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Re: [gnso-osc] Latest Draft Version of OSC Charter

  • To: Robin Gross <robin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Chuck Gomes <cgomes@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [gnso-osc] Latest Draft Version of OSC Charter
  • From: Robert Hoggarth <robert.hoggarth@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 15:58:32 -0800

Dear Robin and Chuck:

As the community embarks on a detailed discussion of GNSO Improvements 
implementation issues, there are quite a few open matters to be discussed and 
debated - particularly within the context of the OSC.  I have taken the 
opportunity provided by Chuck's invitation yesterday to share some personal 
observations about the matters referenced in your correspondence over the past 
24 hours regarding the relationship between stakeholders and constituency 
structures in the GNSO. I have not run these specific thoughts by Denise and 
Roberto but I believe they are supported by specific textual references below.  
This note is fairly long because I think the issues raised by Robin's proposed 
edits merited a fair treatment.  I hope that it provides some useful fodder for 
future conversations within the OSC.

In many areas the Board has been pretty specific regarding its intentions.  In 
others there is a lot of room for flexibility and different implementation 
approaches. I anticipate that the OSC and its work teams will need to refer 
quite often to the 3 February BGC Report on GNSO Improvements adopted by the 
Board in Paris for insights and guidance.  I have included a couple of slices 
from that document below that may be germane to your present correspondence.  
They highlight the significant amount of overlap that faces the community on 
many of the implementation issues that need to be addressed. I think all 
members of the OSC may find it helpful to review pages 27 to 49 of the BGC 
Report (which can be found here - 
 ) as they consider the OSC Charter and the development of guidance for the 
various OSC work teams.

Recognizing Differences:

As a way forward on the proposed OSC charter language regarding stakeholder 
groups and constituencies, may I suggest that you consider accepting the 
concept provided in the first part of Robin's proposed language "while 
recognizing that differences exist between stakeholder groups" and expand the 
concept by adding the words "and constituencies."  Robin's suggestion is a 
helpful reminder that the BGC Report did not anticipate a cookie cutter 
approach for structures in the "improved' GNSO and specifically noted the 
importance of maintaining a measure of constituency independence and diversity. 
 At the same time, the BGC Report expects that there must be some consistency 
and commonality across different GNSO structures. The following BGC Report text 
spanning pages 42 and 43 is very instructive on the matter:

"ICANN is currently engaged in a series of initiatives aimed at further 
improving levels of
accountability and transparency throughout the organization. The GNSO Council 
and the
GNSO constituencies, like all of ICANN's structures, need to ensure that all of 
processes adhere to the highest standards. The reviews of the GNSO suggest that 
there is
a need for greater transparency within constituencies and greater consistency 
constituency structures. The constituencies should take the lead in formulating 
operating principles, with participation from the Council and staff. Within 
certain broad
and important guidelines, there can still be room for innovation and 
differentiation in the
detailed procedures developed by each constituency that best meet the needs of 
constituency." (emphasis added)

The document continues on page 43:

"In addition, the GNSO constituencies, with Council and staff participation, 
develop clear operating principles for each constituency to ensure that all 
function in a representative, open, transparent and democratic manner. Operating
procedures adopted by constituencies should reflect common principles and 
follow these guidelines:

o Mailing and discussion lists should be open and publicly archived (with 
posting rights
limited to members).
o Procedures for developing policy positions should be clear. There should also 
publicly available information about how many participants from each 
were involved in the development of any policy position.
o Constituency processes should encourage participation from stakeholders 
across the
globe. Where possible, relevant documents should be made available in multiple
o There should be term limits for constituency officers, so as to help attract 
members and provide everyone with the chance to participate in leadership 
o There should be an emphasis on reaching consensus to achieve objectives and 
on issues." (emphasis added)

That latter passage above seems to emphasize the importance of creating a level 
playing field that applies to all constituencies and identifies a significant 
role for all constituencies in that ongoing effort.  The BGC Report seems to 
expect that some consistent guidelines and operating practices be established 
to ensure that all community members can be assured that all GNSO structures 
operate in an open, transparent and fair manner.

The Respective Roles of Constituencies and Stakeholder Groups:

Acknowledging Chuck's concern, I would also suggest that you consider not 
accepting the second half of Robin's suggested edit, "that stakeholder groups 
are primarily responsible for establishing their own constituencies."  At best 
the BGC Report is unclear on that issue.  It seems evident from the passage 
above that, for the time being, constituencies remain a fundamental element of 
the GNSO structure.

