[atrt2] GAC Related Recommendations

Jørgen C Abild Andersen jocaan at erst.dk
Sun Sep 29 10:34:56 UTC 2013

Dear Larry, dear ATRT2 colleagues

It was with regret that I could not participate in the meeting in Washington some 10 days ago. But I appreciate that you made good progress and that we are still on the right track.

As we move towards the final drafting of templates that lead to recommendations there is one thing which I think we should all pay special attention to. That is - when drafting templates and recommendations - the importance of basing our considerations and proposals for recommendations on facts and not on "feelings". Brian (and also Larry) has rightly pointed at this many times and personally I agree.

In a document of 27 August, 2013 Larry submitted recommendations related to GAC and to outreach in general. I think the document is a very good one and I have previously given my support to the document and the proposed recommendations and I still support the document in general.

Over the last weeks, however, I have had the opportunity to read the document of 27 August again from the angle described above (proposals based on facts - not "feelings"). Also bearing in mind the reply of 17 May 2013 from the Danish Business Authority to the ATRT2 call for input (attached for your convenience) I have the following comments and proposals which I would appreciate be considered and taken into account when drafting the final documents to be submitted for consultation.

First of all I am somewhat uneasy to assert on page 5 in the Hypothesis section that there is "concern about continued limited support and adequate resource commitments of governments to the GAC". I have carefully read the section on background research and I cannot find quotes or facts that directly question the support and resource commitments of governments. In fact, the quotes in the section including the Danish notes no. 14 and 16 to the document of 27 August target the need for ICANN to provide support and easy access to information to counter the barriers of esoteric debates and information overload. As such a prerequisite for further outreach to become successful is to make the ICANN policy process more accessible to all participants regardless of language and familiarity with the ICANN model.

Accordingly I suggest to change to sentence in the hypothesis paragraph from "There is a perceived lack of transparency of GAC work methods as well as concern about continued limited support and adequate resource commitments of governments to the GAC" to "There is a perceived lack of transparency of GAC work methods as well as concern about the inherent barriers for participation in ICANN due to the complexity of the ICANN model and the immense level of information".

As a consequence, we will need to change the Findings section item 2 that concludes "challenges continue with limited support and commitments of government to the GAC process, which is reflected in disparate levels of familiarity with DNS matters" as there are no facts to support this conclusion in the background research. In accordance with quotes from the community the item 2 can conclude that "challenges continue with large barriers for participation both within the GAC and to ICANN in general. Without more effective procedures in the GAC and easier access to information by ICANN as well as better explanation of the ICANN model it will be more than difficult to uphold a continuous and effective level of participation in the GAC" thus deleting "challenges continue with limited support and commitments of government to the GAC process, which is reflected in disparate levels of familiarity with DNS matters and disparate levels of preparation for the issues pending for GAC/ICANN meetings.  A perceived level of unfamiliarity with DNS issues could lead to a lack of credibility for GAC Advice and other outputs".

I believe recommendation 7) and 8) are still valid and in line with community input and background information. I have, however, become less comfortable about supporting recommendation 6 as we really do not have any facts suggesting the lack of a code of conduct is a problem today not to mention that the suggested code of conduct for GAC members may provide further obstacles for some countries to participate in the GAC (measures for adequate domestic resource commitments, routine consultation et al). This may become counterproductive in particular at a time where we really need to encourage countries to come to the table instead of introducing a not-based-on-facts new regime which by some countries may be perceived as an obstacle for participating.

A possible replacement for recommendation 6 could be "The GAC should engage in discussion with ICANN to identify initiatives that can remove barriers for participation including language barriers, understanding of the ICANN model and access to relevant ICANN information for GAC members". And as we know that the GAC is already discussing working methods internally we can support this initiative by recommending that "the GAC should analyse how GAC procedures can be improved to ensure more efficient, transparent and inclusive decision-making processes".

Other comments:
Page 3:
In the last paragraph before the headline " Summary of community input on implementation" "Denmark" should be replaced by "Norway".

Page 5:
In the Background research section it is stated that "Comments show that this lack of insight into GAC discussion and work methods can result in confusion for the stakeholders upon the receipt of GAC Advice and a diminished level of trust". Reading the quotes including the Danish note 9 I believe the lack of respect and diminished level of trust concerns all key stakeholders including the Board, the GAC and the GNSO. I would be more comfortable if we deleted "and a diminished level of trust".

Finally I want to thank Larisa and ICANN Staff for providing us with Staff Clarification and Response regarding the GAC-related Recommendations.

I think we all highly appreciate the iniatives taken by ICANN in that respect and I read them to be very well in line with the thinking of ATRT2. One important thing in that context is that ICANN establishes clear goals to be achieved in order to measure whether the intended impact of all the efforts is actually achieved. This point has already been made a number of times by ATRT2 members but certainly deserves to be repeated.

Furthermore I urge ICANN to focus on very firm coordination of the activities in the different lines of action (follow-up on ATRT recommendations, Strategy Panels, GAC Working Methods Working Group, BGRI etc.) to avoid duplication of work and in general to avoid confusion among stakeholders about what is really going on in this important area.

Best regards

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