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RE: [Fwd: Re: [gnso-travel-dt] Travel drafting team mailing list open]

  • To: <gnso-travel-dt@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: RE: [Fwd: Re: [gnso-travel-dt] Travel drafting team mailing list open]
  • From: "Zahid Jamil" <zahid@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 04:53:31 +0500

Dear Travel Drafting Team,


At the outset I would simply support Robin's two suggestions.


However, having gone through the various emails, and in anticipation of the
conference call tomorrow, I thought it might be useful to put down and share
some of my thoughts and have thus, attempted to deal with the various issues
that seem to have been raised and some of my own points:



Objective/Purpose of Travel Support:


In my view Travel Support is to ensure access for those chosen by each
constituency. So each constituency would be the best judge of how and to
whom the resource it to be allocated.


Otherwise it opens up (especially in case of a Travel Committee) to a
process which could be used to disenfranchise inequitably a constituency or
any of its representatives. Each constituency has an equal right to be as
effectively represented.  Either we distribute funds to each constituency
equally or to each councillor.  Otherwise this travel support will by the
very nature of a travel committee be open to perceived politics and
conflict.  I do not see the benefit of introducing further conflict.




A Policy Divisive? Why are the Funds Limited?:


I agree with Avri- this divisive policy needs to be altered and I would, as
a newbie, want to raise the issue of whether we can ensure funds for
everyone or at least funds divided to each constituency with equal




Conflict of Interest:


Chuck wrote:  "there is a potential conflict when individuals are
representing their organization interests and being subsidized by general
registrant funds.  If those who are being so subsidized are willing to
fairly represent the interests of all registrants and not just the interests
of their respective organizations and constituencies, then the conflict
would be minimized."


Constituencies right to Representation & Mandate - Should Funds be Provided
Subject to Neutrality?



Firstly, the Councillors are not representing their organizations.  They are
representing the stakeholder constituency.  Secondly, as for the funds if
the presumption is that in order to receive Travel Support Councillors need
to SELL off their duty of representation to their Constituency it goes
against not only the purpose of the Travel Support but also against the
right of each Constituency to have its elected Councillors represent their
stakeholder interest on the Council.  Hence, Chuck's suggestion is actually
encouraging Councillors to act with conflict of interest against the
interests of their Constituency.  Thirdly, there is no duty upon the
Councillors "fairly represent the interests of all registrants" in fact its
quite the opposite.  The entire purpose of having Constituencies is for
Councillors to represent their own Constituency/Stakeholder view.  Such a
suggestion would place the function of the Council on its head.  Fourthly,
the use of registrant funds is completely appropriate as mentioned in the
Travel Policy (see below).


The Policy clearly states :  "Participation in ICANN's multistakeholder
model comes at a cost of time, energy, effort and often direct expense. It
is entirely appropriate for ICANN revenue, derived from registrant fees, to
offset some of this cost. At the same time, one of the strengths of ICANN is
that it brings together a range of interests within the umbrella of a
community where passion and commitment isn't measured just in financial


Hence, the need for a diverse representation and varying interests being
represented is the raison d'être. 




Support for All:


Avri wrote: "I firmly believe that whatever number of GNSO council members
get support, they should all get the same level support that Board members


I agree.  In my view all Councillors should get equal support or each
Constituency should receive equal allocation for them to decide how to use
these funds - they can do so in a transparent and not divisive/adversarial




Travel Support Committee:


Ken Stubbs suggested this since it is a "Procedure used by Non-Profit Public
Institutions & Organisations"



The Criteria & Rationale being suggested is a difficult one to set and
especially to monitor (especially objectively) particularly in a divisive
and adversarial group



Ken Stubbs wrote: "This proposed procedure insures this "Transparency" as
well providing a definable process for assisting qualified persons who show
a clear "need" for travel support."


Transparency can also be ensured by each Constituency - the existence of a
new Committee by itself does not provide a unique means to achieve
Transparency - each Constituency could adopt similar transparent and defined
criteria itself.  Hence, the logic for a Committee is not exclusive to the
concept of a Joint Travel Committee but extendable to Constituencies as


The requirement of  demonstrate 'need' is simply put a myth since it is not
a requirement. 


Ken Stubbs wrote:  "This process can also help insure that funds are not
just expended because they are budgeted."


