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Minutes | Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee

Note: On 10 April 2012, the Board established the New gTLD Program Committee, comprised of all voting members of the Board that are not conflicted with respect to the New gTLD Program.  The Committee was granted all of the powers of the Board (subject to the limitations set forth by law, the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws or ICANN's Conflicts of Interest Policy) to exercise Board-level authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program.  The full scope of the Committee's authority is set forth in its charter at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/new-gTLD.

A Regular Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee of the ICANN Board of Directors was held in Dublin, Ireland on 18 October 2015 at 14:45 local time.

Committee Chairman Cherine Chalaby promptly called the meeting to order.

In addition to the Chair the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Fadi Chehadé (President and CEO, ICANN), Steve Crocker (Board Chairman), Chris Disspain, Asha Hemrajani, Markus Kummer, Bruno Lanvin, Erika Mann, Gonzalo Navarro, Ray Plzak, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, and Kuo-Wei Wu.

Thomas Schneider (GAC Liaison) sent apologies.

Board Member Elect: Ron da Silva (observing).

Acting Secretary: Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel).

ICANN Executives and Staff in attendance for all or part of the meeting: Akram Atallah (President, Global Domains Division); Megan Bishop (Board Support Coordinator); Allen Grogan (Chief Contract Compliance Officer); Dan Halloran (Deputy General Counsel); Jamie Hedlund (Vice President, Strategic Programs – Global Domains Division); Melissa King (Vice President, Board Support); Cyrus Namazi (Vice President, DNS Industry Engagement); Erika Randall (Senior Counsel); Shawn White (Associate General Counsel); and Christine Willett (Vice President, Operations – Global Domains Division).

These are the Minutes of the Meeting of the New gTLD Program Committee, which took place on 18 October 2015.

  1. Consent Agenda:
    1. Approval of Minutes
  2. Main Agenda:
    1. Conclusion of the Current Round of the New gTLD Program by the end of FY2017
    2. GAC Advice: Buenos Aires Communiqué (June 2015)

 

  1. Consent Agenda:

    1. Approval of Minutes

      The Chair introduced for approval the Minutes of the 28 September 2015 meeting. Mike Silber moved and Erika Mann seconded the approval of the Minutes on the Consent Agenda. The Committee took the following action:

      Resolved (2015.10.18.NG01), the Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) approves the minutes of its 28 September 2015 meeting. 

      All members of the Committee present voted in favor of Resolution 2015.10.18.NG01. Fadi Chehadé, Chris Disspain, and Kuo-Wei Wu were unavailable to vote on the Resolution. The Resolution carried.

  2. Main Agenda:

    1. Conclusion of the Current Round of the New gTLD Program by the end of FY2017

      The Committee continued its previous discussions about the possibility of decommissioning the New gTLD Program Committee. The Chair provided an overview of next steps if the Committee were decommissioned, and Amy Stathos noted that this matter was on the agenda for the Board Governance Committee (BGC) to consider during the ICANN 54 meeting. Amy reported that any recommendation from the BGC about whether or not to decommission the Committee would be forwarded to the Board for further consideration.

      Akram Atallah provided a report to the Committee on the current status of the New gTLD Program, noting that all New gTLD Program processes have been exercised. He reported that the largest category of applications remaining in the Program pipeline are those applications that are expected to withdraw because, for example, they lost an objection but have not withdrawn from the Program, or they did not meet the deadline to sign the Registry Agreement. Staff also provided some historical background on some of the challenges of winding down the previous round of introducing new gTLDs.

      As part of his report, Akram noted that the Board-approved FY16 Operating Plan and Budget allocates resources to the New gTLD Program through the end of FY17. He suggested that the Committee consider providing direction to staff to resolve the remaining applications in the Program by the end of FY17. The Committee engaged in a discussion regarding whether providing such instruction to staff was ripe for consideration at this time. Steve Croker inquired whether FY17 provided sufficient time to resolve the remaining applications in the Program pipeline, and Christine Willett and Akram engaged the Committee in a discussion about the various categories of strings remaining in the pipeline.

