Difference between revisions of "ICANN Accountability"

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There will be no final proposal available for review at ICANN 54 in Dublin.
There will be no final proposal available for review at ICANN 54 in Dublin.

Revision as of 18:00, 17 November 2015

ICANN Accountability became a primary focal point of the ICANN community shortly after the NTIA announced its intent to transition stewardship of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community. ICANN , already bestowed with the IANA functions contract and coordination of the DNS, was asked to kick-start a mutistakeholder process aimed at developing a proposal for the transition. During the early stages of this process, the community raised concern over the outlook of ICANN’s accountability following the transition. [1]

From the days of ICANN’s infancy, a high degree of accountability was set in place by contractual relationship between ICANN and the United States government. The renewal process of the IANA functions contract has historically served as a backstop to ICANN accountability. The impending relinquishment of this role by the US government, created the opportunity and the necessity to examine the efficacy of existing accountability mechanisms. [2]

In late 2014 the need for Accountability evaluation gave way to the creation of the CCWG-Accountability (CCWG), a cross-community working group created by SOs and ACs to determine how the current mechanisms in place could be strengthened to compensate for the absence of the US Government. The CCWG immediately began working on the developing proposed reforms to the accountability mechanisms currently in place, publishing its First Draft Proposal in May 2015. [3] Enhancing ICANN Accountability is inherently intertwined with the IANA Stewardship Transition. In fact, there may not be any specific topic surrounding the transition that carries more weight than the outcome of the process for Enhancing ICANN Accountability.


The CCWG-Accountability was developed in response to a community that did not believe that ICANN’s Board’s proposal adequately met the needs of the global multistakeholder community. The accountability process that was originally designed by ICANN received unfavorable public comments, resulting a revised proposal. After the revised version, suggesting a two-tier working group, once again received a negative response during the public comment period, ICANN stakeholders submitted a joint rejection letter to the ICANN Board demanding a community-driven approach. [4]

The joint letter combined with reiterated demands for accountability improvements at an ICANN Town Hall Session at the United Nations Ninth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and favorable comments coming from the NTIA, led the board to concede at ICANN 51 in Los Angeles that accountability and the IANA Transition are ultimately intertwined. Based on strong community sentiment, the structure originally proposed by ICANN, the CCG/Coordination Group, was adapted into the CCWG-Accountability, which became the vehicle for creating proposed improvement to the mechanisms already in place.

In May 2015, the CCWG submitted their First Draft Proposal, which proposed SO/ACs as Members of ICANN, giving them the ability to exercise certain accountability powers. This comments on this initial proposal expressed concerns with the individual SO/AC roles and legal personality required under this model. [5]

In responding the raised concerns, the CCWG met in Paris for a Face-to-face meeting and united around the Sole Member Model, which presented SOs and ACs as a single member of ICANN. This model was then developed into the CCWG’s Second Draft Proposal, which introduced the Community Mechanism as a Sole Member (CMSM) model.

The second proposal was met with significant resistance by ICANN’s board, which provided an alternative proposal in the form of the Multistakeholder Enforcement Mechanism (MEM) model. This led to the CCWG to call for a Face-to-Face meeting in Los Angles. At this meeting the board drew a “red line,” communicating that it could not accept a model involving Membership. Accordingly, CCWG participants began exploring alternative options, including considering a “designator” model. However, the Board asserted that like the Membership model, a designator model was unacceptable.

There will be no final proposal available for review at ICANN 54 in Dublin.