ICANN: GNSO Operating Procedures and ICANN Bylaws

Brief Overview

ICANN logoPurpose: On 1 December 2016, the GNSO Council directed ICANN Policy Staff to draft proposed language for any necessary modifications or additions to the GNSO Operating Procedures and, if applicable, those parts of the ICANN Bylaws pertaining to the GNSO as a result of the work of the GNSO Rights & Obligations under Revised Bylaws Drafting Team. This Drafting Team was tasked to identify the GNSO‘s new rights and obligations under the revised ICANN Bylaws which were adopted following the IANA Stewardship transition.

Current Status: A redline version of the GNSO Operating Procedures [PDF, 1 MB | DOCX, 380 KB] incorporating these changes, as well as the section of the ICANN Bylaws pertaining to the GNSO [PDF, 39 KB | DOCX, 23 KB] are now published for public comment.

Next Steps: Following the close of the public comment forum, the GNSO Council will review the input received and determine what steps are to be taken next, which could include further modifications and/or approval of the proposed changes. Note that any changes to the ICANN Bylaws will also need to be approved by the ICANN Board before these come into effect.

Section I: Description and Explanation

On 1 December 2016, the GNSO Council directed ‘ICANN Policy Staff to draft proposed language for any necessary modifications or additions to the GNSO Operating Procedures and, if applicable, those parts of the ICANN Bylaws pertaining to the GNSO. In its analysis of the Drafting Team (DT) recommendations (see https://gnso.icann.org/en/drafts/bylaws-drafting-team-final-report-12oct16-en.pdf [PDF, 278 KB]), staff took a minimalist approach by focusing on the minimum changes needed to implement the DT recommendations, recognizing that in certain cases additional work may be desirable to facilitate the GNSO‘s participation in the Empowered Community, such as creating templates or fact sheets. Where applicable, this further work has been flagged.

Based on the analysis of the DT recommendations, staff concluded that any necessary modifications or additions could basically be categorized as follows:

  1. No new procedures and/or modifications to the ICANN Bylaws or GNSO Operating Procedures are needed as the current Bylaws and/or GNSO Operating Procedures provide sufficient guidance. For example, for those situations in which the DT indicated that a simple majority vote of each house would be applicable, no changes are needed as this is the default GNSO Council voting threshold.
  2. No new procedures and/or modifications to the ICANN Bylaws or GNSO Operating Procedures are needed as a separate mechanism has been created (the GNSO Standing Selection Committee) which will deal with the required actions in relation to appointments and nominations.
  3. Changes to section 11.3.i of the ICANN Bylaws to reflect new GNSO voting thresholds1 which are different from the current threshold of a simple majority vote of each House.
  4. Changes to the GNSO Operating Procedures, section 4.9 (Consent Agenda) to reflect that certain decisions are to be confirmed “automatically” by the GNSO Council through its consent agenda.
  5. Addition to the GNSO Operating Procedures to clarify that in specific circumstances, the GNSO Council may waive the timeframes currently referenced in the GNSO Operating Procedures in relation to submission of motions as well as scheduling of meetings to meet its obligations under the timelines outlined in the ICANN Bylaws as a Decisional Participant.
  6. Addition to the GNSO Operating Procedures to clarify that certain petitions submitted by an individual must be submitted through a GNSO Stakeholder Group or Constituency to the GNSO Council for consideration. For this purpose, each GNSO Stakeholder Group and Constituency must develop clear rules for the submission of such petitions, including any requirements for the criteria to be included in a petition. These rules would be added to the GNSO Operating Procedures as an annex once available.
  7. Addition to the GNSO Operating Procedures to clarify that all petitions concerning a director removal process submitted by an individual must be submitted directly to the GNSO Council. For this purpose, the GNSO Council will develop a clear process and rules for the submission of such petitions, including any requirements for the criteria to be included in a petition. These rules would be added to the GNSO Operating Procedures as an annex once available.

The following staff report provides further details on how each of the DT recommendations has been addressed and in which category each of the items falls: [PDF, 522 KB | DOCX, 92 KB]. The proposed changes to the GNSO Operating Procedures can be reviewed here: [PDF, 1 MB | DOCX, 380 KB]. The proposed changes to the section in the ICANN Bylaws pertaining to the GNSO can be found here: [PDF, 39 KB | DOCX, 23 KB].

In addition to these modifications, the redline version also includes the following updates:

  • Updated references to the ICANN Bylaws as many changed as a result of the post-transition Bylaws;
  • Updated the generalized schedule for board elections to align it with the timing as well as notification requirements outlined in the post-transition Bylaws;
  • Included references to the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Quick Look Mechanism in the PDP Manual as a result of the GACGNSO Consultation Group recommendations, and;
  • Included references to the inclusion of a draft PDP WG Charter in the Preliminary Issue Report in the PDP Manual as a result of the GNSO Improvements recommendations.

1 Note, this only applies to voting thresholds that are not already specifically called out in the ICANN Bylaws but which are the result of the Bylaws DT recommendations.

Section II: Background

On 27 May 2016 the ICANN Board adopted a set of new ICANN Bylaws that reflect changes needed to implement the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal. Following the completion of the transition, the GNSO Council recognized that changes may need to be made to the GNSO‘s current Operating Procedures and related mechanisms and to the ICANN Bylaws. The goal is to give effect to the new roles and obligations of the GNSO under the new ICANN Bylaws, such as those in this table [PDF, 241 KB], including but not limited to the GNSO‘s participation in the Empowered Community. It tasked the GNSO Rights & Obligations under Revised Bylaws Drafting Team to put forward recommendations for needed further changes to ICANN Bylaws and/or GNSO Operating Procedures to enable effective GNSO participation in ICANN activities. The GNSO Council accepted the DT Final Report on 01 December 2016 and directed “ICANN Policy Staff to draft proposed language for any necessary modifications or additions to the GNSO Operating Procedures and, if applicable, those parts of the ICANN Bylaws pertaining to the GNSO“. Furthermore, the GNSO Council requested that “ICANN Legal evaluate whether the proposed modifications are consistent with the post-transition Bylaws and report their findings to the GNSO Council”. Staff then analyzed the recommendations and responded with its assessment as well as a number of clarifying questions to the DT (see http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/gnso-bylaws-dt/2017-March/000170.html). A number of subsequent meetings between the DT and staff were held to resolve these questions and addressed any concerns that were raised (see [PDF, 522 KB | DOCX, 92 KB]). Following that, the DT recommendations were translated into the above outlined changes in the GNSO Operating Procedures and ICANN Bylaws which are now published for public comment prior to consideration by the GNSO Council and the ICANN Board (in the case of the ICANN Bylaws).

Section III: Relevant Resources

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/public-comments/gnso-op-procedures-2017-06-19-en