[CCWG-ACCT] Recommendation 11, 2/3 board threshold, GAC consensus, and finishing

Drazek, Keith kdrazek at verisign.com
Thu Jan 28 21:04:36 UTC 2016

Hi Andrew,

My understanding is that the CCWG proposal can be finalized and approved with 4 of 5 chartering organizations in support. So, a single organization in opposition *should* not scuttle the package.

It's unclear to me what happens if one chartering organization is silent and another opposed, leaving only 3 in support.  Probably a question for the Co-Chairs. 


-----Original Message-----
From: accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org [mailto:accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Andrew Sullivan
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2016 3:58 PM
To: accountability-cross-community at icann.org
Subject: [CCWG-ACCT] Recommendation 11, 2/3 board threshold, GAC consensus, and finishing

Dear colleagues,

I was going to make a comment on the call today, but in the interests of time I took myself out of the queue.  This note replaces what I wanted to say.

For those chartering organizations and individuals that wish to reject the compromise, I have a question.  If the proposed compromise position on recommendation 11 is rejected, there is a good reason to suppose that at least one important part of the community (the GAC) will reject the accountability proposal.  That will conceivably scuttle the transition; and in the absence of a consensus on the accountability measures, there is no reason to suppose we'll get the additional powers that are in the current text (incuding the Empowered Community).  Is it worth it to give up those additional powers to prevent the 2/3 board threshold, given that the additional powers provide a way to foil truly bad decisions anyway?

As I understand things, we are in a trap.  On the one hand, the GAC has produced a consensus position that the board must reject GAC advice by a supermajority.  And indeed, as things are, the ICANN board has a difficult time even under the current arrangements when it decides to reject GAC advice.  Yet the GAC is currently free to rearrange its own procedures such that it could lower its own threshold for decisions.  Therefore, the consensus position of the GAC represents a grave threat to the transition.  The current state of affairs is in any case not that hot; and the GAC could unilaterally make that current state of affairs worse.

The compromise proposal does a few things.  It is true that it increases the threshold for the board to reject GAC advice.  But in exchange for that, it enshrines the GAC's responsibility to the rest of the ICANN community as to how the GAC will reach decisions.  This means that, in exchange for the increased threshold -- a threshold that I think will be easy to reach regardless of the actual numbers on the board in any case that counts -- the GAC is giving up independent control over its decision-making procedures when exercising that threshold.  In that way, it is actually an improvement of GAC's covenant with the ICANN community.

Moreover, let us suppose that the GAC produced advice that the board decided to accept, but the rest of the community found that objectionable.  In that case, the rest of the community could force the board not to take the advice _anyway_, because of the additional accountability measures that this CCWG wants to put in place.

The compromise proposal is not perfect -- I too would prefer not to have the 2/3 rule -- but one does not expect complete satisfaction from a compromise.  And it should be surprising to no-one that it came rather late: each side wants something pretty big, and both appear to be dug in.  This means that each will need to give something up.
That's what deals look like.  And we need a deal, and soon, because we need to move ahead with the IANA transition.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
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