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Community Comment Invited on: Proposed "Process for Recognition of New GNSO Constituencies"

2 February 2011

The ICANN Board's Structural Improvements Committee (SIC) is working to improve the process for evaluating new GNSO Constituency proposals by streamlining the procedures and according a larger role to community Stakeholder Groups. At the direction of the SIC, ICANN Staff is opening a 30-day public consultation forum, from 2 February through 4 March 2011, and invites community comments concerning any/all elements of the new process – including its procedures, sequences/steps, forms/tools, and evaluation criteria (see Document Links below).

This announcement provides background information and document links regarding this effort, an overview of the proposed new process and instructions for how to participate in the community dialogue on this matter.

Background/Explanation:

In June 2008, the ICANN Board of Directors endorsed a series of recommendations on how to improve the GNSO's structures and operations. A significant underpinning of those recommendations was an interest in maximizing participation in the GNSO and its policy development processes. Among the recommendations endorsed by the Board was that ICANN take steps to clarify and promote the option to self-form new GNSO Constituencies as provided for in the ICANN Bylaws, Article X, Section 5(4).

Recognizing that the Bylaws do not provide specific procedural guidance concerning how an interested party might formulate and submit a new Constituency petition, the Board directed Staff to assist the community by developing a set of procedures, consistent with Bylaws principles, which a prospective organizer could follow in submitting a petition to become approved as a new GNSO Constituency. That process, acknowledged by the Board in October 2008, involved submission of (1) a "Notice of Intent to Form a New GNSO Constituency" (NOIF) followed by (2) a formal Petition/Charter.

To date, five prospective Constituency groups have utilized this process since those procedures were published and acknowledged by the Board (October 2008). The status of those petitions is as follows:

  • Three were formally "not approved" by the Board in December 2009 (CyberSafety, IDNgTLD, and CityTLD).
  • The remaining two petitions are: (1) the Consumers Constituency, originally submitted 10 April 2009 and still pending Board action; and (2) the Not-For-Profit Operational Concerns (NPOC) Constituency, submitted on 2 November 2010 (revised 7 December 2010), but not yet before the Board for a decision.

To address concerns it had regarding the clarity and timing of the original New Constituency petitioning procedure, the SIC embarked on this effort last year and, working with Staff, has completed development of a replacement "Process for Recognition of New GNSO Constituencies." The proposed process significantly modifies the original procedure and is designed to accomplish four goals:

  1. Optimize the considerable time and effort required to form, organize, and propose a new GNSO Constituency by prescribing a streamlined sequence of steps and associated evaluation criteria that are objective, fair, and transparent – with ample opportunity for community input;
  2. Delegate more authority to each GNSO Stakeholder Group in evaluating new Constituency proposals while maintaining the Board's oversight role;
  3. Manage the entire process to a flexible, but specific and limited timeframe; and
  4. Provide a partial set of criteria for use during the periodic review of the GNSO

Working with Staff, the SIC has created a draft "Process for Recognition of New GNSO Constituencies" including objective and measurable criteria that the Board and the applicable GNSO Stakeholder Group will apply in deciding whether a petitioning Constituency should be approved. The draft process, its associated evaluation criteria, a flowchart, and related forms are contained in the documents accompanying this Public Comment announcement (see Document Links below).

Overview of the Proposed Process

In order to achieve the SIC's goals outlined above, the redesigned new Constituency recognition process comprises two phases or steps: Applicant and Candidate. A successful completion of the entire process would result in a "Recognized Constituency." In the replacement process, the original NOIF and the Petition/Charter template forms are superseded by an "Application for Candidacy (AFC)" and "Request for Recognition (RFR)" that reflect changes in the activities, steps, and process requirements.

The Applicant Phase becomes become the first formal step of the process, which culminates in a Stakeholder Group decision, subject to Board ratification, based upon specific evaluation criteria (see Process, Appendix 1), whether to approve the petitioning Constituency to the Candidate Phase. In this way, only those proposals deemed appropriate for the GNSO would be required to invest the considerable time and effort required to develop an organizational charter document.

A new limited six-month Candidate Phase 1 would now follow the Applicant Phase during which "Candidate" Constituencies would be expected to demonstrate having achieved certain participation and membership recruiting standards (see Process, Appendix 2) as well as producing a charter satisfying the criteria in Appendix 3. At the end of this second phase, the Stakeholder Group, with Board concurrence, would decide whether to grant final approval as a Recognized Constituency.

Relevant Board Resolution, Bylaws, and Proposed Constituency Submissions:

Document Links:

The Process From Here:

At the end of this Public Comment Forum period, ICANN Staff will review the comments submitted and prepare a summary analysis of the various submissions for SIC review. After the community's feedback is evaluated, the SIC plans to make any final adjustments to the proposed process and plans to submit a final document package for Board review and action at its 18 March 2011 meeting in San Francisco.

Deadline and How to Submit Comments:

At the direction of the GNSO Council, the Staff is opening a 30-day public consultation forum, from 2 February through 4 March 2011 and invites community comments concerning any/all elements of the process including its procedures, sequences/steps, forms/tools, and evaluation criteria.

The formal Public Comment Forum Box is located here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-201103-en.htm#newco-process-recognition
To submit comments: See newco-process-recognition@icann.org
To view comments: See http://forum.icann.org/lists/newco-process-recognition/

Staff Responsible: Rob Hoggarth, Senior Policy Director


1 One six-month extension is permitted; however, if the requirements have not been fulfilled at the end of that period, the petition is cancelled and any subsequent efforts to form a Constituency would begin anew.