The arguments and concept above effectively makes Travel Support an
exception.  In my opinion this goes against the very rationale for the
availability of Travel Support and I would submit, is contrary to the Policy
in letter and spirit and counterproductive in enabling Councillors from all
stakeholders/constituencies to be present to continue to render what is
effectively voluntary public service.


I am sure Ken did not mean to introduce ideas by which this travel support
could become a process open to politics by any constituency against another
to attempt to target individuals on the council.


Such a committee would be hard pressed to work with an objective criteria.
Hence, it would by definition (of its constituent members) be subjective,
divisive, adversarial, lead to conflict of interests between members, would
not inspire much confidence and could easily lead to situations where no one
is happy with the results. (also such committees are usually presumed to be
constituted by persons who do not have conflicting interests amongst
themselves instead of the representative Committee that has been suggested)



Administrative Costs of a Travel Committee:


Let's not forget in a recent vote to allocate ICANN staff resource to an
issues report, there was much opposition on the basis of the cost to ICANN
for such an activity, which I am sure would be much less that the staffing
cost for a travel committee.  Now a suggestion to actually have a Committee
a Travel Support Committee should also be hit by the same logic, 




Equitable Division, Equal Treatment of all Constituencies & Transparency:



"Many of the parties on the names council are professional policy staff &
are being compensated as by their respective companies"..... "participation
in ICANN activities such as the names council are strictly job-related
activities and not personal volunteer actions"


First of all I think such a comment is in most fora inappropriate and am
disappointed to see a lack of decorum and civilised restraint.  In any case,
this may be conjecture and let's not forget not all are compensated.  For
the record my participation in ICANN is not job-related but a personal
volunteer activity.  My day job has nothing to do with ICANN and I do not
earn any revenue as a result of participation in ICANN.  My representation
of my ccTLD Dispute Resolution Provider does not lead to any benefit (since
it's a ccTLD DRS) nor does it support my presence at ICANN - in fact its the
other way around.    I think the degrading of many Councillors and colouring
their participation as profiteering and not what it is - public voluntary
service for which they do not get paid - is disappointing.



Additionally, the role of a Councillor (as in my case) would not be to
represent the role of my company/entity but to represent the view and work
on behalf of the entire stakeholder constituency.  Now either we argue for
placing the entire burden on each Constituency (which defeats the rationale
for Travel Support) or provide all Constituencies the advantage to have
their Councillors supported without discrimination and without having
conflicts with adversarial constituencies to interfere in a Constituencies
decision to decide who best will serve their representative interest on the
Council.  Effectively, interference in Travel Support between Constituencies
interferes and obstructs the democratic right of representation of each
stakeholder constituency.  In my view the right to elect Councillors is as
essential and inalienable to Constituencies as is their right to travel
Support and facilitation (without any discrimination between allocation to
constituencies) in order to have their representatives attend and discharge
their duty of representing their Council.  In short Equitable availability
of Travel Support goes hand in hand with the right to representation.  After
all what is the point of allowing a constituency a right of representation
it may not be use as effectively as another constituency.  Hence, any
disparity in the allocation of the Travel Support would amount to not
providing Equal Treatment to an aggrieved Constituency.


Tim Ruiz had written: "Allocation of travel funds should not be decided by
those who have the opportunity to receive it"


First of all I disagree.  This is something that comes under the purview of
the Council and is therefore, necessarily their decision.   Otherwise why
are we even discussing this issue?  However, even if this argument were to
be accepted it would be another reason for allocation to be allocated to
each constituency without discrimination and with Equal Treatment.  The
moment we agree that it should, thus be distributed to each Constituency
then concern of Tim's stands addressed.


Moreover, transparency is not necessarily guaranteed by a committee of all
constituencies  In any case we are not sure what the new restructured set up
will look like.  It can as easily be achieved by having each constituency
decide how and to whom to grant and how to use the funding.  That would
ensure a non contentious process. This is not a key policy area for
governance of gtld policies so to expose this to the same level of
unnecessary contention only serves to exacerbate conflict, bureaucracy and



Requirement of 'Need'- A Myth:


As Avri wrote:  "The policy as published by the staff does not require a
statement of need.  So there was no need to establish need.  i do not see
how this was non transparent.  The policy with which a funded person must
comply was (from:

  which forms the foundation of any further allocation process this team may


Greg wrote:  "Travel support for the Board or for NCAs is not based on need.
And it would be insulting (and absurd) to ask anyone to "demonstrate" need.
The GNSO travel support is not a fellowship or charity, it is support
specifically for those who are engaged in the policy making work of the
GNSO, enabling them to attend face-to-face meetings.  I believe that it is
up to the individual constituencies to decide how best to use these funds to
enable their representation in this work."



