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

  • To: Robert Hoggarth <robert.hoggarth@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [gnso-osc] Latest Draft Version of OSC Charter
  • From: Robin Gross <robin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 20:29:23 -0800

Thank you, Rob.  This is very helpful.


On Nov 26, 2008, at 3:58 PM, Robert Hoggarth wrote:

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 - http://www.icann.org/topics/gnso-improvements/gnso- improvements-report-03feb08.pdf ) 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 their 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 across constituency structures. The constituencies should take the lead in formulating common 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 that
constituency.” (emphasis added)

The document continues on page 43:

“In addition, the GNSO constituencies, with Council and staff participation, should develop clear operating principles for each constituency to ensure that all constituencies 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 be publicly available information about how many participants from each constituency
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 new members and provide everyone with the chance to participate in leadership positions. o There should be an emphasis on reaching consensus to achieve objectives and closure
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 accommodate 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 “caucus,” 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 overall 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 Meeting. 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 policy
development questions.

One advantage of this new model for organizing stakeholder participation is to remove 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 stakeholder 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

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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