ICANN 53 – Progress and Building Consensus


The ICG met for two days to discuss the current status of the names, numbers and protocol proposals. With the numbers and protocols proposals having already been submitted in the previous number of weeks much of the focus was on the draft proposal that was to be sent for approval to the chartering organisations during the 53rd meeting of ICANN in Buenos Aires.

A strong and constructive dialogue occurred on the issue of how to deal with the trademarks associated with the IANA, with the numbers and protocols having proposed one approach while the names community is still in deep discussions on the issue.

GNSO Weekend

ICANN 53 unofficially started off after the ICG had completed its work with the #GNSOWeekend, where the GNSO comes together over the weekend preceding the ICANN meeting to discuss and deliberate on its various working groups, PDP’s and current policy development topics. These sessions are working sessions where differences of opinion are worked out and consensus is built before the final deliberations and voting of the GNSO council occurs during the main ICANN meeting.

CS Outreach Event

NCUC ran an incredibly successful outreach event on the Saturday, the room was packed to the brim with local stakeholders from abroad range of backgrounds; Academia, Human Rights, Civil Lawyers, and other interested parties. A number of NCUC members gave a selection of brief policy updates across the areas that NCUC is active in with a Q&A session at the end. A cocktail reception followed where the room was filled with passionate conversations in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. Thank you to Bill Drake and Jean Jacques Sahel for organising this event which was a great way to extend ICANNS engagement with local stakeholders. Certaintly an event we will attempt to replicate in Dublin in October.

ICANN 53 Buenos Aires

ICANN 53 opened on Monday 22nd June with an address from Fadi Chehade outgoing ICANN CEO. This meeting was slated to be one of the most important since ICANNs inception. With the final proposal of the Cross Community Working Group on Naming Related Functions (CWG) being submitted to the chartering organisations for approval. This work, the culmination of tens of thousands of person-hours, over 100 participants, and over 80,000 emails is hoped to chart the future of the IANA, one of the most critical functions of the Internet.

In order to ensure that the knowledge of the work of the CWG was spread wide and far, a town hall session was held on the opening day with 2 ½ Hours of engagement with both the CWG and CCWG chairs and work party rapporteurs. Many questions were asked of the groups both on process and substance and everyone left knowing a little bit more and some new points to think about.

Later in the day the CWG held an engagement session itself with the community, with the Design Team Leads (This author included) joining Lise Fuhr and Johnathan Robinson on the stage for a compelling session which featured questions from all areas of the community.

Tuesday was constituency day where each constituency gets together to strategize and receive presentations from a wide variety of speakers, from ICANN staff, other community leaders and also this year from members of the GAC working group on Public Saftey.

NCUC had some high profile visitors, with John Berrard and Greg Shatan both joinoing the NCUC constituents to speak on the .sucks debate that is raging both within ICANN but also within the larger worlds media. Tuesday evening the NCSG of which NCUC is a constituency met the the ICANN board to discuss topics of interest. Starting off with Public Interest Commitments (PICs) we discussed the process and our disagreement with the methods by which the PICs have undermined the bottom up policy development process. We then moved on to the topic of the gTLD Auction Proceeds where we managed to get a solid commitment that the board will engage with the CCWG at an early stage and make their thoughts and knowledge on the matter known during the working process. This is a great step for the community as having the board engage in a constructive manner during the CCWG process will be a key milestone for board-community working relations.

On Wednesday many of the current PDP working groups met to discuss their progress and the main event of the GNSO calendar occurred. The GNSO council met at 13:00 ART with a number of motions on the table. But one that everyone was waiting for. After an overview given by Johnathan Robinson (Who is both GNSO Council Chair and also CWG Stewardship co-chair) the motion went to vote. The motion to approve the work of the CWG culminating in the Final Proposal was approved by unanimous vote. It was a moment of great relief and pride for the participants and staff who were in the room and who had been working for over a year on this proposal. Later on in the day the ccNSO, the GAC, and the SSAC all approved their respective motions to approve the proposal. Only the ALAC remained…

Early Thursday morning the tweets and emails went out, “The ALAC has approved the CWG Proposal” at an early morning session the ALAC had voted unanimously to endorse the CWG proposal and with that around lunchtime the proposal was officially sent to the ICG for consideration.

The meeting wrapped up with the public forum on Thursday afternoon. A number of NCUC members spoke at the mic, raising issues from ICANNS Visa Support program to welcoming the ICANN community to Dublin in October.

In conclusion ICANN 53 was an interesting, challenging and constructive meeting. I want to extend my thanks to the NCUC Executive Committee and its Chair Bill Drake for allowing me to attend using NCUCs travel support policy.


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