[council] Draft ATRT2 Comments

Maria Farrell maria.farrell at gmail.com
Mon Dec 9 20:23:10 UTC 2013

Dear all,

Here are some draft comments on the ATRT2 recommendations re. the GNSO.

Mikey and David - I know you two kindly volunteered to help out with this.
Can you particularly take a look?

Also, there's a need for a para or bullet point list summarising relevant
work the GNSO is already doing, e.g. the SCI? or Staff paper on improving
the PDP? I'm drawing a blank on the other initiatives. Can someone please
rustle up a list of them?

This needs to be submitted by the 12th, so comments please ASAP.

All the best, Maria

Dear members of the Acountability and Transparency Review Team (2),

The GNSO Council thanks you for the outcome-oriented analysis and
recommendations in the ATRT2 Draft Recommendations of 21 November, 2013. We
particularly appreciate the time and care that went into these
recommendations, the commissioning of useful research and, especially, the
efforts made by the ATRT2 and its leadership to promote awareness and
dialogue about the recommendations at the Buenos Aires meeting.

The Council’s input focuses on recommendations regarding the GNSO PDP.
Broadly, we strongly support the call for broader and more active working
group participation and earlier involvement of the GAC, and will work hard
to implement final recommendations on these issues.

*New recommendations arising from issues not addressed by ATRT1

*10.1 on developing funded options for professional facilitators to help
GNSO PDP Working Groups*

While some Councilors supported this suggestion, others were concerned that
facilitators may not always be appropriate in the multi-stakeholder model.
Broadly, we believe this is an option that could be considered in the
context of the ATRT2’s recommendation to develop explicit guidelines for
when to use facilitators. Agreement should be elicited by Working Group
participants to use facilitators on a case by case basis, and with a clear
understanding of facilitators’ roles.

*10.1 on face to face meetings during GNSO PDPs*

We support this recommendation and the development of guidelines for when
F2F meetings may be required and justified. However, we do note that there
is a variety of ability amongst Working Group participants to travel to F2F
meetings. Many volunteers cannot leave work or family to do so, for
example. We suggest that if intercessional F2F meetings are used more often
that ICANN consider adopting the IETF approach that agreements reached
during F2F meetings are then subject to consideration by mailing list

*10.1 on GNSO and the wider ICANN community developing ways to make the
GNSO PDP process more time-effective*

As with our comments on item 10.4 below, we are concerned that speed not be
the main metric used to determine the performance of the GNSO. There is not
one but three fundamental ways to judge PDP performance: time,
participativeness and agreement. Time measures only how long it took to get
to a policy; the second two are effectively proxy measures for its quality.
Stressing too much the most obvious performance variable could have the
unintentional consequence of sacrificing quality. Further, increasing the
pressure of time can result in forced compromises that quickly fall apart
or result in participants end-running to the Board, a phenomenon the report
identifies. This undermines the legitimacy of the whole process.

We suggest this recommendation be revised to stress more that
‘time-effective’ encompasses efficient use of participants’ time –
including preparation for and chairing of calls and follow-up activities,
etc. – rather than focusing on a single, quantifiable metric that can draw
attention away from other qualities.

*10.2 on the GAC, with the GNSO, developing ways to input to PDP Working

We strongly support this recommendation and are eager to work with the GAC
on ways to implement it.

*10.3 on the Board and GNSO chartering a strategic initiative to broaden
participation in GNSO PDPs*

We broadly support this recommendation and welcomed the detailed
quantitative analysis provided in support of the need to broaden
participation. We do also note staff’s observation that in some cases input
to public comments may appear to be from, for example, the US but has been
submitted by a US-based individual on behalf of a peak organization that
consulted more widely.

Nonetheless, there is clearly a need to both broaden and deepen
participation. Some of our councilors suggest that as well as outreach to
increase participation from outside of ICANN, we should also do ‘in reach’
to deepen participation by individuals already involved in ICANN but who
have never participated in a Working Group. We ask that the ATRT2 may
consider this suggestion.

*10.4 on the Board stating a process for setting gTLD policies when the
GNSO ‘cannot come to closure on a specific issue within a specified

We share the concerns stated by others that the couching of this
recommendation may unwittingly undermine the multi-stakeholder model in
ICANN. Policy-making can take longer than is predictable or desirable, but
nonetheless be effective in its deliberativeness, output and degree of
support. This recommendation seems to perpetuate a belief that the GNSO –
the engine of gTLD policy development and the only part of ICANN driven by
carefully balanced stakeholder decision-making – is too slow and
argumentative. That belief can drive some ICANN participants to go around
the GNSO and straight to the Board, undermining the multi-stakeholder
process and ICANN’s *raison d’etre. *While Board deadlines can sometimes
help overcome intractable differences, it’s not clear how to ensure
constructive negotiation within the PDP without later recourse to the Board
or GAC.

This recommendation seems to contradict the research report finding that
there is both a conflict but ultimately a ‘sweet spot’ to be found between
policy-making being sufficiently participatory and speedy. We suggest that
this recommendation be revised to help the GNSO find that sweet spot –
which will change from one issue to the next and is not a ‘one size fits
all’ amount of pre-specified time. For example, the recommendation could be
re-drafted to suggest the Board interact formally or informally with the
GNSO to find out more about PDPs that appear to be going too slowly; to
find out if that is indeed the case, and to constructively offer advice or
encouragement to assist.

Recommendation 10.4 also says the Board should note under what conditions
it believes it may alter PDP recommendations after formal Board acceptance.
We support this part of the recommendation.

Recommendation 10.4 also says there should be an additional step in the PDP
Comment Process that allows those whose comments have been synthesized
improperly to request changes. We support this recommendation, while noting
it will add some time to the process. Perhaps it could be implemented on an
‘if/then’ basis, i.e. inserting an opportunity for commenters to raise
their initial concerns to trigger taking the additional step of requesting
changes to the summary. However, we also suggest replacing the term
‘improperly’ with ‘incorrectly’ or ‘wrongly’, as the word ‘improper’ has
connotations of wrongdoing rather than inaccuracy, which don’t seem
relevant here.

*Summary of work the GNSO is already doing*


4.       Summarise if appropriate

Full text of the report is here:
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