[council] FYI: NCSG Letter to the Board re. Reconsideration Request 13-3

Maria Farrell maria.farrell at gmail.com
Tue Jun 25 20:48:33 UTC 2013

Dear Council colleagues,

Below for your information is a copy of a letter sent on behalf of the NCSG
to the Board of Directors, which was received by the Board (via Bruce
Tonkin's kind intercession) on 19 June.

Bruce says the Board would be interested to meet and discuss the broad
concerns about the multistakeholder model raised in the reconsideration
request, and also confirms that the request itself will be discussed at the
BGC meeting of 25 June.

If and when we have any scheduling information about a meeting with the
Board, we will share it so that others may be aware.

All the best,


Dear ICANN Board of Directors:

I am writing to you on behalf of the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group
(NCSG) and other concerned members of the ICANN community regarding the
harmful implications to the community-led multi-stakeholder policy
development model if the ICANN Board decides to adopt the rationale
provided in the recommendation of the Board Governance Committee (BGC) in
response to the NCSG's Request for Reconsideration (13-3).  The rationale
provided in the BGC's recommendation, which appears to be drafted by
over-reaching lawyers, attempts to set a precedent that ICANN staff can
over-rule the GNSO Council on policy decisions at its own discretion.  This
decision has alarmed community members beyond the NCSG and beyond those who
were originally concerned with the underlying issue that NCSG was initially
probing of staff's adoption of the "TM+50" policy for the Trademark

The GNSO Council expressed concern about the BGC decision rationale at
length during council's 13 June meeting; and I encourage all Board Members
to listen to audio recording <http://t.co/ss2MwpdWEa> of the GNSO Council
discussion or read the attached transcript to get a better understanding
the concerns of members of several different GNSO stakeholder groups.

The rationale provided in the BGC decision, if adopted by the entire board,
would cement the change in ICANN's policy development model away from the
bottom-up community-led governance model to a top-down staff-driven model
with no checks on abuses or poor staff decisions.  If the rationale
provided in this BGC decision is adopted by the Board, which goes well
beyond the narrow issue presented to it, ICANN threatens to undermine its
own legitimacy as a global governance institution, and it loses the ability
to label itself as a community-led bottom-up model for Internet governance.

We understand the BGC's recommendation is on the agenda to be adopted on 25
June 2013 by the Board's New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC).  Given the
Board's record of adopting all 15 BGC decisions that have come before it in
the last ten years, there is concern that this BGC recommendation will be
similarly adopted by the Board with little understanding or discussion of
the harm to ICANN's legitimacy and the multi-stakeholder model that this
precedent threatens.  The handling of this reconsideration request has also
raised concerns about ICANN's "accountability" mechanism, which appears to
allow the same legal team that created and adopted a policy to later
evaluate the legitimacy of that policy's adoption.

*We therefore respectfully request that the Board meet with concerned
members of the community including NCSG to permit a more complete
discussion and understanding of the concerns raised by the rationale
provided in the BGC decision and to allow for appropriate adjustments to
the decision before it is adopted by the Board.*  We would gladly meet with
the Members of the ICANN Board during the Durban Meeting or before, at the
Board's convenience, to discuss this decision and welcome all members of
the community to join in the discussion.   Please let us know if the Board
is available to meet with NCSG and others in the community on this crucial
issue at your earliest convenience.   Thank you for your consideration.  We
look forward to fruitful discussions going into Durban and stand ready to
provide whatever assistance is needed.

Robin Gross
NCSG Chair
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