[ccnso-idncctld] Objection procedures and/or public comment
Hi,As I was discussing in today's meeting, I believe that ICANN and its Board will need to deal with the objections of the world wide community, including from other territories, whether the Fast Track process includes a process for doing this or not. Even without a formal comment period before the Board makes its decisions, just the agenda announcement of a pending decision will be enough to prompt those who wish to comment to do so. And if the decisions were made without a prior announcement (ie. under Any Other Business), the demands for reconsideration could be deafening and could throw ICANN into crisis.
The reason I personally recommend serious consideration of an objection procedure, or at least a formal public comment process, is that it allows for the comments to be received and evaluated against a set of criteria that have prior agreement from the community. This would allow the Board to look at the final staff report, know due diligence had been observed in receiving and resolving community comments, and make its decisions on, more or less, objective criteria. Without a pre-defined process and criteria, the Board is left dealing with each of the public comments on its own and by its own devices and ad-hoc processes. What I am suggesting is that we need to create a controlled process for dealing with the tough questions that are beyond ICANN or its Board's purview but which need handling before an IDN ccTLD is inserted into the root. Yes, this is a complexity on the Fast Track, but I think it is a complexity that must be handled if we expect a Fast Track to be supported by the ICANN community and approved by the board.
Chris made a good point about not putting ICANN, and especially IANA, into the position of responding to and making recommendations on the validity of these public comments/objections. He also asked a good question as to who could do this. While I do not have a ready answer to this. I do assume that some external body, perhaps an appropriate IGO, a semi-IGO or perhaps even a new multi-stakeholder governance function established for just this purpose could be asked to provide this function. What I believe we cannot do, is send the Board a Fast Track process that makes it operationally responsible for processing every objection/comment someone might send without any formal prior process. Without such a process, the Board may, if there are any substantive issues raised by a party with some form of standing, have to postpone the approval based on it having a problematic (avoiding the use of 'controversial') nature. Note: I do not pretend to understand how the Board handles problmatic issues.
I also want to reiterate, that I am _not_ making this comment in an effort to raise the white flag, though I do acknowledge the flag's existence. Rather I believe I am making it because I believe it is a necessary component of a Fast Track that will allow the generally non contentious candidate IDN ccTLDs to get into the root as soon as the technical (e.g. IDNAbis) and operational (i.e., ICANN processes) conditions are ready.