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Accountability and Transparency Reviews (ATRT)

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Objectives of the ATRT Review

According to the Bylaws (Section 4.6 (b)), the ICANN Board ‘shall cause a periodic review of ICANN’s execution of its commitment to maintain and improve robust mechanisms for public input, accountability, and transparency so as to ensure that the outcomes of its decision-making reflect the public interest and are accountable to the Internet community (“Accountability and Transparency Review”).’

The Bylaws continue to explain that ‘the issues that the review team for the Accountability and Transparency Review (the “Accountability and Transparency Review Team”) may assess include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. assessing and improving Board governance which shall include an ongoing evaluation of Board performance, the Board selection process, the extent to which the Board’s composition and allocation structure meets ICANN’s present and future needs, and the appeal mechanisms for Board decisions contained in these Bylaws;
  2. assessing the role and effectiveness of the GAC’s interaction with the Board and with the broader ICANN community, and making recommendations for improvement to ensure effective consideration by ICANN of GAC input on the public policy aspects of the technical coordination of the DNS;
  3. assessing and improving the processes by which ICANN receives public input (including adequate explanation of decisions taken and the rationale thereof);
  4. assessing the extent to which ICANN’s decisions are supported and accepted by the Internet community;
  5. assessing the policy development process to facilitate enhanced cross community deliberations, and effective and timely policy development;
  6. assessing and improving the Independent Review Process.’

For additional information and guidelines on the ATRT Review, please refer to the Bylaws, Section 4.6 (b).

Timeline of Review

  • Prior reviews concluded in 2010 (ATRT1) and 2013 (ATRT2); the third review (ATRT3) is scheduled to launch in early 2017.
  • Future reviews shall be conducted no less frequently than every five years measured from the date the previous Accountability and Transparency Review Team was convened. 
Review Call for Volunteers Review Team Announced 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

The graphic below illustrates phases and status of each review - a  indicates that all activities within a given phase have been completed.  The chart that follows the graphic provides further details of key activities and milestones within each phase – you can view these details by clicking on each of the phases in the graphic.  The table also contains links to relevant documents.

ATRT2
PhaseActivityDescriptionStart DateDocuments
Assemble Review TeamCall for volunteersPublic announcement inviting volunteers to submit application5 Oct 2012
Appointment of review team membersAppointment of review team members based on AoC requirements15 Feb 2013
ApplicationsApplications received for ATRT228 Jan 2013
Plan ReviewTerms of Reference (Draft)Document outlining the scope of work by the review team2 May 2013
VariousReview team activities and detailed information available on the community wiki20 Oct 2015
Conduct ReviewRFP for external consultantIndependent Expert Request for Proposals announcement2 Jul 2013
Selection of independent consultantAnnouncement of selection of independent consultant by ATRT217 Aug 2013
Final Report of External ConsultantThe ATRT2 considered the recommendations in the Final Report prepared by InterConnect Communications as it developed the draft proposed Recommendations that were published for Public Comment21 Nov 2013
ATRT2 Draft ReportDraft report posted for public comment21 Oct 2013
ATRT2 Correction ReportA section was added to the Executive Summary, Recommendation 6 (page 3). These recommendations are included in the body of the Report that was issued for Public Comment on 21 October 2013 and were inadvertently excluded from the Executive Summary. For purposes of clarity and to be certain that the public had an opportunity to view all Recommendations of ATRT2, they are being published as part of the Executive Summary in this erratum.7 Nov 2013
ATRT2 Final ReportFinal report submitted to ICANN Board31 Dec 2013
Board ActionBoard receipt of the Final ReportBoard action and resolution27 Mar 2014
Public comment on Final ReportFinal report posted for public comment9 Jan 2014
Board action on review team recommendationsBoard action and resolution26 Jun 2014
Plan ImplementationPlan implementationPlan implementation27 Jun 2014
Implement ImprovementsDetails of implementation and periodic updatesInformation available on the ICANN website31 Dec 2015

The graphic below illustrates phases and status of each review - a  indicates that all activities within a given phase have been completed.  The chart that follows the graphic provides further details of key activities and milestones within each phase – you can view these details by clicking on each of the phases in the graphic.  The table also contains links to relevant documents.

