Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) Reviews
Sign up to learn more
- What is the Affirmation of Commitments (AoC)?
- What are AOC Reviews?
- Performance of AoC Reviews?
- Timing of AoC Reviews?
- AoC Reviews Schedule
- Implementation of Board-Approved Recommendations?
- Review Process
- Historical Information on AoC Reviews
The Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) is the 2009 Agreement (translations available) between ICANN and the United States Department of Commerce. This Agreement reaffirmed ICANN's independence, its commitment to making decisions in the public interest that are accountable and transparent, and its commitment to undergoing four regular reviews performed by the community. Signed by ICANN and the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA), the Agreement detailed ICANN's commitment to four key objectives:
- Ensuring accountability, transparency and the interests of global Internet users
- Enforcing its existing policy relating to WHOIS, subject to applicable laws
- Preserving security, stability and resiliency of the Domain Name System (DNS)
- Promoting competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice
Additional information on the historical aspects of the AoC can be found in the table below.
The Affirmation of Commitments calls for periodic assessment by community review teams of ICANN's progress toward the four key objectives described above. While the performance of each of these reviews demonstrates the commitment to ensuring accountability and transparency, the reviews each have a specific focus.
To date, three of the four types of reviews have been performed, with the Accountability and Transparency Review being conducted two times.
Accountability and Transparency Reviews –
ATRT1 (2010) and ATRT2 (2013); ATRT3 will be launched in January 2017.
- Review of Security, Stability and Resiliency of the DNS –
SSR Review (2010-2012); SSR2 Review was launched in June 2016.
- Review of WHOIS Policy –
WHOIS Review (2010-2012); WHOIS2 Review will be launched in October 2016.
The CCT Review was launched in January 2016.
The AoC reviews follow a three-year cycle. Per Board resolution 2015.07.28.09, the next cycles of WHOIS, ATRT and SSR Reviews are expected to commence in Fiscal Year 2017. The chart below summarizes key milestones associated with each review. Click on the dates in the chart to access relevant documents.
|Review||Call for Volunteers||Review Team Formed||Final Report Issued||Board Action||Details|
|ATRT1||11 Jan 2010||26 Mar 2010||31 Dec 2010||24 Jun 2011|
|ATRT2||5 Oct 2012||15 Feb 2013||31 Dec 2013||26 Jun 2014|
|CCT||1 Oct 2015||23 Dec 2015|
|SSR||1 Jun 2010||30 Sep 2010||20 Jun 2012||18 Oct 2012|
30 June 2016 -
12 August 2016 -
|WHOIS||1 Jun 2010||30 Sep 2010||11 May 2012||8 Nov 2012|
What are all those dates in the above table?
|Call for Volunteers||Volunteers from the community are essential for the reviews to succeed. ICANN will publish an announcement when a Review Team is being formed and urges interested community members willing to work on the initiative to join and contribute.|
|Review Team Formed||Composition of the Review Team will be published. A variety of factors may be considered during the selection process, such as expertise in topic, knowledge of ICANN, geography, etc.|
|Final Report Issued||The Final Report of the Review Team will be published after conclusion of its work, consultations with ICANN community, Board and staff.|
|Board Action||The Board reviews the Final Report submitted by the Working Group, takes action on the recommendations, and requests that an implementation plan be developed for the approved recommendations.|
|Details||The Board will take action on the Final Report within six months of its publication, after considering the community’s views and assessing feasibility and utility of implementation.|
An updated schedule for AoC Reviews was published for Public Comment in May 2015 that resulted in a Board resolution calling for the CCT Review to continue as scheduled in June 2015), defers SSR2 by nine months (with the call for volunteers targeted for June 2016), defers WHOIS2 by one year (with the call for volunteers targeted for October 2016), and targets ATRT3 for July 2017. This Board action addressed widespread community concerns regarding community bandwidth and its ability to manage the expected workload. This approach was supported by public comments received from At-Large and several GNSO stakeholders on the proposed schedule.
