The CCWG was just concluded 2 days of intense negotiations at Le Meridien Etoile in Paris. With 76 members and participants in person in the room and a further 30 participating remotely this was a well attended meeting, Robin Gross the NCSG member was present and myself James Gannon and Ed Morris were also in Paris to assist Robin in her work and to continue our own work on behalf of NCUC within the CCWG.
Lise Fuhr the Co-Chair of the CWG gave an excellent overview of the dependencies that link the CWG and CCWG work, the floor asked a number of clarifying questions around some of the specifics in order to confirm that the understand of the CCWG was correct and complete. These dependencies came up in a number of discussions and the ability of Lise to clarify the CWGs needs was critical.
The CCWGs independent counsel Sidley Austin and Adler Colvin took the floor to describe a possible third model for the CCWG to consider, namely a single member of ICANN composed of the SO’s and AC’s, this single member would then be able to exercise the community powers the CCWG has enumerated. The group spent a number of sessions debating the merits of this model, comparing it against the needs of the community, and analysing it in the content of the previous models that the CCWG had looked at.
NCUC participants were key in making sure that we had analysed the model in terms of what powers it will give to civil society and non-commercial at ICANN, asking our lawyers some hard questions to ensure that the accountability of this model is truly bottom up and multi equal in its approach to matters. It is clear that going to a membership structure is a very powerful tool for the ICANN community, it gives the power to the community when working collectively to be equal to and in some circumstance to sit above the role of the board, enabling the community to be the final decision maker is critical cases where we as the bottom up multistakeholders can have our needs recognised as the final point of power within this new organisational structure.
Over the two days a consensus was formed with an eventual agreement that this model would act as our reference model going into the public comment period at the end of the month. Under this framework, the Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) would collectively participate together as the sole member of ICANN. This coordination of SOs and ACs would be empowered to take certain special actions within ICANN. Further, an exchange of views will occur within a Community Mechanism before decisions are made. Additional details will become available over the next few weeks as the community continues to develop the framework for this model. The sole member model is a very powerful tool to address the accountability concerns that ICANN has and also potential future concerns that may arise.
These factors are critical in ensuring that we not only make accountability possible now but that we embed accountability into the core of the organisation for the future. Rooted in the collective ability of the SO’s and AC’s to legally enforce the community powers it brings ICANN to a place where the community is empowered to make the organisation accountable. Under the model the community powers are engaged by any SO/AC via petition and a “weighted vote” approval process (the “Community Mechanism”) this will be direct mechanism that will enable us the ICANN community to exercise the community powers that we need to ensure accountability.