CCWG ploughs on with WS2: ICANN57

By Aarti Bhavana

With 3141 participants in attendance, ICANN57 (held from 3-9 November 2016) was the largest public meeting in its history. It was also the first meeting to be held after the successful completion of the IANA Transition. The transition greenlit the enforcement of the provisions of the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal, which consisted of two documents: the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) proposal and the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) Work Stream 1 Report. Our previous posts analysing these recommendations can be found here.

The meeting week was preceded by a full day face-to-face meeting of the CCWG-Accountability on the 2nd of November. The group met to continue its discussion on Work Stream 2 (WS2), which officially kicked off during the previous meeting in Helsinki. Rapporteurs from many of the WS2 Drafting Teams and subgroups presented updates on the progress of work in the preceding months. This post captures some of the key updates.

Jurisdiction

ICANN’s incorporation and physical location in California has long been a source of contention for governments and other stakeholders. Jurisdiction directly impacts the manner in which ICANN and its accountability mechanisms are structured (for example, the sole designator model arises from the California Corporations Code). Greg Shatan, co-rapporteur of the Jurisdiction subgroup presented an update document on the progress of this group. While the current bylaws state that ICANN shall remain headquartered in California, stakeholders were interested to see whether the subgroup would look into the matter of relocation. It was stated during this meeting that the subgroup has determined that it will not be investigating the issue of changing ICANN’s headquarters or incorporation jurisdiction. However, should a problem yield no other solution in the future, this option will then be examined.

A substantial issue found to be within the scope of this subgroup’s mandate is that of “the influence of ICANN’s existing jurisdictions relating to resolution of disputes (i.e., “Choice of Law” and “Venue”) on the actual operation of policies and accountability mechanisms”. The group’s working draft analysis of this issue can be accessed here. Another mandate from Annex 12 of the WS1 report requires the subgroup to study the ‘multilayer jurisdiction issue’. This has been discussed in some detail in the draft document, which can be accessed here.

One of the concerns raised during the discussion was that the subgroup would not recommend any change and conclude in favour of the status quo. Reassurance was sought that this would not be the case. The rapporteur stated in response that one cannot predict the outcome of the group as there are no internal preconceptions. It was also pointed out that since the discussion ran the risk of being purely academic, it was important to get external opinions. Accordingly, it was agreed that a survey would be sent out to hear from registries, registrars, and others. Advice will also be sought from ICANN Legal.

Transparency

ICANN has often been criticised for a lack of transparency in its functioning. This has largely been attributed to its hybrid structure, which is argued to not have the necessary active, passive, and participatory transparency structures. WS1 of the CCWG-Accountability attempted to address some of these concerns. The inclusion of inspection rights is one such example. However, a significant part of the work has been left for WS2.

This subgroup has made significant progress and shared the first draft of its report, which can be read here. This document discusses the right to information, ICANN’s Documentary Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP), proactive disclosures, and ICANN’s whistleblower protection framework. A suggestion was made to include requiring transparency in Board deliberations, which will be considered by the subgroup. There was also some discussion on increasing the scope of the proactive disclosures for greater transparency. Suggestions included disclosure of Board speaking fees and requiring disclosures of contracts of amounts lower than $1 million (the current threshold for disclosure) as well. There was also a discussion on ‘harm’ as an exception to disclosure, and the need to define it carefully. A revised draft of the report will be shared in the coming weeks, incorporating the points raised during this meeting.

Supporting Organisation (SO)/Advisory Committee (AC) Accountability

With the SOs and ACs being given greater powers under the Empowered Community, it is essential to ensure that they themselves do not remain unchecked. Accordingly, SO/AC reviews need to take place. This subgroup is tasked with the mandate of determining the most suitable manner of enhancing accountability. During this meeting, four identified tracks of activities were presented: (i) SO/AC effectiveness; (ii) evaluating the proposal of a ‘mutual accountability roundtable’; (iii) developing a detailed plan on how to increase SO/AC accountability; and (iv) assessing whether the Independent Review Process (IRP) should also apply to SO/AC activities.

Preliminary discussions have taken place on the first two tracks. It was decided that track 3 could not begin without some input from the SO/ACs. Accordingly, a list of questions was developed with the aim of better understanding the specific modalities of each organization. After a brief discussion, it was decided that this list would be sent to the SO/ACs.

Apart from these updates there was also a discussion on the Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT) 3 and an interaction with the ICANN CEO.

