• No labels


  1. I have two issues, both have been said before: 1) I would prefer to see the terminolgy 'global public interest' and a concise definition offered for it. We must seek to project this interest as beyond and above any individual nationalist outlook 2) We should make the argument ICANN's implementation of the multi-stakeholder concept insted of speak to it as dogma.  Let's avoid being drawn into the argument of those who say exactly that; 'multistakeholderism' as dogma!

    Regarding Recommendations, I think we should elevate - i.e. make these the highest in the tree since they're overarching concepts - + add further particulars to them, especially if we must continue to push informed decision-making: 1) Move "Publish ICANN’s appraisal of challenges in the international and institutional fields, and its programme for the coming year in this respect, as a mandatory component of its Strategic Plan" to the top and expand to include a more prescriptive wording  2)  " Ensure that ICANN’s default behaviour is for all proceedings, minutes and staff documentation to be open, unless of an expressly confidential nature (i.e. about explicitly determined subjects such as personnel issues or contracts dealing with trade secrets)."

  2. First, I support the suggestions made by Carlton regarding

    - "the global public interest" must, indeed, be our overall objective. However, I think that engaging in a battle of definitions would provide clout to those who wish to put corporate or commercial interests to the fore. Must you, do we regularly define "liberty", "independence", "fairness"?

    - "multi-stakeholder": yes, ICANN must make progress in implementation of this model, not in just reciting the mantra.

    - on Recommendations, I agree.

    Next, I would like to make a few remarks on the draft as it now stands:

    - Under "Challenges: facing the global public interest", line 6 (not including title), it should read "has been seen to pay lip service to..."

    - Under "Challenges: multistakeholderism vs. intergovernmental approach", I suggest

    - the title be changed to "The Multi-stakeholder model (MSM) vs. an inter-governmental approach"

    - line 4 should read "attempting to regain control through some inter-governmental structure..."

    - line 6 should read "... as we know it."

    - Under "Governance",

    - line 7 needs to be clarified (what does "led by example of its own..." really mean?)

    - line 8 should read "is unsustainable if ICANN is to command respect..."

    - Under "Institutional & practical cooperation", line 3 should read "... by the lack..."

    - Under "Recommendations, Stakeholders...", 2nd bullet point should read "these relationships shall not be engaged solely by the CEO or Staff..."

    Under "Recommendations, Structural...", 3rd bullet point, I suggest adding a new sentence, "Bring clarity to and enhance the efficiency of the working relationship between the Board and the CEO, among other measures by removing the CEO from the list of voting Board members to the position of being permanently in attendance, except when the Board decides otherwise".

    Finally, some overall observation, if I may:

    - the analytical part of this White Paper is now quite convincing; but...

    - ... we must ensure a proper articulation between the supporting documentation, which is still in somewhat of a jumble, and this short White Paper;

    - our initiative will be judged much more on our recommendations than on our analysis. Hence, we must seek to formulate these in a logical order (which already seems pretty much the case), be complete (are there any other meaningful recommendations, without falling into details?) and implementable.

    - The impact of our initiative will also depend on timing: we should aim at submitting our completed draft to the FCWG next week (by e-mail, with a formula such as "accepted unless you state otherwise"), submitted to the ALAC in San José, and if those 2 steps are successful, make the document public during ICANN-43. In this way, our recommendations would stand a chance of being debated at ICANN-44 in Prague. Otherwise, many other topics will drown this initiative: the appointment of a new CEO, implementing new gTLDs, Internet governance and the place of ICANN in the larger picture, etc.

    1. I've made all the changes suggested in the comments by both Carlton and Jean-Jacques, with one modification:

      • In the recommendation suggested by Jean-Jacques that the CEO be removed from position as a voting Director, I added the action statement but took out the preamble. This was simply in keeping with the rest of the recommendations succinctly describing specific actions. Perhaps the preamble "Bring clarity to and enhance the efficiency of the working relationship between the Board and the CEO" ought to be in the descriptive text above, in paragraph #3 (governance) ... what do you think?

      I'm completely in agreement with Jean-Jacques' assessment of the timing, pointing out that at the moment this is submitted to ALAC it is no longer a private draft document but will become publicly available.

      And I'm fully in agreement of a re-work of the supporting documentation, something I've been trying to make the time for, for quite some time. Any offers of assistance are appreciated.

  3. I find this an interesting and ambitious treatise.  And I find sympathy with most of the analysis and many of the proposals

    I would be intersted in seeing the paper that lies behind it as some things need more explanation.

    For Example:

    Merge some of the roles of Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs), along thematic lines (e.g. TLDs, IP allocation, security...).

    This could mean so many things, that instead of letting my imagination run free, I would like to know what you have in mind.

    I also think the proposal would be strengthened by a strong link/reference to the AOC reviews.  The AOC, with its reviews is the 'Magna Carta' of ICANN v3 as it establishes the soft oversight framework under which a legitimated ICANN must function.  I beleive that whatever changes are proposed by ALAC must include a strong reliance on this mechanism.

