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Letter from M. Stuart Lynn to Nancy J. Victory

19 July 2002


July 19, 2002

Nancy J. Victory
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information
United States Department of Commerce
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room 4898
Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Assistant Secretary Victory:

In response to your letter of 11 July 2002, in which you asked ICANN to describe the reform and evolution process going forward, I wanted to let you know what steps are underway to complete this process, hopefully by the time of our Shanghai meeting in late October.

In Bucharest, as you note, the Board of Directors of ICANN passed a resolution to "adopt and endorse" the Blueprint for Reform produced by the Board's Evolution and Reform Committee (ERC). This resolution sought to put in place the structural skeleton for ICANN reform, and instructed the ERC to move ahead with implementing that plan. In addition, the resolution charged the ERC with taking "due account" of a number of specific issues raised in the public forum portion of the meeting as it moved forward in the implementation process, including:

  • the need to "ensure, to the extent feasible, geographic and cultural diversity in all parts of ICANN structure;"
  • the possibility of "creation of an At Large Advisory Committee as a potential vehicle for informed participation in ICANN by the broad user community;"
  • the need to "ensure that the composition and operation of the Nominating Committee in fact represents a balance among all segments of the Internet community;"
  • the desirability of collaboration "with critical infrastructure providers and the technical community to further the establishment of effective working relationships;" and
  • the need to "ensure that ICANN's policy development processes enhance and promote a transparent bottom-up process."

On 15 July 2002, the ERC issued its first status report, which both reported on progress to date and announced the initiation of two assistance groups on specific implementation issues. It also described its intention to provide reports to the community on implementation progress on a monthly basis, leading up to its final recommendations for Board action in Shanghai, which it expects to publish on or about 1 September 2002. This announcement is attached for your convenience.

The ERC expects to follow a process very similar to that used to produce the Blueprint for Reform – the solicitation and receipt of input from all interested persons to the ERC, the publication of that input on a publicly available website, the periodic reporting to the community of the ERC's present thinking on particular implementation topics, and the solicitation of feedback on those reports and any specific issues raised in them. In addition, the ERC will seek assistance from members of the community on specific issues within the implementation process. Issues for which assistance has already been sought include (1) a number of what might be described as accountability issues, including the charter for the Office of Ombudsman, the independent review process for allegations of bylaw violations, and ICANN's Reconsideration Policy, and (2) the specific procedures and timelines for the policy development process relating to matters within the primary competence of the Generic Names Supporting Organization. Other such efforts are likely to be announced in the near future.

Finally, individual Board members, including those serving on the ERC, and ICANN staff are in very regular contact with all of the constituent bodies of ICANN, including in particular the supporting organizations and advisory committees specifically referenced in your letter, and with the various technical and standards organizations that are part of the ICANN community. This includes the Governmental Advisory Committee, whose Communique and Statement on ICANN Evolution & Reform in Bucharest was very helpful and has been carefully reviewed by the ERC and the Board, and whose continued input is both solicited and welcome. Through these informal contacts, discussions with individual members of the ICANN community, and review and participation of numerous mailing lists and forums, the ICANN Board and staff tries, we believe successfully, to ensure that we understand the views and concerns of all interested persons and entities, and to take those into account in making recommendations and ultimately decisions about how ICANN will be structured and function in the future. Obviously, given a wide spectrum of different and often conflicting opinions, not all ideas and suggestions can be incorporated, but they are all carefully considered.

In sum, we are trying very hard to ensure that all points of view on these important matters are solicited, welcomed and considered, and that the result of this process will be an ICANN structure and procedures that both enable ICANN to do its work effectively and are the product of the collective thinking of the entire ICANN community. The unanimous Board vote on adopting and endorsing the Blueprint for Reform – given that the Board consists of three members each selected by the three Supporting Organizations of ICANN, five members selected by direct on-line regional voting, and four original members – is strong evidence that the evolution and reform process to date has been both successful and broadly representative of the aggregate views of the ICANN community. We are committed both to continuing this process and, we certainly anticipate, to producing a final evolution and reform plan that receives broad community support.

Thank you for your continuing participation and interest in this process, and we certainly welcome any thoughts or suggestions you might have on either the process or the ultimate recommendations. For your convenience, we will forward directly each of the monthly status reports issued by the ERC. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information.

Sincerely,

M. Stuart Lynn


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