[ccwg-internet-governance] Comments from GNSO council about CCWG-IG charter

Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond ocl at gih.com
Mon Jun 19 14:31:34 UTC 2017

Hello all,

it's taken me a little while to respond, as I had quite a full plate of
more important things to attend to, but please be so kind to find my
personal comments in the text below. Warning: this is going to be a long

On 25/05/2017 01:33, Rafik Dammak wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am sharing here some comments below made by Donna in GNSO council
> list regarding the amended charter. You will find also comments made
> in the attached word document.
> The status of the CCWG-IG  and the amended agenda were discussed in
> last GNSO council call last week and several councilors made comments
> there (transcripts
> https://gnso.icann.org/en/meetings/transcript-council-18may17-en.pdf
>  ,
> https://gnso.icann.org/en/meetings/transcript-chat-council-18may17-en.pdf
> and here https://audio.icann.org/gnso/gnso-council-18may17-en.mp3).
> There are still concerns with the current structure and the mission of
> the CCWG-IG in particular from our colleagues in contracted party.

I would like to respond to each comment in turn:

> the council has as an action for Johannesburg meeting to "discuss and
> prepare a motion to either express support for a new charter or
> withdraw as a chartering organization". 
> I suggest that we work on a response from the CCWG-IG to those
> comments and making suggestions when needed.  we can do that first at
> the drafting team level first and then going to the whole group for
> discussion.
> Best,
> Rafik
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Thanks Rafik, for providing a copy of the word doc.
> I’ve made some comments in the document and perhaps you can address
> these during the Council meeting tomorrow or over email. I apologise
> that I didn’t get these to you earlier. These comments are reflective
> of concerns expressed by the RySG when the CCWG IG has been discussed.
> I understand that post-transition ICANN needs to be cognizant, and
> responsive, to any potential threats to its mandate and well-being
> from external entities. This is not a new situation, but certainly the
> new environment may see a new wave of threats emerge. I certainly
> appreciate the benefits of having a community that is conversant of
> these threats and are actively engaged with ICANN the organisation and
> the Board with a view to mitigating against any emerging threats.

The external threats to ICANN and to the multi-stakeholder ecosystem
that ICANN benefits from have increased over the years.

> I do have concerns about the authority of the CCWG IG to develop
> position papers and present these as ICANN community contributions,
> but perhaps this concern would be allayed if I had a better
> understanding of the subject matter of these position papers. I would
> also hope that any position papers would be supported by ICANN’s GE
> team and the Board IG WG. I think the Charter would benefit from more
> specificity in this regard, along with concrete examples of the IG
> fora the CCWG would attend or be involved in in some way.

I do not think that there ever was a note in any paper, charter or
document that the CCWG IG was going to write position papers that would
*not* be supported by ICANN's GE Team and the Board IG WG. When it comes
to the request for concrete examples of "the IG fora the CCWG would
attend or be involved in some way". We have provided a report of 2016 to
the Chatering Organisations and all of the answers to these questions
are in that report. This report includes a timetable of Internet
Governance activities. This timetable changes every year. It is
therefore impossible to include it and hard-wire it in any charter.

> I still struggle with the CCWG as the most appropriate vehicle for
> this effort and it would be helpful to understand if other
> possibilities were discussed, or conversely why the CCWG believes this
> is the most appropriate vehicle.

A Cross Community Working Group is already defined in ICANN. I would
like to ask if the GNSO Council could please point us to other already
defined structures and to their pros and cons. In case this was not
caught in previous explanations which I have now provided on more than
two occasions, in my view a CCWG structure is formal enough to be able
to achieve the goals defined in the Charter. Please be so kind to point
to any other structure that would be able to achieve these goals and I
am sure that participants of the CCWG IG would consider studying its
pros and cons.

> My struggle relates to the fact that the Charter speaks to a number of
> different products, but no timeline or specificity. While the charter
> proposes co-ordination with the ICANN’s GE team and the Board IG WG,
> to me it would seem a much better option to have the members of the
> current CCWG IG, ICANN’s GE team and the Board IG WG, develop an
> overarching strategy on IG, which clearly sets out roles and
> responsibilities and project plans could be developed as a result.
> Perhaps this has already been done and I am just not familiar with it.

Again, the report of the CCWG provides answers to these questions.
Furthermore, asking for "an overarching strategy on IG" has already been
answered. The CCWG has to *respond* to what comes up in global fora.
Apart from recurring Internet Governance activities like the Internet
Governance Forum (IGF) with themes that are not known in advance year on
year, It is impossible to predict the future and topics which the CCWG
IG needs to address are determined by the positions and statement that
other countries and organisations put on the table. Or am I just not
understanding the question at all?

Reading the comments inside the Charter document:

"Increase awareness about relevant Internet governance and policy issues
in the ICANN Community". Donna asks "increase awareness to who?".
This sentence is indeed ambiguous and thanks for pointing it out. I
think that the intent of the sentence was "Increase awareness in the
ICANN Community about relevant Internet Governance and Policy Issues" -
thus this specific goal is inward-facing.
That said, the CCWG IG has also organised/facilitated workshops at WSIS
Forum and at IGF to showcase work of the ICANN community - so that part
is outward facing.

"Identify Internet Governance and policy issues, relevant to ICANN and
its mission". Donna asks whether this is a static or a dynamic thing. In
my opinion, it is a dynamic thing, which makes it ever so hard to then
define in advance, as is asked elsewhere.

