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Publication of One World Trust Report on ICANN Accountability Benchmarks and Metrics


One World Trust (OWT) has submitted an independent assessment and measurement recommendations to ICANN. OWT was contracted to assist with developing a means to measure ICANN's accountability performance over time, as well as relative to other (broadly) similar organizations. This effort is part of ICANN's commitment to accountability and continuous improvement, and also responds to Accountability and Transparency Review Team advice. These measures also will:

  • Illustrate and communicate how ICANN is meeting its global accountability obligations;
  • Help ICANN benefit from learning how other international organizations are accountable to their stakeholders; and
  • Continue to enhance ICANN's accountability (and transparency, which is viewed as a part of accountability).

The implementation of the accountability framework, metrics and benchmarks is an important step in evolving ICANN's performance measurement discipline. This process is aligned with broader measurements of performance being implemented as part of ICANN's Management System to support continuous improvement.

One World Trust is an independent, UK-based organization that conducts research, develops recommendations and advocates for reform to make policy and decision-making processes in global governance more accountable to the people they affect.


OWT's "ICANN Accountability and Transparency Metrics and Benchmarks: Consultancy Report," is available here [PDF, 752 KB]. Their work consisted of several elements:

  1. Review of the accountability principles promoted by four international accountability standard setting initiatives;

  2. Qualitative analysis of ICANN's policies and practices through desk research and interviews with key stakeholders and staff (list available in Appendix C), for insight into ICANN's current accountability strengths and challenges, as well as gathering ideas about how the metrics and benchmarks might work; and

  3. Analysis of the accountability policies and practices of three multi-stakeholder, international non-profit organizations, to establish their current level of accountability in comparison with ICANN, and identify useful learning opportunities.

OWT provided a framework and practical suggestions for metrics within each of the six dimensions of Accountability (see Accountability Framework below), and recommended that ICANN staff determine specific metrics, including appropriate targets. This work will be integrated with the development of organization-wide performance metrics as part of ICANN's Management System, which will include: Key Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators used to plan and measure performance against the Fiscal Year 2015 Operational Plan and Budget; and trend lines demonstrating performance over time illustrated with Executive Dashboards.

OWT found that ICANN has performed well in comparison with other, similar organizations, and they suggested some areas where ICANN accountability could be improved. These recommendations will be considered in conjunction with the recommendations [PDF, 3.46 MB] of the Accountability & Transparency Review Team (ATRT2) and will be implemented, as appropriate.

Accountability Framework Graphical Representation


Next steps will include a community briefing and discussion at the ICANN Singapore meeting as part of the "Management System Linkage" session, and additional presentations and discussions, as needed, to gather community input.

ICANN recognizes that this is the beginning of an improved process of continuous improvement and evolution, and in line with OWT's recommendation, staff will begin the implementation with a "pilot," including a selection of accountability metrics to illustrate reporting mechanisms and to collect community feedback. Revisions will then be considered and a long-term implementation plan developed.

We welcome your feedback, ideas and questions. Please send your communications to


Community briefing and consultation on ICANN Accountability & Transparency Metrics & Benchmarks at ICANN48 in Buenos Aires, November 2013

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