ATRT1
PhaseActivityDescriptionStart DateDocuments
Assemble Review TeamCall for volunteersPublic announcement inviting volunteers to submit application11 Jan 2010
Appointment of review team membersAppointment of review team members26 Mar 2010
ApplicationsApplications received for ATRT17 Mar 2010
Plan ReviewTerms of ReferenceDocument outlining the scope of work adopted by the review team8 Jun 2010
VariousReview team activities and detailed information available on the community wiki including historical documents13 Aug 2015
Conduct ReviewRFP for external consultantIndependent Expert Request for Proposals announcement2 Jun 2010
Selection of independent consultantAnnouncement of selection of independent consultant by ATRT10 Aug 2010
Final Report of External ConsultantThe ATRT considered the recommendations in the Berkman Center's Final Report as it developed the draft proposed Recommendations that were published for Public Comment20 Oct 2010
ATRT Draft ReportDraft report posted for public comment20 Oct 2010
ATRT Final ReportFinal report submitted to ICANN Board31 Dec 2010
Public ForumPublic forum opened for the community to comment on Review and respond to questions by the Review Team9 Jul 2010
Public comment on questions to the communityPublic comment on questions to the community (questions are translated)18 May 2010
Public comment on draft proposed recommendationsPublic comment on draft proposed recommendations3 Nov 2010
Board ActionBoard receipt of the Final ReportBoard action and resolution25 Jan 2011
Public comment on Final ReportFinal report posted for public comment31 Dec 2010
Board action on review team recommendationsBoard action and resolution24 Jun 2011
Plan ImplementationPlan implementationPlan implementation25 Jun 2011
Implement ImprovementsDetails of implementation and periodic updatesInformation available on the ICANN website29 Jan 2013

Highlights of implementation actions for ATRT1 include:

To provide better access to, and insight into, Board decisions, ICANN has incorporated the following into its standard operating procedures (SOP):

To improve ICANN's "AoC Review Mechanisms for Board Decisions":

  • The "Reconsideration Requests" webpage has been revamped so the public has a standard timeline, format, and explanations for all Reconsideration Requests (all part of SOP).
  • Accountability Structures Expert Panel assessed ICANN's Reconsideration and Independent AoC Review Processes, resulting in Bylaws revisions to make the recommended improvements.
  • The Board approved the Ombudsman framework and confirmed that it is consistent with international standards.

To improve the process for selecting ICANN Directors and address recommendations on Board composition:

  • The Nominating Committee (NomCom) annually consults with the ICANN community on skillset requirements to consider when making appointments to leadership positions.
  • The Board annually provides the NomCom with information on the Board's skillsets.
  • New NomCom guidelines were approved by the Board and instituted, including internal procedures and a code of conduct.
  • The Board approved compensation to voting Directors for their services to ICANN and revised the ICANN Conflicts of Interest Policy and ICANN Bylaws.

To help advance the effectiveness of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and its interaction with the Board:

  • ICANN increased funding, multilingual access services, and staff resources to support the work of the GAC.
  • The GAC has clarified what constitutes GAC advice.
  • A formal, documented process for requesting and tracking GAC advice has been launched.
  • Regional plans were developed for increasing involvement in ICANN.
  • Board-GAC face-to-face interactions have been increased.

To improve the processes ICANN uses to gain public input and develop policy:

To help ensure ICANN staffing arrangements are appropriately multilingual, job postings and related forms have been updated and language training programs have been identified for ICANN staff.

Finally, in terms of overarching activities, resources required to implement the ATRT Recommendations were included in the FY12 Operating Plan and Budget [PDF, 2.51 MB], and proposed metrics and benchmarks are under development.

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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."