[AfrICANN-discuss] Briefing note of the Paris meeting

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Mon Jul 28 15:37:27 SAST 2008

BRIEFING NOTE - Overall summary of the Paris meeting

What was it?*

ICANN's 32nd international public meeting was one of three held annually to
conduct policy development and outreach. It was hosted by ICANN (the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and Agifem, a
non-profit organization made up of several French Internet companies and

The meeting was opened by the Eric Besson, France's Minister of State for
forward planning, assessment of public policies, and development of the
digital economy.

1,672 people participated from 166 different countries, making this ICANN's
biggest ever meeting. The participants engaged in a wide range of
discussions about the Internet's domain name system and related issues.

Further information about the meeting, including presentations and
transcripts, is available at http://par.icann.org/.

ICANN's next international public meeting will take place in Cairo, Egypt,
beginning on 3rd November, 2008.

*What happened and what are the next steps? *

Many meetings, workshops, public forums and informal discussions were held
over six days by the different stakeholders of the ICANN model:
• business interests
• civil society
• governments and government agencies
• Internet service providers
• registrants
• registrars
• registries
• the technical community

Several key issues and themes evolved over the course of the meeting. They
are summarized below.

*New gTLDs*

ICANN's Board of Directors took a significant step forward on the
introduction of new generic top-level domains (new gTLDS - extensions to the
domain name system in addition to, for example, .COM or .INFO). The Board
approved the policy recommendations on new gTLDs developed by the GNSO,
ICANN's policy development arm for the generic name space. The Board
directed ICANN staff to further develop and complete a detailed
implementation plan.

New generic top-level domains were a featured topic of conversation during
the meeting. The week began with a dedicated two-and-a-half-hour interactive
session where experts from different industries and sectors around the world
shared a diversity of views about the potential changes to the Internet as
the New gTLD Program is launched. The workshop was presented with MARQUES,
the Association of European trademark owners, which represents trademark
owners' interests before EU and other international bodies.

ICANN staff updated the community on how new gTLDs may be implemented,
including a timeline and recent steps taken to address potential disputes.
Similar updates were presented to the various stakeholders including the
GNSO Council.

New gTLDs were also discussed at the Public Forum, later in the week. During
the meeting, a number of suggestions for new gTLDs also emerged. The
discussions on new gTLDs were the subject of worldwide and widespread press
coverage including by BBC, CNN, NBC, Les Echos, Business Week, Le Monde,
Liberation, The Times of London, the Financial Times, and other media
outlets all over the world.

More information is available on ICANN's new gTLDs page (
http://www.icann.org/topics/new-gtld-program.htm). This web page includes a
factsheet on the topic written in plain language and accessible to a general

*Next steps:*
The Board approved the policy recommendations on new gTLDs, drawn up by the
GNSO, and directed ICANN staff to further develop and complete a detailed
implementation plan.

Before the new gTLD introduction process is launched, the Board will be
given a final version of the implementation proposals of the proposed
process after a community review.

*More information:*
More information can be found online at:

*IDNs and IDN Fast Track*

Much of the discussion about Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) during
the Paris meeting centered on the work of the IDNC Working Group (IDNC WG).
The IDNC WG was chartered by the Board at its November 2007 meeting. Its
participants were appointed by the following supporting organizations and
advisory committees of ICANN: the Country Code Names Supporting Organization
(ccNSO), GNSO, Government Advisory Committee (GAC), At-Large Advisory
Committee (ALAC) and Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC).

The group has been working on the issue of an accelerated introduction of
IDNs (the "fast track") where specific, non-controversial country-code
top-level domains in non-Latin scripts could be approved and added to the
Internet's root without having to wait for the full approval process to be

The IDNC WG released its draft final report on the feasibility of this
approach for public comment two weeks prior to the Paris meeting. The report
provided a number of high-level recommendations and received broad approval
from the ccNSO and the GAC.

On the broader topic of IDNs, the Director of the IDN Program, Tina Dam,
gave updates to the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees,
describing progress on technical and other IDN implementation issues. IDNs
were discussed at the Public Forum, and a progress update was also given on
the final day of the meeting.

Of particular interest was how finalization of the IDNA protocol revision
would impact top-level IDN domains, in particular when and how they will be

*Next steps:*
The Board asked the IDNC WG final report to be posted for public comment and
asked staff to produce a detailed report on implementation issues, following
consultation with the community, in time for the next meeting in Cairo in
November 2008.

*More information:*
More information can be found online at:
http://ccnso.icann.org/workinggroups/idnc-charter.htm and at

*Improving Institutional Confidence*

The Paris meeting saw the release of three documents from the President's
Strategy Committee (PSC) outlining a new "Improving Institutional
Confidence" public consultation.

This consultation's aim is for the community to discuss possible changes to
ICANN in the lead up to the completion of the JPA in September 2009. This
work has been led by the PSC whose role is to provide advice to the Board.

The three documents – Improving Institutional Confidence in ICANN,
Transition Action Plan and Frequently Asked Questions – were used as the
basis for a two-hour discussion session. During a public meeting on the
issue, the PSC explained how the consultation would work and how people
could find out more information at each stage. The issue was also given a
dedicated timeslot in the Public Forum.

The documents are currently out for public comment (closing on 31 July).

*Next Steps: *
The consultation process outlined in the Transition Action Plan will be
followed. The entire community is encouraged to read the documents and send
their comments in before 31 July.

The documents will then be revised and put out for additional comment in
September 2008 in preparation for further discussions at the Cairo meeting
in November. A final report by the PSC will be provided to the Board in

*More information:*
More information is available online at: http://icann.org/jpa/iic

*Independent Reviews*

The independent review process requires each of ICANN's Supporting
Organizations and Advisory Committees to undergo review every few years to
make sure that the organization as a whole continues to serves the needs of
the global Internet community.

