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Public Comment: New GNSO Stakeholder Group Petitions and Charters

5 March 2009

As part of the comprehensive GNSO Improvements effort, the ICANN Boarddirected community members to submit Petitions and Charters for the four new GNSO Stakeholder Groups (SGs). As of today, 5 March, charter petitions for the Registry SG, the Registrar SG, the Commercial SG and the Non-Commercial SG (NCSG) have been submitted to the Board for review and approval. A total of fivecharters have beenreceived as two proposals were submitted for the NCSG.

All members of the ICANN community are now invited to review those submissions and share comments and observations with the Board and the wider community through 5 April 2009.

In view of the extensive community discussions in Mexico City regarding several of the SG Charters, a number of SG proponents indicated that they would like to modify or update their proposals. As a result, to the extent necessary, the Public Comment Forum may be extended as late as 15 April if revised proposals are submitted by SG proponents over the next week to 10 days. To the extent that a SG Group chooses to update or modify its proposal during that time frame, that revised submission will be added to the Public Comment Forum as well as the GNSO Improvements Information Page.

Background and Explanation:

As part of the comprehensive GNSO Improvements effort, last August the ICANN Board approved the formation of four new Stakeholder Groups. These SG structures represent a new concept for the GNSO that was envisioned by the Board Governance Committee GNSO Review Working Group On GNSO Improvements (BGC WG). In endorsing the recommendations of the BGC WG's GNSO Improvements Report, the Board approved the creation of SGs to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of GNSO Council operations. Specifically:

"To help the Council reach its full potential, ICANN should ensure that this body is inclusive and representative of the broad interests found among the GNSO constituencies and other stakeholders, while limiting its size to enhance its effectiveness and promote efficiency. Balancing all of these factors, and cognizant of the limitations of the current structure pointed out by the [London School of Economics] report, we recommend a reorganized Council that has the potential to be more representative, agile and collegial. Our recommendation is to structure the Council on the basis of four broad stakeholder groups to represent better the wide variety of groups and individuals that compose the ICANN community." GNSO Improvements Report at page 31.

The Report continued,

"We want to emphasize that a new non-commercial Stakeholders Group must go far beyond the membership of the current Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC). We must consider educational, research, and philanthropic organizations, foundations, think tanks, members of academia, individual registrant groups and other noncommercial organizations, as well as individual registrants, as part of a non-commercial registrants Stakeholders Group. We also want to point out that the effort to have a balance within ICANN between commercial and non-commercial registrants reflects only a sense of equity. We welcome ongoing efforts to forge a stronger partnership between the international business community and ICANN, and would be surprised if Council restructuring were to be viewed as an impediment. On the contrary, we believe that an improved Council will yield concrete benefits for business and other stakeholders. In addition, all stakeholder groups and the constituencies that form them will be expected to conduct greater outreach and seek to recruit a broader, more diverse membership." GNSO Improvements Report at page 32.

The BGC WG did not specify a particular formal structure or hierarchy, but it specifically noted that,

"The stakeholder groups may function only as a 'caucus,' bringing together like-minded stakeholders to elect representatives to the Council who can represent them. This structure would be fluid enough to accommodate new constituencies or the formation of new interest groups. It will be important for the implementation team to consider how to implement this flexibility within the overall stakeholder structure set forth in these recommendations. Our goal is definitely not to create a new layer of bureaucracy, as we heard concerns about at the San Juan Meeting. Alternatively, if the GNSO believes it is desirable, the four stakeholder groups could take on additional functions, such as trying to coordinate and document positions on policy development questions." GNSO Improvements Report at page 33.

The BGC envisioned that Stakeholder Groups would facilitate the creation of new constituencies as well as growth and expansion of GNSO participants. It noted that,

"One advantage of this new model for organizing stakeholder participation is to remove concern that the addition of new constituencies or interest groups could create an internal imbalance in the current composition of the Council. By creating four broad stakeholder groups, the number of constituencies is less important and can increase (or decrease) with time. Indeed, it would be inconsistent with ICANN's processes to try to limit arbitrarily the number of constituencies that people could self-form. Making it easier to form a new constituency can also address any obstacles people perceive in joining existing constituencies. Overall, this approach can encourage the participation of more people in the GNSO. Many details, of course, remain to be worked out concerning the new stakeholder structure for the Council, including the role of constituencies and/or interest groups within them. As noted earlier, we welcome the GNSO working with Staff to develop the appropriate Implementation Plan." GNSO Improvements Report at page 33.

A diagram of the restructured GNSO Council structure, showing the context of the four (4) new Stakeholder Groups, can be found at: http://gnso.icann.org/en/improvements/structure-en.htm.

Relevant Board Resolution, Bylaws and Constituency Submissions:

The Process From Here:

At the end of this public comment forum period, the ICANN Staff will provide a summary/analysis of the comments submitted regarding each Stakeholder Group submission. That summary/analysis will be shared with the community and the Board. The Board will subsequently take action on each Stakeholder Group petition and charter as it deems appropriate.

Deadline and How to Submit Comments:

The Staff is opening a 30-day public consultation forum, from 5 March 2009 through 5 April 2009, and invites community comments on this topic. This time period reflect an extra day to account for the period being tolled during the final day of the ICANN Mexico City meeting. Further, as described above, that time period could be extended as late as 15 April 2009.

The formal Public Comment Forum Box is located here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-200904.html#sg-petitions

To submit comments: sg-petitions-charters@icann.org

To view comments (including the various constituency submissions): http://forum.icann.org/lists/sg-petitions-charters/

Staff Responsible: Robert Hoggarth

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