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Statement by French Minister Besson at ICANN Paris [excerpts]

  • To: iic-consultation@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Statement by French Minister Besson at ICANN Paris [excerpts]
  • From: "Bertrand de La Chapelle" <bdelachapelle@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 14:03:53 +0200

Dear all,

As an initial contribution to the discussions launched by the PSC report
presented during the ICANN Paris meeting, please find below the relevant
parts of the opening intervention made by M. Eric Besson, the French
Minister in charge of the Development of the Digital Economy.

I hope this will help foster further interaction within the ICANN community
regarding this important issue.


Bertrand de La Chapelle
Special Envoy for the Information Society
French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Quote :

"The subjects you deal with may appear technical to the layperson, but they
now have a direct impact on the lives of an increasing number of inhabitants
of this planet. The functioning of the Internet as we know it would be
impossible without the current system of domain names: the outstanding
social and economic value of the Web is mainly due to the universal nature
of this naming and addressing system. This underlines the importance of
international coordination of the management of these common resources, and
therefore the responsibility that falls to ICANN, as the locus of this
global public trust function.

The Internet has seen a major qualitative transformation during the almost
ten years of ICANN's existence. It is now a vital infrastructure for the
entire planet. And the stakes have changed accordingly.

Today, the Internet is at a turning point in its history: more than a
billion people are connected. This number will double within five years.
This growth will be possible and beneficial to all if the number of
available addresses is greatly increased and if other languages are
recognized on the Web.

*[Regarding] the institutional transition*,

As you know, 30 September 2009 is the deadline of the joint project
agreement (JPA) between ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is a
time horizon to achieve what is known, since the White Paper of 1998, as
"ICANN's Transition."

But a "transition" is not a conclusion. Therefore, ICANN's Transition cannot
just be boiled down to the termination of the Joint Project Agreement. On
the contrary, it is the beginning of a new institutional phase for this
organisation, which is a pioneer of Internet governance.

Transition yes, but transition to what? In our view, the objective is to
place ICANN on its path towards long-term viability; it is adapting ICANN to
an environment that has evolved considerably since its inception; it is
finally to make it capable of dealing with new problems related to the rapid
development of the Internet and the transitions that I just mentioned
[IPV4/V6 transition, transition to a more diversified domain name space,
transition towards a multi-script DNS]. This requires substantial
changes going beyond the mere completion of the current agreement.

Discussion regarding the institutional transition should however be viewed
in a broader perspective. ICANN is a unique experience, a pioneer, one of
the early laboratories for this so-called "multi-stakeholder" form of
governance, referred to in particular on the occasion of the World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis 2005. During its first ten years,
ICANN has gradually put in place several structures organising the
participation of various categories of actors; it also has developed and
regularly revised its consultation and policy development processes.

The transition planned for late 2009 is indeed an opportunity to make a
further step, to draw lessons from the past ten years, and make ICANN an
even more perfect model of a multi-stakeholder organization, involving in an
appropriate manner the technical community, users, the private sector but
also governments, at the various stages of its operations and public policy

ICANN's internal modalities of functioning should in our view be better
taken into account in considering the transition. It could almost be
considered be its main thread. But this new stage, that a Board member
recently called "a constitutional moment" for the organization, could be
reached successfully only if the post-JPA architecture is considered by all
stakeholders as a progress vis-à-vis the current framework and not as the
victory of a particular community over another. And it is our common
responsibility to ensure that happens during our consultations in the coming

On the proposed road map, let me talk about one point to conclude.

I am pleased that the consultation process which will be launched in
Parispromises to be widely open and inclusive, in accordance with our
wishes. It
is also of the utmost importance that beyond the ICANN community it also
includes the players who currently do not belong to it. Finally, it is
important that participants be kept regularly informed of the progress of
discussions, and of how their comments are taken into consideration.

The organisation of regional multi-stakeholder consultations, but also
cooperation with other organisations, will contribute greatly to achieving
these goals. The Experts' Group, which is under consideration, could
usefully facilitate the organisation of these meetings.

In this context, France, which will from 1 July take the Presidency of the
European Union and which also hosts on its soil several organisations and
international structures, is ready to facilitate the organisation of such a
meeting for European actors, in conjunction with its partners. "

End of quote

Bertrand de La Chapelle
Délégué Spécial pour la Société de l'Information / Special Envoy for the
Information Society
Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes/ French Ministry of Foreign
and European Affairs
Tel : +33 (0)6 11 88 33 32

"Le plus beau métier des hommes, c'est d'unir les hommes" Antoine de Saint
("there is no greater mission for humans than uniting humans")

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