APTLD Statement On The ICANN Strategic Plan< back to list
Members of the APTLD, meeting in Kyoto, Japan on Feb 20-22, have reviewed the draft Strategic Plan, released for public comment by ICANN.
In reviewing the plan, members were aided by considering the presentations and recommendations arising out of the GNSO-sponsored meeting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on February 7-8 2005.
1. APTLD members were, in general, appreciative of the principle of preparing a 3-year Strategic Plan, and welcomed the effort that had gone in to preparing the current draft plan.
2. Members were concerned at the application of the principle of ‘bottom up consultations’ inherent in the approach adopted in preparing and disseminating the draft report to date. Consultation with, and the support of the ccTLD community is necessary for the continued viability of ICANN if it is to be the global coordinator of internet resources its mission statement describes. The cctld community can and will provide the necessary international legitimacy ICANN needs if it is not to be relegated to being simply the gTLD regulator. However, discussions with one or two cctld managers cannot be considered as consultation with the cctld community. The cctld community, especially that in the Asia Pacific region, is extremely diverse geographically, politically, linguistically and technically. Consultation with such a community requires time, and considerable effort if detailed information is required to be exchanged and understood, and community consensus is to be developed. APTLD suggests that the ICANN staff take advantage in future of the facilities the regional cctld organisations like APTLD have to assist with consultation with cctld managers in the Asia Pacific region.
3. Members were aware that the issuing of the draft Strategic Plan is in part a response to current political issues, particularly the focus on internet governance in the WSIS process, and partly the MoU, which have driven some of the content of the draft Strategic Plan. Some of that material is possibly unusual in a Strategic Plan.
4. In general, APTLD members feel that there is some crossover between material one expects in a strategic plan with material one expects to find in operational documents which derive from a strategic plan, such as human resources plans, business plans and the budget. We note that some of the budget decisions ( for eg. the increases in staffing referred to ) have already been approved in the budget adopted in the current year, and before consideration of the strategic plan.
5. To an understandable extent, this arises from establishing planning cycles in the already running ICANN operation. We understand that the draft Strategic Plan may be amended to remove issues associated with the current year, along with operational matters, leaving strategic issues for future years to be fully debated within the ICANN community.
6. Our comments proceed on that assumption. In general, we comment below only on matters which involve cctlds. We tend to focus on those areas where we disagree with positions in the draft Strategic Plan, or can provide an additional perspective. There is much in the Plan that we agree with, or which is unrelated to cctld activities that we currently make no comment on.
7. We do specifically agree with the comments at p 6, concerning the value of ICANN, with its multi-stakeholder partnerships as the effective way of dealing with the narrow technical mission of coordinating internet resources at the global level.
8. Further, we endorse the statement that, as a matter of principle and intent, in ICANN, staff do not make policy.
Identified Objectives ( p 15 )
9. APTLD identifies with objectives 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 described as identified from ccTLDs, but not with objectives 5, 7 and 8.
10. APTLD members do not accept that it is within the ICANN mandate to ‘Significantly expand available resources to assist developing nation internet communities with education and technical coordination’.
11. If this were to be seen as an ICANN role, it is not clear whether this item is intended to describe increasing existing ICANN resources in this area, which we are not aware of, or is intended to mean that ICANN would commence funding sentities that currently address these issues.
12. APTLD members do not accept that it is within the ICANN mandate to ‘Actively promote consumer interests through information and service’. Other entities exist to carry out consumer awareness functions, with appropriate skills. To the extent that it suggests ICANN has any role in informing or assisting cctld registrants, and registrars, members suggest it is both inappropriate and would be difficult for ICANN to involve itself in matters which are matters for the local internet community including government, including its judicial system, and are best avoided by ICANN.
13. APTLD members do not accept that it is within the ICANN mandate to ‘Effectively educate consumers on how to obtain resources for dispute resolution, consumer protection and law enforcement’ or at least to the extent that implies activity by ICANN in local cctld internet communities. These three points may be appropriate activities for ICANN to undertake in relation to the gTLDs.
