacity of the community to effectively follow and contribute to
needs to prioritize its projects and implementation plans more effectively to
reduce such overload. Furthermore, clearly structured documents and summaries,
preferably in all UN official languages, are essential.
4. Clear timing constraints on the release of documents to be examined in
meetings are needed to guarantee that all stakeholders have sufficient time to
them. This is particularly important for GAC members because they have to follow
specific domestic consultation procedures. Summaries of working documents in
languages would also significantly facilitate participation.
5. Staff work on policy implementation requires further improvements in terms of
transparency and communication, in particular regarding how public comments are
considered and taken into account in the development of the next version of any
implementation document. The GAC believes that staff, when supporting those
processes, has a key role to ensure that all participants appropriately
identify issues at stake at each step of the iterative consultations, through
clearly formatted documents.
6. The GAC also emphasizes that Contract compliance and enforcement are
fundamental components of both institutional confidence and accountability.
The above list is not exhaustive and all mechanisms for reinforcing day-to-day
accountability should be examined in the PSC process, including accountability
of the organization towards registrants, who are not currently taken enough
into consideration, although they are ultimately the principal source of the
3. Meeting the needs of the Internet Community of the Future
The GAC appreciates the importance that the PSC have attached to the issue of
internationalization in its reports. As a starting point, the GAC feels it is
important for the community to articulate more precisely the objectives of the
process of internationalization to ensure there is a common community
expectation regarding outcomes.
>From the GAC perspective, as Internet use continues to become more prevalent,
>not least in developing countries, it is essential that efforts continue to
>enable the effective participation of all stakeholders from all countries in
>the ICANN policy making process.
The GAC believes that internationalization of ICANN is indispensable to
safeguard its global role as the coordinator of the Internet's system of unique
identifiers ensuring its stable and secure operation.
The GAC notes with interest the suggestion that ICANN establish an additional
legal presence in a jurisdiction that could provide it with an international
not-for-profit status. The GAC looks forward to additional details as to choice
of jurisdiction and how this would work in practice.
Furthermore, the concept of internationalization needs to be viewed broader
than just the location and jurisdiction of ICANN's offices and staff. In
particular, more concrete proposals need to be developed to reflect fully the
international nature of the DNS itself. One relevant element in this respect
should be the further attention to the principle that countries should not be
involved in decisions regarding another country's country-code Top-Level Domain
The GAC also urges the continuation of current activities for global outreach
about ICANN's core functions and related activities being undertaken by the
different stakeholder groups, including Governments. Such activities include,
for instance, support for IDN deployment and capacity building of operators in
developing countries on different topics relevant to DNS security, management
Appropriate modalities to foster participation of government representatives
from developing countries need to be explored in more detail in the work of the
The GAC also notes the efforts being undertaken by ICANN on real-time
transcription of ICANN meetings and encourages extending this practice to
constituency and GAC sessions within the approved budget. The translation of
the policy documents is a critical requirement for the participation of
non-English speaking participants.
4. Financial accountability
The GAC notes that ICANN's budget has rapidly grown from $5 million in the
budget year to an excess of $61 million proposed for the 2009 financial year.
The original objective for ICANN to achieve financial stability could now
perhaps be considered to be largely achieved.
1. It may be appropriate for the ICANN community to determine how future
growth should be managed in line with ICANN's limited core mission and mandate.
2. ICANN's non-profit status should mean not only that it does not pay
shareholders, but also that it should not be revenue-driven as an organization.
3. Safeguards must also ensure that the policy making process does not favour
revenuegenerating options above those that reflect the broader public interest
and community consensus on what is needed for ICANN technical coordination role.
4. GAC members think that more systematic disclosure is needed on how resources
allocated and spent, in particular regarding contracts with consultants and
other third parties.
Moreover, some GAC members feel that a full transparency (disclosure) on
made to individuals or organizations by ICANN, whether they be Board Members,
independent contractors or as participants elsewhere in the ICANN process would
seem logical as part of any confidence-building exercise. Disclosure of sources
donations to ICANN would also seem to be a desirable step in improving
5. Specific accountability and transparency rules regarding ICANN's budget
(independent auditing, results-based budgeting, performance measuring metrics,
etc.) are required in the absence of the traditional controls exercised by
membership. Independent professional assessment and report on possible cost
measures, efficiency improvements and surplus revenue use may be useful in this
6. Broad community discussion on possible uses of any surplus would be
The PSC-led process should focus less on identifying additional sources of
income for the organization, but more on detailed, results-based and
transparent budgetary process. A willingness on the part of ICANN's management
to "cap" its own budget will be a strong factor in fostering long-term
confidence in the institution.
