As a prospective applicant working on behalf of the global sustainability community, we have been largely focussed on developing a consensus for, and on explaining how, new domains like .ECO will impact our community.
While this continues to be our top priority, as the Internet Community meets at ICANN's 40th meeting in San Francisco, we would like to contribute the following four perspectives in the hope of aiding the discussion taking place there.
First, we have been encouraged by the productive meeting in Brussels and the 'scoring process' pioneered by ICANN's Government Advisory Committee and Board. It is notable that this consultation was able to confirm that both parties agree on a majority of points. We believe that this bodes well for a continued and fruitful discussion to resolve the remaining issues raised by the GAC.
The GAC and Board relationship has been and will continue to be a key part of the multi-stakeholder model. New systems for improving this relationship are being normed through the new TLD process. As long as these systems are built correctly, and explored thoroughly, even a resulting disagreement on some issues will be seen as a success of the process, and provide a sound basis for ongoing policy development.
Second, we believe that many of the issues where the Board and GAC currently disagree would not arise until after a TLD has been approved, and would therefore be comfortable applying for .ECO while discussion on these continued, even though it would expose us to some additional risk.
Third, ICANN has provided reasoned rationales for the existence and balance of current community-priority guidelines. We have worked on them with our own community and are satisfied that they represent a difficult but achievable bar for true communities. We are also pleased that the registry agreement allows communities to liaise directly with ICANN about the performance and authority of their registry. This is an important accountability and stability mechanism that protects this important part of the application guidebook.
Fourth, it is clear that there is and has been broad awareness of the new TLD process for some time. Indeed our own bid, one of many, has been widely covered in the press. The ICANN process itself has served as a useful communication window, allowing many to learn about and engage with new TLDs. As a result, an expedited communication/application window is now possible.
As the process draws to a close, we are looking forward to watching the GAC and Board make continued progress on remaining issues with regard to the application guidebook, and most of all to applying for .ECO and seeing it registered as a Community TLD.
We continue to strongly support this pioneering work of ICANN and the Internet Community and believe that this process is an effective way of managing some of the Internet's most important resources.