[council] GNSO Council and Board retreat

Grant FORSYTH Grant.Forsyth at team.telstraclear.co.nz
Thu Aug 4 05:56:42 UTC 2005

Dear Bruce and fellow Councillors - (my apologies for the length of this

During the active discussions between various constituencies of the GNSO and
the Board in Luxembourg, several Councillors supported the suggestion that
it would be productive if there was scheduled a working session between the
Council and Board. This would provide a fuller opportunity to work together
on topics of mutual concern. 

Here are a few thoughts and ideas I am posting as an individual Councillor
in an effort to develop this idea further and hope this will serve to
generate like responses from my fellow Councillors. 
Recognizing that planning for meetings at Vancouver are progressing now, I
propose the following suggestion be taken up now such that it can be
accommodated in that planning and the final schedule for Vancouver.

I propose that:
The Board and GNSO Council meet, during the ICANN face-to-face meetings, for
the purpose of exchanging views and updates on key issues facing ICANN and
in particular to have discussions on the 3 [4?5?] key policy items on the
GNSO's agenda where board approval, or involvement/support is key.

Further, I suggest that:
1. the meeting be for at least 3 hours -my strong recommendation would be
for half a day including breakfast and lunch (say 8.00 - 1pm)

2) while other SO's also undertake policy development work, the vast
majority of policy issues concerning ICANN are related to the generic TLD
space. Thus, I think it would be preferable to prioritise the participation
of the GNSO, and ensure that the interests of the CCNSO and ASO be included
through their liaison reps on the GNSO council and possibly their relevant
chairs, (rather than trying to expand the forum to include all of those
organisation's councils).

3) this joint meeting should preferably be held early on in the meeting
schedule so that each body is better prepared for their further
deliberations during the week. 

4) the meeting should not pre-empt the existing Board meetings with the
constituencies which provide valuable opportunity for the Board to hear from
the grass roots membership nor the GNSO or Board public forums.

5) the meeting would strengthen the policy role and leadership
responsibility of the Council, supported by staff. The Council should assume
its responsibility of advising the Board on policy matters rather than
relying on staff to act as messengers and interpreters of Council's work.
This would reduce the current staff-Board policy briefings opening up some
of the precious time necessary to accommodate the proposed joint meeting. 

6) in order to facilitate free and frank discussion and noting that this is
not a decision making meeting, the meeting would be conducted under "Chatham
house rules" and participation limited to the Board, Council, Council's
official liaisons, agreed guests (such as other SO chairs, etc.), and
specific staff at appropriate junctures during the meeting (again, like
other briefings the Board presently takes). 

These recommendations seek to address the concern that many have of the
perceived disconnects between ICANN's policy development organisation and
Board. This is evidenced by the lack of interaction and communications
between the two bodies. Today, all too many of the communications between
the Council and Board are restricted to email exchanges and staff reports
that are often not even previewed with the Council. This is an unfortunate
position for staff to be in, and unacceptable for the Council in fulfilling
its core responsibilities. 

I would be keen to hear the views of others on Council and once we have
refined our set of proposals, we would formally put this to the Board.


Grant Forsyth
Manager Industry & Regulatory Affairs
Cnr Taharoto & Northcote Roads
Private Bag 92143
ph +64 9 912 5759
fx + 64 9 912 4077
Mb 029 912 5759 

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