Attending Your First GAC Meeting
GAC Meetings typically contain a number of forms of documentation that are published on this website for public information. At meetings there are presentations and various types of papers distributed; in addition, at the end of every ICANN meeting a formal communiqué is issued by the GAC, commenting on the issues that have been discussed. Finally, transcripts of open sessions are released a few weeks after meetings.
Who can attend GAC meetings?
New GAC Members, and new representatives, are always most welcome.
Since mid-2013, GAC meetings have been open, including the Communiqué drafting sessions. This means that anyone can attend a GAC meeting or follow the meeting live online in real-time, or consult detailed meeting records after the meeting. Meetings have been open since ICANN 47.
The exception to open meetings are the Communiqué drafting session that is only accessible to GAC members and their advisors, as well as GAC support staff and Secretariat. It takes place towards the end of each meeting, usually on the Wednesday afternoon and is about a half day of inter-governmental discussions and negotiations on the 'GAC Communiqué’. The Communiqué represents the formal negotiated outcome of the meeting, including the GAC's advice to the ICANN Board. A second exception to open meetings may be GAC agenda-setting conference calls that are not concerned with substantive decision-making. Finally, the GAC may on occasion need to hold a private meeting if the topic of discussion is a sensitive and purely internal matter. In these cases, the GAC agenda clearly shows the 'closed' nature of a session by coloring it in red (See ICANN 52 agenda for example).
ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) meets three times per year, at the same time and in the same place as the ICANN meetings (https://meetings.icann.org). The ICANN meetings are usually convened over four days, from Monday to Thursday. The GAC meeting generally runs over five days, from 2pm Saturday to midday Thursday but not meeting on Monday.
On the Monday, GAC representatives are encouraged to attend relevant ICANN meeting sessions. GAC attendees may, at their discretion, also leave the GAC meeting at any time to attend other ICANN sessions.
Registration and attendance is free but participants are expected to pay for their own travel, meals and accommodation.
Funding for travel support may be available to GAC Members from developing countries (contact email@example.com for details).
GAC representatives should register online, via the ICANN Meetings website, as a ‘Participant’ to attend the relevant ICANN meeting. There is no need to register separately to attend the GAC meeting. Formal credentials are not normally required, assuming GAC membership details have been kept up to date with the GAC Secretariat (see Fact Sheet: How to Change a Nominated GAC Representative).
The ICANN Registration Booth is usually not open until the Sunday. You may attend the GAC meeting on the Saturday and, when you find time on the Sunday, go to the Registration Booth. You will receive a name tag and a meeting kit. ICANN usually holds a gala evening during the conference. Ask about your free invitation at the Registration Booth. These evenings are held off-site and are a great social event with food, drink and entertainment. No need for formalwear– neat casual clothes are acceptable.
The agenda for each GAC meeting is made available on the GAC website (https://gac.icann.org) during the lead-up to each meeting. Drafts and the final agenda are also circulated via the GAC email list.
Briefing and background papers are provided for most agenda items. Hard copies of these documents will not necessarily be distributed at the GAC meeting.
During the Meeting
The ICANN conference venue is always large and sometimes difficult to navigate. Signs and helpers will direct you to the GAC meeting room.
Seats at the GAC meeting are not reserved or allocated. Name plates will not be provided or used. Arrive early and take a seat at the rows of tables with microphones.
Please introduce yourself to the GAC Chair and to the GAC Secretariat and Support personnel – they will be pleased to meet a new representative and are there to help you.
English is the main language used during the meeting but live interpretation is also available for the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Portuguese,Russian, and Spanish.
Headphones are available from an attendant at the back or side of the room. All GAC representatives are encouraged to speak up and contribute to the GAC’s discussion of issues. If you wish to speak, raise your hand until the Chair or Secretariat seesand adds you to the speaking list. You may speak in English, or in one of the languages listed above. If you’ve already introduced yourself, the Chair’s role in identifying speakers is made easier.
The GAC always seeks to reach agreement by consensus. That is, by the practice of adopting decisions by general agreement in the absence of any formal objection. Voting takes place very rarely,and usually only in relation to the election of the Chair and Vice-Chairs.
GAC sessions are generally open and anyone who is at the ICANN meeting who would like to sit in on the GAC meeting may do so. However, like some other ICANN meetings, some sessions may be closed to all but GAC members and observers when particularly sensitive matters are discussed. Where a session is closed, it will be noted on the agenda and the Chair will make an announcement. During closed sessions, the only people who may be present in the room are the GAC representatives; their advisors; and the Secretariat and support staff.
Towards the end of each meeting, usually on the Wednesday afternoon, the GAC produces a communiqué. The communiqué drafting session is always a closed session. This important document is the means by which the GAC formally provides advice to the ICANN Board.
Online participation in each GAC Meeting is available via Adobe Connect. Adobe Connect is a tool which enables people to participate in the ICANN meetings remotely. It can be used from almost any mobile device or desktop computer.
The online link to the Adobe Connect “meeting room” is available in two places:
- The ICANN meeting schedule.
- The Members Only part of the GAC website, under the heading ‘Meeting Documents and Agenda’.
Online participants can enter the room by clicking on ‘Guest' or can register by entering a username and password. If the remote participant does not use Adobe Connect regularly, entering simply as a ‘Guest’ will be fine. Adobe Connect is monitored during the GAC Meeting by the GAC secretariat and ICANN’s technical team. The GAC secretariat updates the Adobe Connect room after each session, letting remote participants know which session is taking place and the subject of discussion. GAC representatives may use the Adobe Connect meeting room to ask questions or to make comments. These contributions are read out during the relevant GAC Meeting sessions.
ICANN Constituency Travel Community Wiki page: https://community.icann.org/display/trvlconstit/Constituency+Travel+Home
Questions? Please contact the GAC Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org