Guidelines For Discussions
1. The ICANN Mission
ICANN should have a clearly defined, limited and stable mission, giving priority to technical functions that are essential for the coordination and stability of the Internet. Certain existing activities could be reduced to improve that focus. Relevant legal and contractual work should be reduced to what is essential.
The agreed definition should be adopted and revised by the Board by a substantial majority, after a GAC opinion.
Bottom-up participation, transparency and consensus building should continue to be guiding principles of ICANŃs working methods. Excessive and unnecessary centralisation within ICANN processes should be avoided.
In many cases, ICANNís mission impinges on public policy issues. In these cases GAC must play a stronger role in the decision making process (see point 4 below).
2. The Public-Private Partnership
The open public-private partnership, involving ICANN, governments and stakeholders in the Domain Name System (DNS), needs to be clarified.
Government involvement with ICANN processes, which in areas impinging on public policy needs to be strengthened, should be through an enhanced relationship between ICANN and the GAC rather than through direct participation in ICANNís Board and Budget.
Governments should satisfy themselves that the interests of other appropriate stakeholders are adequately recognised in the final structure.
3. ICANN structure, membership and financing
The private sector participants concerned are responsible for reaching mutually acceptable agreements regarding the structure of ICANN, its membership and financing and its decision-making processes. Due consideration should be given to the adequate protection of the public interest by strengthening the standing of GAC Advice.
Such agreements, however, must give full weight to internationalisation, transparency and fairness and to maintaining the principle of geographic diversity and representation throughout the organisation. These agreements should be defined in such a way that the legitimate interests of each area of the world, and of their respective stakeholders, whether economic, legal or pertaining to public policies, could be duly taken into account.
Governments should not contribute directly to ICANNís budget.
4. Treatment of public policy issues
Governments are responsible for public policy, not ICANN. Where ICANN's activities are likely to involve public policy implications, ICANN must consult the GAC. The GAC and ICANN should seek to define in advance which areas involve such implications. When there is an ICANN Board majority against a GAC advice, the matter must be further discussed in good faith between the ICANN Board and the GAC, with a view to reaching an agreement. Decisions taken by the ICANN Board against a GAC advice do not prejudice any steps governments may decide to take in order to protect the public interest. In all cases, ICANN should inform GAC on how its advice has been taken into account.
5. The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)
Governments agree that the GAC is the principal forum for the international discussion of public policy issues related to the ICANN mission and the Domain Name System. In this respect, Governments attach great importance to strengthening the role of GAC and ensuring its functional independence, in particular in the context of its partnership with ICANN.
In order to effectively fulfil this role vis-ŗ-vis ICANN, GAC needs to work more effectively and be better integrated into the policy formulation process. This will require the necessary organisation and secretariat and in due course, if needed, a more appropriate legal structure. Governments should provide the necessary resources to this effect. In anticipation that other administrations will also make available such resources, the European Commission is also encouraged to allocate appropriate resources for this purpose. Responsibility for the GAC secretariat could thus be shared between several GAC participants. This secretariat would provide services to GAC both for policy making and logistics.
GAC may seek the assistance of other qualified international entities for specific tasks or projects.
6. Oversight of the Root Zone File and Reserve Powers
The important issue of the transfer of powers relating to the management of the root server system from the United States' Department of Commerce to ICANN, under appropriate supervision, remains unresolved. Governments, in cooperation with the stakeholders concerned, should work towards internationalising the oversight role currently exercised by the United States government. The European Union should maintain a close political dialogue with the United States administration in order to facilitate an internationally acceptable outcome.
In future reserve powers of last resort in the event of ICANN failing to fulfil its essential tasks and for the oversight of the maintenance of the authoritative Root Zone File could be exercised through the GAC or another appropriately constituted entity.
Luxembourg, 18 June 2002