Community Comment Invited on Revised Proposal To Form A New GNSO Consumers Constituency

22 January 2010

The ongoing GNSO Improvements process has created significant community interest in the formation of new GNSO constituencies. One of those proposals is for a new Consumers Constituency. Proponents of the Consumers Constituency originally submitted a New Constituency Petition and Charter to the ICANN Board on 14 April 2009. A revised version of the proposal, responding to several Board inquiries was submitted to the Board on 15 September 2009.

The Structural Improvements Committee of the ICANN Board has directed the Staff to post the revised (15 September) version of the proposed Consumers Constituency Charter for community review and comment. All members of the ICANN community and the public are now invited to review the petition and charter of the Consumers Constituency and share comments with the Board through 13 February 2009.

Background and Explanation:

In June 2008, the Board of Directors endorsed a series of recommendations on how to improve the GNSO's structures and operations. One of the significant drivers of those recommendations was an interest in maximizing participation in the GNSO and its policy development processes. Among the various recommendations endorsed by the Board was that ICANN take steps to clarify and promote the option to self-form new constituencies.

The ICANN Bylaws provide that any group of individuals or entities may petition the Board for recognition as a new or separate constituency, in accordance with Section 5(4) of Article X. Such a petition must explain (1) why "the addition of such a Constituency will improve the ability of the GNSO to carry out its policy-development responsibilities" and (2) why "the proposed new Constituency would adequately represent, on a global basis, the stakeholders it seeks to represent." Despite those Bylaw provisions, it has been many years since the organization has had formal requests for any new GNSO constituencies. Since the Board action last June, however, the Board has received four petitions for potential new GNSO Constituencies. In December, the Board chose not to approve three of those proposals (see http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/prelim-report-09dec09-en.htm) and the Consumers proposal is still under consideration.

The ICANN bylaws do not provide specific procedural guidance for how interested parties should submit the petitions contemplated in Article X. Mindful that explicit steps, formats, and/or processes for expansion would take some time for the community to develop in the implementation of the improvements recommendations, the Board directed ICANN Staff to provide the community with some initial guidance, a structure and a specific procedural path for potential new constituencies to follow. At its 1 October 2008 meeting, the Board acknowledged Staff's development of a "Notice of Intent" document for potential new constituencies and directed Staff to develop a formal petition and charter template to assist new constituency applicants in satisfying the formative criteria (consistent with the ICANN Bylaws) to facilitate the Board's evaluation of petitions to form new constituencies.

The process subsequently developed by the Staff required interested groups to first submit a Notice of Intent to Form a New Constituency (NOIF). The proponents of the Consumers Constituency completed that first step on 28 February 2009. The second step of the process is development of a New Constituency Petition and Charter. The proponent of the Consumers Constituency completed that effort on 14 April 2009.

In August 2009 the members of the ICANN Board developed a number of questions regarding the proposal. In response to those inquiries the Consumer Constituency proponents revised their original NOIF and updated their proposed charter document on 15 September 2009.

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 the revised Consumers Constituency petition and charter. That summary/analysis will be shared with the community and the Board. The Board will ultimately make the decision on whether to authorize the new constituency.

It should be noted that the GNSO Improvements Report approved by the Board in June 2008 has additional guidelines and recommendations for the ongoing practices and processes of GNSO constituencies. This work is ongoing as part of the GNSO Improvements implementation efforts being coordinated by the GNSO Council (see http://gnso.icann.org/ and http://gnso.icann.org/en/improvements/).

Deadline and How to Submit Comments:

The Staff is opening a 21-day public consultation forum, from 22 January 2009 through 13 February 2010, and invites community comments on this matter.

The formal Public Comment Forum Box is located here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-201002-en.htm#newco

To submit comments: consumers-constituency-petition@icann.org

To view comments: http://forum.icann.org/lists/consumers-constituency-petition/

Staff Responsible: Robert Hoggarth