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Vol. 1: Update on IANA Stewardship Discussions

24 February 2015
By Samantha Dickinson

In addition to the U.N. six languages, this content is also available in

Download PDF version of Update on IANA Stewardship Discussion - 24 February 2015 [PDF, 383 KB]

ICANN is compiling bi-weekly updates on the community discussions and progress of the IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN Accountability Processes. This information is positioned to help inform interested stakeholders in the recent developments in the processes, upcoming key dates, latest documents and drafts and a snapshot of any news coverage that occurs over the timeframe.

An Update on IANA Stewardship Discussions


During ICANN 52 in Singapore, between 6 and 12 February, more than 41 hours were spent on discussions around the IANA stewardship transition and related ICANN accountability processes. The discussions consisted of:

  • Community-wide information and question and answer sessions
  • Public working sessions by:
    • IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG)
    • Cross-Community Working Group to Develop an IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal on Naming Related Functions (CWG Stewardship)
    • Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG Accountability).
  • Stakeholder-specific discussions within individual Supporting Organizations, including many of the component constituencies of the GNSO, and within the Advisory Committees.

The community-wide sessions provided online participation mechanisms and were webcast and transcribed live. Transcripts and audio of all sessions, including those not transcribed live, are now available online.

The following is a summary of transition and accountability-related discussions at ICANN 52.

Clarifications from NTIA:

  • NTIA reiterated that although the current IANA contract expires 30 September 2015, that is not a deadline for the transition but a target date. The transition can occur whenever the multistakeholder community develops a plan both it and NTIA can accept.
  • NTIA expects a single proposal for the IANA stewardship transition.
  • NTIA does not expect any dissenting opinions to accompany the final proposal.
  • NTIA expects the IANA-related accountability mechanisms being developed through Work Stream 1 of CCWG Accountability to be submitted at the same time as the ICG proposal.
  • Although the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 [PDF, 3.44 MB] prohibits NTIA from spending any money to relinquish the contract through 30 September 2015, this does not prevent the NTIA from providing informal feedback when asked questions by the community nor does it prevent the community's ability to continue developing a proposal for the transition.

Key ICG updates and discussions:

  • The ICG discussed the progress of the review of the protocol parameters and numbers community proposals the group had received, resolving a number of questions ICG members had had about both proposals. There was discussion about how to handle public comments on the names proposal, once submitted, due to concerns that the proposal could attract significant numbers of public comments and that it might not be practical to forward each individual comment to the CWG Stewardship for its consideration.
  • There were discussions about the effect that the extended timeline for the CWG Stewardship proposal would have on the ICG's final proposal, with agreement to review the ICG's current timeline based on more detailed review of the work that can be completed independent of the names proposal. It was noted that, as many members of the ICG were following the CWG Stewardship work, much of the ICG's work on the names proposal could take place before the final CWG proposal was formally delivered to the ICG.

CWG Stewardship and CCWG Accountability:

  • The two groups confirmed they were planning to use the same legal counsel for advice on the legal viability of proposal ideas under discussion. Although ICANN would pay for the legal advice, the clients would be the CWG and CCWG, not ICANN.
  • Recognizing the interdependent and interrelated nature of the two groups, the Chairs of both groups are also in regular contact to ensure close coordination between the two processes.

Key CWG Stewardship updates and discussions:

  • A final version of a Discussion Document [PDF, 447 KB] was published on 3 February to bring the wider community up to date on its work and encourage further community input.
  • The CWG Stewardship explained that the reasons the names component of the IANA stewardship proposal was taking longer than the numbers and protocol parameters components was due to the complexity of the names communities. CWG members were meeting very regularly – sometimes daily – to progress the work of the group.
  • The CWG Stewardship clarified that although there were still significant differences of opinion about the two main models on the table – "external" trust (oversight of IANA exists outside ICANN) versus "internal" trust (ICANN performs IANA stewardship function, with possibly a "golden bylaw" to ensure ICANN can be held accountable to community) – the vast majority of issues under discussion in the CWG were enjoying significant consensus. The CWG hoped that after it received legal advice on the external and internal options under discussion, some of the current proposal options could be found to be unviable and reduce the number of options from which the CWG needed to choose. 