I agree with both of the comments above.




Ken Stubs wrote: "subsidizing  persons representing  broad community and
individual user interests and feel that,  if they have an individual need
for travel assistance, 

it should be made on a case-by-case basis."


Again this downgrades Travel Support as an exception.  This runs contrary to
the right to representation without discrimination and equal treatment for
each Constituency, as discussed above.





Zahid Jamil


Jamil & Jamil


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-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gnso-travel-dt@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-gnso-travel-dt@xxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of cyrilchua@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 10 October 2008 07:23
To: Robin Gross
Cc: gnso-travel-dt@xxxxxxxxx; owner-gnso-travel-dt@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: [gnso-travel-dt] Travel drafting team mailing list



I agree with Robin.




             Robin Gross                                                   


             org>                                                       To 

             Sent by:                  gnso-travel-dt@xxxxxxxxx            

             owner-gnso-travel                                          cc 



                                       Re: [Fwd: Re: [gnso-travel-dt]      

             10/10/2008 04:56          Travel drafting team mailing list   

             AM                        open]                               











We need to agree to what our over-arching objective is here.


We are not creating some new general "GNSO travel fund" that anyone can

apply for travel funds to attend an ICANN meeting, and if they are poor

enough, they get to go.   This has been, and in my mind should continue to

be, an effort to fund the participation of the GNSO Council at GSNO Council



The depth of the pockets of the individual councilors is not relevant.   We

are funding the participation of an ICANN organ (GNSO Council) - not

specific people.





On Oct 9, 2008, at 1:34 PM, Ken Stubbs wrote:


      Ken Stubbs wrote:


      To the best of my knowledge, some recipients never even attempted to

      show or even claim "need".

      They just made the claim that they complied with ICANN policy and

      never explained how they complied (where is the transparency there?)


      that is beyond "giggle" approaching "laugher"


      I would expect a certain amount of "lobbying" as it is just human

      nature. The principle difference is the appearance of  ability to


      is significantly less with a body independent of council activities.


      I would assume that the committee would be capable of developing

      guidelines  for  requests that would be consistent with ICANN

      policies developed

      for travel subsidization.


      Ken Stubbs

      BTW...I would be inclined to believe that the the former chairman of

      Lehman ($300+millions in compensation over the last 5 years) would

      most probably not qualify for subsidy  ......

      nor would Bill Gates...



      Avri Doria wrote:



            On 9 Oct 2008, at 12:32, Tim Ruiz wrote:


                  If we have to resort to random selection or giggle tests,

                  then we have

                  no business accepting the funds.




            I personally see no relation between the utility of a random

            method of selecting after the constituencies are determined

            their priorities and the notion of meriting support for council

            member travel.


                   Ken's ideas are the best way

                  forward, or at least a good start,



            Can you explain how his ideas would work in a way that was

            assuredly unbiased and objective?


            Some questions that immediately occur to me:


            How would you eliminate the ability of someone to put pressure

            on one of those selected for this independent committee?  What

            does it mean for there to be an independent committee within

            ICANN?  Can members of GNSO constituencies serve on this

            independent committee?  How are these committee members

            chosen?   Is their work transparent?



            As for getting beyond the giggle test in determining need, how

            does one do that.  What sort of verification of someone's need

            will be required?  The get a loan for my daughter's college i

            had to prove need and todo so had to fill out the FAFSA ( see

            http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/before012.htm for a sample worksheet).

            Are you suggesting something similar.  If not, how do you prove



            Or, how do we define need?  If I were a millionaire, but had no

            employer to send me would I be in need of support?  If I have

            an employer, but they are in bankruptcy proceedings, do I have



            I believe these and many other similar questions would need to

            be answered for there to be an objective set of criteria that

            could not be gamed or be subjected to influence.





            note: for those who may not know the giggle test.  Basically

            someone says "I have need", and if they can say it without most

            people starting to giggle, then that need statement i accepted.



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Robin Gross, Executive Director

1192 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA  94117  USA

p: +1-415-553-6261    f: +1-415-462-6451

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