The Board’s rationale notes:
“The Board is addressing this issue because of the significant impact seven reviews in FY2016 would have on ICANN stakeholders' capacity and ICANN resources. In response to public requests to delay some and effectiveness of Reviews, a proposal was posted for public comment that called for four Reviews to take place in FY2016 and introduced several improvements to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Reviews. Widespread concerns were received regarding the community's and ICANN's ability to conduct this large number of simultaneous Reviews, in addition to the already heavy workload, such as the IANA stewardship transition and the many policy initiatives underway and anticipated to start in FY2016. As a result, today's action provides relief to the community by proposing an updated schedule of reviews, and operational and process improvements to enable the community to more effectively participate in these key accountability mechanisms.”
This resolution also called for ICANN to engage in dialogue with NTIA, as signatory to the AoC, to confirm the revised schedule. Through this process, the proposed schedule was further revised to launch the ATRT3 in January 2017 in light of the amount of time that will have passed since the ATRT2 effort. ICANN notified [PDF, 469 KB] NTIA of the revised schedule in January, 2016.
Click on the name of the Review in the chart to access the latest status update on the progress of implementation of recommendations.
|# of recommendations||In Progress||Completed|
The chart below outlines phases and typical actions and milestones applicable to an AoC Review. Actual actions and durations vary for each review, as can be seen from the four AoC reviews that have been concluded. While the phases of future reviews are expected to be consistent with this outline, specific actions, milestones and durations may vary based on the unique aspects of each review. Additionally, the outcomes of the “Proposed Schedule and Process/Operational Improvements for AoC and Organizational Reviews”, which was posted for Public Comment, may impact aspects of future reviews.
|Phase||Key Actions and Milestones||Estimated Duration (months)|
|Assemble Review Team||Call For Volunteers (representatives of SO/ACs and independent experts)||3 Months|
|*Submission of applications for Endorsement of SO/AC representatives|
|*Endorsement of SO/AC representatives|
|Selection of finalists and publication of constituted review team members|
|Plan Review||Set up of communication vehicles, preparation of checklists and tools||3 Months|
|Assemble relevant information, including implementation update on previous review team's Board-approved recommendations|
|Prepare and publish review budget and rationale|
|Conduct planning meeting/conference call and briefing on implementation status; elect key leadership positions|
|Hold initial meeting with ICANN Board and Staff|
|Develop Terms of Reference, work plan and schedule|
|Conduct Review||Review kick-off meeting (in person at ICANN meeting), including staff updates on implementation; adopt Terms of Reference, work plan and schedule; organize work streams and responsibilities||12 Months|
|Collect data - desk review, feedback from stakeholders, Board and staff|
|*Collect feedback from stakeholders|
|Update work plan and schedule; determine need for external consultants|
|Develop RFP based on specifications from Review Team and hold competitive bidding process for external consultants (if needed) (concurrent with RT preliminary analysis of collected data)|
|Provide budget update|
|Select and contract with external consultants|
|External consultants conduct work|
|External consultants deliver findings and results|
|Analyze collected data and engage with staff and Board, as appropriate to clarify and answer questions, address feasibility of potential recommendations|
|Prepare Draft Report|
|Translation of Draft Report or Executive Summary|
|*Public Comment period to collect feedback on Draft Report|
|*Hold meetings with stakeholders to collect feedback (concurrent with PC)|
|Analyze and consider feedback; engage with Board and staff to address feasibility, dependencies and linkage to other work|
|Prepare Final Report and deliver to the Board|
|Translation of Final Report|
|Deliver Final Report to the Board|
|Board Action||*Public Comment period to collect feedback on Final Report||6 Months|
|Analyze: feasibility, dependencies and linkage to other work; implementation options and resources to implement; present recommendations to the Board (ICANN staff)|
|Board considers and takes action on Review Team's recommendations|
|Plan Implementation||Initiate implementation (Staff,Board and Relevant stakeholders)||3-6 Months|
|Plan implementation work|
|Provide periodic updates on implementation planning|
|Implement Improvements||Conduct implementation work||6-18 Months|
|Close implementation project and move into standard operating procedure|
|Conduct ongoing reporting, tracking and monitoring of effectiveness|
* Activities impacting ICANN stakeholders
|ICANN CEO talks about events leading up to the new Affirmation of Commitments and what it means||Video available with text translated:
|Affirmation of Commitments (2009 Agreement)||
|Accountability & Transparency Frameworks and Principles||ICANN Accountability & Transparency Frameworks and Principles|
Public Comment -- Discussion Draft: Affirmation Reviews
|Review Teams' Composition||Review Teams' Composition and Process of Selection|
Please provide your feedback here.