ATRT3 and WS2:

During the Helsinki meeting, it was pointed out that the 3rd review of the Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3), scheduled to begin work in January, would have a significant overlap with WS2 topics (6 out of the 9 topics). After some discussion, it was decided that a letter would be sent to bring this to the attention of the ICANN Board. This letter also laid out possible ways to proceed:

  1. Option 1- ATRT3 and WS2 work in parallel, with a procedure to reconcile conflicting recommendations.
  2. Option 2- Delay ATRT3 until WS2 is completed.
  3. Option 3- Limit the scope of ATRT3 to assessing the implementation of ATRT2. ATRT4 can then make a full assessment of accountability and transparency issues before 2022 (preferred path).
  4. Option 4- ATRT3 continues with its full scope, with CCWG focusing only on the remaining issues. The ATRT recommendations could then be discussed by CCWG.

The Board’s response stated that while this was of concern, it was a decision to be made by the larger community, and brought it to the attention of the SOs and ACs. In Hyderabad it was decided that CCWG-Accountability will continue to follow up with the Board on this issue, while the SO/ACs deliberate internally as well.

Exchange with ICANN CEO

ICANN CEO Göran Marby’s meeting with CCWG-Accountability was arguably the most engaging session of the day. Central to this discussion was his recent announcement about a new office called the ICANN Complaints Officer. This person “will receive, investigate and respond to complaints about the ICANN organization’s effectiveness, and will be responsible for all complaints systems and mechanisms across the ICANN organization”. It was also stated that they would report to ICANN’s General Counsel. The last provision was not received well by members of the CCWG-Accountability, who stressed on the need for independence. It was pointed out that having the Complaints Officer report to the General Counsel creates a conflict of interest, as it is the legal team’s responsibility to protect ICANN. Though this was raised several times, Marby insisted that he did not think it was an issue, and asked that this be given a fair chance. This discussion was allotted extra time towards the end of the meeting, and there seemed to be a general agreement that the role and independence of the Complaints Officer needed greater thought and clarity. However, this remains the CEO’s decision, and any input provided by CCWG-Accountability will merely be advisory. It will be interesting to see whether he decides to take into account the strong concerns raised by this group.

The substantial discussions in WS2 are only just kicking off, with some subgroups (such as the Diversity subgroup) yet to begin their deliberations. The Transparency subgroup is making good progress with its draft document, on which CCWG-Accountability input is always welcome. It will be worth keeping an eye on the Jurisdiction subgroup, as this remains a divisive issue with political and national interests in the balance. Much remains to be done in the SO/AC Accountability subgroup, which is working to better understand the specific internal working of each SO/AC. This is an extremely important issue, especially in light of the new accountability structures created in WS1. CCWG-Accountability remains an open group that anyone interested can join as a participant or observer.

 

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IANA Transition: On track for 30th September

By Aarti Bhavana

With just a month left for the 30th September deadline, ICANN has been busy completing all the tasks required by NTIA to ensure a smooth transition. The question of whether or not the IANA transition will happen has been answered via a letter from Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling (in response to the Implementation Planning Status Report). He announced that the transition is moving according to plan, and that the NTIA will allow the IANA Functions contract to expire on 1st October. Though this response was expected, it is still reassuring to receive official confirmation that this will bring to an end the U.S. government’s stewardship role over the IANA Functions, barring any unforeseen circumstances. In light of this update, this post unpacks the various implementation processes that have been going on ahead of the transition.

On 10th March 2016, the ICANN Board transmitted the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal to the NTIA, which consisted of two documents: the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) proposal and the CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 1 Report. This came two years after NTIA’s initial announcement about its intention to transfer the U.S. government’s stewardship role over the IANA Functions to a global multistakeholder body.

On 9th June 2016, after careful evaluation, the NTIA announced that the proposal met the criteria outlined by the NTIA in March 2014. These criteria were laid out in March 2014, to ensure that the proposal:

  1. Supports and enhances the multistakeholder model;
  2. Maintains the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS;
  3. Meets the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services;
  4. Maintains the openness of the internet; and
  5. Does not replace NTIA’s role with a government-led or intergovernmental organization solution

In the mean time, the ICANN community began working on the implementation of the recommendations proposed in the two reports, as they are a prerequisite for the transition to take place. This involved amending existing documents, drafting new contractual agreements, procedural changes and other organizational changes. In response to the NTIA’s request, ICANN prepared an Implementation Planning Status Report detailing the completed and ongoing implementation tasks.