      Rinalia Abdul-Rahim asked whether the Applicant Guidebook included procedures about winding down the current round of the Program. Staff reported that the Applicant Guidebook includes a process for applicants who voluntarily withdraw from the Program, but the Applicant Guidebook does not include other processes to wind down the current round.

      Mike Silber commented that the a plan to wind down the current round of the Program needed to be subject to public comment and input. Erika Mann agreed and suggested that the Committee be briefed on the risks involved with various paths forward. Mike suggested that the Board Risk Committee could help look into this issue.

      Ray Plzak stated that winding down the current round of the Program should be undertaken in a fair manner. He suggested that the Committee engage with the community, including the GNSO, to refine rules for withdrawal, to understand whether winding down the current round was a gating factor to opening subsequent rounds, and to discuss whether there were policy issues that needed to be considered as the current application round progresses to its final stages. Akram highlighted that some of the issues suggested by Ray are currently being discussed in the community as part of the review process of the current round of the New gTLD Program.

      The Committee requested additional briefing on the matter for discussion at a subsequent meeting.

    2. GAC Advice: Buenos Aires Communiqué (June 2015)

      Jamie Hedlund provided the Committee with an overview of the advice from the GAC in the June 2015 Buenos Aires Communiqué. The Committee engaged in a discussion of its proposed responses to the GAC advice in a new iteration of the scorecard, which included responses to the advice concerning safeguards for new gTLDs, Community Priority Evaluation, and protections for IGOs. Mike Silber emphasized that the GAC advice conveys a sentiment that more clarity is needed from the Committee about what actions the Committee took to address the GAC's safeguard advice. He recommended that going forward, the Committee be more clear in its responses to the GAC.

      After discussion, Erika Mann moved and Mike Silber seconded the proposed resolution. The Committee took the following action:

      Whereas, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) met during the ICANN 54 meeting in Buenos Aires and issued a Communiqué [PDF, 106 KB] on 24 June 2015 ("Buenos Aires Communiqué").

      Whereas, the NGPC has adopted a series of scorecards to respond to certain items of the GAC's advice concerning the New gTLD Program. The NGPC has developed another iteration of the scorecard to respond to the advice in the Buenos Aires Communiqué.

      Whereas, the NGPC is undertaking this action pursuant to the authority granted to it by the Board on 10 April 2012, to exercise the ICANN Board's authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program.

      Resolved (2015.10.18.NG02), the NGPC adopts the scorecard titled "GAC Advice – Buenos Aires Communiqué 24 June 2015: Actions and Updates (18 October 2015)", attached as Annex 1 [PDF, 95 KB] to the resolution, in response to items of GAC advice in the Buenos Aires Communiqué concerning new gTLDs.

      All members of the Committee present voted in favor of Resolution 2015.10.18.NG01. Gonzalo Navarro was unavailable to vote on the Resolution. The Resolution carried.

      Rationale for Resolution 2015.10.18.NG02

      Article XI, Section 2.1 of the ICANN Bylaws permit the GAC to "put issues to the Board directly, either by way of comment or prior advice, or by way of specifically recommending action or new policy development or revision to existing policies." The GAC issued advice to the Board on the New gTLD Program in its Buenos Aires Communiqué 24 June 2015. The ICANN Bylaws require the Board to take into account the GAC's advice on public policy matters in the formulation and adoption of the polices. If the Board decides to take an action that is not consistent with the GAC advice, it must inform the GAC and state the reasons why it decided not to follow the advice. The Board and the GAC will then try in good faith to find a mutually acceptable solution. If no solution can be found, the Board will state in its final decision why the GAC advice was not followed.

      The NGPC has previously addressed items of the GAC's advice concerning new gTLDs issued in Communiqués from Beijing (April 2013), Durban (July 2013), Buenos Aires (November 2013), Singapore (March 2014), London (June 2014), Los Angeles (October 2014), and Singapore (February 2015). The NGPC is taking action to address the new advice from the GAC in the Buenos Aires Communiqué as described in scorecard dated 18 October 2015.

      In adopting its response to the GAC advice in the Buenos Aires Communiqué, the NGPC reviewed various materials, including, but not limited to, the following materials and documents:

    3. The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 4 February 2016

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."