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Mexico City: Joint AC/SO session

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[♪jazzy saxophone music playing♪] ICANN Present MEXICO ICANN.MEXICO.CITY Mexico - March 2009 Joint AC/SO Public Meeting - Patrick Sharry - A NovaMedias® Production - Sponsored by

Hello, my name is Patrick Sharry. Patrick Sharry - Consultant - ICANN

Yesterday we held the second of the joint meetings of the advisory committees and supporting organizations of ICANN. We held a meeting last time in Cairo and learned a lot from doing that. This time we set the room out quite differently, especially for an ICANN meeting. We arranged a table in the middle of the room-- --and set the chairs out so that we were almost like Theatre in the Round with the audience surrounding the speakers.

We had about 16 people around the table-- --about 3 or 4 people from each of the supporting organizations and advisory committees. We had people from the GAC, from the Security and Stability Advisory Committee-- --we had people from the ccNSO, from the GNSO, from the ASO, and also from the ALAC. That meant that all of ICANN's supporting organizations and advisory committees-- --apart from the root service, were represented around the table.

The way that we ran these sessions was that we broke the afternoon into 2 separate topics. The first topic was on expanding the name space-- --and the second part of the afternoon was on improving the policy development process.


For these sessions we focused the conversation on the people around the table. We had some speakers who started and then the conversation flowed very, very freely. We also sought to involve the audience in this mechanism that we developed-- --and so the members of the audience had red pieces of paper and green pieces of paper and white pieces of paper. The red to show their disapproval for an idea, the green to show their approval for an idea-- --and the white to show that they thought we needed to explain things a little bit more clearly.

At various times during the proceedings, we stopped and asked the audience what the show of colors were-- --so that we got some idea of the mood or temperature of the room in regard to a particular topic. In addition, once the members of the audience got the hang of this-- --what they did was held up the colors whenever they felt it was appropriate-- --whenever they felt strong support or disagreement for something that was being said. This involved them very well in the activities of the afternoon-- --and many people have said since then that they found it a very enjoyable but also educational and useful session.

I'd like to speak in a moment about the details of each of those 2 parts. The first of the sessions that we held was focused on expanding the name space. As you would be aware in ICANN at the moment, there's a lot of conversation about new TLDs and IDN TLDs and IDN ccTLDs. So with all of those people from the various groups arranged around the table-- --it was the perfect audience to discuss just that sort of issue. We got a number of perspectives. We got a technical perspective from the SSAC, we got perspectives of governments--from the governmental advisory committee representatives-- --from the GNSO from whom the policy originated-- --from the ccNSO who are working on the moment on the IDN fast track-- --but also from the ALAC who are, as users, very, very interested in how all of this might play out.

If I had to bring that down to a few quick points-- --the first one would be that there was general support--in fact, quite strong support-- --for expanding the name space through the introduction of IDNs. When we held the show of green paper for this, we got effectively unanimous support from the room for this idea. Where things got a little bit more complicated was when we were talking about expanding the name space in terms of new TLDs. There was probably a slight majority of opinion in support of that-- --but it's clearly an issue that the community is still working on.

One of the ways that the group felt that we might be able to move forward with this-- --was actually by thinking about various subcategories of TLDs. So rather than focusing on just ccTLDs and gTLDs that we might, in fact, think about geographic names-- --community names, cultural names, brand names, company names, and so forth. This is obviously a difficult question because as you would be aware-- --once you break an issue into subclasses, it's the issues of the boundaries that become difficult to maintain and police-- --and that's where might need to focus our effort.

However, an approach like that would be very useful-- --because it might allow the people who are working on the draft application guidebook-- --to frame things in such a way that would allow different sorts of pricing and costing mechanisms. One of the big issues at the moment is that there is a proposal that there be only one level of pricing and costing. With different categories, what we'd be able to do is perhaps offer different ways of pricing and costing those-- --so that different groups could be catered for in different ways. Another topic that came up very closely related to that-- --was the issue of ccTLDs, IDN ccTLDs, and other gTLDs.