The implementation process has been divided into three separate work tracks:

Track I: Root Zone Management (RZM)

In parallel to the work being done for the IANA Stewardship Transition is another track working on root zone management (RZM). The NTIA requested ICANN to work with Verisign to develop a proposal to transfer the NTIA’s role with respect to the RZM, while preserving the safety and stability of the DNS. Accordingly, Verisign and ICANN developed a proposal, which is part of the implementation process. A parallel root zone management system was built to simulate root zone functions in the absence of the NTIA, and has successfully completed its testing phase. Verisign and ICANN entered into a new agreement for root zone management functions, a service Verisign has been providing under a Cooperative Agreement with NTIA for decades. The ICG and CCWG-Accountability processes were developed by the community in keeping with the principle of multistakeholderism. However, the RZM process has been criticized for being closed. Only the draft agreement was open for public comment, while negotiations took place privately. This track has now been completed. 

Track II: Stewardship Transition

This track pertains to various implementation tasks required by the ICG proposal. One such task has been the incorporation of Public Technical Identifiers (PTI), the entity established to perform the IANA functions. This entity shall perform the IANA Functions according to the IANA Naming Functions Agreement (which is currently open for public comments). This track has also been working on the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the IANA Numbering Services, which has been signed by the Regional Internet Registries and will come into effect on the date of the transition. A Customer Standing Committee (CSC) has been formed to ensure satisfactory performance of the IANA naming functions for its direct customers, in the absence of the NTIA. Further, a Root Zone Evolution Review Committee (RZERC) has also been formed to assist the ICANN Board with major architectural changes of the DNS root.

A few documents are yet to be finalized, but expect to be completed by 30th September. These are the PTI Bylaws, ICANN-PTI Services Agreement and the ICANN-PTI Naming Function Agreement.

Track III: Accountability Enhancement

This track relates to the Work Stream 1 tasks from the CCWG-Accountability report. In May, the ICANN Board of Directors passed a resolution approving the amended bylaws. Further, the Articles of Incorporation have also been amended and passed.

This track is also working on implementing enhancements to the Independent Review Process (IRP) for claims filed once the bylaws come into existence. Further, work is also underway on a number of other processes, such as updating the reconsideration process; initiating the new reviews required by the bylaws; incorporating the Affirmation of Commitments into the ICANN bylaws; and operationalizing the new community powers under the CCWG-Accountability report.[1]

Further details about the status of the three tracks can be found here.

[1] For more details about these processes, see the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal Implementation Planning Status Report, pp 23-24.

CCWG-Accountability WS2: An update

By Aarti Bhavana

In the weeks leading up to the finalisation of the CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 1 Report, we traced the evolution of each recommendation. While things have been quiet on the drafting front, there has been a lot of activity towards completing and implementing Work Stream 1 recommendations, to clear the path for Work Stream 2.

Over the past few months, the finalised IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal and the CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 1 Report were submitted to the ICANN Board, transmitted, to and approved by the NTIA. Alongside this, the bylaws were amended to reflect the changes recommended in the proposals, and these new bylaws were adopted as part of Work Stream 1 implementation.

With Work Stream 1 completed, the attention now shifts to the next set of topics that required further discussion, but weren’t urgent enough to need to be completed prior to the transition- Work Stream 2. The CCWG-Accountability face-to-face meeting at ICANN56 officially kicked off Work Stream 2, with a series of lightning talks aimed to introduce each topic. In the weeks since, dedicated subgroups have been created for each topic, with rapporteurs appointed to help facilitate the discussions. This post briefly introduces each topic and outlines what will be discussed in the months to come. Since the substantive work hasn’t started yet, this is a great time for those not following the process closely, to join in.[1]

Human Rights: The recently introduced human rights bylaw committing ICANN to respect internationally recognized human rights, will only take effect once a framework of interpretation (FOI) is in place to help inform how this bylaw is to be interpreted and implemented. This FOI shall be discussed and developed in Work Stream 2. This topic promises to bring forth some interesting discussions, as it was fairly contentious even at the stage of drafting the bylaw in Work Stream 1.

Jurisdiction: ICANN’s incorporation and physical location in California has long been a source of contention for governments and individuals alike. Jurisdiction directly impacts the manner in which ICANN and its accountability mechanisms are structured (for example, the sole designator model arises from the California Corporations Code). Over the coming months, this subgroup will analyse the effect of jurisdiction on ICANN’s operations and accountability mechanisms. While the current bylaws do state that ICANN will remain headquartered in California, it remains to be seen whether this subgroup will be tackling the issue of relocation. This multi-layered issue will be a controversial one, as it involves political and national interests.

