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Building an Enhanced, Community Empowered ICANN

12 April 2016
By Akram Atallah

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The submission of the IANA Stewardship Transition Package to the U.S. Government last month marked the end of an impressive proposal development effort by the global multistakeholder community. It also marked the beginning of the next, intense period of work, to ensure that the proposals can be implemented in a timely manner if they’re accepted.

We’ve seen significant progress since the submission, with a great deal of focus for ICANN and the community on updating ICANN’s Bylaws. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has said they need to see adoption of any changes to ICANN’s Bylaws before they can complete their anticipated 90-day review. To meet this aggressive timeline, immediately following the ICANN55 meeting in Marrakech, a drafting team was formed consisting of ICANN’s legal team and the two external law firms involved with the Community Working Group (CWG-Stewardship) and Cross Community Working Group (CCWG-Accountability).  

The drafting team is working closely with representatives of all the involved community groups and the ICANN Board to ensure that the updated Bylaws accurately reflect the recommendations in the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) and the CCWG-Accountability proposals. Consistent with the current timeline, we will post the new draft Bylaws for a 30-day public comment period on 20 April 2016, with tentative adoption by 27 May. The Bylaws will only become effective upon the successful completion of the transition.

We are also continuing our joint planning efforts to remove NTIA’s administrative role from the root zone management system (outlined in my recent blog update), and as announced last week, ICANN and Verisign are currently undertaking a 90-day “parallel testing” period of the Root Zone Management System (RZMS). The parallel testing period is part of the proposal that ICANN and Verisign submitted to NTIA in August 2015.

Additionally, we hope to complete two other critical agreements this month – the Service Level Agreement with the five Regional Internet Registries (RIR) and the Memorandum of Understanding Supplemental Agreement with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). We will make the drafts of these agreements available for a 30-day public review period prior to ICANN Board consideration.

To keep everyone informed on all these strands of planning, we will start publishing weekly updates on icann.org beginning next week. I encourage anyone who’s interested in the transition’s implementation details to check back for those updates.

There are 25 weeks left until the end of the current term of the IANA Functions contract with NTIA. We clearly have a lot of work to do as an organization and a community to be fully prepared, but the end goal of an enhanced, community empowered, independent ICANN, is well within sight.


Akram Atallah

Former President, Global Domains Division