ICANN | Letter from M. Stuart Lynn to Dr. Paul Twomey | 5 July 2002
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Letter from M. Stuart Lynn to Dr. Paul Twomey

5 July 2002

5 July 2002

Dr. Paul Twomey
Governmental Advisory Committee

Dear Paul:

This letter is written on behalf of Vint Cerf, Alejandro Pisanty and myself. We hope that you and all GAC members returned home well and have recovered from the intense effort at last week's meetings. On behalf of the entire ICANN community, we would like to express our enormous appreciation of the work of the GAC at Bucharest, which will play a critical role in the continuing reform efforts of ICANN.

The GAC's Communique of 26 June 2002, and its Statement of the same day on ICANN Evolution and Reform are among the most important statements ever issued by the GAC. While ICANN is a private entity, it is obvious that some of the issues it must address have significant public policy overtones. We cannot agree more that the appropriate relationship between national governments, distinct economies as recognized in international fora, and multinational governmental and treaty organizations, on the one hand, and the ICANN Board and policy development bodies on the other is, as the Statement puts it, "essential to ICANN's future success." Therefore, as has been clear in the historical interaction between the GAC and the ICANN Board, the Board takes very seriously the advice of the GAC, and appreciates that the members of the GAC have a unique capacity to reflect the views and interests of their citizens and members.

As was clear from the resolution adopted by the Board on evolution and reform, the Board was anxious to avoid drafting by committee at the meeting, and thus adopted the Blueprint presented by its Evolution and Reform Committee as it stood, with the expectation that appropriate modifications and adjustments would be made during the next, implementation phase of the reform process. The GAC Statement will clearly play an important role in this next phase. It is particularly beneficial that the GAC Statement and its valuable suggestions track the Blueprint in most major respects. In this context, let us offer the following preliminary observations on the GAC Statement:

To begin with, the suggested wording changes in the ICANN Mission Statement and Core Values, with perhaps minor exceptions that we will consult closely with the GAC about, are all useful additions or modifications to the pre-existing text. We appreciate the GAC's careful attention to this important articulation of the ICANN mission.

We were pleased to see that the GAC majority supported the Blueprint suggestion that the Chair (or Acting Chair) of the GAC become a non-voting ex officio liaison to the ICANN Board. We believe that this is important to the appropriate relationship between the GAC and the ICANN Board. On a related point, we were pleased to see the GAC majority support the appointment of non-voting liaisons to each of the SO Councils and the RSSAC, the TAC and the SAC. We look forward to discussing the implementation of these aspects in greater detail with the GAC. The Board believes that a closer and more effective working relationship between the GAC (and its members) and the ICANN Board, policy development bodies and other advisory committees (and their members) is an important element of a more effective ICANN in the future. We were pleased to see that the GAC Statement reflected agreement with this belief.

With regard to funding, the Statement also indicated the GAC's support for the principle of payment of ICANN's expenses by beneficiaries, another congruence with the Blueprint adopted by the Board, and for the need to have enough staffing to, as the GAC Statement puts it, "execute efficiently and effectively its decision making processes and its operational responsibilities, including facilitating policy development by its supporting organizations, management of the technical functions, and support for the work of the Root Server System Advisory Committee."

The Statement noted the importance, in the Board selection process, of "giving full weight to internationalization, transparency and fairness and to maintaining the principle of geographic diversity and representation." We fully agree that this is of utmost importance to an effective ICANN, and you will notice special emphasis on these principles in the Board's resolution adopting the Blueprint.

We are particularly gratified with the suggestion of a majority of GAC members for the appointment of a contact point to help "provide advice and information to relevant government officials and help with liaison between IANA and these particular government officials when there are delegations or redelegations pending." As you are aware, this has been a complicated area for ICANN to date, and we welcome the assistance and advice of the GAC on this and related issues. In this respect, we also note with gratitude the commitment of the GAC and the ccTLD community to reflect on what steps might be taken to improve the interactions between ICANN, local governments or public authorities, and the ccTLDs. We are pleased that the majority of the GAC supports this, and look forward to working with the GAC and others in the community on next steps and fulfilling common objectives.

We note the GAC's support for the proposition, presented in the Blueprint, that "the GAC should receive adequate notice and an opportunity to comment on all ICANN policy decisions before they are taken." We also note the request that such notice be timely. We are committed to providing timely notice and opportunity to comment to all segments of the ICANN community on all issues whenever feasible, and we understand that the timing of such notice is particularly important to GAC members, who because of their need for consultation require sufficient advance notice to allow that consultation to take place. We find the description of the proposed consultation process in paragraph 24 of the Statement to be compatible with our expectations of how this process would work, and look forward to working with the GAC to implement a mechanism that all parties can fulfill.

We also appreciate the GAC's support for the call in the Blueprint for the use of advice from expert external bodies, and the offer to assist in exploring ways of implementing this principle. As this is an area that will almost certainly involve governmental bodies, and experts relied on by governments, we particularly look forward to working with the GAC on how to solicit and utilize advice from external expert bodies.

We appreciate the GAC's willingness to help with the implementation tasks that remain to be done prior to the Shanghai meeting, and look forward to working with the GAC and its representatives in this regard. There is much to be done, but with good faith and cooperation between all the relevant parties, we are confident we can essentially complete the reformation of ICANN by the time of the Shanghai meeting. In this regard, we particularly welcome the steps taken to ensure continuity of the GAC secretariat during this transition period and a smooth transition to another Secretariat and Chair. Especially given the importance of continuity at this critical time, these short term transition efforts are critical while the GAC members work on addressing medium and long-term issues involved in the support of the GAC Secretariat.

While we hope that our appreciation to the GAC for its extensive work is evident, we would like to specifically convey here that we are extremely grateful for the very hard work and attention of the GAC during and leading up to the Bucharest meeting, and for its close attention to the complex but important details of the ICANN reform process. Your very constructive Statement is an important contribution to the further implementation efforts going forward, and we look forward to working together in the transition and implementation work before us.

With warm regards from all of us.

Stuart Lynn
President and CEO

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