Monthly Update by Theresa Swinehart
Important headway has been made over the past few weeks to ensure that the two processes necessary for achieving the transition of stewardship of the IANA functions are on track, aligned and positioned for success. As we look ahead, ongoing engagement and collaboration throughout the global multistakeholder community will be key to achieving our common objectives.
A year from now, the goal is that a proposal will have been submitted and accepted by the NTIA. The IANA Functions Stewardship Transition process remains in the hands of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG), which, over these past several weeks, has been very active in producing and adopting key documents that will guide its work moving forward.
Prior to its second face-to-face meeting following the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul, Turkey, on 6 September, the group was closely engaged through email exchanges on its publicly archived mailing list and held two virtual meetings. The output of these collaborative efforts was the adoption of the group's charter [PDF, 45 KB], and selection of its Chair in IETF's Alissa Cooper, and Vice Chairs in ALAC's Mohamed El Bashir and SSAC's Patrik Fältström (bios here). While in Istanbul, the ICG finalized and published RFPs for both an independent secretariat and for soliciting transition proposals [PDF, 84 KB]. Further, it also adopted an anticipated timeline [PDF, 60 KB] for the transition. Archives from all ICG discussions can be found here.
The next face-to-face meeting of the ICG will take place on 17 October following the ICANN 51 meeting in Los Angeles, preceded by an interactive meeting with the community on 16 October. The group will provide more information on these meetings as they finalize details.
All 30 members of the ICG continue to display their determination in working together and with their respective communities towards finalizing a transition proposal. We appreciate their dedication and I know the communities that they represent do as well. To stay up to date on the ICG, visit: www.icann.org/stewardship.
The Enhancing ICANN Accountability and Governance track, a parallel process critical to the success of the transition, is also evolving.
On 14 August, ICANN published Enhancing ICANN Accountability and Governance - Process and Next Steps, a process informed from input during an extended public consultation period on a draft process, community dialogues and feedback from SO/AC/SG leadership, that describes from an organizational perspective the process to examine ICANN's current accountability mechanisms and determine if or how they might be strengthened to deal with any focused systemic issues caused by the changing historical relationship with the United States.
Given the significance of the topic, ICANN's community leaders submitted a formal request to ICANN's Chairman of the Board, Steve Crocker, and President & CEO Fadi Chehadé, asking for additional time to ensure community alignment and understanding of the proposed process. They also submitted a list of questions [PDF, 106 KB] seeking clarification on several points of the process.
On 2 September following receipt of the letter, ICANN held a Town Hall Meeting at the IGF in Istanbul for SO/AC/SG leaders, community members and global observers to broaden understanding of the scope and process. It was acknowledged at this meeting that there was a need for additional time to evaluate the structure of the process to ensure better community alignment from the onset of this track.
In response to the community request, on 6 September ICANN launched an additional 21-day open comment period to address questions about the design of the Enhancing ICANN Accountability Process, not about the potential solutions or outcomes of the review. The posting also reiterated that this process is intended to deal with focused systemic issues caused by the changing historical relationship with the United States, including for example, by stress testing against internal or external captures or takeovers, and safeguards against capture at all levels, which is a pre-condition of the IANA stewardship transition.
At the end of 21-day period, comments received will be evaluated to determine whether they will result in changes to the accountability process as currently posted.
During this public comment period, you are encouraged to view the Enhancing ICANN Accountability and Governance FAQs, and engage with your communities on these important accountability issues. Also, you can review here [PDF, 500 KB] the responses to the questions about the process on which the community leaders sought clarification.
As we continue moving ahead on this accountability path, as a community we should continue to engage in active dialogue to ensure that we are aligned. This is an important time as the ICG is also relying on the accountability track to inform its work on the IANA stewardship transition. We look forward to working with the community to ensure strong engagement in the respective processes and accompanying substantive discussions.