CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 2

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Work Stream 2 (CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 2 or WS2) is phase 2 of the CCWG-Accountability's process. Work Stream 2 focuses on mechanisms that could be implemented after the completion of the IANA Functions Stewardship Transition.


In June 2016, the CCWG-Accountability Team began organizing WS2 issues into nine independent topics. By ICANN 61 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in March 2018, all eight WS2 team sub-groups had completed public consultations of their draft recommendations and submitted final reports and received the approval of the CCWG-Accountability plenary. The final report released in June 2018 included over 100 recommendations for the ICANN Community, Board, and Org to undertake.[1] The ICANN Board approved 95 of the recommendations.


ICANN Organization is responsible for the implementation of 58 recommendations (61% of the work), the ICANN Community is responsible for 30 (32%),[2] and the remaining seven are jointly owned by the org and community.



Implementing WS2 was included as a priority for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. By the end of Q1 of 2022, ICANN Org had completed 13 recommendations for ICANN org were complete, leaving 39 recommendations still in progress. By the end of Q4, it had completed 20, including a communications plan to raise awareness of ICANN Organization Employee Practices and Resources.[3] The org expects to complete implementing the guidance on ICANN Board deliberation transparency (Recommendation 8.3), enhancing staff accountability mechanisms, publishing service level targets (Recommendations 7.1-7.3), and developing a web page on ICANN's human rights efforts (Recommendation 3.1).[4] By the end of Q1 2023, the org had completed 66% of its recommendations, reaching between 90 and 100 percent of its improvements in or development of a Human Rights Framework of Interpretation, Staff accountability, DIDP, interactions with governments, and an anonymous hotline. It has the most work left to do in the areas of the Ombudsman and SO/AC accountability.[5]

ICANN Community

The WS2 Community Coordination Group (CCG) was formed in February 2022 to serve as a forum for coordinating, prioritizing, updating, and reporting on each individual group's implementation progress. The community is working on 92% of its recommendations (and hasn't started the other 8%). Some community groups have completed some of the recommendations but a given recommendation is not marked "Complete" until all 21 individual ICANN Community groups have signed off on it in their respective structures.

Areas for Improvement


  • ICANN and SO/ACs should define, measure, promote, and support diversity.[6] Toward this end, ICANN Organization began its search for a diversity SME in December 2021 to be hired by April 2022.[7]

Guidelines for Good Faith

  • The Guidelines for Standards of Conduct Presumed to be in Good Faith Associated with Exercising Removal of Individual ICANN Board Directors outline the procedures for petitioning and carrying out a review and vote to remove a board member.[8] They support the ICANN Empowered Community’s power to remove an individual and take a minimalist approach so that SOs/ACs are free to follow their own processes. However, implementing Recommendation 2.3, which requires community coordination and prioritization given its cross-community nature, will take substantial effort and not begin until each community group has completed its work on Recommendations 2.1 and 2.2.[9]

Human Rights Framework of Interpretation

  • The team recommended a Framework of Interpretation for the ICANN Bylaw on Human Rights.[10] With the implementation of CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 1, in 2016, a human rights core value was added to the ICANN Bylaws. The implementation of WS2 includes the consideration of the Human Rights Framework, consistent with international human rights law and norms, ensure that ICANN upholds and respects human rights. It is expected to be implemented by the seven SOs and ACs. Some have already delegated this work to committees or working groups. GNSO Council adopted a report on this recommendation in December 2022,[11] and the GAC Working Group on Human Rights and International Law is discussing it.


  • ICANN should be required to apply for and secure an OFAC license if the other party is otherwise qualified to be a registrar (and is not individually subject to sanctions). During the licensing process, ICANN should be helpful and transparent in the licensing process and communication with the potential registrar.
  • ICANN should commit to applying for and securing an OFAC license for all applicants that would otherwise be approved (and are not on the specially designated nationals list).
  • ICANN should clarify to registrars that their RAA with ICANN does not cause them to be required to comply with OFAC sanctions.
  • ICANN should explore various tools to remind registrars to understand their applicable laws and reflect those laws in their customer relationships.
  • ICANN should pursue one or more OFAC general licenses. If unsuccessful, ICANN should find other ways to remove “friction” from transactions between ICANN and residents of sanctioned countries.[12]


  • The Office of the Ombuds should
  1. Clarify the role and processes to manage expectations
  2. improve its standing and authority
  3. Strengthen independence
  4. Become more transparency
  5. Develop a Policy for non-dispute roles[13]

As of Q1 2023, ICANN org reported that it was reviewing the Ombuds Framework to focus on strategic changes that would not require a change to the ICANN Bylaws. The review will include updates to procedures and documentation for new responsibilities, such as changing the categories of complaints that the Office of the Ombuds can address and timelines for responding to and handling complaints. The framework will be discussed with the ICANN Board and then the ICANN Community for feedback.[14]

Reviewing the Cooperative Engagement Process

  • The reviewing of the Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP) was merged with the Independent Review Process – Implementation Oversight Team (IRP-IOT) in June 2017.

SO/AC Accountability

  • Every SO/AC/Group should document and publish its processes, guidelines, and decisions on its webpage. They should make the rules of eligibility and criteria for membership should be outlined and shared. SO/AC/Groups should consider term limits.[15]

As of Q1 2023, ICANN org is adding links to SO/AC Accountability and Transparency in the new community group webpages being developed through the Information Transparency Initiative (ITI) and should be completed by Q3 2023. Also, the Language Services Policy and Procedures were updated to include criteria for adding new languages based on community demand, the percentage of the population that speaks the language, the percentage of the community that would benefit, and a cost-benefit assessment. An internal working group was formed to identify how expanded language services will impact ICANN SO/ACs.

Staff Accountability

  • ICANN Org should:
  1. describe the organization’s performance management system and process; how departmental goals map onto ICANN’s strategic goals and objectives; and the Complaints Office's connection to the Ombudsman Office;
  2. evaluate and possibly include other communication mechanisms;
  3. enhance accountability mechanisms;
  4. work with the community to develop and publish service level targets and guidelines (similar to the Service Level Agreement for the IANA Numbering Services) that clearly define the services provided by ICANN to the community; and
  5. standardize and publish guidelines for timeframes for acknowledging requests made by the community and for responding with a resolution or updated timeframe for when a full response can be delivered.[16]


  • ICANN should
  1. improve its Documentary Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP),
  2. document and report on its interactions with governments,
    • ICANN Org began publishing Analytical Reports on 28 Feb 2020[17] and now includes Government Engagement Strategies in the annual ICANN Operating and Financial Plans.
  3. improve the transparency of Board deliberations, and
  4. improve ICANN’s Anonymous Hotline (Whistleblower Protection).
    • ICANN org selected a third-party vendor to review its Hotline Policy and Procedures based on best practices and identify areas for improvement. The review began in Q4 2022 and ended in Q1 2023.[18]