Centre for Internet & Society

CIS sent ICANN a request under its Documentary Information Disclosure Policy, seeking information regarding the creation and dissolution of the President's Globalisation Advisory Groups. The GAGs were created to advise the ICANN Board on its globalisation efforts, and to address questions on Affirmation of Commitments (AOC), policy structures, legal structure, root server system, the IANA multistakeholder accountability, and Internet governance. CIS' request and ICANN's response are detailed below.

CIS Request

12 January 2015

Mr. Fadi Chehade, CEO and President

Mr. Steve Crocker, Chairman of the Board

Ms. Theresa Swineheart, Senior Advisor to the President on Strategy

Mr. Samiran Gupta, ICANN India

Sub: Creation and dissolution of the President’s Globalisation Advisory Groups

On 17 February 2014, at a Special Meeting of the ICANN Board, the Board passed a resolution creating the President’s Globalisation Advisory Groups.1 Six Globalisation Advisory Groups were created, including on IANA globalization, legal structures, Internet governance, the Affirmation of Commitments, policy structures and the root server system.2 According to the minutes of the meeting, the Advisory Groups were to meet with the community at ICANN49 (Singapore, March 2014), make recommendations to the Board, and the Board would present their reports at ICANN50 (London, June 2014).3 Mr. Chehade was vested with the authority to change the Advisory Groups and their composition without the need for a further resolution, but the manner of dissolution was not laid out.

ICANN lists the Advisory Groups on its “Past Groups” page, with no further information.4 Presumably, the Groups remained in existence for at most one month. No explanation is provided for the reasons regarding the dissolution of all the Advisory Groups. There are no reports or transcripts of meetings with the community at ICANN49 or recommendations to Mr. Chehade or the Board.

The Globalisation Advisory Groups covered issues crucial for ICANN and the global Internet governance community, including its seat (“Legal Structures”), the Affirmation of Commitments (considered critical for ICANN’s accountability), the IANA stewardship transition, and ICANN’s (increasing) involvement in Internet governance. Given this, we request the following information:

  • Of the six Globalisation Advisory Groups created, is any Group active as of today (12 January 2015)?
  • When and how many times did any of the Groups meet?
  • On what date were the Groups dissolved? Were all Groups dissolved on the same date?
  • By what mechanism did the dissolution take place (oral statement, email)? If the dissolution occurred by way of email or statement, please provide a copy of the same.
  • Did any of the six Globalisation Advisory Groups present any report, advice, or recommendations to Mr. Chehade or any member(s) of the Board, prior to their dissolution? If yes, please provide the report/recommendations (if available) and/or information regarding the same.
  • Why were the Advisory Groups dissolved? Has any reason been recorded, and if not, please provide an explanation.
We await your favorable response and the requested information within the prescribed time limit. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any clarifications.
Thank you very much.

Warm regards,
Geetha Hariharan
Centre for Internet & Society


ICANN Response

ICANN's response to this request is positive. ICANN states that the Board did indeed set up the six Globalisation Advisory Groups (GAGs) on 17 February 2014 to tackle issues surrounding ICANN's globalisation efforts. The Affirmation of Commitments (AOC), policy structures, legal structure, root server system, the IANA multistakeholder accountability, and Internet governance were issues taken up by the GAGs. However, after the NTIA made its announcement regarding the IANA transition in March 2014, the GAGs were disbanded so as to avoid duplication of work on issues that "had a home in the global multistakeholder discussions". As a result, by a Board resolution dated 27 March 2014, the GAGs were dissolved.

This is an example of a good response to an information request. Some documentation regarding the creation and dissolution of the GAGs existed, such as the Board resolutions. The response points us to these documents, and summarises the reasons for the GAGs' creation and dissolution.

It is possible that this response is clear/comprehensive because the GAGs no longer exist, and in any event, did not perform any work worth writing about. Queries about ICANN's involvement in Internet governance (NETmundial, the NETmundial Initiative, etc.) garner responses that are, to say it informally, cage-y and surrounded by legalese.

ICANN's response to our DIDP request may be found here. A short summary of our request and ICANN's response may be found in this table (Request S. no. 7).

[1] See Approved Board Resolutions | Special Meeting of the Board, https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2014-02-17-en.

[2] See President’s Globalisation Advisory Groups, https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/globalization-19feb14-en.pdf.

[3] See Minutes | Special Meeting of the Board, https://www.icann.org/resources/board- material/minutes-2014-02-17-en.

[4] See Past Committees, Task Forces, and Other Groups, https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/past-2012-02-25-en.

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