Comment on CC application for constituency status.
To the Board and the Structural Improvements Committee, I am writing this in my personal capacity and not in my capacity as a member and chair of the NCSG Executive Committee. The NCSG Executive Committee does not have a consensus position on this topic. While I do not support the Board approval of the Consumer Constituency (CC) at this time, I want to make it clear that I strongly support the creation of a Consumer Interest Group/Constituency* within the NCSG and, depending on the nature of the final charter of the NCSG, may support a Consumer Interest Group/Constituency in getting Board approval as an official Board approved Constituency at some future time. I also want to say that I think that the influence of consumer advocacy groups, both non-commercial and commercial in ICANN is a critical necessity. My reasons for requesting the rejection of the current application are varied, and include: 1. The proposed constituency is not representative of the non-commercial consumer organizations already present in the GNSO. The NCUC contains a number of consumer organizations already. These NCUC/NCSG members have not, to my knowledge, been consulted or included in the formation of this proposed constituency. Additionally these consumer groups and individual advocates are currently discussing the formation of a Consumer Advocacy Interest-Group/Constituency within the structure of the NCSG. The creation of a Consumer Constituency external and separate from the efforts going on in the NCSG would be duplicative and would be a distraction to the formative efforts of the NCSG and any incipient Consumer Advocacy Interest-Group/Constituency. 2. The membership criteria for this constituency are not clear. While the petition and the charter are clear that industry funded consumer agencies would not be eligible for membership it does not place any restrictions on the membership basis of the various consumer organizations. Some consumer organizations are predominantly composed of commercial members, while others are citizen or non commercially based. Some are, in fact hybrid and have a mix of members. In my opinion the membership criteria for a constituency with the NCSG need to be clear in limiting participation to organizations that are predominantly citizen or non-commercial in their membership. I believe there is also room, and need, in the GNSO for consumer organizations that are commercial in their membership, but believe that these groups should petition to become part of the CSG, and not the NCSG. 3. The NCSG is still operating and developing under a temporary charter that would make it disruptive to ongoing processes to fold a new Board approved constituency into the new stakeholder group. The NCSG has established membership in the NCSG as basic to the stakeholder group and to Interest-Group/Constituency formation. Membership applications are being accepted at this time. Further the NCUC is ready to devolve into a multitude of Interest-Groups/Constituencies with the NCSG. As the only place for Non Commercial entities over the years, it has gathered many different groups who have many different advocacy concerns. With the formation of the NCSG, it is the intention of many to try and spin out several Interest-Groups/Constituencies who can each focus on their own non-commercial agenda and participate in the GNSO processes as integral parts of the NCSG. If a new Consumer Constituency is created at this point, it will put a stop to this process and force the NCUC to remain a single large constituency. Not only would this be counter-productive, it would help to foster some of the old rivalries between the ALAC/Staff sponsored CC and the NCUC - rivalries that it is necessary to move beyond. 4. It is my personal opinion that even if the final status of the permanent NCSG charter were to require Board approved constituencies as opposed to Interest-groups, it is important that a new group show its commitment to ICANN and the GNSO before its existence be formalized. I would expect any group that was being proposed to have already created a GNSO presence with mailing lists, statements on substantive issues and general participation in the life of ICANN and work of the GNSO. To date all that has been seen of the CC are the two leaders, and while they have participated in some working groups either in their own personal capacity or as ALAC representatives, there has been no apparent attempt on their part to bring the greater group of prospective members into the discussions and there have been no visible contributions from a consensus voice of the proposed membership in the CC. I think that approving a constituency before we have seen them take an active interest in the substantive work, not just the process of becoming a constituency, is to put the cart before the horse. The NCSG has established membership criteria that make it possible for consumer groups, and individual consumer advocates to join the NCSG directly and to begin to make substantive contribution to the GNSO policy process immediately. It is my fervent hope that the consumer groups in the NCSG, including those already in the NCUC, and those who are part of the CC application, will form together to create an Interest-Group/Constituency for non commercial consumer advocacy. But for the reasons enumerated above, I request that the Board not approve this constituency at this time, but rather encourage them to join in the effort build the NCSG from the bottom-up. Thank you Avri Doria Adjunct Professor Luleå University of Technology * While the status of the NCSG charter is still in flux, and given the discrepancy between the NCUC's bottom-up plan for a charter that resembles the charters in the Registries' and Registrars' SGs that includes Interest Groups instead of formal Constituencies and the ICANN Policy Staff's intention that the NCSG be organized along the same lines as the CSG with strictly delineated constituencies, it has become the practice of the NCSG Executive Committee to refer to Interest-Groups/Constituencies to cover this final status dichotomy. It is the intention of the NCSG-EC in its work to date that within the NCSG, formal constituencies like the NCUC and Interest-Groups, of which there are several in the early stages of formation, will be treated as having the same status with regard to Executive Committee and Policy Committee participation and in all other relevant aspects. As part of the ongoing charter work, definition of the internal structure of the NCSG is in progress, and consumer groups are encouraged to participate with us in the bottom-up process of completing the definition of the NCSG.