[ALAC] GAC Communiqué (Resend to public list)

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Fri Oct 28 16:30:54 UTC 2011


GAC Communiqué - Dakar

I. Introduction

The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the 
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and 
Numbers (ICANN) met in Dakar, Senegal during the 
week of October 22-27, 2011. Forty-nine 
Governments participated in the meeting: 46 
present and 3 by remote participation and six 
Observers. The GAC expresses warm thanks to the 
local hosts, The Ministry of Communication, 
Telecommunications and Information Technology 
(MICOMTELTIC) and the Regulatory Authority for 
Telecommunications and Post (ARTP) for their 
hospitality in organizing the meeting and ICANN 
for supporting the GAC during the meeting.

II. New gTLDs

The GAC further discussed and decided on the 
formulation of GAC advice for inclusion in Module 
3 of the Applicant Guidebook [Annex I].

During the discussion ICANN Staff underlined 
their understanding that advice regarding the 
definition of Geographic Names should be adopted by the GAC.

The GAC congratulates the JAS working group on 
the final report and recommendations, which are 
consistent with GAC advice. The GAC looks forward 
to the Board providing clear timelines for 
implementation of the recommendations to enable 
needy applicants to join in full and meaningfully in the first round.

The GAC raised concern about the unpredictability 
of the actual number of applications that 
governments would have to digest to proceed after 
the end of the application period. The GAC made 
clear, that if the number of applications 
published by ICANN significantly exceeds 500, GAC 
members might not be able to process a very large 
number of applications in the very short early 
warning procedure and in the limited time for 
issuing GAC advice on all these strings.

Further, the GAC asked ICANN for clarification 
about its intention to process these applications 
in batches of 500, in the case that there are 
more than 500 applications. The GAC urges ICANN 
to clarify the procedures and implications for 
applicants being processed in different batches, 
as this might have implications for competition 
and applicants' business models.

Following presentations by the ICANN staff and 
the Security and Stability Advisory Committee, 
the GAC took note of the SSAC consideration of 
the combined impact of new gTLDs and other 
changes such as the introduction of IPv6, DNSSEC 
and IDNs to the root. The GAC welcomes the 
confirmation of the commitment by the ICANN Board 
to provide a full report with a complete 
analysis, including all underlying data, of the 
root system scalability well before the opening 
of the new gTLDs application round. The GAC 
further welcomes the confirmation of the 
commitment by the Board to evaluate the impact on 
the system after the 1st round, with the 
understanding that the launch of a second round 
is contingent on the outcome of this evaluation, 
in particular the absence of negative effects on 
the root system. The GAC believes that in order 
for this evaluation to be effective, an 
appropriate and trustable monitoring system needs to be in place.

In its discussions with the Board regarding the 
Communication Plan for new gTLDs, the GAC 
emphasised the importance of promoting the gTLDs 
application round in all countries, including 
developing countries. The GAC suggested that 
levels of awareness be continually assessed and 
reviewed, and priorities and target areas under 
the Plan be adjusted accordingly in the run up to the launch of the round.

The GAC welcomed the assurances received from the 
Board and staff that the evaluation of 
applications will ensure a level playing field 
for applicants and that any conflicts of interest 
will be identified and avoided accordingly.

III. Law Enforcement (LEA) Recommendations

In recent years, the Internet has grown to have 
over two billion users and be a significant contributor to the global economy.

Cyber-crime is a growing threat to the security 
and stability of the Internet, with broad and 
direct public policy impacts. Recent estimates 
suggest that the direct financial impact of cyber 
crime is extremely significant.

Law enforcement agencies have identified a series 
of specific problems which are limiting their 
ability to address this growing problem.

As part of this, law enforcement agencies have 
identified specific areas of concern in the ICANN 
context, relating to contractual weaknesses and a 
lack of necessary due diligence.

To address these urgent problems, in 2009 law 
enforcement agencies made 12 concrete 
recommendations to reduce the risk of criminal abuse of the domain name system.

These recommendations were informally socialized 
with the registrar community, the GAC, and with 
ICANN compliance staff over the course of several 
months, before the GAC advised the Board in its 
Brussels communiqué that it formally endorsed the recommendations.

Direct exchanges between law enforcement agencies 
and registrars continued in September 2010 in 
Washington D.C., in February 2011 in Brussels, 
and during the March and June 2011 ICANN meetings.

As a complement to the June exchanges in 
Singapore, the GAC urged the Board to support 
actions necessary to implement those recommendations as a matter of urgency.
To date, none of the recommendations have been 
implemented, and the risks remain. The GAC 
therefore advises the ICANN Board to take the 
necessary steps to ensure that ICANN's 
multistakeholder process effectively addresses 
these GAC-endorsed proposals as a matter of extreme urgency.

IV. Accountability and Transparency Review Team Recommendations (ATRT)

The GAC welcomes the update provided by ICANN 
staff on the ATRT Recommendations progress and 
the suggestions presented with regards to the 
implementation of recommendations 9 through 14 on 
the GAC role, effectiveness and interaction with the Board.

The GAC looks forward to an expedited 
implementation of the Joint Working Group and 
ATRT recommendations and is keen to continue 
working with the Board on the Recommendations related to the GAC.

