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Last update: Sun Aug 17 22:48:44 CEST 2003





The Evolution and Reform Committee has published its First Interim Implementation Report. Among other topics, this report includes comments on the ERC's ideas on ICANN's future policy-making process, and some comments on the Names Policy Development Process Assistance Group's Preliminary Framework.

The process suggested by the ERC roughly looks like this: First, everyone interested makes their views known in a fair and open process. Then, the ERC hopes, the actual influence of the ideas advanced - in the Policy Council's subsequent discussions - will depend on their merit. Those participating in the process (i.e., the members of the Council) should then strive to reach consensus; if consensus can't be reached, the reasons should be documented. The Council would finally forward its documented recommendation to the Board, which would take final action.

These ideas sound nice in theory - however, I have some doubt whether the actual Policy Councils will be able to deliver on these requirements.

More precisely, if the Councils act according to the "responsibility for the greater good" theories the ERC has articulated in earlier publications, this may work out. However, this approach is apparently not compatible with the desires of the current DNSO constituencies. Further, the ERC itself also seems to deviate from it in the paper at hand - after all, it discusses the case that a consensus solution can't be found because of the unreasonable or irrational refusal by one or more parties to seek consensus. (But maybe I'm just getting their definition of "consensus" wrong. Consensus among what group?)

If, on the other hand, the Councils continue to consist of a limited number of representatives (not "delegates"!) from individual stakeholder groups who exclusively look at their own (and their strategic allies') interests, outside opinions and arguments will hardly be judged by their merit, but rather by the question whether or not they are considered helpful for this or that fraction's position.

There is another point in which this paper crucially deviates from the ERC's earlier thinking: Some of the earlier documents tried to make it less important to be on the Names Council. The policy-making approach outlined in this document makes it even more important. That way, the question what constituencies can be added how becomes once more crucial. Even though the blueprint's construction of the Council attempts to make adding new constituencies a less political issue than it is today (by mandating a certain basic balance between provider and user constituencies), the NC's current thinking clearly indicates that the established constituencies would have to go a fairly long way until this goal could actually be accomplished (assuming that consent by existing constituencies is desirable).

Fri Aug 2 11:14:17 CEST 2002 #





This is the personal blog of Thomas Roessler.

It's mostly used for comments regarding ICANN, and matters of ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization and At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC).