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ICANN today published Enhancing ICANN Accountability and Governance - Process and Next Steps, a document that describes the process to examine how, from an organizational perspective, ICANN's accountability mechanisms should be strengthened to address the absence of its historical relationship with the US Government including looking at strengthening existing accountability mechanisms. On 14 March 2014, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intention to transition its stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority to the global stakeholder community, which would end its contractual relationship with ICANN that has existed since 1998. That historical relationship has been perceived as a backstop with regard to ICANN's organization-wide accountability.
Last spring, when the community began its initial discussions on the task of transitioning NTIA's stewardship of the IANA Functions, the community raised the broader topic of the impact of the change on ICANN's accountability. What emerged was a commitment to launch a second process – parallel but interrelated with the IANA stewardship transition process – to do this work.
During an extended public comment period from the beginning of May to the end of June, we received 49 comments, with a majority discussing the more substantive aspects of accountability, while some focused on the design of the review process itself.
We took those comments relating to the development of the process, along with those from the community dialogues at the ICANN 50 meeting in London, and developed the accountability review process published today. The comments provided on issues for consideration for enhancements to ICANN accountability, or proposed solutions, are provided in a separate document for consideration by the community groups performing the work on Enhancing ICANN accountability.
An important attribute of the IANA Stewardship Transition process and this ICANN Accountability & Governance Review process is that the work of each completes in time to meet the expectations of the IANA Functions Contract ending in September 2015.
An infographic providing a visual display of the proposed process can be found here [PDF, 926 KB].
A Summary Report of Public Comments received on the proposed process can be found here [PDF, 414 KB].
Comments provided on issues for consideration for enhancements to ICANN accountability are found here [PDF, 69 KB], on proposed solutions here [PDF, 132 KB] and all public comments received can be found here.