There are several independent reviews currently underway or soon to be
launched. The Board of Directors is also undergoing an independent review in
2008. The Paris meeting saw a number of updates on the current reviews.

The GNSO's review has been completed and it is now in the implementation
stage. The Board approved all but one of the recommendations developed by a
special Board working group to improve the effectiveness of the GNSO's
policy activities, structure, operations and communications. Recommendations
to be implemented include:
• use of a working group model for future policy development
• a revised policy development process
• enhancements to the different constituencies that make up the GNSO
• improved communications.

The Board deferred its final decision on one recommendation - restructuring
the GNSO Council – and decided to give the GNSO one last chance to submit a
consensus recommendation on how to structure the Council before it makes its
final decision in the next few weeks. The Board requested that the GNSO
convene a small working group to submit a consensus recommendation on
Council restructuring no later than 25 July. The group is to include one
member from each constituency, one of the current Nominating Committee
appointees, and one member from each liaison-appointing advisory committee
(if that advisory committee so desires).

In a related development, the GNSO Council postponed a vote on a top-level
GNSO Improvements Implementation Plan and called for a 21-day public comment
forum on the document. That open public comment forum closes on 18 July

Two public sessions and two informal sessions were held to discuss a report
from the ALAC's independent reviewers. The Board's ALAC review working group
held its first sessions. The draft report is currently out for public

*Board of Directors*
The Boston Consulting Group was selected as the consultant to perform the
independent review of the Board of Directors.

*Nominating Committee*
A working group created by the Board Governance Committee is working on
recommendations following the independent evaluators' report on the
Nominating Committee.

The Board established three working groups to review future independent
review reports. They will cover: the Board, the DNS Root Server System
Advisory Committee (RSSAC), and the Security and Stability Advisory
Committee (SSAC).

*Next steps:*
The reviews will continue to progress through each step in the review
process. Updates will be provided at the Cairo meeting in November.

*More information:*
More information including links to each of the reviews and public comments
pages can be found online at: http://www.icann.org/reviews/

*Registrar Accreditation Agreement*

More progress was made on improvements to protections for registrants
provided through the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA – the contract
ICANN holds with companies that register domain names on behalf of

15 revised changes and amendments were published in a report currently out
for public comment (the comment period closes 4 August 2008). The amendments
were outlined in meetings with individual Supporting Organizations and
Advisory Committees, as well as a dedicated one-and-a-half-hour public
workshop. RAA amendments also had a specific timeslot for discussion during
the Public Forum, and were further outlined at the final day's report

There are four categories of amendment to the RAA:

• Enforcement tools, including graduated sanctions, liability and audit
• Protections for registrants, including possible improvements to data
escrow and the ability to make resellers comply with RAA obligations
• A more stable registrar marketplace, including training for registrar
• Modernizing the agreement, bringing it up to date with changes in the use
and reuse of domain names

*Next steps:*
The amendments will be revised following input during the public comment
period and then shared with the Board, who will determine the next steps.

*More information:*
More information can be found online at: http://www.icann.org/topics/raa/

*Meetings Review*

A paper covering possible changes to ICANN meetings themselves was put to
the community in a number of different sessions, including several
Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee meetings, the opening day
public forum, mid-week Public Forum, and the closing-day reports session.
There were two main recommendations in the paper:

• that ICANN move from three to two meetings a year; and
• that one of those meetings be held in a "hub" city.

There was a broad range of views and discussion on both points, as well as
discussion of the change to the Paris schedule which saw the meeting end a
day earlier on Thursday, rather than on Friday.

*Next steps:*
The meetings paper is out for public comment until 10 July and will be
revised following feedback from the community.

*More information:*
More information can be found online at:


A number of information sessions on the new Internet Protocol were held in
order to the make community more aware of support issues and to outline ways

The ALAC, ccNSO, Registry and Registrar constituencies were also addressed
by experts on this topic during their own meetings. Business leaders were
given an overview as part of the Business Access Agenda. IPv6 was also
discussed during the Public Forum.

The GAC heard from several individuals and organizations, including the OECD
and the Names Resource Organization, about current trends and the challenges
to IPv6 deployment worldwide.
More information:

A factsheet written in plain and clear language has been produced: "IPv6 –
The Internet's vital expansion - October 2007". It explains the protocol
upgrade to a non-technical audience and is available here:


*Business Access Agenda*

For the first time, a specific agenda and series of targeted meetings and
discussions were held for business leaders in an effort to engage business
more effectively within ICANN's processes.
The agenda included briefings on the most significant topics facing ICANN at
the moment, including new gTLDs, IDNs and IPv6, and a meeting with the Board
of Directors. It was organized in cooperation with the E-Business, IT and
Telecoms Commission of the International Chamber of Commerce.

*Other issues*

• The Board approved a recommendation by the GNSO to tackle "domain
• The FY09 ICANN operating plan and budget of $57.1m were adopted by the
• Approval was given to a plan by PIR (the Public Interest Registry) to add
the security protocol DNSSEC to the .org registry.
• An "At Large Summit" was approved to enable representatives of Internet
user groups (At-Large Structures) to meet together within the next year,
most likely at the Mexico City meeting in March 2009.
• The SSAC published a number of new reports and survey results relating to
security and stability of the Internet. (
• A number of policy development processes were started or advanced at the
GNSO including Fast Flux and inter-registrar transfers.
• The GAC reiterated its strong support for a number of studies into the use
and abuse of Whois data, and asked for clarification from the Board on
whether studies would depend on the outcome of the GNSO Council's decision.
The GNSO Council created a working group to review recommendations for Whois
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