  4. Hi Evan, 

    This is a good piece of work/writing by the FCWG and I enjoyed reading! 

    There are 2 points I would like incorporated-

    1. ICANN's Internal Cross-Community Interaction

    Given the recent convergence of opinion on some issues (such as aspects of the gTLD program, JAS and objection processing tools), as well as the formation of cross-community working groups; there is a need for greater knowledge sharing, communication flow and structured rules of procedure to facilitate collaboration and coordination, to ensure matters having significant impact on ICANN are raised and given the weight deserved, and to assist the Board in resolving such matters.  

    2. Recognition of changes in Country/Community Groupings

    ICANN should have sufficient flexibility built into its structure to ensure it can apply and incorporate changes in Country/Community Groupings (eg. such as Small Island Developing States). This is in recognition of the fact that Country/Community Groupings evolve by the effluxion of time, whereby previous political and other structures that existed may no longer hold the relevance they once did. Such evaluation and flexibility ensures that ICANN continues to serve the needs of the Internet Stakeholders and the Internet Community, as well as being in conformance with ICANN's principle of diversity and representation. 

    I will be happy to elaborate or take suggestions/comments on these two points. 

    Thank you


  5. Dear WG,

    Below is my suggested redraft regarding the description of Future Challenges in the document.  I preface my input with the following: a) the questions are re-phrased with an orientation towards the future to win us more allies in promoting the ideas across communities, b) the MSM section is relatively untouched except for the tweaked question, c) all other sections contain additional text and incorporate as much of the original text as possible - the Global Governance section has the most substantive changes. 

    1. The Global Public Interest

    Key Question: In a continuously evolving and challenging environment, will ICANN be able to keep pace with growing public interest requirements and adapt its methods to serve the global public better without being captured by narrow interests?

    ICANN, in its Affirmation of Commitments (AOC), has committed itself to making decisions that are in the interest of a global public made up of internet users.  As the size and diversity of this global public grew, its needs too have evolved.  In its pioneering years, ICANN served a public of a few million for whom the Internet represented a novelty rather than a necessity.  Today, the duty to serve the interests of a greater public -- the billions of people for whom the Internet is an indispensable global facility -- takes on an entirely different meaning.  The global public interest that ICANN is beholden to uphold is increasingly more complex and challenging to address.   The key question is whether ICANN will be able to keep pace with the growing public interest requirements and adapt its methods to serve the public better without being captured by narrow interests that have prevailed in the past.  One of the main factors that limit ICANN’s ability to rise up to the challenge is its ambiguous concept of “public interest” and its lack of a clear public-interest engagement strategy.  By keeping its concept of "public interest" ambiguous, ICANN is perceived to pay lip service to it.  There are examples in the past and present where this ambiguity has led to unsatisfactory outcomes in terms of responses to problems, conflict resolution/minimization and regulation enforcement [Question: add abuse of the multistakeholder process?].  All of this serves to undermine the public’s confidence in ICANN, which has shown clear indications of erosion.  The increasing success of alternatives to the multi-Top Level Domain naming paradigm is one such indication of this growing crisis of confidence.  In addition, ICANN’s lack of a clear public-interest engagement strategy, geared towards the present and future importance of the Internet to the world, also undermines the respect and trust of Internet users towards ICANN.  To serve the global public satisfactorily and restore public confidence, ICANN must develop a clear concept of public interest to guide its policy development processes as well as a clear public-interest engagement strategy.

    2. The Multi-Stakeholder Model (MSM) vs. The Inter-Governmental Approach

    Key Question: Is ICANN's multistakeholder approach sufficiently robust and sustainable in the long run under increased pressure from governments and inter-governmental organizations?

    Many sovereign states first dismissed the Internet and the Domain Name System (DNS) as a marginal, passing phenomenon. Having finally understood their critical importance, some states are now attempting to regain control through specific inter-governmental structures, with potentially damaging consequences to the innovation and development of the Internet, and possibly to its global accessibility and end-to-end functioning as we know it.  ICANN’s value proposition and strength in contrast to any inter-governmental approach, is its multi-stakeholder, bottom-up policy development model.  While defending the benefits of this model, ICANN has neglected to improve it to meet demands, which have grown more differentiated with the expansion of the Internet and the types of its users.  In a decade, ICANN has grown from a small group of closely-connected pioneers to an entity with global responsibilities and worldwide operations.  ICANN’s continuous cycles of internal organizational reviews have failed to identify the substantive changes demanded by this shifting environment.  The proliferation of constituencies and stakeholder groups in the ICANN structure needs to be accompanied by real efforts to achieve and maintain equality and balance among various stakeholder interests.  Protections must exist to ensure that consensus procedures can no longer be opaquely circumvented for political expediency.  By-laws governing the status and role of stakeholders need to be revised so as to fully engender the informed consent of all ICANN’s components, including sovereign states represented through its Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).   

    3. Global Governance

    Key Question: Are the arrangements related to the governance of the Internet’s critical resources, including that of ICANN’s own internal governance, adequate to meet the needs of a growing and diverse community of internet users worldwide?