Transparency: Accountability isn’t possible without transparency and the demands for greater transparency have only been increasing. This subgroup will be looking at improving transparency, with a focus on ICANN’s Documentary Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP), whistleblower policy, transparency of Board deliberations and ICANN’s interaction with governments.

Diversity: Public comments in Work Stream 1 highlighted the need for diversity to ensure better representation of the global internet community. Discussions in Helsinki showed that this issue isn’t going to be as simple as one might have thought. This subgroup will study the present diversity requirements and suggest improvements accordingly.

SO/AC Accountability: With the Supporting Organizations (SO) and Advisory Committees (AC) being given greater powers under the Empowered Community, it is essential to ensure that they themselves don’t go unchecked. Accordingly, SO/AC reviews will take place, and the subgroups will determine the most suitable manner of enhancing accountability based on various suggestions made, such as a mutual accountability roundtable.

Staff Accountability: In a similar vein of ensuring organizational accountability, WS2 will also be looking at staff accountability. Here, the subgroup will work on clearly understanding the role of ICANN staff in reference to the ICANN Board and Community. It will also work on developing a code of conduct, transparency criteria, training and independent audits. This work will tie in to the next subgroup on enhancing the Ombudsman’s role.

Ombudsman: Work Stream 1 already enhanced the Ombudsman’s role through the Request for Reconsideration process. In Work Stream 2, the subgroup will consider how to enhance the role of Ombudsman’s office, including evaluating the Ombudsman Charter, and recommend changes necessary for the adequate independence of this office.

While not considered separately at the time of Work Stream 1, there are two additional subgroups that will be working as part of Work Stream 2. The Guidelines on Good Faith Conduct in Participating in Board Removal Discussions subgroup will be looking at the removal of Board members and indemnity provisions. The Reviewing the Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP) subgroup shall be a continuation of improving the Independent Review Process (IRP), by reviewing the CEP, which is the first step of filing an IRP.

Timeline:

All WS2 topics will kick off simultaneously, but the timeline for discussions and output will depend on whether it has been identified as a ‘Simple’ or ‘Complex’ topic. The simple topics are expected to be short term, with public comment process in October. The complex topics will be more long term, with a public comment period in May and final report expected by June 2017. Whether a topic is simple or complex is something that needs to be communicated by the rapporteurs of each subgroup.

Simple Topics – Short Term

  • June 2016: sub-groups agreed, commence work on docs for public input
  • Aug 2016: first discussion with CCWG
  • Sep 2016: refining work
  • Oct 2016: CCWG agrees for public input
  • 20 Oct-30 Nov: Public Input comment period
  • Dec 2016: Analyze public comment staff/subgroups
  • Jan 2017: Sub-groups refines and revises output
  • Feb 2017: CCWG agrees final Output for consideration by community FOR ADOPTION at Copenhagen (ICANN58)

Complex Topics – Intermediate/Long Term

  • Jun 2016: sub-groups agreed
  • Sep-Oct 2016: first discussion with CCWG – identifies whether and how to update community at Hyderabad
  • Nov-Dec 2016: second discussion with CCWG (first SUBSTANTIVE)
  • Jan 2017: refining work
  • Feb 2017: CCWG agrees docs for public input
  • 1 Mar to 10 Apr: Public Input comment period
  • Apr 2017: Analyze public comment staff/subgroups
  • May 2017: Sub-groups refines and revises output
  • May/Jun 2017: CCWG agrees final Output for consideration by community

[1]  To sign up as either an active participant or an observer in any of the Subgroups, a request can be sent to acct-staff@icann.org.

 

Heading into Helsinki: Core issues at ICANN56

By Aarti Bhavana

The upcoming 56th ICANN meeting shall be held in Helsinki, Finland from 27-30th June 2016. This is the first ‘Meeting B’ as per the new meeting strategy, which means a shorter, 4-day meeting focusing solely on policy work and outreach, and no public forum or public board meeting. A full schedule of this meeting can be found here. This post briefly highlights some of the core issues that will be discussed over the week.

CCWG-Accountability

On the Sunday before the meeting officially begins, the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) shall be having a day-long open session to discuss accountability-enhancing topics that were left for Work Stream 2.

