ALAC statement on the NCSG Charters
The following comment has the explicit support of a number of ALAC members, but has not yet been subjected to a formal ALAC vote. It does reflect the comments that have been made by ALAC members in recent months. A formal ratification vote will be taken during our next teleconference on April 28.
-----------------------The ALAC is divided on the support of the proposal submitted by Robin Gross of the NCUC.
Some members feel that although there are some problems with the proposal, it generally addresses their concerns, and in particular, the de-linking of Council seats from Constituencies is a very good move in the right direction. Problems notwithstanding, the proposal should receive Board approval.
Others feel that the issues still outstanding are sufficient to withhold Board support at this time. These issues include:
· The issue of Council seats cannot be ignored. Although policy will likely be architected by Working Groups with open participation, it will be Council that decides what policies to address and what the WG charters will include. Without a voice on Council, a Constituency may not be able to effectively participate in the discussions leading to these decisions. And without an effective voice, there will be little incentive to bring new, non-commercial players into the gTLD policy arena one of the main reasons for the current reorganization and for the significant growth in the NCSG weighting compared to the NCUC in the current model.
· Although the inclusion of individuals is satisfying on a number of levels, the proposed voting structure makes the NCSG very vulnerable to take-over, particularly with the lack of a fee structure being specified, and the lack of rules or proposed process which could even verify that all individual members are in fact identifiable people acting on their own accord. This could, over a period straddling two annual meeting, allow takeover of all council seats, reinforcing the first bullet above.
· There is little evidence that those submitting this charter accept these potential problems and have identified a way to resolve them through some sort of amendments once Board approval is given.
· It now looks like there may be one or more actual new non-commercial Constituencies that could receive Board approval. It would be far more satisfying to defer the long-term charter of the NCSG until these Constituencies could be present at the table and speak on their own behalf. Until such time, an interim model linking seats to Constituencies could be used. Clearly that model would need to be replaced prior to the existence of more than six constituencies.
In summary, the ALAC is not of a single mind. Some people feel very strongly that the inadequacies of the proposed charter are sufficient reason to not accept it. Others feel that although there are some problems, it has sufficient merit to receive approval with the belief that any problems will be addressed as time goes on.
It should be noted that we do have consensus that pro-active outreach on the part of ICANN (coordinated with the SG) will be necessary to make the NCSG successful, regardless of the charter details.
The charter proposed by Cheryl Preston does not have the exact same failings as the NCUC version, but for a number of reasons has not received any strong support within the ALAC and for this reason we cannot advocate approval.