Key CCWG Accountability updates and discussions:

  • Work Stream 1, which is examining the accountability mechanisms that must be in place or committed to within the timeframe of the IANA stewardship transition, has formed two Working Parties (WP): WP 1 is examining how the community can be empowered to hold the ICANN Board accountable while WP 2 is examining possible review and redress processes. There was a suggestion to clarify which accountability mechanisms in Work Stream 1 were "triggered" (by a specific action or non-action by ICANN) or "non-triggered" (part of regular ICANN processes).

Governmental Advisory Committee:

  • In its Singapore Communiqué [PDF, 113 KB], the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) committed to continue working with the CWG-Stewardship and CCWG-Accountability both through individual GAC members and through the designated GAC representatives to both groups. The GAC also noted that the IANA stewardship process would have the highest priority for the GAC's intersessional work in the lead-up to ICANN 53 in Buenos Aires.

More detailed information about post-ICANN 52 work in the ICG, CWG-Stewardship, and CCWG-Accountability will follow in the next update.

Updates on other transition-related activities

  1. ICANN Board

    On 12 February, a short statement from the ICANN Board was published. The key section of the statement is included below:

    "ICANN is expecting to receive both proposals [from the ICG and CCWG Accountability] at roughly the same time. When ICANN receives these proposals, we will forward them promptly and without modification to NTIA. As we have previously stated, if we do submit the proposals with an accompanying communication of comments, they will be on points we had already shared with the community during the development of the proposals. […] With respect to improvements in our accountability, we are definitely open to improvements."

  2. Internet Society (ISOC)

    At its 15 February meeting, the ISOC Board stressed that "successful transition will reinforce the value of the collaborative, multistakeholder model", with the Board Chair noting that the process "is a true reflection of the power of the multistakeholder approach to bring parties together to solve complex problems".

  3. International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

    During the ITU's Member States-only Council Working Group on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues (CWG-Internet), 2-3 February, one Member State proposed including the IANA stewardship transition as a topic for open consultations preceding the CWG-Internet's next meeting in October, with the aim of CWG-Internet providing input into the IANA stewardship process. There was support from some States at the meeting to hold such a consultation while others were opposed. Therefore, the topic will not proceed to public consultation. However, supporting States indicated they might suggest the IANA stewardship transition as a topic again at the October meeting for the CWG-Internet's subsequent open consultation.

Upcoming key dates

24 Feb 2015 CWG-Stewardship Meeting #23, 17:00-19:00
CCWG-Accountability meeting #14, 19:00-21:00 UTC
25 Feb 2015 ICG Call #12, 4:00-5:30 UTC
Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance – US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation hearing on IANA stewardship, 15:00 UTC
26 Feb 2015 CWG-Stewardship Meeting #24, 11:00-13:00 UTC
3 Mar 2015 CCWG-Accountability meeting #15, 12:00-14:00 UTC
CWG-Stewardship Meeting #25, 17:00-19:00 UTC
4 Mar 2015 Update on the IANA Stewardship Transition Process – ISOC webinar 14:00 UTC
5 Mar 2015 CWG-Stewardship Meeting #26, 11:00-13:00 UTC
23-24 Mar 2015 CCWG-Accountability Face-to-Face meeting. Details to be confirmed.
26-27 Mar 2015 CWG-Stewardship Face-to-Face meeting. Details to be confirmed.

Latest documents and drafts

12 Feb 2015 CWG-Stewardship Chairs' Summary of ICANN 52 Meeting
18 Feb 2015 Feedback collected from ICANN 52 for review & analysis by CWG Stewardship [DOCX, 40 KB]
CWG-Stewardship timeline [PDF, 243 KB]
21 Feb 2015 ICG summary of internally resolved questions regarding the protocol parameters & numbers proposals

IANA stewardship in the news

10 Feb 2015 ICANN 52: Where does the IANA transition and Internet governance go from here?, National Law University Delhi [EN]
10 Feb 2015 The last third: Why the IANA transition for names is hard, Internet Governance Project [EN]
13 Feb 2015 ICANN-Tagung: Experten fordern von den USA unabhängige IANA, Heise Online [DE]
20 Feb 2015 ICANN 52 reflection, InternetNZ [EN]

You can play a role in IANA's future…

Anyone can participate in discussions about the future of IANA's stewardship and ICANN accountability. For information on joining CWG-Stewardship, contact grace.abuhamad@icann.org. For information on joining CCWG-Accountability, contact accountability-staff@icann.org.

This update can also be found here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/iana-stewardship-discussion-2015-02-24-en

Compiled on behalf of ICANN by Samantha Dickinson | 23 February 2015


Samantha Dickinson