    The governance arrangements for the Internet’s critical resources are a point of continuous global interest and concern.  Correspondingly, the internal governance arrangements of the organizations responsible for the management of the Internet’s critical resources, such as ICANN, have been and will continue to be subject to intense global scrutiny and concern as well.  Given the rapid growth of internet users worldwide and the increasing diversification of user needs, ICANN needs to grapple with the crucial question of how to evolve its governance arrangements to meet the legitimate expectations of the worldwide Internet community, who are ever more a producer and consumer of content, in an ever more diversified cultural and linguistic context, while preserving the multistakeholder approach and avoiding the pitfalls of inter-governmental solutions.  The weaknesses in ICANN’s internal governance arrangements are of great concern to the international community.  These weaknesses have even been acknowledged by the NTIA itself based on the additional requirements recently added to the IANA functions, which touch on the structural separation of policymaking from implementation, robust organization-wide conflict of interest policy, heightened respect for local country laws and consultation and reporting requirements to increase transparency and accountability to the international community.  ICANN’s ability to fulfill the new requirements is questionable, particularly when internal dynamics within ICANN have restrained it from effectively reforming itself despite the creation of publicly visible reform efforts such as the Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT).  Slow progress in addressing ICANN’s internal governance weaknesses combined with the failure to speed up the internationalization of ICANN towards a shared global responsibility in governing the Internet’s critical resources, will continue to fuel vociferous contention over the legitimacy of ICANN and promote alternatives such as the inter-governmental solutions.

    4. Institutional and Practical Cooperation

    Key Question: Can ICANN coordinate and cooperate effectively with organizations that have been set up to deal with Internet governance issues beyond ICANN’s remit of technical coordination?

    The governance of the Internet deals with complex issues of public policy with multiple overlapping jurisdictions and actors (both state and non-state).  ICANN’s mandate pertains to technical coordination, but its technical, operational, and management decisions regarding the Domain Name System (DNS) have significant impact on other non-technical policy issues that fall under the rubric of Internet Governance.  These non-technical issues include intellectual property, privacy, e-commerce, security and even human rights and cultural (including language) diversity.  Given the interconnectedness between ICANN’s technical policies and the non-technical policies under the jurisdiction of other organizations, for the sake of the global public interest, ICANN has an obligation to reach out to the organizations and establish effective working relations.  ICANN has yet to demonstrate the ability to proactively, adequately and appropriately reach out, coordinate and cooperate with organizations outside of its technical coordination remit.  Strained relations with international entities, partly due to the ambitions and power politics of some national authorities or intergovernmental organizations, have sometimes been aggravated by a poorly calibrated message from ICANN.  Some of the friction may also have been caused by the lack of ICANN’s adequate and appropriate response to emerging challenges and by its failure to draw from the strengths of its own multi-stakeholder nature.

    I hope this is useful.

    Best regards,


  6. IMO, the draft is now good.

    Warm congratulations to Evan, who had the initial idea; to Yrjö, Carlton, Hong, Avri, Cintra, who made valuable suggestions, including to the very structure of our draft; to Rinalia, who enhanced the credibility of our initiative by setting it out with such clarity.

    I'm happy with this.

    Best regards,


  7. I think that this statement is good. Though I am sure I do not agree with it 100%, I think my issues are relatively minor.  I think it is a good thing to publish real soon now and time to get the discussions flowing.


    Specific comments:

    Re: "The increasing success of alternatives to the multi-Top Level Domain naming paradigm is one such indication of this growing crisis of confidence."

    I am not sure this argument is proven.  I do not think it adds to the argument and believe it would provide an unnecessary vulnerability.  I also think it does not flow smoothly with the rest of the paragraph and seems like an abrupt claim that is a remnant of an earlier paragragh structure.

    Re: "(e.g. drawn from the ALAC, which arguably assembles the most widespread user experience in the ICANN structures)"

    Arguably the GAC and perhaps others could say the same.  I am not sure that the example adds anything but vulnerably to the document.

    Re: "Merge some of the roles of Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs), along thematic lines (e.g. TLDs, IP allocation, security...)"

    I think this jumps the gun a little by arguing what the lines of reorganization might be.  I think for this discussion might be better to leave it open and use a recommendation like: Reorganize some of the roles of the Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) to avoid the current silo structure.

    But even if you don't take my suggestions, I think it is ready for the wider audience.

    1. Hi Avri.

      Re: "The increasing success of alternatives to the multi-Top Level Domain naming paradigm is one such indication of this growing crisis of confidence."

      I am not sure this argument is proven.

      It is most certainly proven. The very success of Internet search engines (and indeed the increasing interchangeability) of search terms with domain names in browsers, institutional and group pages in social media portals, and other innovations such as QR codes and Twitter Verified Accounts, demonstrate that Internet users are seeking alternatives to direct use of domain names. These forms of external threat have never been considered by ICANN in its actions, but need to be.

      Your other comments are reasonable and will be worked into the document.