on Redelegation of the .ht Top-Level Domain
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (the IANA), as part of the administrative functions associated with management of the domain name system root, is responsible for receiving requests for delegation and redelegation of top-level domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests. This report gives the findings and conclusions of the IANA on its investigation of various requests for redelegation of the .ht (Haiti) country-code top-level domain (ccTLD).
Factual and Procedural Background
In 1997, the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (which then performed the IANA functions) approved a request for establishment of the .ht ccTLD. At that time and today, that two-letter code was and is set forth on the ISO 3166-1 list maintained by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA) as the approved alpha-2 code for Haiti.
Upon its establishment in March 1997, the .ht ccTLD was delegated by Dr. Jon Postel (then in charge of the IANA function at the Information Sciences Institute) to Jean Claude Filien, of HINTELFOCUS, as administrative contact, and Domain Administrator, of HINTELFOCUS, as the technical contact. At that time, it was Dr. Postel's usual practice to delegate authority and responsibilities regarding ccTLDs to trusted individuals.
In March 2002, ICANN received an expression of interest to redelegate the .ht ccTLD to the Consortium FDS/RDDH. The Government of Haiti supported this request. The Haiti Government, through the Haitian Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications (MTPTC), recognized Consortium FDS/RDDH as the appropriate delegee for the .ht ccTLD, and expressed an interest to have Consortium FDS/RDDH formally recognized by ICANN as the delegee for the .ht ccTLD according to the "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains" issued in February 2000 by ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), commonly known as the "GAC Principles." Consortium FDS/RDDH is an independent body, active within the local Internet community.
The existing administrative contact has expressed support for the redelegation request, and the listed technical contact has stated that it has no objection.
To clarify and document the relative roles and responsibilities of Consortium FDS/RDDH, the Government of Haiti, and ICANN; representatives of the parties have drafted the bilateral communications between each pair of the three parties. A Consortium FDS/RDDH - ICANN Agreement was entered in November 2003 in accordance with the GAC Principles, which the Haiti Government has used as a guide in proceeding. The Haiti Government has also sent ICANN communications recognizing ICANN's role in coordinating the DNS to preserve global interoperability. In November 2003, Consortium FDS/RDDH expressed its desire to execute the appropriate ccTLD Sponsorship Agreement with ICANN, and on January 2004 the ICANN Board authorized the entry of such an agreement with Consortium FDS/RDDH.
This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the IANA function between the United States Government and ICANN. Under that contract, ICANN performs the IANA function, which includes receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning ccTLDs, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and making its recommendations and reporting actions undertaken in connection with processing such requests.
In acting on redelegation requests, the IANA currently follows the practices summarized in "Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation" (ICP-1). ICP-1 represents an update of the portions of RFC 1591 (which was issued in March 1994) dealing with ccTLDs, and reflects subsequent documents and evolution of the policies followed by the IANA through May 1999. Relevant guidance is also provided in the GAC Principles.
In considering delegation or redelegation of a ccTLD, the IANA seeks input from persons significantly affected by the transfer, particularly those within the nation or territory which the ccTLD has been established to benefit. As noted in ICP-1, the parties affected include especially the relevant government or public authority: "The desires of the government of a country with regard to delegation of a ccTLD are taken very seriously. The IANA will make them a major consideration in any TLD delegation/transfer discussions."
Based on the materials submitted and the IANA's evaluation of the circumstances, Consortium FDS/RDDH qualifies as an appropriate manager for the .ht registry, with support from the Haiti Internet community, including the Haiti Government. As noted above, the government of Haiti has formally endorsed Consortium FDS/RDDH as the appropriate delegee for the .ht registry.
Mutual agreement of the old and the new delegees is also of importance. Here, the former administrative and technical contacts support the change in delegation.
The GAC Principles serve as "best practices" to guide governments in assuming proper roles with respect to the Internet's naming system, which the GAC has observed is a public resource to be administered in the public interest. In general, they recognize that each government has the ultimate responsibility within its territory for its national public-policy objectives, but also that ICANN has the responsibility for ensuring that the Internet domain name system continues to provide an effective and interoperable global naming system. The GAC Principles recommend that governments and ICANN pursue their respective roles by creating a framework for accountability memorialized in communications with each other and with the ccTLD manager (see clause 2). The GAC Principles guide governments on how to responsibly structure their relations with ccTLD managers (see clauses 5.5 and 9). Among these specific principles, the best practices contemplate that governments will assist in ensuring that the ccTLD manager complies with ICANN polices related to global coordination of the Internet DNS (clauses 9.1.7 and 9.1.8).
Consortium FDS/RDDH has committed itself to abiding by the GAC Principles in communication dated 11 September 2003 from the Haiti Government, MTPTC, to ICANN CEO Paul Twomey. In the 11 September letter, the Government of Haiti has followed the actions of the Governments of Australia1, Japan2, Kenya3, and the Sudan4 in committing to the principles of private-sector self-regulation of the type that have allowed and will continue to allow the Internet globally to flourish, while providing the Government with the ability to intervene should the private sector be unable to fulfill this function. The Haiti Government's letter also recognizes the desirability of private-sector technical coordination of the Internet on a global scale, and affirms that the Haiti Government is committed to ICANN and, "considers ICANN to be the appropriate international entity to oversee the technical coordination of the Internet in a manner that will preserve it as an effective and convenient mechanism for global communication and commerce."
By migrating the delegation of the .ht ccTLD from the responsibility of an individual acting under informal understandings with the IANA to a more formal, legally enforceable set of arrangements among a delegee organization, the relevant government, and ICANN (which performs the IANA function), the proposed delegation will promote service to the local Internet community and will help assure continued Internet interoperability through the global technical coordination that ICANN was created to provide. In this regard, the recognition in the Haiti Government's discussion of the need for close coordination between ICANN and the government is particularly noteworthy.
According to the relevant communications, Consortium FDS/RDDH is well suited to be inclusive of, and accountable to, the Haitian Internet community; and to operate through appropriate open, transparent, and inclusive processes.
The structure proposed by Consortium FDS/RDDH and endorsed by the Haiti Government is to have Consortium FDS/RDDH undertake management of the .ht ccTLD under appropriate oversight of the Haiti Government concerning the national policy interests. Consortium FDS/RDDH and the Haiti Government also acknowledge and support ICANN's responsibility for coordinating management of the DNS, including the .ht ccTLD, to safeguard global technical coordination interests. In reviewing the request and in light of the Haiti Government's endorsement of Consortium FDS/RDDH as the appropriate all inclusive manager, and in view of the achievement of agreements documenting the framework of accountability described above, the IANA concludes that the .ht ccTLD should be redelegated to Consortium FDS/RDDH.
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