The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers (ICANN) met in London, United Kingdom during the week of 21 of June 2014. Sixty one (61) GAC Members attended the meetings and eight (8) Observers. The
GAC expresses warm thanks to the local host for their support.
High Level Governmental Meeting
The GAC expressed its sincere appreciation to the United Kingdom for hosting the High Level
Governmental Meeting on 23 June 2014. The meeting provided a valuable forum for Ministers and senior officials to emphasise to ICANN a range of important public policy
concerns with regard to ICANN and the global internet governance ecosystem. It also
enabled all parties to gain a clearer understanding of the role of governments in ICANN
processes, including the GAC.
1. GAC‐Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) Consultation Group
The GAC agreed to proposals from the joint GAC‐GNSO Consultation Group to enable
greater cooperation and coordination between GAC and the GNSO, and in particular:
o Appointment of a GNSO liaison to the GAC for a one year pilot period, starting next
meeting in Los Angeles;
o Liaison support through existing GNSO Council policy development process (PDP)
o A survey of GAC members on possible mechanisms for early awareness of policy
issues with public policy implications;
o Further analysis of how GAC involvement in PDPs could be managed on a
sustainable and workable basis.
2. Meeting with the Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (ccNSO)
The GAC met with the ccNSO and discussed a range of issues, including finalisation of the
report of the Framework of Interpretation Working Group; and the current activities on
transition of IANA stewardship and strengthening ICANN accountability.
III. Internal Matters
1. New Members – The GAC welcomes Barbados, Israel, Liberia, Timor‐Leste and
Venezuela as new Members.
2. GAC Working Methods ‐ The GAC discussed the proposals on improving the GAC
working methods and the implementation plan put forward by the GAC working
methods working group. The GAC agreed on the proposals and to the
implementation plan of 21 June 2014. The GAC will continue to discuss the other
3. Issues for Future Rounds of gTLDs; and
4. Government and Intergovernmental Organisation Engagement Strategy – The
working group will continue its discussions with the ICANN Global Stakeholder
Engagement (GSE) team on areas of cooperation.
The working groups will continue their activities inter‐sessionally.
The GAC warmly thanks all of the SOs/ACs who jointly met with the GAC, as well as all
those among the ICANN community who have contributed to the dialogue with the GAC
IV. GAC Advice to the Board
1. Transition of US Stewardship of IANA and Strengthening ICANN Accountability
The GAC is committed to engaging with the current processes dealing with transition of
US Government stewardship of IANA; and strengthening ICANN accountability.
The GAC will participate in both processes by nominating the Chair and four additional
GAC members for formal membership of the coordination group and working group
respectively, to provide a balanced representation of governmental interests. The GAC
will ensure that geographic, linguistic and gender diversity are reflected. GAC participants
in the groups will consult with, and facilitate information flows across, the broader GAC
The GAC recognizes the need for it to comment on the final draft proposals from the
IANA stewardship transition coordination group and the ICANN accountability working
group before the public comment periods.
2. Safeguard Advice Applicable to all new gTLDs and Category 1 (consumer protection,
sensitive strings and regulated markets) and Category 2 (restricted registration
a. The GAC advises:
I. the Board to call on the NGPC to provide the GAC with a comprehensive and satisfactory response to the legitimate concerns
raised in the Beijing and Singapore Communiqués. The GAC considers
that the current responses offered to the GAC fail to address a
number of important concerns, including: 1) the process for
verification of WHOIS information; 2) the proactive verification of
credentials for registrants of domain names in regulated and highly
regulated industries (the relevant Category 1 strings); 3) the proactive
security checks by registries; 4) the Public Interest Commitments
Dispute Resolution Process (PICDRP), which is not defined as to length
of procedure or outcome; and 5) discrimination in restricted TLDs. In
To track the history and progress of GAC Advice to the Board, please visit the GAC Advice Online Register available at: https://gacweb.icann.org/display/GACADV/GAC+Register+of+Advice
b. The GAC advises that:
I. the Board to provide its responses to GAC advice at least four weeks
prior to ICANN meetings in order to give sufficient time to the GAC to
assess and provide feedback on these complicated matters.
These concerns are further clarified in an Annex to this Communique.
The GAC looks forward to the activation of the review panel on promoting competition,
consumer trust and consumer choice envisaged in the Affirmation of Commitments.
The GAC notes that the Government of Israel expressed concerns about the potential
for discrimination in the operation of .kosher, which Israel will study further.
3. Specific Strings
Consistent with the new gTLD applicant guidebook, the GAC provided consensus advice
articulated in the April 11 2013 communiqué that the Dot Connect Africa (DCA)
application number 1‐1165‐42560 for dot Africa should not proceed. The GAC
welcomes the June 2013 decision by the New gTLD Program Committee to accept GAC
advice on this application.
The GAC notes the recent action taken to put on hold the ZACR African Union
Commission endorsed application due to the Independent Review Panel (IRP) mandated
by ICANN Bylaws.
