We submit the following statement of principle, procedure, and explanation in order
facilitate more effective functioning of the DNSO consensus process.
Principle: Structure Procedure to Work Toward Consensus Policies
The DNSO should
be structured to provide statements of community
consensus, not to provide statements
of position from particular
constituencies. The DNSO's operations should
be structured specifically to determine such consensus.
II. Procedural Recommendation:
Charter a Drafting Committee
To facilitate the determination of detailed DNSO consensus
policies, we suggest the following addition to DNSO and Names Council procedure.
After an initial day of face-to-face constituency meetings (taking place during
"Day 1"), a consensus resolution drafting committee should convene ("Evening/Night
1") to draft proposed consensus resolutions. These resolutions would be presented
to the Names Council for discussion, revision, and approval at its meeting on the
The drafting committee should operate according to a charter
and set of guidelines provided to it by the Names Council. We suggest the following
principles for its operation:
1. Each constituency should select a
single member to participtate in the drafting committee. To assure broad-based
particiipation in the committee, no person should serve on the drafting committee
for two consecutive meetings. We further tentatively suggest that each constituency's
appointment to the drafting committee should be selected from its representative
to the Names Council; we believe this is feasible, i.e. that NC representatives would
be willing and able to take on this task.
2. The drafting committee should present
all proposed resolutions to the General Assembly ("Morning 2") for public comment
before submitting them to the Names Council ("Afternoon 2"). In addition, the
drafting committee should post its proposed resolution online as soon as they are
completed, allowing interested members of the public to review and comment on them
as early as possible.
3. Members of the drafting committee should take all possible
steps to reach a proposed consensus resolution to present to the Names Council on
4. The drafting committee should attempt to reach consensus
on each issue. However, if consensus cannot be reached, we suggest that a five
constituency supermajority should be sufficient for drafting committee agreement
on a proposed consensus policy. (Should additional constituencies be added
at some point in the future, the size of the supermajority would of course need to
be adjusted to suit.)
5. In the event that the drafting committee fails to reach
a proposed consensus resolution to present to the Names Council on a particular policy
issue, the committee should attempt to provide a clear statement of disagreements
and of outstanding issues preventing consensus.
III. Explanatory Comment:
Advantages of Use of a Drafting Committee
Our suggestion arises out of three main
observations. First, we notice that the Names Council is composed of constituencies
with interests that naturally diverge, to at least some extent, making it difficult
to reach consensus on certain policy issues. Second, we suggest that the lack
of a DNSO/Names Council policy staff makes it difficult to produce detailed policy
proposals for adoption by the Names Council. Finally, we note the efficacy
of the ICANN Board and Staff's process of receiving in-person and writiten comments,
then spending the evening before the ICANN Board Meeting writing proposed consensus
policies. This method is capable of a) being responsive to community sentiment,
b) producing a thoughtful and detailed middle ground proposal, and c) generating
a substantive proposal which can then be discussed and revised by the Names Council
at its meetings.
We think the use of a drafting committee would provide
1. It would allow the DNSO to more fully serve its
function of providing detailed statements of DNSO consensus to the Board of Directors.
2. It would allow constituencies the opportunity to work together
to create an acceptable consensus policy while preserving each constituency's freedom
to advocate its own position.
3. It would allow an unprecedented opportunity
for public comment and response to detailed DNSO policies. The public could
comment on the proposed consensus resolutions in the meeting of the General Assembly
and online, giving the Names Council members an increased opportunity to consider
the proposed policies in light of community reaction.
IV. Technical and Practical
1. Adoption of the above suggested system would increase the importance
of the face-to-face consituency meetings taking place at the ICANN meetings.
Constituencies might want to consider additional methods of making the face-to-face
meetings available to constituency members who are not present. This could
consist of formal use of proxies, audio webcasts, telephone bridges to constituency
meetings, and/or remote comment or voting on particular issues.
2. As a
general rule, we understand that the ICANN Staff stays up quite late drafting the
proposed Board resolutions for the ICANN Board of Directors meeting. It is
safe to assume that the process of reaching agreement within the DNSO's drafting
committee might also require work late into the night. Because of the importance
of completing the proposed resolutions at a reasonable hour (and certainly before
the GA the following morning), we suggest use of a supermajority when consensus cannot
be reached, and we further include the last-resort option of producing a statement
of outstanding disagreement on a difficult issue. An alternative aproach would
be to create numerous drafting committees and dividing the work up between them.
This option has the advantage of reducing the power in any one drafting committee,
but has the significant disadvantages of requiring many more people as well as more
rooms and perhaps more technical support (see below).
3. Openness and Technical
Support. Because the results of the drafting process will be posted and will
be presented for public comment at the General Assembly, openness of the actual drafting
committee sessions may not be necessary. The advantages of openness and transparency
are clear and are fundamental to the ICANN philosophy. However, our intuition
is that making drafting committee meetings open might hinder their effectiveness.
One possible option would be to open the meeting for listening and viewing only,
possibly with an accompanying full or audio webcast and archived recording.
An alterntaive would be to have the drafting committee meeting scribed or minuted
so that a record of the proceedings could be made available to the community along
with the draft recommendations. In light of the importance of this issue, the
Berkman Center might be able to provide assistance with meeting support as needed
(if the Center is asked by ICANN to assist with the Stockholm meetings).