Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Subsequent Rounds of New gTLDs (GAC Communiqué – ICANN68)

The latest issue of the ICANN68 Virtual Policy Forum is dated 27 June 2020. This is what the GAC Communiqué says on Subsequent Rounds of New gTLDs and in red is what I see as a new pain in the A for the next round:
The GAC prioritized consideration of policy issues related to Subsequent Rounds of new gTLDs during ICANN68, notably by devoting three GAC sessions to this topic, reviewing the GAC Scorecard, and by engaging in the GNSO New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group (Sub Pro PDP WG) meeting. The GAC wishes to thank the Sub Pro PDP WG Co-Chairs for their participation in GAC sessions on this topic, and recognizes the extensive and diligent work of the Sub Pro PDP WG to deliver the Final Report.

The GAC considered an update from the Sub Pro PDP WG Co-Chairs on work conducted since ICANN67, in particular consideration by the WG of the intersessional compilation of individual GAC Members input, and the Sub Pro PDP WG timeline. The GAC notes that the draft final report is expected to be posted for public comment in July 2020 for 40 days.

Some GAC members expressed concerns with the use of a standard 40-day public comment proceeding for a topic of high priority to the GAC and the ICANN Community. The Sub Pro PDP WG Co-Chairs noted such concerns while confirming that the final report will be delivered to the GNSO Council at the latest by the end of this calendar year.

The Sub Pro PDP WG Discussed two pending topics during ICANN68 and provided an update to the GAC:
  1. Private Resolutions of String Contentions
  2. Predictability Framework for Next Rounds of New gTLDs
Regarding auctions as a private mechanism to resolve string contentions, some GAC Members expressed concerns, in light of prior GAC positions on the issue, asking why other options are not being further considered by the WG. As to mechanisms to provide for predictability to applicants in future rounds, WG Co-Chairs flagged that the PDP WG recommends establishing a new Predictability Framework along with a new Standing Predictability Implementation Review Team (SPIRT) and noted initial community support of such recommendation. While the GAC appreciates the efforts of the WG to create a Predictability Framework, some GAC members raised doubts on the added-value of a SPIRT, and expressed concerns that its creation, if adopted, could add complexity to the current procedure and potential inconsistency with existing roles and responsibilities according to the ICANN Bylaws. It was proposed that if established, the new mechanism be lean, inclusive and transparent.

GAC Vice-Chairs provided an overview of the following priority topics identified by the GAC during ICANN67:
  • Applicant Support
  • Closed Generics
  • Public Interest Commitments/Global Public Interest
  • GAC Early Warnings/GAC Advice
  • Community Based Applications
Some GAC members expressed the view that the lack of a formal PDP WG recommendation on the delegation of closed generics would imply that the relevant Board Resolution from the 2012 round would still apply. Additionally, while supporting a new round of new gTLDs in principle, some GAC members recalled the importance of a cost/benefit analysis being conducted prior to the next round.

GAC leaders and topic leads will continue to coordinate intersessional work on the high-interest topics, using the GAC Scorecard as the basis. The agreed next step is to develop GAC consensus input to the public comment period expected in July 2020 on the PDP WG Final Report. Interested GAC Members are encouraged to consult the GAC Scorecard on Subsequent Rounds of New gTLDs and to approach GAC topic leads in order to contribute on any of the relevant policy topics.
Read the full communiqué (PDF download)

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