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Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) | Chairs' Statement: Thomas Rickert - León Sanchez - Mathieu Weill

23 January 2015

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The Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) held its first face-to-face meeting in Frankfurt, Germany on 19-20 January 2015.

The Frankfurt meeting was attended by more than fifty members and participants with an additional 40 participants and observers who joined the meeting remotely. The meeting led to significant progress, including initial agreement on a problem statement, a list of "stress tests" and requirements for Work Stream 1. The basic themes were identified in a mind map, which will be a roadmap for the next phase of the group's work. Participants' comments at the end of the meeting indicated that the outcomes exceeded expectations.


The scope of the Enhancing ICANN Accountability process is defined as ensuring that ICANN enhances its existing accountability in the absence of its historical contractual relationship with the U.S. Government.

The group's work is divided into two work streams:

  • WS1 is focused on identifying mechanisms enhancing ICANN accountability that must be in place or committed to within the timeframe of the IANA Stewardship Transition.
  • WS2 is focused on addressing accountability topics for which a timeline for developing solutions and full implementation may extend beyond the IANA Stewardship Transition.

The CCWG-Accountability expects to complete its work on Work Stream 1 within the same timeframe as the parallel, interrelated IANA Stewardship Transition process.

The CCWG-Accountability held its first online meeting on 9 December 2014 and has since held weekly virtual meetings. Transcripts and documents from all CCWG-Accountability meetings are available on the Wiki.


During its Frankfurt meeting, the CCWG-Accountability advanced a document including a problem statement and a set of definitions relevant to the scope of the work to a level of maturity so that it can now be shared with appointed external Advisors for their review and comment. These definitions clarify the purposes of ICANN's accountability, which include compliance to processes and applicable laws, achieving certain levels of performance and security, and ensuring that its decisions are for the benefit of the public, not just in the interests of a particular set of stakeholders and the corporation itself.

The CCWG-Accountability reached initial agreement on requirements to empower the community, which have been identified as necessary for accountability mechanisms considered for Work Stream 1.

The requirements were grouped into two categories:

  • Enabling community empowerment over ICANN Board decisions with limited, strictly enumerated, last resort powers;
  • Enhancing review and redress processes.

The identification of these high-level requirements will guide the next phase of the group's work. These mechanisms will inform feasibility assessments and the development of solutions for consideration by the CWG-Stewardship.

While obviously focusing on accountability mechanisms, such as review and redress, the CCWG-Accountability reaffirmed its commitment that these mechanisms do not undermine the bottom-up, multistakeholder model.

The CCWG-Accountability also continued its work identifying contingencies – stress tests – against which it will assess and validate its recommendations, as requested by its Charter.  

The group agreed on the need to further specify the existing work plan to include an overall timeline, an outreach plan, and efforts to ensure further substantive contributions from the broader global community.

The work of the CCWG-Accountability is just emerging from its formative stages; significant community engagement will come, including an engagement session in February 2015 at the ICANN52 meeting in Singapore.

The CCWG-Accountability also reiterated its commitment to synchronize its efforts with the ongoing work of the naming community (CWG-Stewardship). In addition to the already close coordination between the co-chairs of the two groups, further clarification of the inter-relations and interdependence between both groups was achieved during the meeting.

Next Steps

The CCWG-Accountability will continue to progress in all work paths identified during the Frankfurt meeting. A series of sessions will be held at the upcoming ICANN 52 meeting in Singapore, including a community engagement session and two working sessions, with remote participation. In addition, the group will meet with the ICANN Board. 

Anyone interested in participating in or following the work of the CCWG-Accountability can find information on the Wiki here.

About the CCWG-Accountability

The CCWG-Accountability consists of 161 people, organized as 25 members, appointed by and accountable to chartering organizations, 136 participants, who participate as individuals, and 38 mailing list observers. The group also includes one ICANN Board liaison, one ICANN staff representative, and one former ATRT member who serves as a liaison. In addition, there are 4 ICG members who participate in the CCWG-Accountability, including two who serve as liaisons between the two groups.

Six Advisors have also been appointed to contribute research and advice, and to bring perspectives on global best practices to enrich the CCWG-Accountability discussion. The Public Experts Group (PEG) continues its search for an Advisor who will bring expertise in International Law/Jurisprudence and will strive to select this Advisor as soon as possible.

The CCWG-Accountability is an open group: anyone interested in the work of the CCWG-Accountability, can join as a participant. Participants may be from a chartering organization, from a stakeholder group or organization not represented in the CCWG-Accountability or currently active within ICANN, or self-appointed.

Of the 161 CCWG-Accountability members and participants, the regional representation is as follows:

  • 39 North America;
  • 36 Europe;
  • 32 Asia/Asia Pacific;
  • 29 (not specified);
  • 16 Africa;
  • 9 Latin America.

Of the 161 CCWG-Accountability members and participants, the stakeholder group representation is as follows:

  • 62 (no affiliation);
  • 40 GNSO;
  • 25 GAC;
  • 19 At-Large;
  • 11 ccNSO/ccTLD;
  • 4 ASO.