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Volume 7: An Update on IANA Stewardship Discussions

9 July 2015
By Samantha Dickinson

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ICANN is compiling 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.


The final proposal by the Cross Community Working Group to Develop an IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal on Naming Related Functions (CWG-Stewardship) was forwarded to the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) following its approval by the CWG-Stewardship's five chartering organizations. Communication of formal approval by the chartering organizations, including any accompanying remarks, has now been published on the CWG-Stewardship's website:

Chartering organizations approved the proposal on the understanding that the necessary accountability mechanisms will be included in the final proposal for Work Stream 1 of the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability).

While the names proposal has now been forwarded to the ICG, the CWG-Stewardship will not disband yet. Outstanding work still to be conducted includes:

  • Coordinating the issue of the IANA trademark with the protocol parameters and names communities1.
  • Finalizing the work on Service Level Expectations (SLEs)
  • Responding to any queries arising from the ICG's efforts to integrate all three community proposals into a combined IANA stewardship proposal
  • Monitoring the CCWG-Accountability's final Work Stream 1 proposal to confirm it contains all that is required for the transition of stewardship of the names function to take place
  • Participating as appropriate in the implementation process of the names component of the proposal

The CWG-Stewardship will continue to retain external legal counsel to assist in responding to any questions or input from the other operational communities the ICG on issues, such as the IANA trademark issue, and in developing an implementation plan for the proposal.


During the public comment period on the initial draft report [PDF, 2.05 MB] of Work Stream 1 accountability enhancements, there were a number of community concerns about the proposal to move ICANN to a mandatory member or "designator" model. In response to these concerns, onsite at ICANN 53, the CCWG-Accountability Co-chairs encouraged all of its members to pitch any alternative model that might better suit the needs of the different communities that together create the ICANN community.

A potential compromise model called the "Empowered SO/AC" model emerged, in which each Supporting Organization (SO) and Advisory Committee (AC) has the choice of if, and when, to become a member (or designator) of ICANN. Under this model, all SOs and ACs would, by default, have all the benefits of the enhanced ICANN accountability framework, excluding the ability to use the courts as a method of enforcement. However, the power of enforceability could be claimed at any time, should an SO or AC choose to do so, by changing the SO/AC's status to become a formal member (or designator) of ICANN. Initial indications are that both the Designator and Member models could be applied under the Empowered SO/AC model, and the CCWG-Accountability is seeking legal advice on the most appropriate way forward. As the CCWG-Accountability is concentrating its efforts on determining an agreeable model before the target start date for its next public comment period at the end of July, the Co-chairs have announced that the summary of comments on the first comment period, originally due 29 June, will now be completed by early August.

The CCWG-Accountability has created a third Work Party, WP3, to examine issues that have been identified following the publication of the initial draft report, including staff and management accountability, SO/AC accountability and enhancement of diversity. The CCWG-Accountability is also developing a process [PDF, 119 KB] for working with ICANN on drafting Bylaws associated with Work Stream 1 accountability enhancements to ensure the Bylaws can be adopted in a timely manner.


The ICG completed its assessment of the names proposal submitted by the CWG-Stewardship on its call #19 on 8 July. Drafts of the assessments are available in the ICG's Dropbox. It has also received a formal objection to the names proposal from a member of the community who had chosen not to participate in the CWG-Stewardship's work. The objection is on the basis that the final version of the names proposal was not presented for public comment before its presentation to the CWG-Stewardship chartering organizations for approval. As the ICG has a policy of non-interference with the consensus development processes of the three operational communities, the ICG is discussing passing the message back to the CWG-Stewardship for their comment.

The ICG's Communications Sub-Group has developed a communications strategy [DOC, 38 KB] to engage the multistakeholder community as broadly as possible when the combined proposal is released for public comment. The communications strategy includes holding webinars to brief the community, producing graphics and slides to provide high-level overviews of the proposal, and translations of key materials.

