The Guy Who Should Be Running ICANN, and CCWG-Accountability!

Every once in a while, if you listen closely, there is actually someone in an ICANN meeting who says something that makes sense, that is not just self-promoting hot air, posturing, selling, or lobbying. Such a rare event occurred Monday, October 19, 2015, during the CCWG-Accountability (Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability) public engagement session during the ICANN 54 meeting in Dublin, Ireland:

"Bertrand de La Chapelle for the record.

"I want to continue briefly on what I said this morning, and I want in advance to apologize. I know it is difficult to come in at a late stage in the process. I understand there has been a lot of discussions, but I may be like a few other people here, somebody who knows about the internal functioning of ICANN but has not necessarily dedicated a lot of time following the work. So bear with me for just one second.

"My concern with the way it is presented today is that the conditions under which the recalling or the removal of one particular [ICANN] Board Member is envisaged in my view should be for failing to fulfill the responsibilities as a Board Member. That includes a nonexhaustive list--Conflict-of-interest issue, it can be a lack of fiduciary duty, it can be a behavior that has a particular--is an element of misbehavior.

"I do not think that not following whatever position an SO [Supporting Organization] may have on one topic is a misbehavior for an ICANN Board Member. This is not what I understand is the function of the [ICANN] Board.

"We collectively as a group and as a whole community create a body that is a collegial body, and I am concerned about the notion that somebody who has been elected by a particular constituency is entirely and exclusively representing the positions of this constituency. In a certain way, and I was making the comparison earlier today in a private conversation, this is one of the problems that we're witnessing in the European Union where governments are considering that their commissioner is there to represent their community. This is the European Union at the moment and I think this is a potential danger for ICANN.

"I think the Board Members should become extremely independent when they are designated and held accountable for that's misbehavior as a board member and not as the representative only of the community.

"I think if there is a list of explicit causes, whether you name it "causes" or not, it's okay, but if it is a completely open-ended thing, it is replacing accountability by oversight. And I do not think the community is above the Board. The Board is responsible to the community. That is different.

"And the final point is there are actually three elements that are slightly distinct and confused here. One is the responsibility of a Board Member towards the Community it comes from. The second is the responsibility of a Board Member to the organization. and the Third, which is always conflated with the second, and I think it's wrong, is the responsibility of the Board Member to the global public interest.

"There are situations where the duty of a board member, in my view, and I agree that not everybody may share that, the duty of a board member is to think about the global public interest first, the interest of the community -- of the corporation second, and the fulfillment of the coordination with its originating constituency [third]. but it [the global public interest] is a higher task, and it's a higher calling than just carrying whatever position their community may have at one point."

>>Thomas Rickert: thanks, Bertrand.

[applause ] (emphasis and link added)

@bdelachapelle - Diplomat, entrepreneur and multi-stakeholder activist. Director, Internet & Jurisdiction Project. Former Director on the Board of ICANN.


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