Government of Canada comments
- To: <principles-comments@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Government of Canada comments
- From: "Graham, Bill: DIT" <Graham.Bill@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 10:28:53 -0400
The Government of Canada notes with interest the 16 October posting that ICANN
is seeking community input to the Development of Transparency and
Accountability Management Operating Principles, with comments sought by 31
October, 2006. Because of this tight deadline, we are providing you with an
excerpt from our remarks made in the context of the NTIA Notice of Inquiry
public forum in July, which refers specifically to the issues of transparency
and accountability. These remarks are already on the public record:
"The ... most important area where we think there needs to be
improvement before moving to a post-MOU environment is in ICANN's transparency
and accountability. We think that at present there is a real shortfall here.
To be quite specific, we think that it is time for ICANN to recognize that it
is in many ways a quasi-judicial body, and that it must begin to behave that
way. That means that the ICANN Board needs to provide adequate minutes of all
of its meetings.
"And in the case of the most important decisions, particularly those
involving policy considerations, formal processes need to be adopted:
* There needs to be notice of what issues will be considered, and
* When a decision is made, a written document needs to be posted
setting out the background and context for the issues; e.g.
* There needs to be an acknowledgement and summary of the
positions of interested parties
* There needs to be an analysis of the issues,
* There needs to be an explanation of the decision, and the
reasons for it, and ultimately
* There needs to be a mechanism for the Board to be held
accountable by its community
"We believe the time taken to make this information available on the
website will be more than justified by the increase in transparency, of
understanding and of trust. For ICANN to operate as a private entity, trust is
perhaps the most vital element to its success."
In addition, we offer the following comments.
Normally, Canada would prefer that governments' comments on such issues be
gathered through the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) process. Discussions
in the GAC permit governments to exchange views and usually result in the
development of coherent, well considered advice to the ICANN Board of
Directors. We believe that this is useful for us as governments, and we hope
that it is also useful for the Board. Unfortunately, as we have been
discussing in recent Joint Board-GAC Working Group sessions, governments are
not able to perform this function when faced by very tight deadlines. It is
Canada's view that the present call for input addresses a topic that
governments could be expected to address from a wealth of experience and
knowledge. Thus, it is unfortunate that the Board has offered only 15 days'
time from posting the notice until the deadline for comments.
Canada raised this issue at the last GAC Conference Call, held on 20 October.
Not all governments on the call were even aware of the existence of the ICANN
notice, but all agreed that this is a topic that should definitely be
considered during our next meeting in Sao Paulo in early December. While we
respect the enthusiasm shown by the Board by proposing to adopt Management
Operating Principles on the issue of transparency and accountability in Sao
Paulo, it is Canada's view that this is an unrealistic goal.
In our opinion, particularly on such an important issue, it is important to be
transparent in developing the Management Operating Principles. For that
reason, at a minimum, we would suggest that the Board consider treating the
October 31 date as a deadline for preliminary suggestions. A final deadline
deadline should be extended by two months, to the end of December, to permit
full discussion by all communities, including the GAC at the next ICANN
meeting. It would also be useful to understand the current thinking of the
Board on these issues, and the process intended to come to agreement on the
Principles. In that regard, the Board might consider developing a short
discussion paper based on its members' thoughts and the inputs received by the
October 31 deadline for preliminary suggestions.
Taking these steps will certainly result in achieving a better, well
understood, and well accepted set of Management Operating Principles.
We look forward to taking part in discussions at the GAC meeting in December,
and to contributing to enhanced transparency and accountability for ICANN in
Director / Directeur
International Telecommunications Policy Coordination
Politique internationale des télécommunications et coordination
Industry Canada/Industrie Canada
1690D 300 rue Slater St.
Ottawa CANADA K1A 0C8