That status may indeed change over time and may depend on some of the decisions 
that are reached by the work teams. The following language spanning pages 32 
and 33 of the BGC report sheds some additional light on this matter:

"The proposal to create four broad Stakeholder Groups bears some similarity to
Recommendation #19 of the [London School of Economics] LSE Review, which 
suggested creating three larger constituency groups representing registration 
interests, business and civil society.  The LSE suggested such a reorganization 
to respond to "multiple pieces of evidence about how interests are currently 
organizing themselves within the GNSO" (see LSE Review,
Section 4.35). It sought to propose a structure that is "simpler, balanced, 
clearer to
explain to potential members and time-proofed against future changes in the 
Internet that
are certain to occur." Instead of a rigid structure that can have difficulty 
adapting to
changes "over as little as seven years," a new structure could "flexibly 
changes in the balance and weights of different sectors and types of 
involvement with
Internet policy issues."

We agree with this conclusion and support the need for a new way to approach
organization of the Council. The stakeholder groups may function only as a 
bringing together like-minded stakeholders to elect representatives to the 
Council who
can represent them. This structure would be fluid enough to accommodate new
constituencies or the formation of new interest groups. It will be important 
for the
implementation team to consider how to implement this flexibility within the 
stakeholder structure set forth in these recommendations. Our goal is 
definitely not to
create a new layer of bureaucracy, as we heard concerns about at the San Juan 
Alternatively, if the GNSO believes it is desirable, the four stakeholder 
groups could take
on additional functions, such as trying to coordinate and document positions on 
development questions.

One advantage of this new model for organizing stakeholder participation is to 
concern that the addition of new constituencies or interest groups could create 
an internal
imbalance in the current composition of the Council. By creating four broad 
groups, the number of constituencies is less important and can increase (or 
decrease) with time. Indeed, it would be inconsistent with ICANN's processes to 
try to limit arbitrarily the number of constituencies that people could 
self-form. Making it easier to form a new constituency can also address any 
obstacles people perceive in joining existing
constituencies. Overall, this approach can encourage the participation of more 
people in
the GNSO. Many details, of course, remain to be worked out concerning the new
stakeholder structure for the Council, including the role of constituencies 
and/or interest
groups within them. As noted earlier, we welcome the GNSO working with Staff to
develop the appropriate Implementation Plan."

There is a lot to absorb in the four paragraphs above - including the 
alternative visions of both more and less bureaucracy at the Stakeholder Group 
level, the concept of constituency independence and a clear recognition of 
constituency self-formation. All matters that will undoubtedly prompt lively 
and interesting conversation in the work team deliberations.

I hope this note has provided some useful background and context for further 
deliberations and discussion among OSC members on these and other matters.


Rob Hoggarth


On 11/25/08 10:19 PM, "Robin Gross" <robin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Hi Chuck,

I am trying to mitigate the cross-constituency meddling in the affairs of other 
constituencies that is in the current draft.   What was written in the draft 
was that rules would be established for forming constituencies and it seemed to 
apply that these rules would be some kind of "one-size-fits-all" way of 
establishing constituencies.  But the needs and sizes of the various 
constituencies will vary - especially between stakeholder groups.  I don't 
think NCUC should be telling the commercial stakeholder group how to organize 
the constituencies within that group and vice-versa.  There will always be 
disparity in the number of participants between constituencies, and the ability 
of volunteers to be as aggressive as paid lobbyists, etc., so trying to 
establish rules to govern as if there were a level playing field does not 
reflect reality.  I think constituencies and stakeholder groups should be given 
as much flexibility as possible in their organization and we should not try to 
hamstring this process with a zeal to impose uniform rules when needs and 
situations are not uniform.  So while I'm not insistent on the particular 
wording that I suggested, I am definitely not comfortable with the way it is 
currently drafted for these reasons.


On Nov 25, 2008, at 5:26 PM, Gomes, Chuck wrote:

Thanks Robin.  You added in two places, "stakeholder groups are primarily 
responsible for establishing their own constituencies".  I am not sure that is 
consistent with the Board recommendations.  It is my understanding that intent 
was that it should be possible for constituencies to self-form and that 
procedures should be put in place to facilitate that.  That is quite different 
than what you added.

What do others think?

Rob - it might be helpful for you to get some feedback from Denise and maybe 
Roberto as Chair of the BGC.


 From: owner-gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx   [mailto:owner-gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx] On Behalf 
Of Robin   Gross
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 7:05 PM
To:   gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [gnso-osc] Latest Draft Version of   OSC Charter

Oops -the file is now attached to this email - apologies.     :-)  Robin

Robin Gross, Executive Director
1192 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA  94117  USA
p: +1-415-553-6261    f: +1-415-462-6451
w: http://www.ipjustice.org     e: robin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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