[CCWG-ACCT] Board position re the GAC carve out

Schaefer, Brett Brett.Schaefer at heritage.org
Fri Feb 19 19:47:32 UTC 2016


First, like Phil and Alan, I found your e-mail confusing. You seem to suggest a WS2 item to consider “how advice from ALL parties is appropriately considered within ICANN” at one point. But it could also read as a proposal to kick the matter of thresholds and the GAC carve-out to WS2. I don’t see how the CCWG-Accountability proposal could be seriously taken as a final product as that would leave fundamental aspects of ICANN governance unresolved. Samantha Eisner later clarified that your position was just a reiteration of Bruce’s proposal earlier this week.

I will note that there is one option that would resolve this issue far more simply: if the GAC’s privileged advisory power were eliminated, we would no longer need the GAC carve-out. If we are opening this discussion up again, perhaps we should revisit that.

Second, I view with skepticism your statement that this is “not about Board removal, but about maintaining the balanced multistakeholder model.” Funny, but I don’t recall that point being made by Bruce when he initially voiced the Board’s concerns about the GAC carve-out. Those discussions centered entirely around the threshold for recalling the Board under the GAC carve-out.

Samantha Eisner’s e-mail also casts doubt on the statement. She confirmed that the Board is fine with the GAC carve-out language except for the 3 SOAC threshold to remove the Board.

It is hard not to see your e-mail as: (1) a self-interested effort to capitalize on the current time-crunch to pressure the CCWG to accede to the Board’s demands; (2) a kowtow to the 10-12 governments raising an objections on this matter, while ignoring countervailing objections from non-government participants; or (3) using the minority GAC objection as an excuse to excise the GAC carve-out to address your initial concern indirectly.

I don’t know which is accurate, but none reflect well on the Board. In particular, the Board’s statement following so closely on the heels of objections raised by a handful of governments and should ring alarm bells in NTIA and Congress about ICANN’s ability to resist government influence post-transition and illustrates why the GAC carve-out was proposed in the first place.

Finally, the Board’s repeated tendency to insert itself at the 11th hour has cost all of us countless hours of time and effort by forcing us to reargue painful compromises and, in my view, violates the Board’s commitment to send the transition proposals forward as drafted “promptly and without modification” even if it contains provisions that the Board opposes.

The experiences over the past week only solidifies my conviction that the EC must to retain reasonable ability – not requiring unanimous support among the decisional participants –  to recall the Board both for decisions that violate ICANN Bylaws and Articles and for other matters.



Brett Schaefer
Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs
Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy
The Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
From: accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org [mailto:accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Steve Crocker
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2016 11:28 AM
To: Mathieu Weill; León Felipe Sánchez Ambía; Thomas Rickert
Cc: Steve Crocker; Icann-board ICANN; Accountability Community
Subject: [CCWG-ACCT] Board position re the GAC carve out

CCWG Colleagues,

The Board has a serious and continued concern about the issues being raised that may result in the reduction of the GAC’s ability to participate in community decision making. This is most noticeable in the question of thresholds for board removal, however this is not an issue about removal or even thresholds, it is one part of the community being (or perceiving that it is being) sidelined. The Board’s concerns with this issue are not about Board removal, but about maintaining the balanced multistakeholder model.

The Board is against any changes to the long established equilibrium and fairness among the different stakeholders within ICANN. The Board has long supported a threshold of four participants for Board removal in the ultimate escalation method proposed by the CCWG. Selecting one portion of the ICANN community and removing them from the equation - just through the ability to say that the community is unhappy with the acceptance of GAC advice that is within ICANN’s bylaws - raises significant concerns about how the multistakeholder model, and the ultimate stability of ICANN as an organization, can be maintained. This carved out exception undercuts the established role of governments within the multi stakeholder process, and could introduce new issues with the acceptance of ICANN’s model undermining the work of the CCWG.

We understand that there are concerns with this path from within other parts of ICANN community, including members of the GAC and ALAC. The best course, in our opinion, would be a careful and objective discussion of the whole matter of how advice from ALL parties is appropriately considered within ICANN. If there is a graceful way to remove this matter from the immediate pressure of the deadline of submitting this proposal and make it a priority matter for either the implementation phase or Work Stream 2, we think there will be a solution which is genuinely good for everyone.

We encourage you to share the CCWG’s proposal with the Chartering Organizations while the dialog on this outstanding point continues.

Thank you,

Steve Crocker
Chair, ICANN Board of Directors

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