The GAC advises:
1. The ICANN Board to provide timely communication to the
affected parties, in particular to provide clarity on the process and
2. The ICANN Board that, following the release of the IRP
recommendation, the Board should act expeditiously in
prioritising their deliberations and delegate .africa pursuant to the
registry agreement signed between ICANN and ZACR.
The GAC welcomes the NGPC’s acceptance of the GAC advice on .spa. The GAC
reiterates its advice (https://gacweb.icann.org/display/GACADV/2014‐03‐27‐spa) on the
issue that “the relevant parties in these discussions are the city of Spa and the
applicants.” The GAC therefore seeks NGPC’s clarification on whether its explanation
that “the applications will proceed through the normal process” means it will follow the
Applicant Guidebook taking into consideration the GAC advice.
c .wine / .vin
There was further discussion on the issue of .wine/.vin, but no agreement was reached
because of the sensitive nature of the matter.
The matter of .wine and .vin was raised at the High Level Governmental Meeting, where
some members expressed concerns in terms of ICANN’s accountability and public policy.
These concerns are not shared by all members.
4. Protection of Children
The GAC reiterates its advice in the Buenos Aires Communiqué that new gTLD registry
operators should be made aware of the importance of protecting children and their
rights consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
5. Protection of Inter‐Governmental Organisation (IGO) Names and Acronyms
The GAC reaffirms its advice from the Toronto, Beijing, Durban, Buenos Aires and
Singapore Communiqués regarding protection for IGO names and acronyms at the top
and second levels, as implementation of such protection is in the public interest given
that IGOs, as created by governments under international law, are objectively different
rights holders; notes the NGPC’s letter of 16 June 2014 to the GNSO concerning further
steps under the GNSO Policy Development Process while expressing concerns that the
process of implementing GAC advice has been so protracted; welcomes the NGPC’s
assurance that interim protections remain in place pending any such process; and
confirms its willingness to work with the GNSO on outcomes that meet the GAC’s
6. Protection of Red Cross / Red Crescent Names
The GAC refers to its previous advice to the Board to protect permanently the terms and
names associated with the Red Cross and Red Crescent, including those relating to
the189 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, and recalls that the protections
afforded to the Red Cross and Red Cross designations and names stem from universally
agreed norms of international law and from the national legislation in force in multiple
a. The GAC now advises, that:
I. the Red Cross and Red Crescent terms and names should not be
equated with trademarks or trade names and that their protection
could not therefore be adequately treated or addressed under
ICANN’s curative mechanisms for trademark protection;
II. the protections due to the Red Cross and Red Crescent terms and
names should not be subjected to, or conditioned upon, a policy
III. the permanent protection of these terms and names should be
confirmed and implemented as a matter of priority, including in
particular the names of the international and national Red Cross and
Red Crescent organisations.
The GAC notes that there continue to be range of initiatives being progressed relevant
to WHOIS, including outcomes from the WHOIS Review Team and the recently finalised
report of the Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services. Many of the issues
under discussion and analysis have public policy dimensions, including privacy, law
enforcement, consumer protection and public safety.
a. The GAC requests that:
I. ICANN make further efforts to explain and clarify the linkages
between the full range of WHOIS activity for the benefit of GAC and
the community between now and the Los Angeles meeting, to ensure
that WHOIS activity adequately reflects GAC’s earlier comments and
concerns. ICANN should also consider the implications of short,
restrictive comment deadlines for community workload. The GAC
suggests that ICANN conduct a session for the community on these
issues in Los Angeles.
8. Accountability and Transparency
The GAC was briefed by the Board‐GAC Recommendation Implementation Working
Group (BGRI) and agreed to specific ATRT2 recommendations being progressed by the
BGRI as follows:
o Development of a formal process for the Board to notify and request GAC advice
(Recommendation 6.4) – Document current process and seek comment on options
o Bylaw changes to formally implement the documented process for Board‐GAC
Bylaws consultation developed by the BGRI (Recommendation 6.5) – GAC advises
the Board that there are no further requests for Bylaws amendments, in light of the
new gTLDs, and hence sees no need for Board action on this to be further delayed.
o Regularisation of senior officials’ meetings (Recommendation 6.7) – GAC agrees that
regular high level meetings are beneficial, and will examine ways to maximize their
benefits and continually improve the way they are arranged and scheduled.
o GAC to use opportunities to provide input to ICANN policy development processes
(Recommendation 10.2) – GAC noted that the GAC‐GNSO Consultation Group is
9. Human Rights
GAC noted the written analysis on ICANN’s procedures and policies in the light of human
rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values, prepared by experts of the
Council of Europe. The GAC noted that there is a developing interest in the ICANN
community to include human rights issues in future discussions.
10. Protection of Geographic Names in gTLDs
The GAC provided a briefing, led by the sub‐group on geographic names of the working
group on future gTLD issues, to the community on protection of geographic names in
future new gTLD application rounds. Further work will be done on this matter and new
updates will be provided at the next ICANN meeting.
11. GAC Open Forum
The GAC convened an open session for the community to inform about and exchange
views on the GAC and its working methods, in accordance with recommendation 6.1.a
of the ATRT2 report.
V. Next Meeting
The GAC will meet during the period of the 51st ICANN meeting in Los Angeles, California.