[council] FYI: EU Council thinking about ICANN
[This is a note from the Presidency of the Council of the EU
-- the body of the member states -- to Coreper, the Committee
of Permanent Representatives, sort of ambassadors to the EU.
The document is from 3 June 2002 and it's preparing the
Telecom Council meeting on 17/18 June 2002. It confirms the
rumour that there has been an undocumented GAC meeting in
Canberra and gives some insight into the current EU member
states' thinking about ICANN. Some interesting excerpts
follow. /// Alexander]
1. The ICANN Mission
ICANN should have a clearly defined, limited and stable mission,
giving priority to technical functions that are essential for
the coordination and stability of the Internet. Certain existing
activities could be reduced to improve that focus. Relevant legal
and contractual work should be reduced to what is essential.
The ICANN mission should be stabilized: the agreed definition
should be adopted and revised by the Board by a 2/3 majority,
after a GAC opinion.
Bottom-up participation and consensus building should continue to be
guiding principles of ICANN's working methods. [...]
In many cases, ICANNs mission impinges on public policy issues. In
these cases GAC must play a stronger role in the decision making process.
2. The Public-Private Partnership
There is a need for clarification of this open public-private
partnership ICANN must be, in which governments should have a greater
involvement, particularly in matters of public policy.
Government involvement in the ICANN processes should be through an
enhanced relationship between ICANN and GAC rather than through
direct governmental participation in ICANN's Board and Budget.
3. ICANN structure, membership and financing
The private sector participants concerned are responsible for reaching
mutually acceptable agreements regarding the structure of ICANN, its
membership and financing and its decisionmaking processes. Due
consideration should be given to the adequate protection of the
public interest by strengthening the standing of GAC Advice.
Such agreements, however, must give full weight to internationalisation,
transparency and fairness and to maintaining the principle of geographic
diversity and representation throughout the organisation.
Governments should [...] satisfy themselves that the interests of other
appropriate international stakeholders are adequately recognised in the
Governments should not contribute directly to ICANN's budget.
4. Treatment of public policy issues
Where ICANN's activities are likely to involve public policy implications,
ICANN must consult the GAC. The scope of relevant public policies should be
agreed in advance between GAC and ICANN[1 -- Public policy issues may
include, for example, competition, DNS Security, ccTLD policy,
IPR, languages and geographical terms, abusive registrations, data protection
and privacy, telecommunications numbering.] The ICANN Board should only
be able to ignore or reverse GAC advice in such areas by a super [2/3]
majority. In all cases, ICANN should inform GAC on how its advice has been
taken into account. The legal implications of this approach need to be
5. The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)
Governments agree that the GAC is the principal forum for the international
discussion of public policy issues related to the ICANN mission and the Domain
Name System. In this respect, Governments attach great importance to strengthening
the role of GAC and ensuring its independence from ICANN.
In order to effectively fulfil this role vis-ā-vis ICANN, GAC needs to work
more effectively and be better integrated into the policy formulation process.
This will require the necessary organisation and secretariat and in due course a
more appropriate legal structure. Governments should provide the necessary
resources to this effect. In anticipation that other administrations
will also make available such resources, the European Commission is also
encouraged to allocate appropriate resources for this purpose. Responsibility
for the GAC secretariat could thus be shared between several GAC participants.
This secretariat would provide services to GAC both for policy making and logistics.
GAC may seek the assistance of other qualified international entities for specific
tasks or projects.
6. Reserve Powers
Governments will of course retain reserve powers of last resort in the event of
ICANN failing to fulfil its essential tasks and for the public oversight of the
maintenance of the authoritative Root Zone File. This responsibility would be
exercised through the GAC or another appropriately constituted entity.
7. Control of the Root Zone File
Governments, in co-operation with the stakeholders concerned, need to work
towards internationalising the oversight role currently exercised by the United
States government. Implementing the agreed reforms should be phased in the
interests of stability. Governments, including the EU, will wish to re-visit the
outcome of the current ICANN reform in the foreseeable future. Monitoring the
results of the reform and ICANNīs performance should be part of GACīs remit.