Prior to the Bucharest meeting of ICANN, intense debate had been initiated
about the process by which the ICANN board was to be constituted and funded.
There were indications that external pressures were being mounted on ICANN
to change the managerial structure of the organization.
Prior to these debates, ICANN was being developed as a "Model" institution
which respected participation of the stake holders in a democratic manner. It
tried to promote "Bottoms Up" policy in decision making striving for consensus
through extensive consultations. In order to provide representation for the
Netizens in the Board, ICANN even designed an election process in 2001, in
which around 143,806 were registered as voters. Of these 76,183 persons were
validated with physical existence and finally 34,035 of them cast their votes
to elect their 5 representatives to the Board one from each of the 5 continents.
The Board of ICANN consisted at this point 19 members
including 3 directors each from the three supporting organizations, namely
DNSO, ASO, PSO, and the President / CEO.
In the run up before the Bucharest meeting, in a well
orchestrated maneuvere, the participation of the public in the ICANN Board has
Firstly, the Board constituted an Evolution Reforms
Committee (ERC) on 15th November 2001, consisting of four members namely
Alejandro Pisanty (chair), Lyman Chapin, Hans
Kraaijenbrink, and Nii Quaynor to suggest the board on the required reforms.
On 24 February 2002, ICANN President Stuart Lynn issued a
report entitled "ICANN–the
Case for Reform", which discussed the mission ICANN was attempting to
achieve, reviewed the performance of the existing processes and structure of
ICANN in relation to that mission, and concluded that those processes and
structures would not permit ICANN to achieve its mission (as then understood),
and recommended significant evolutionary reforms.
In the meantime, based on the recommendations of the "At
Large Study Committee", several At Large representative organizations were
enrolled on a voluntary basis (naavi.org / Cyber Law Solutions Ltd is also one
of them) as indirect representatives of the Netizen community to form an At
large Structure that can build Netizen participation into the system. This was
in the process of initial development when the Bucharest meeting intervened.
Apparently acting as a follow up of the President's report,
ERC developed a
"Blue Print for reforms" just before the Bucharest meeting, ostensibly
based on public consultations. During the Bucharest meeting, the ICANN board
endorsed the blue print and adopted it as resolution no 02.75.
A resolution [02.76] was also adopted that the Evolution and Reform Committee (ERC)
would oversee further detailed implementation and transition work
based on the Blueprint for Reform, with the continued involvement and
participation of the ICANN community, to report to the Board at its next
telephonic meeting as to its progress and schedule, and to provide its
implementation recommendations to the Board and the community sufficiently
prior to the Shanghai meeting (October 2002) so that the Board can take action at that
The present suggestion on the composition of the ICANN
Board as adopted by the Bucharest meeting can be summarised as follows:
The Board will be composed of 15 voting Directors.
Additionally there shall be 5 non-voting Liaisons as specified below who may
participate in Board discussions and deliberations like Directors but shall
not cast votes (and as such, do not count towards quorum counts of the Board)
The 15 voting Directors shall be selected as follows:
The 5 non-voting Liaisons shall be selected as follows:
1 by the TAC
1 by the IAB/IETF
1 by the RSSAC
1 by the SAC
1 by the GAC
There will be three supporting organizations: the GNSO
(Generic Names Supporting Organization), the CNSO (Country Names Supporting
Organization), and the ASO (Addressing Supporting Organization). In the new
structure, there would be no Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO).
There will also be four standing advisory committees of the
Board: the GAC (Government Advisory Committee), the TAC (Technical Advisory
Committee), the RSSAC (the DNS Root Server System Advisory Committee) and the
SAC (Security Advisory Committee).
The term of all the directors would be 3 years.
While rejecting the use of elections as an impractical and
inefficient method of building Netizen representation, the blue print suggests the
creation of an At Large Advisory Committee as a potential vehicle for
informed participation in ICANN by the broad user community. In the mean
time the Nomination Committee (Nomcom) will be entrusted with the
responsibility of nominating persons to the Board on behalf of the At Large
The entire process appears to give an impression that it
has been stage managed to remove public participation by voting and
replace it with individuals close to the current top management. This could be
a wrong perception, but the circumstances leading to this development cannot
but drive an independent observer to such a conclusion.
We now need to wait and see how the Nomcom committee would
be constituted and what action it takes to provide a representation to the At
Large Community and how it approaches the issue of At Large Advisory
Look for the Follow up article: What should India do?
July 03, 2002
ICANN Proposes Grace Period for Domain Name
Preliminary Report of the ICANN Board Meeting at Bucharest
ERC Blueprint for Reform,
can be sent here
Those of you who want to sign a petition opposing the Grace period system of
domain name registration, can sign an online petition here.