Timeline for stewardship transition

On 6 July, the ICG replied [PDF, 71 KB] to the NTIA's letter of 6 May [PDF, 575 KB], which asked for information about the timeline for completing the transition. The ICG noted there are three remaining phases of the transition process:

  • Transition proposal finalization – the ICG hopes to have the final proposal delivered to the NTIA via the ICANN Board around the time of ICANN 54, 18-22 October 2015, or shortly thereafter. The ICG considers this an optimistic timeline.
  • U.S. Government evaluation – Based on the ICG's understanding of comments made by the NTIA during ICANN 53, this phase would take 4-5 months, and would be completed around March 2016.
  • Implementation of prerequisites

Based on these three phases, the ICG has suggested to the NTIA that the earliest date at which the transition of stewardship is likely to be completed is July 2016.

The Co-chairs of the CCWG-Accountability have also replied to the NTIA, noting that the July 2016 completion date for their work is a best-case scenario, and that it may be necessary to extend the implementation of Work Stream 1 accountability mechanisms through to September 2016.

Updates on other transition-related activities

IANA-related discussions

U.S. Government processes related to the IANA stewardship transition

  • The Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act of 2015, also known as the Dotcom Act of 2015, (H.R. 805) was passed by the House of Representatives on 23 June. It has now been sent to the Senate for its consideration.
  • The Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives held a hearing, Internet Governance Progress After ICANN 53, on July 8. Witnesses were ICANN President and CEO, Fadi Chehadé and NTIA's Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator, Lawrence E. Strickling. The focus of the hearing was a reporting on the status of the IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN Accountability.

Latest documents and drafts

4 Jul 2015

ICG – Combined IANA Stewardship proposal [DOC, 339 KB], Draft version 2

2 Jul 2015

CCWG-Accountability – Bylaw drafting process [PDF, 119 KB]

1 Jul 2015

CCWG-Accountability – Discussion Starters on Staff Accountability [PDF, 180 KB], SO/AC Accountability [PDF, 264 KB], Board Duties [PDF, 256 KB], and Diversity [PDF, 262 KB]

11 Jun 2015

CWG-Stewardship – Final Proposal (approved by Chartering Organizations)

IANA stewardship in the news

9 Jul 2015

Icann Says End of US Oversight Role 'Strengthens' the Internet, AFP [EN]

30 Jun 2015

Managing the Internet takes patience and nuance: Two things short in supply, IT World Canada [EN]

22 Jun 2015

USA verlängern Aufsicht über IANA noch einmal, Heise [DE]

19 Jun 2015

В МИД РФ выступили за регулирование интернета со стороны ООН и Международного союза электросвязи, Interfax [RU]

Upcoming key dates

9 Jul 2015

CWG-Stewardship Meeting #61, 17:00-19:00 UTC

14 Jul 2015

CCWG-Accountability Meeting #40, 12:00 - 14:00 UTC

15 Jul 2015

ICG Teleconference #20, 19:00-21:00 UTC

17-18 Jul 2015

CCWG-Accountability face-to-face meeting, Paris

29 Jul 2015

ICG Teleconference #21, 5:00-7:00 UTC

31 Jul 2015

Public Comment Period for CCWG-Accountability's 2nd draft of ICANN accountability enhancements (Work Stream 1) due to begin

Week of 3 Aug 2015

Public Comment Period on Interim Final IANA Stewardship Proposal, consisting of names, numbers and protocol parameter components, begins

3-7 Aug 2015

3 webinars: briefings on ICG combined proposal released for public comment (times to be confirmed)

18-19 Sep 2015

ICG face-to-face meeting, Los Angeles

30 Sep-15 Oct 2015

CCWG-Accountability's 2nd and final proposal (Work Stream 1) presented to ALAC, ASO, ccNSO, GAC and GNSO for their approval

18-22 Oct 2015

ICANN 54 including ICG face-to-face meeting and presentation of proposals for IANA stewardship and ICANN accountability enhancements (Work Stream 1) to the ICANN Board for subsequent transmission to the NTIA

Week 1, Nov 2015

ICANN Board transmits IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN Accountability (Work Stream 1) Proposals to NTIA

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 CCWG-Accountability, contact accountability-staff@icann.org.

Compiled on behalf of ICANN by Samantha Dickinson | 9 July 2015

1The final proposal by the CWG-Stewardship contains placeholder text about the IANA trademark and domain name registration, and contains no concrete proposal on how these issues should be handled. The group provided clarification to the ICG on its Final Proposal text on 2 July.

[PDF, 516 KB]


Samantha Dickinson