The GAC is also aware that ICANN's current income structure creates a potential
"overdependency" on registry and registrar constituencies. Ensuring that such
over-dependency does not lead to any suggestion of "capture" by ICANN's main
channels of funding is essential to maintaining its independence and legitimacy.
5. Operational Security and Stability
Taking into account recent developments (for example, DNS vulnerability to the
Kaminsky flaw) the GAC considers that ICANN should increase its attention on
issues related the security and stability of the DNS that fall within its
existing mandate. The vulnerability of the Internet is a growing concern in
many countries, due to the increase of incidents and attacks targeting the DNS,
some of which exploit existing vulnerabilities in the Internet's main
protocols. Greater interaction between ICANN and the main bodies responsible
for generating security-related standards and protocols would be valuable in
providing for a more integrated approach at the
6. Role of GAC/ governments in ICANN
The Board and GAC interaction has improved over the past years. This
relationship could nevertheless be further elaborated, in order to improve the
implementation mechanisms of any given GAC advice related to the public policy
aspects of the issues falling within ICANN's mission as outlined in Article 1,
Section 1 of its Bylaws, bearing in mind the special responsibility recognized
to the governments by the Tunis Agenda. In this respect, the GAC notes the
1. The GAC would welcome an early opportunity to discuss an agreed joint
approach to the review of the GAC's role within ICANN as outlined in Annex A,
Art. 7 of the September 2006 Joint Project Agreement between ICANN and the US
2. The GAC operates in the expectation that its advice to the Board on public
policy matters will be duly taken into account, both in the formulation and
adoption of policies and that the Board will explain fully and openly the
reasons why it may be problematic to do so.
This is not to say that the GAC should have "precedence" over inputs from other
constituencies, merely to recognize that when it comes to public policy
parameters that need to be incorporated into such policy making, the expertise
and competence lies with the GAC.
3. The GAC is ready to engage in further discussion with the Board and other
constituencies with a view towards its evolution into a more efficient,
responsive and well equipped organization, capable to advise the Board on the
public policy aspects of the issues falling within ICANN's mission and to more
fully interact and work together with other constituencies within ICANN.
To this end, the GAC will continue with its own internal review of working
methods to identify opportunities to accelerate positive change, and looks
forward to working with other constituencies, ICANN staff and the ICANN Board
to achieve this objective.
7. Moving forward
Post-JPA arrangements and the transition procedures are of crucial importance
for all ICANN constituencies. The GAC understands that the Board is mindful of
the expiration of the current JPA in September 2009 and has sought to initiate
implementation of the Transition plan in early 2009. However:
1. Community participation in defining the transition process is of fundamental
importance in building community's confidence in the institution and ensuring
Board respects the interests of, and is fully accountable to, the wider
2. Merely consulting the community prior to the ICANN Board determining
measures would be insufficient for such a strategically important phase of
3. Transition procedures should be developed and agreed by the ICANN community
submitted to the Board for endorsement after a traditional transparent
cross-constituency "bottom-up" process. The Board should then respond with a
clear proposal that takes account of all the wider concerns and recommendations
on safeguards for the interests of all Internet stakeholders both inside and
§ The current timetable expecting the ICANN Board to receive the "final"
Transition Action Plan, including implementation milestones for 2009" for
"approval" in December during the special Board meeting of 11 December is over
ambitious and has allowed the ICANN community only one public meeting for
face-to-face consultations and consensus- building.
Instead of the two phases currently envisaged in the PSC report, the GAC
therefore recommends distinguishing between:
§ the current "analysis phase", that would be concluded as planned in December
§ a "design phase" lasting until the June 09 meeting (with an intermediary
review at the Mexico meeting) and devoted to a further refinement of the
§ an "implementation phase", starting immediately afterwards
Inter-constituency discussions in Cairo have provided an opportunity to
initiate a truly "bottomup" process, coherent with ICANN's multi-stakeholder
nature. They should be continued during the proposed design phase.
The GAC hopes that these comments on the PSC report will serve as a useful
addition to the ongoing cross-constituency debate on the evolution of ICANN.