"Coordinate, facilitate, and increase the awareness of the ICANN
community participation of the ICANN community on the in discussions and
processes pertaining to Internet Governance, as appropriate and within
ICANN’s mission and mandate" - needs to be re-written. Yes, I agree this
sentence is fumbled. May I suggest:
"Coordinate, facilitate, and increase the awareness and participation of
the ICANN community in discussions and processes pertaining to Internet
Governance, as appropriate and within ICANN’s mission and mandate"

"Work with the ICANN Government Engagement Team (or other parts of
organisation as appropriate)  to identify appropriate Internet policy
and governance related  and fora and meetings in which ICANN should
engage". Donna relays that some specificity would be helpful there. I do
not think that specificity is possible. The CCWG IG has followed the
Global IGF, but also regional IGFs, as they feed into the Global IGF. It
has followed WSIS, WSIS Forum, WTSA, WTDC, G7, ITU WGs, CSTD... and I
probably forget some other acronyms. Think of the CCWG IG as a
volunteer-populated watchtower that watches the horizon with the Board
Internet Governance Working Group watchtower and the ICANN Government
Engagement watchtower, so see what's coming up on the horizon. What
we've found in recent times is that threats to ICANN and to the
multistakeholder Internet Governance Ecosystem which ICANN relies on to
function have come from the most surprising fora in most unexpected
ways. So I can't tell anyone in advance, "we're going to be looking East
for this type of threat" as we would likely end up looking in the wrong
direction. Let's please learn from the Maginot line.

"Draft Position Papers and Statements, as deemed appropriate within the
goals and objectives and in accordance with the rules of this Charter".
Donna ass whether this would be "deemed" by the CCWG IG and my response
to that is yes. The CCWG IG has all of the in-house experts to make such
a decision. The Drafts can then be sent to Chartering Organisations and
be distributed internally - how this would be done is a process matter
which is probably too detailed for a CCWG charter.
Next - my comments regarding the discussion of the last GNSO Council
I have read the transcript on:

Page 38 Donna Austin relays her concerns, the main one being that she is
not convinced that a CCWG format is the right structure for the kind of
work undertaken there. This was echoed by Keith and Darcy in the GNSO
Chat. My response is that I agree that if one is to consider the rules
of CCWGs as defined by the GNSO as a very tight, strict box to fit in,
the CCWG IG is stretching that box. But I am quite concerned that by
trying to define strict boxes for all processes at ICANN we are turning
this organisation into a bureaucratic, unfit for purpose organisation
with strict boxes where processes need to fit. In my opinion this is
exactly the opposite of what we should be doing in today's world, but
perhaps that is just a matter of opinion. I tend to favour flexibility
as rigid bureaucracy has proven to become quickly obsolete in today's
fast moving world.
If the GNSO Council is to insist on interpreting the CCWG rules to their
strictest line, then I would respectfully ask what other vehicle has
been formally defined in ICANN to carry the work of the CCWG IG in a
manner that allows it to interact as well with the ICANN Board, ICANN GE
staff and ICANN's SOs and ACs - and when I mean "interact", I use this
term loosely to incorporate being able to speak as one and to launch
processes that have the same level of formality to request responses
from its interlocutors as a CCWG? For example: the CCWG could ask its
chartering organisations to ratify a paper drafted by the CCWG, just
like any other CCWG work product. Is any other cross community vehicle
able to do that?

Donna emits concerns about possible overlap and duplication when it
comes to the Board working group on Internet Governance and ICANN's
engagement team. I think quite the contrary: that this is a perfect
combination of ICANN Staff, Board and Community. To what extent do the
three work together? Perhaps this has not been made clear but the three
collaborate very closely together - and it is this very close
collaboration that makes the Statements released externally by ICANN's
engagement department much stronger as ICANN staff are able to relay
that their Statements have included input from the ICANN Board and the
ICANN Community. I cannot emphasize how important it is to demonstrate
that direct influence and I am very surprised indeed that the people who
have expressed their concerns on the call are saying that they would
rather see such matters exclusively handled by ICANN Staff when on other
topics the vary same Constituents ask for a direct say into anything
that ICANN does - as expressed in the drafting of the ICANN
Accountability Community Powers.

Next, the comments by Michele, Page 39 of the transcript, expressing
concerns that the outputs of the CCWG will realistically speaking not be
endorsed by the rest of the Community. Then emitting concerns that this
vehicle would be used as a source of funding to attend ICANN and to
attend various meetings around the globe. To the first point made, I
would answer that the outputs of the CCWG IG absolutely need to be
supported by the ICANN Community. I do not know what output supporting
the multistakeholder model and defending ICANN's ecosystem from top down
multilateral interference would not be supported by the ICANN Community.
Either there is a lack of understanding from parts of the ICANN
community about the clear threat of multistakeholder vs. multilateral,
or there are parts of the ICANN community that clearly do not support
what we are doing. To the second point made by Michele, I'd repeat what
Marilia Maciel has clearly answered in the GNSO Chat, which was that
there are programs the support travel, but that have nothing to do with
the CCGW IG.

As an aside to this - the cost of the CCWG IG, with its very lean staff
structure is absolutely negligible, so any concerns made by CPH
regarding costs are completely misplaced. It is not the first time that
the same point is made. Why do we have to repeat ourselves?

I think I have addressed all the points made above and during the GNSO
call, and hope that some of these points could be use in a response from
the CCWG IG. Again - all points expressed in this message are purely my
own and in no way represent the CCWG IG.

Kindest regards,

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