[Party1] template - consensus defined for ICANN dealing with GAC advice - draft1

Malcolm Hutty malcolm at linx.net
Mon Mar 2 11:37:36 UTC 2015

On 01/03/2015 08:01, Kavouss Arasteh wrote:
> I understand from the draft that therte would be only "CONSENSUS ADVICE"
> from GAC to ICANN Board
> However, today, GAC could advise the ICANN Board with advice on which no
> consensus is reached and that is an aimportant elements on which the
> system is working.
> There are several examples of such kind of advice.

Absolutely, this is an important point. It is of course important that
the Board receive input from individual governments as well as other
stakeholders. The GAC has sometimes found it convenient to convey such
input through consensus documents such as the communique. When it does
so this essentially means "We have no consensus on X, but some of our
members would like to express their own view to you, and we are agreed
that you should be aware of their view".

This is entirely appropriate. At the same time, it is important to be
able to distinguish between a view that has commanded a consensus in the
GAC and one which does not; the bylaws provides for special weight to be
given to GAC views, and that surely means the former rather than the
latter. This template simply aims to clarify that.

As a small tweak, I wonder whether the template would be improved by
spltting the test into two heads ("general agreement" AND "the absence
of formal objection", as follows:

"Consensus advice of the Governmental Advisory Committee on public
policy matters shall be duly taken into account, both in the formulation
and adoption of policies, where consensus is understood to mean the
practice of adopting decisions by general agreement and the absence of
any formal objection.  [...continues unchanged]"

The aim of this change is to address the position where one government
raises an issue of interest to them only, and other governments are
indifferent. It seems to me if only one government holds a position, and
the others state that they have no view, this doesn't really constitute
a consensus position, and ought not to be treated as such.

Of course, governments that were largely disinterested would still be
free to give their positive support anyway, perhaps out of comity, and
so to form a consensus. This change would merely say that input would
only be treated as GAC consensus advice if they chose to do so.

            Malcolm Hutty | tel: +44 20 7645 3523
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