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Travel support for the GAC - message filed on behalf of the GAC Chair

  • To: "comments-op-budget-fy17-five-year-05mar16@xxxxxxxxx" <comments-op-budget-fy17-five-year-05mar16@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Travel support for the GAC - message filed on behalf of the GAC Chair
  • From: Olof Nordling <olof.nordling@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:47:07 +0000

Message from the Chair of the GAC:

Re: Travel support for the GAC

The GAC has been made aware that there is a recently expressed preference for 
handling community requests for travel support increase thru the normal budget 
process, rather than via community budget requests as has been the case in 
previous years. The GAC has already filed such a community budget request for 
FY17 and is essentially reiterating the content thereof as this public comment 
submission in order to satisfy the aforementioned preference.

Following a special community budget request from the GAC for FY14 ( GAC 
 the number of GAC travelers supported per ICANN meeting increased from 20 to 
30 and remained at 30 also for FY15, as requested by the GAC. For FY16, the GAC 
requested an increase to 50, following an agreement between the GAC leadership 
and the ICANN CEO at a meeting during ICANN 51 in LA, but only got an increase 
to 35 granted in the budget allocation for FY16. The GAC has also been made 
aware that this expansion to 35 slots in the FY16 budget has not been carried 
over to the proposed FY17 budget, allegedly as the community special budget 
request process is intended for temporary budget increases.

Increases in community travel support for the past several years has improved 
GAC meeting attendance and met with sincere appreciation within the GAC as a 
whole. However, the increase in GAC Membership over the last two years has been 
considerable and is now at over 160 countries (plus 35 IGOs as Observers).  
Most new GAC Members, as well as prospective new Members, are developing and 
least developed countries that are prioritized for travel support in line with 
the GAC travel rules (https://gacweb.icann.org/display/gacweb/Travel+Support ).

The new GAC representatives are very often the only persons from these 
countries that participate in the ICANN community. Therefore, the GAC has a 
fundamental role in ICANN's efforts to further internationalize its community 
and be more inclusive, in particular with regard to developing and least 
developed countries. It is therefore of utmost importance that as many of the 
GAC representatives of these countries get travel support which allows them to 
actually participate in the ICANN community and help ICANN to reach out more to 
developing and least developed countries. Increasing travel support to 50 GAC 
representatives as had been agreed with the former CEO is not sufficient to 
bring all GAC representatives to ICANN meetings, but it is a step in the right 
direction and is therefore key to the credibility of ICANN's efforts to bring 
in more developing country stakeholders into its community.

Therefore, in order to facilitate such Members' attendance to GAC Meetings in 
FY17 and thereafter, and also reminding about the previous agreement with the 
ICANN CEO, the GAC requests that the number of GAC travelers supported be 
increased to 50 per ICANN meeting, starting in FY17 and to continue in future 
years as a permanent part of ICANN's core budget. Like for earlier years, 5 of 
the travel support slots would be dedicated to "pre-approved organizations", 
meaning IGOs fulfilling specific GAC criteria for travel support, while the 
remaining 45 slots would be dedicated to representatives from GAC Members 
fitting the GAC criteria for travel support.

Thank you in advance for revising the draft budget in line with the above.

Best regards,

Thomas Schneider
Chair, Governmental Advisory Committee

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