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James Bladel, GNSO Council Chair, Introduces the New Council and Looks Ahead to 2016

23 December 2015
By James Bladel

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2015/2016 GNSO Council

Hello, and welcome to the GNSO! Whether you are an ICANN veteran, or still trying to decode all of the acronyms, the busy agenda of the GNSO ensures that there's always something new to learn. On behalf of the GNSO Council and all of the GNSO stakeholder groups, I'd like to thank you for taking an interest in our work.

As the incoming Chair, I'm honored to continue the legacy of achievement established by my predecessors, while shifting the leadership of the GNSO Council to a collaborative, team-based approach. Our two Vice Chairs, Donna Austin and Heather Forrest, bring a wealth of industry experience and subject expertise to their roles, and I'm excited to work closely with them over the coming year. We also have two new voting NomCom Appointees (NCAs), in Valerie Tan and Julf Helsingius and Carlos Gutiérrez returns for another term as our non-voting NCA.

This group, along with our liaisons to & from the ALAC, GAC and ccNSO, and all of the new and returning Councilors, is ideally situated to undertake the work ahead. And there's no shortage of work in the coming year, as the Council is expected to address issues including:

  • IANA Transition and Accountability - This is front of mind for nearly everyone at ICANN, and as a Chartering Organization, volunteers from the GNSO are major contributors to this work.
  • WHOIS/RDDS - Always a source of spirited debates, there are a number of projects on this subject, including new rules for translation/transliteration, WHOIS privacy & proxy services and kicking off work on a Next Generation replacement for WHOIS.
  • Next Round new gTLDs - New gTLDs are still being delegated, but it's time to prepare for the next round. What worked well in the past round, and what didn't? And how should the community disposition auction funds?
  • Rights Protections for IGO/INGOs - Policy development is underway to examine RPMs that meet the special needs of these organizations.

A full list of active GNSO projects can be found here: http://gnso.icann.org/en/council/project

None of this would be remotely possible without the tireless work of volunteers from the GNSO Community and throughout ICANN. But one group in particular should be recognized, and that's the ICANN GNSO Policy Staff. This team works around the clock to support the Council, and all of the working groups, drafting teams and implementation reviews, and they are an essential ingredient to our success.

Finally, I encourage everyone to get involved in the work of the GNSO. New participants are always welcome, and don't be intimidated by the complexity of these issues. We were all new once, and a common trait among ICANN veterans is a willingness to help new volunteers. Please feel free to contact me and the GNSO Leadership team at (gnso-secs@icann.org) if we can help answer any questions.

James Bladel
GNSO Council Chair


James Bladel