V. Conflict of interest

The GAC expresses extreme concern about the 
inadequacy of the existing rules of ethics and 
conflict of interest in the light of recent 
events and therefore welcomes the approval of the 
motion by the Board Governance Committee on 15 
September 2011 concerning "ethics and conflicts 
of interest".  The GAC looks forward to the 
publication of a timeline with clear and 
effective actions as a conclusion of the Dakar 
meeting or shortly thereafter.  In order to 
ensure the legitimacy and sustainability of the 
multi-stakeholder model as enshrined in ICANN, 
the GAC underlines the extreme urgency of putting 
in place effective and enforceable rules on conflicts of interest.

The GAC will keep this important issue under 
review and may come forward with further advice 
before the Costa Rica GAC meetings.

VI. Meeting with the Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO)

The GAC and the GNSO exchanged views on a number 
of issues, beginning with an overview by ICANN 
staff of the GNSO policy development process. 
Consistent with the recommendations of the 
Accountability and Transparency Review Team and 
the related GAC-Board Joint Working Group, the 
GAC stressed its interest in ensuring that GAC 
views are provided and taken into account at 
early stages in the policy development process.

The meeting also discussed the implementation of 
the Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) recommendations 
to mitigate Domain Name System abuse, which were 
endorsed by the GAC in June 2010. The GAC 
expressed its disappointment that registrars were 
only able to report on their consideration of 
three of the twelve LEA Recommendations. Further, 
the reported progress fell substantially short of 
what GAC members believed had been achieved 
during its meetings with registrars in Singapore 
in June 2011. The GAC also expressed concern that 
there was no clarity on how the other nine 
recommendations were being progressed, despite 
the registrars' agreement at the Singapore 
meeting to provide regular status reports. The 
GAC informed the GNSO Council of its intention to 
request the ICANN Board to take prompt and 
concrete action to implement the GAC/LEA recommendations.

The meeting also addressed the GAC's proposal to 
the GNSO on the protection mechanism for the 
International Olympic Committee and Red Cross/Red 
Crescent names at the top and second levels. The 
GAC requested feedback from the GNSO on the 
proposal as a first step in collaborating on 
advice for the ICANN Board in this regard, 
consistent with the ICANN Board Resolution in Singapore.

The GAC looks forward to further engagement with 
the GNSO to work more effectively within the 
ICANN processes and reinforce the sustainability 
of the multi-stakeholder model.

VII. Meeting with the At-Large Advisory Group (ALAC)

The GAC met with the ALAC to discuss Conflict of 
Interest issues within the ICANN Board and staff. 
The GAC agrees that this is a critical matter 
that needs to be addressed as a high priority within the community.

The GAC and ALAC also discussed the Joint 
Applicant Support (JAS) Working Group as well as 
the ALAC and GAC Joint Statement. The GAC expects 
a decision to be taken for implementation in time 
for the opening of the first new gTLD round.

In light of the common interest of advancing 
improvements in the ICANN model, the GAC and ALAC 
also discussed the ongoing work of the 
Accountability and Transparency Review Team 
(ATRT). The GAC shared the areas identified as a 
priority in the framework of the ATRT and the 
Joint Working Group recommendations, looking 
forward to an expedited implementation.

VIII. GAC Operating Principles

The GAC amended Principle 47 of its Operating 
Principles clarifying its understanding of 
consensus. The definition now introduced derives 
from United Nations practice and understands 
consensus as adopting decisions by general 
agreement in the absence of formal objections. 
The GAC noted that according to UN practice 
individual members may make reservations, 
declarations, statements of interpretation and/or 
statements of position regarding a consensus 
decision, provided such texts do not represent an 
objection to the consensus [Annex II].

IX. Joint session with the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO)

The GAC met with the ccNSO to discuss the 
progress and ongoing work of the Framework of 
Interpretation cross-community Working Group 
(FoI) on delegation and redelegation, and the 
mechanisms for the GAC to provide feedback and 
contribute to this work within a timeline that 
the ccNSO has provided. In addition, the ccNSO 
shared an update of its current work areas and its organisational structure.

The GAC is eager to further engage with the ccNSO 
to provide timely inputs on the different stages of the FoI work.

X. Meeting with the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC)

The GAC thanks the SSAC for providing an update 
on its work including blocking and reputation 
systems, WHOIS matters and single label domain 
names. Further, the GAC thanks the SSAC Chair for 
discussions on Root Zone Scaling and Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI).

The GAC looks forward to receiving further 
updates on DNS blocking matters and other 
relevant security and stability related matters.

XI. Meeting with the Nominating Committee (NomCom)

The GAC met with the Nominating Committee and 
discussed the skill-sets needed of an ICANN 
Director, as outlined in the Accountability and 
Transparency Review Team (ATRT) recommendations 
to improve the selection process. The NomCom 
invited individual GAC members to provide further inputs.

XII. Election of Vice-chairs

The GAC has reelected the current vice-chairs, 
Choon-Sai Lim (Singapore), Maria Häll (Sweden) 
and Alice Munyua (Kenya) to continue their mandate for another year.


The GAC warmly thanks all those among the ICANN 
community who have contributed to the dialogue with the GAC in Dakar.

The GAC will meet during the period of the 43rd 
ICANN meeting in San José, Costa Rica.

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