14. APTLD endorses the proposals at p 21 to strengthen IANA core services.
15. APTLD does not understand the nature of the proposed DNS test bed at p22, and awaits further information on this proposal.
16. APTLD does not understand why ICANN runs a root server (‘L’), and suggests the rationale for this be explored and debated by the community, as it may be inconsistent, if not in conflict with ICANN s relations with the root server operator community.
Security Fund ( p25)
17. APTLD members await further consultation on the purposes, scope and uses of the suggested Fund.
Formalized relationships with ccTLDs (p.26)
18. APTLD members recognize that the formation of more formal arrangements with cctld managers is both a goal in the ICANN MoU with the US Government, and a desirable goal in itself. However, existing arrangements are generally stable and satisfactory.
19. APTLD members remind ICANN that the principle that one agreement should cover all cctlds has previously been recognized as inappropriate in view of the diversity of cctld circumstances.
20. APTLD is aware of the development in the ccNSO of guidelines describing principles that might ordinarily apply in ‘accountability frameworks’ and looks forward to progress there.
21. However, APTLD is concerned about the interim. We are concerned to note that ICANN staff are requiring cctlds requiring recordal of a change of manager to accede to staff requests to commence negotiations in good faith over an accountability framework. Such negotiations cannot proceed in the absence of any certainty that any accountability framework agreements will exist, or that they can be applied in general terms to each cctld. Further such a requirement is in breach of RFC 1591, and appears to have no sanction by the ccNSO, nor the ICANN board.
22. APTLD is very concerned to note the claim that the accountability frameworks ‘follow the recommendations contained in the February 2000 Governmental Advisory Committee principles for the administration and delegation of cctlds.’ The principles of the accountability frameworks are not yet agreed. The 2000 GAC principles have not been adopted by the Board of ICANN, nor the ccTLD community. They have now been reviewed by the GAC itself.
23. APTLD members are not certain of the rationale for opening ICANN offices in other regions, but say that there seems no case made for an office in the Asia Pacific region. APTLD suggests that each regional office should be justified on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the regional internet community.
24. Outreach in the regions, if that is part of the goal, may more easily and economically be achieved by ICANN staff working with and through the offices of the regional organisations.
Fund for Developing Internet Communities
25. APTLD does not accept that it is within the ICANN mandate to fund outreach activities in developing countries, or to ‘pursue all available means’ to address their needs. Much work is done by other organisations in this area, and the prospect of duplication and collision is of concern.
Contingency Plan (p. 55)
26. APTLD welcomes the development of a contingency plan.
Funding by ccTLDs
27. APTLD welcomes the formal abandonment of the notion that cctlds will fund 35% of ICANN’s revenue, noting this was the outcome of a Task Force without elected representatives of the cctld community, nor was the proposition ever accepted by the cctld community.
28. APTLD members do not accept the applicability of the nomenclature of ‘Tier I’ and ‘Tier II’ cctlds, although this may be relevant to those cctlds under contract with ICANN. Any fee contributions to ICANN may well start with a ‘clean slate’ approach.
29. The cctld community may not collaborate though the ccNSO in devising a methodology for cctld contributions to ICANN (p. 61); although many APTLD members are members of the ccNSO, many cctlds are not, and may choose not to adopt any principles adopted by the ccNSO. Nor may there be any agreement that any increase in contributions is required or justified.
30. APTLD has no information to use in assessing whether the increase in expected voluntary contributions to ICANN will increase to the level proposed (from $600,000 to $1,022,000).
31. APTLD members question whether the reference at p.62 to increasing ICANN revenue as a result of increased revenue to registries is intended to refer only to g-Registries: it is assumed this is the case.
32. APTLD members repeat the proposition advanced over many years: that members are happy to fund their fair share of IANA services related to cctld matters, and to contribute to a fair share in the general overheads of ICANN, and look to more transparent accounting and reporting to allow that to be accomplished.