Scribe's Notes
Government Advisory Committee Public Forum
August 24, 1999
Santiago, Chile

  1. Agenda
    1. Update from President of ICANN
    2. Discussion of proposed policy for geographic diversity among ICANN board of directors
    3. Discussion re principles for delegation of ccTLDs
    4. Discussion of open versus closed domains
  2. Presentation of Communique
  3. Questions
    1. Which countries participated?
      1. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong (prevented by airport problems), Italy, Norway, …
    2. Gallup: Discussion from US Congress re openness of ICANN meetings, ICANN subcommittee meetings. Why is the GAC meeting closed? Seems inconsistent with ICANN mission.
      1. Have resolved to make next meeting open in part – for certain topics. Will perhaps invite particular constituencies to join in a dialogue re that topic. But openness generally is not negotiable. Governments, if forced to meet in complete openness, will read prepared documents and no work will really be done in public. Some openness on particular parts seems as good as it can get.
    3. Certain countries have advisors who are government officials, but some other. What credentials required to attend?
      1. "Official role" required – full-time employee of public administration, or are formally recognized as playing the role of setting policy in the represented country. Details always checked in each case.
    4. Worst-case scenario?
      1. Discussed this today. But agreed that it’s important that ICANN succeed in the narrow areas it is intended to address. Support this forum.
    5. Barrett: Communique seems appropriate for ccTLDs. But what about gTLDs? Any discussion on that subject?
      1. Discussion of gTLDs was limited to attempting to determine the public interest.
    6. Almato: How can government advisory committee be an ICANN standing committee (in compliance with ICANN requirements of openness) while operating in a closed fashion?
      1. Have to make the discussion both sufficiently open and also effective. Need to actually get work done to make the trip worthwhile. But governments don’t interact effectively in the open. Each government’s representative is listed on the GAC web site along with contact information so that interested citizens can reach the representatives of their countries.
    7. Higgins: See a change in criteria for management of a ccTLD. Now has to be "in the public interest"?
      1. Nothing in the statement intended to be contrary to what was said before. When the administrator can’t be shown to have the support of the local community, GAC believes a transfer of ccTLD control is appropriate. This is intended to reflect national law.
    8. Roberts: Continuing efforts to involve more nations?
      1. Yes.
    9. Plans to expand activity to additional subject matters?
      1. No, remaining focussed.
    10. Distinction between open and closed ccTLDs?
      1. Think the more relevant issues are dispute resolution processes and publishing of registration details.
    11. Include local governments that have a ccTLD assigned to them?
      1. Bylaws call for national governments. Discussions of subnational governments that have ccTLD.
    12. Has GAC considered creating means for developing countries to participate at lower cost? Translation?
      1. Sound like good ideas.
    13. Major efforts in non-commercial constituency. At first, hard to discuss internal challenges with people with completely different interests. But are getting used to it. Important for governments to understand that they too must make the same effort. They may not be used to openness now, but they’d adjust just as we already have.
      1. Are trying to find ways to make the GAC more open while remaining effective. Now that ICANN structure is moving towards councils, it might be easier – the GAC could engage particular groups as appropriate. Big mix of experience in the GAC; lots of GAC meeting time spent on education, information-sharing. Could be a bit embarrassing for a government (or government official) to admit ignorance on a particular subject in a public meeting - another reason why closed (or partially-closed) meetings might be preferable.
    14. McLaughlin "cut to the chase" of Walsh’s comment – read the second paragraph in full, while the entire message was displayed on screen.
      1. GAC has to act within international law.
    15. Has the GAC discussed the issue of ICANN’s funding?
      1. Roberts discussed that. GAC said "we consider funding to be important" but not much more.
    16. How much authority do individual representatives have? Have to confer with superiors?
      1. Some have to confer with superiors, some not.

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