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[atlarge-discuss] ALAC



We appreciate the hard work of the Assistance Group on this subject, led by 
Denise Michel and Esther Dyson. We welcome their recommendations, and we 
encourage broad public comment on them. The following are some initial 
specific comments on the Assistance Group recommendations:

1. We agree with the Assistance Group that the "establishment of an ALAC 
should be viewed as a critical first step towards structured involvement of 
the individual user community in ICANN and, in particular, towards a 
formalized role in ICANN's policy development process that ensures 
[individual] users' views are taken into account." This has always been a 
goal of the ICANN effort, and it remains one of the unfinished pieces of 
organizational business for ICANN. We recommend the creation of an ALAC as 
the most effective way to begin this process.

2. We note that the ALAC proposed by the Assistance Group is a somewhat 
complicated  – but we believe achievable  – undertaking. While we appreciate 
that some of the initial organizational work has already been done, there is 
a very long way to go from the presently available narrative and a diagram to 
a truly workable structure that can provide meaningful and informed input to 
the ICANN process. Thus, we believe that we should proceed with small steps 
rather than giant leaps, all the while with the understanding that what we 
begin with today will likely evolve into the finished product. Just as we 
have seen with the Supporting Organizations, which in the reformed ICANN will 
look (and perform) very differently from the original versions, the ALAC we 
start with will likely mature into a different structure. For that progress 
to be steady and positive, we should begin with manageable steps.

3. For these reasons, we will likely recommend that the initial ALAC be 
appointed by the Board, and that the members of the ALAC Assistance Group be 
included in those initial appointments. We are not as sanguine as the 
Assistance Group that this complicated structure can be functional 
immediately, and yet we do agree that there must be a focus for immediate and 
continued progress. Given the significant efforts to date by the Assistance 
Group, their appointment to an Interim ALAC seems suitable and appropriate. 
It may also be appropriate for the Board to augment that group with 
additional appointments, with an eye toward encouraging continued progress 
toward a stable permanent structure. We are open to other suggestions as to 
how to populate the initial ALAC without imposing cumbersome and 
time-consuming processes.

4. We will likely recommend that the ALAC appoint a liaison to the Board. 
Like other liaisons appointed by ICANN Advisory Committees, the ALAC liaison 
should initially be non-voting. By this, we do not mean to dismiss forever 
the possibility that the ALAC (or some other appropriate At Large entity) 
could eventually select voting members of the ICANN Board. As the ALAC 
matures, or if and when at-large elections become practicable, the 
appropriate vehicles for the expression of the views and interests of the 
general individual user segment of the community can be reconsidered.

5. As explained earlier, we also accept the recommendation that the ALAC, 
once properly organized and functioning, should select five delegates (one by 
each ICANN regional council, as proposed by the Assistance Group) to the 
Nominating Committee. Until these regional councils are functional and 
operative, we invite the ALAC Assistance Group or other members of the 
community to propose how some or all of these delegates could be selected 
until such time as the ALAC is operational and has shown that it can function 

6. We are not persuaded that the ALAC should appoint liaisons to the 
Supporting Organization Councils or other Advisory Committees, at least at 
this time. We do not see the need or desirability for this added complication 
to the ICANN structure, nor is it consistent with the progressive build-up 
approach that we believe the evolution of the ALAC should follow. This can be 
reconsidered in the future.

7. We believe that the most critical step in creating a functioning and 
effective ALAC is establishing the criteria to be applied in admitting 
members to the ALAC, and in the processes for selecting members of the ALAC 
itself. We endorse the notion of local, self-supporting structures, and we 
remain interested in seeing how this notion will be implemented. We would 
also welcome additional community comments on this issue in particular.

8. While we believe we understand the rationale for the bottom-up structure 
suggested by the Assistance Group, the Board will no doubt be interested in 
seeing how this structure is implemented. We generally agree with the notion 
of using a MOU approach to the certification of the Regional At Large 
Organizations, and look forward to suggestions as to what that MOU should 
contain from both the members of the Assistance Group and the community at 
large. We also agree with the proposal of the Assistance Group that each 
Regional At Large Council should appoint two members of the ALAC, and that 
the NomCom should name one additional member from each region. This would 
result in an ALAC of 15 members, 10 selected by the Regional Councils, and 
five by the NomCom.

9. We agree that individual at large entities should meet some 
"accreditation" standard, and we find the criteria and standards recommended 
by the Assistance Group to be an attractive list. We would be interested in 
community comments on how that "accreditation" should be implemented. Our 
tentative view is that, at least initially, a group appointed by the ICANN 
Board should do any such “accreditation”, but we welcome other suggestions 
as well.

10. We are not persuaded that ICANN should reimburse ALAC members' travel 
costs to ICANN meetings. We appreciate that funding is an issue for all 
individuals and organizations, but do not believe that it would be 
appropriate to fund travel costs for one set of Advisory Committee members 
and not for the participants in other ACs and SOs. We do agree that the ALAC 
should have sufficient ICANN staff support to effectively carry out its 
operations, and will so recommend. 

In this context, we intend to recommend that the reformed ICANN generally set 
for itself the goal to depend less critically on face-to-face interactions in 
physical meetings, and make it progressively easier and more effective for 
individuals to participate at a distance with no significant disadvantage. 

We encourage community comment on this discussion, and on the entire set of 
Assistance Group recommendations generally.

There is currently no obvious organized, globally recognized source for the 
four "unaffiliated public interest persons" in the Blueprint list. If our 
recommendation to establish an At Large Advisory Committee is accepted by the 
Board, and that advisory committee matures as expected, we believe that 
eventually it would be appropriate for the ALAC to select five delegates to 
the NomCom (one from each ICANN region, appointed by the regional councils 
envisaged in the ALAC proposal). This would ensure the NomCom has the benefit 
of geographically diverse perspectives drawn from the ALAC, and thereby 
promote the geographical diversity that is an important objective of ICANN. 
Under these circumstances, the five ALAC delegate positions could replace the 
four unaffiliated public interest persons and the individual domain name 
holder delegate positions included in the Blueprint list (since there is at 
present no existing individual domain name holder constituency; if and when 
such is recognized, this could be re-evaluated). We also recognize, however, 
that there is a considerable distance between drafting on paper and becoming 
truly functional, and it is unrealistic to expect an ALAC, even if launched 
in Shanghai, to become immediately effective. Thus, we invite the ALAC 
Assistance Group or other members of the community to propose how some or all 
of these delegates could be selected until such time as the ALAC is 
operational and has shown that it can function effectively. 

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