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Continuing Alignment: Working Together Towards a New Stewardship and Enhanced Accountability

16 June 2015
By CWG-Stewardship & CCWG-Accountability co-Chairs

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Today we find ourselves at the end of two very successful public comment periods for the IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN Accountability processes. Between the Cross Community Working Group to Develop an IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal on Naming (CWG-Stewardship) and Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability), the community submitted over 100 comments combined. Thank you!

As members, participants, and interested observers of the two Cross Community Working Groups prepare themselves for the upcoming Buenos Aires Meeting, we co-Chairs of the CWG-Stewardship and CCWG-Accountability wanted to highlight an important joint message to the community:

We remain committed to retaining the coordination and dependencies of the proposals, and confirm their conditionality – put simply: the CWG-Stewardship proposal is not valid without the CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 1 Proposal.

Aligning the work between the two groups has been a constant priority for us, with coordination between the co-Chairs ongoing since the end of 2014. The interdependency and interrelation between our two groups has led to regular interaction and key correspondence being exchanged on a regular basis. We meet for at least an hour each week to conduct a co-Chairs' coordination call, and as co-Chairs, we have communicated the work of our respective groups in the other group's meetings in order to provide progress updates and to be available for questions in the case of any outstanding issues or disparities.

In addition to coordination between the co-Chairs, we are also privileged to have a significant crossover in membership between the two groups. As of the beginning of June, over 75 individuals are volunteering their time, resources and knowledge to both groups, helping to ensure alignment in the needs of the Domain Names community in relation to the IANA Stewardship Transition and the parallel and related work to enhance ICANN's accountability. Furthermore the two groups both had Sidley Austin as legal advisors which enhanced the alignment of the two proposals and the conditionality aspects.

Key elements of alignment and conditionality include:

  • The ability for the community to have more rights regarding the development and consideration of the ICANN budget;
  • Empowering the multi-stakeholder community to have certain rights with respect to the ICANN Board, including the ICANN Board's oversight of the IANA operations, specifically, the ability to appoint and remove members of the ICANN Board, and to recall the entire Board;
  • The IANA Functions Review, created to conduct periodic and special reviews of the IANA Functions, should be incorporated into the ICANN bylaws;
  • The Customer Standing Committee (CSC), created to monitor the performance of the IANA Functions and escalate non-remediated issues to the ccNSO and GNSO, should be incorporated into the bylaws;
  • Any appeal mechanism developed by the CCWG-Accountability should not cover ccTLD delegation/re-delegation issues as these are expected to be developed by the ccTLD community through appropriate processes; and
  • All of the foregoing mechanisms are to be provided for in the ICANN bylaws as "fundamental bylaws" requiring community ascent in order for amendment.

These elements have been addressed and discussed both formally in draft proposals from both groups, and acknowledged in the Chairs' respective inputs into the other group's public comment opportunities (here and here). Indeed, the CCWG-Accountability draft proposal that was sent out for public comment included all of the above elements, thus ensuring that the requirements raised by the CWG-Stewardship were met within that draft.

We are sure that there will be plenty of discussions, both formal and informal, about the IANA Stewardship Transition and the Enhancing ICANN Accountability work at ICANN 53 in Buenos Aires. However, if you still have questions or concerns about the linkage and commitments between the two groups, please join us for our CWG-Stewardship/CCWG-Accountability Joint Townhall Meeting on Monday, 22 June at 10:30-13:00 local time (ART) in Libertador AB (or via the remote participation links).

Thank you to all for your continued dedication and hard work on these comprehensive proposals; it's truly a pleasure to be working with each other, the working groups and the broader interested community on these historic proposals for the development of ICANN and the Internet.

Lise Fuhr, Jonathan Robinson (CWG-Stewardship)

Thomas Rickert, León Sanchez, Mathieu Weill (CCWG-Accountability)


CWG-Stewardship & CCWG-Accountability co-Chairs