ICANN Updates On Industry Meetings Including Clarifying Commitment To New TLD Programme

ICANN logoThe ICANN Blog has a few updates on ICANN activities in recent weeks, with the DNS Industry CEO roundtable event and the Europe regional Registry/Registrar meeting covered, and the Non-Contracted community of the GNSO which held its first intersessional meeting in Los Angeles, covered by David Olive.

The Non-Contracted community of the GNSO was a two-day gathering with 43 non-contract community leaders from the GNSO as well as other community members participating remotely.

Olive says “one of the purposes of the meeting was to create the opportunity—outside of the pressures and schedule strains of an ICANN Public Meeting—for community leaders to discuss longer-range substantial community issues, build relationships, and collaborate with each other, as well as senior ICANN staff, on strategic and operational issues that impact the GNSO NCPH community.”

“Throughout the course of the meeting, the participants interacted with President and CEO Fadi Chehadé (who provided an overview of the strategic challenges and opportunities facing ICANN) as well as Sally Costerton and Tarek Kamel (who updated the community on engagement efforts across the ICANN ecosystem) and Xavier Calvez, CFO (who provided an overview of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget and SO/AC request processes). Christine Willett briefed the participants on the status of the new gTLD program while Margie Milam discussed the latest RAA Negotiations and WHOIS efforts.”

More on this meeting is available at blog.icann.org/2013/02/exploring-more-effective-forms-of-engagement-gnso-non-contract-parties-gather-in-los-angeles.

Meanwhile Fadi Chehadé, ICANN’s CEO and President, wrote of his meeting with the Registrar Stakeholder Group’s Negotiating Team that aims to continue with negotiations toward a new Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA).

Chehadé says the meeting “started the day by affirming our commitment to further, in good faith, a new RAA that will address the needs of the community as well as prepare the Internet domain name system for a new season of growth.”

“The RAA negotiations provide an important opportunity to carefully balance the various requirements voiced by the ICANN community, as well as to evolve relations with the registrars who are at the frontline delivering the innovation and consumer choice enabled by the new gTLD program.”

Chehadé says several items were discussed “that had been tabled since this group met last year and made headway in considering additional enhancements that will complete the agreement in a manner that best achieves our goals rooted in the public interest.”

“We continued to explore how the proposed RAA can be synchronized with the new gTLD Registry Agreement that ICANN published for comment on 5 February 2013. Assuming such alignment, this will bring a more cohesive framework across these agreements.

“I will endeavour, with every tool available, to ensure that all agreements with our contracted parties are embraced in the broadest way plausible, and furthermore to support efforts by ICANN as it works to create a level playing field for all participants in this growing sector.”

Concluding, Chehadé says “without compromising any of our principles, we hope to achieve closure as soon as possible” and that he looks “forward to continuing this spirited and collaborative dialogue with the registrars as ICANN and the registrars are committed to moving through this process in a deliberative and expeditious way.”

The full posting by Fadi Chehadé is available at blog.icann.org/2013/02/registrar-accreditation-agreement-negotiation-session.

Last week Chehadé hosted another meeting with “more than a dozen leaders from the registry community; participants in our latest CEO Roundtable series focused on key issues and trends within the Domain Name System sector.”

During the meeting Chehadé writes “the evolution of the DNS sector from a number of perspectives and explored the opportunities and risks that these changes pose” was discussed. “The group provided constructive ideas about creating a platform for growth, innovation, and greater consumer and investor awareness. Research analysis, the creation of an infographic depicting the DNS ecosystem, and mechanisms to educate the media and public about the DNS sector were also highlighted.”

“In short, we addressed common goals, shared responsibilities and the value of raising awareness among consumers worldwide of the DNS sector, affirming our commitment to the public interest. I also expressed my hope and vision for a strengthened and streamlined business contracting framework between ICANN and its contracted parties.”

While new gTLDs weren’t the subject, Chehadé was asked to clarify a few issues on the programme, and he clarified that:

  • ICANN remains focused on the new gTLD timeline, and I am confident that we can do so without comprising ICANN’s deep, immovable commitment to the stability of the DNS.
  • We do not foresee any delays of the new gTLD program, we are working to assure that none occur, and the entire organization is pressing forward to comply with deadlines.
  • We have assembled a team of qualified professionals, experienced in making complex programs fully operational, and they have my full confidence. Staff is working hard and it is important for the community to be aware of the intense demands placed upon them by the schedule.
  • We will continue to increase the volume of communications pertaining to operational details of the new gTLD program, addressing both the technical and political risks encountered at various decision points.
  • I will also endeavour to explain, to the extent possible, the trade-offs and various considerations being balanced during each implementation milestone of the new gTLD programme.

This final posting is available in full from blog.icann.org/2013/02/ceo-roundtable-ii-the-registries.