The feeling of the room was that probably over the next 5 to 10 years we'll see a blurring of the distinctions that currently exist-- --between what we think of as the cc space--the country code space--and what we think of as the g space--the generic space. However, the feeling of the room was very strong that even in 10 years we will still have generic top-level domains and country code top-level domains. Exactly what they'll look like, only time will tell us that.

One of the things that was clear from the afternoon's proceedings was the willingness of everyone around the table and indeed the entire audience-- --to keep working on this issue because it really matters to people. It really matters, particularly from the IDN perspective-- --and to move that forward, it'll be very useful to solve the other issues around ccTLD IDNs and also the general TLDs. It'll be interesting to watch how this proceeds.


ICANN, in reality, has many policy processes. There's one in the GNSO, there's one in the ccNSO, and there's one in the ASO. They all produce policies in slightly different ways. However, the conversation tended to focus more generally on how ICANN as a whole could improve its policy process. Around the table we had representatives from ICANN's supporting organizations and advisory committees-- --and they were able to provide us with a very rich perspective on all of these issues.

To summarize where we got to at the end of a very vigorous but also educational conversation-- --was that perhaps ICANN needed to think of its policy processes in this way: At the beginning of the process, we should stop, take a deep breath--in the words of Steve Crocker--and look at a couple of things. The first is who needs to be involved in the process? That will help us identify what the real issues might be. And a key part of identifying what the issues might be would be to think about what the technical aspects are that need to be considered-- --because in the world of the domain name system, we need to take very careful regard of the technical issues.

When we stop and think about who needs to be involved and what the issues would be-- --that would also allow us to think about what would be the justification for a process-- --and what the objectives of that process might be-- --because in starting the process, we should be thinking not so much about the process itself but about what the end outcome of that process would be. The other big point that came up from the conversation about the way that the process should be run is that at the moment-- --the way that ICANN handles information and distributes information isn't really effective for really involving stakeholders in the conversation. And there were 2 key elements of that improvement process.

The first was that ICANN needed to present information more concisely. People suggested that having to read a 40-page report-- --perhaps in a language that wasn't their first language, was exceptionally difficult and time-consuming. What they would prefer was a short 1- or 2-page executive summary that could be used to inform them about the issues. The second part was the need for more translation-- --particularly of the executive summaries. This was the point that got probably the second highest level of support from the audience-- --using the green and the red cards that we spoke about in the earlier part.

The thing that got the most support from the audience, however, was the willingness of all of the members around the table-- --and everyone in the room as members of their various supporting organizations and advisory committees-- --to work together to improve the policy process. It's something that everyone thinks is important and everyone has agreed needs-- --both in each of the supporting organizations and advisory committees individually-- --but also in the convergence of those supporting organizations and advisory committees-- --to work together for that improvement.

That was our meeting in 2 parts. The first part focused on expanding the name space-- --the second part on improving the policy development process. We finished by taking a small amount of public comment in the traditional ICANN way: with an open mic. The feedback we've received from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. People think that the way that we structured the room made it much more intimate-- --and in particular, they very much enjoyed and found very useful the ability to contribute through the raising of the green and yellow cards. I'm confident that when we come to the Sydney meeting in several months' time-- --we'll be able to offer the same sort of meeting for the advisory committees and supporting organizations-- --in a format that's even better than the one that we've used this time-- --that engages the audience and the ICANN community in a way that lets us move forward together in a constructive manner.

Thank you very much. Goodbye.

®Copyrights 2009 - All Rights Reserved Your comments and reactions are welcome. Vos commentaires et reactions sont les bienvenues. [email protected]

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 46 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Sam Syamak Bavafa
Director: Sam Syamak Bavafa
Views: 335
Posted by: icann on Mar 10, 2009

Patrick Sharry gives a rundown of the joint Advisory Committee and Supporting Organization session at ICANN's 34th international public meeting in Mexico City, March 2009.

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