At the end of ICANN55, the chartering organizations and the ICANN Board approved Work Stream 1 recommendations. A detailed analysis of these recommendations can be found here. Along with the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal, the CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 1 Report was then transmitted to the U.S. National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) to be reviewed. In the mean time, Work Stream 1 implementation was in full swing, with the ICANN Board passing a resolution to adopt the new bylaws, which were amended to reflect the changes recommended by the proposals. With this, the final step of the transition was completed from ICANN’s end. On June 10th, it was announced that the proposals met the criteria set out by the NTIA, and was therefore accepted by the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government.

That being done, the focus now shifts to Work Stream 2 topics. These are a list of issues that are necessary to enhance ICANN’s accountability, but not deemed urgent enough to be completed prior to the transition. However, this is not to mean that these topics are any less important. One might even say that some of the most critical accountability issues have been left to be dealt with once the pressure of the transition has been lifted. Taking off from Helsinki, the work will be divided into subgroups on the themes of: Human Rights, Jurisdiction, Transparency, Diversity, SO/AC Accountability, Staff Accountability, Ombudsman, Guidelines on Good Faith Conduct in Participating in Board Removal Discussions and Reviewing the CEP.

Active Policy Development Processes (PDPs)

Since this meeting will be focusing on policy work within ICANN, the PDPs take on an extremely important role, with multiple sessions dedicated to discussing these issues. The three big PDPs to watch out for at ICANN 56 are:

  • New gTLD Subsequent Procedures : This PDP was initiated by the GNSO after the closure of the first round of new gTLD applications. The aim was to evaluate and learn from the experiences of the first round, and make policy recommendations and changes for subsequent rounds. The process began with the setting up of a discussion group that identified issues and areas of policy development for subsequent procedures. This process then culminated in the preliminary issue report and the final issue report. The GNSO Council then passed a resolution to initiate the PDP and set up a working group. More information on this PDP can be found here.
  • Next Generation gTLD Registration Directory Service (RDS) : This Board-initiated PDP is the latest step in 15 years of efforts to develop a stronger WHOIS policy. WHOIS discussions usually revolve around issues of accuracy, purpose, availability, privacy, anonymity, cost, policing, intellectual property concerns and malicious use. This PDP will be analysing all these issues, with the aim of answering these questions- (1) what are the fundamental requirements for gTLD registration data; and (2) is there a need for a new RDS to replace the existing WHOIS policy. This work is expected to take place over three phases. More information on this PDP can be found here.
  • Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs: Since the new gTLD Program, several new Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) have been developed taking into account potential trademarks concerns that could arise from the increase of gTLDs: the Uniform Rapid Suspension Dispute Resolution Procedure (URS); the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) and the associated availability through the TMCH of Sunrise periods and the Trademark Claims notification service; and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedures (PDDRPs). This focus of this PDP is to conduct a review of all RPMs in all gTLDs in two phases: Phase One will focus on a review of all the RPMs that were developed for the New gTLD Program, and Phase Two will focus on a review of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). More information on this PDP can be found here.

Being the first of its kind, it will be interesting to see how well this new meeting structure works, especially in the absence of public sessions and public Board meetings. Watch this space for more updates from the meeting over the coming days.

Russia, India and China: Perspectives on Internet Governance

By Gangesh Varma

Last week, on 18th April, 2016, a Joint Communique of the 14th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) raised a few eyebrows. The subject of discussion is paragraph 12 of the Communique which deals with the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) including the internet and its governance.

Four Key Aspects of Paragraph 12

There are four key aspects that can be gleaned from the text of this paragraph. First, the abuse of ICTs (including the internet) in violation of United Nations Charter and international law, “for terrorism and other criminal purposes”. Second, the need for countering such abuse by strengthening cooperation, and developing an international treaty for addressing such use of ICT for criminal purposes. Third, the adherence to universally recognized principles of international law in the use of ICTs. Fourth, the development of the Internet, and its governance regime.

The first issue is common to all countries, and does not have polarizing responses. The abuse of ICTs and the internet for organized crime, terrorist activities etc. are concerns that required more international cooperation. While the second issue on the need for an international treaty to address cyber-crimes or use of ICTs for criminal purposes is one that has been subject to extensive debate. While Europe has the Budapest Convention addressing this issue, most other countries have to manoeuvre through bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT). There has been a long-standing demand for a universal treaty to address cybercrime ever since the regional Budapest Convention materialised.

The third aspect, in the text of the Communique is reference to adherence of universally recognized principles of international law in the use of ICTs such as:

“… the principles of political independence, territorial integrity and sovereign equality of states, respect for state sovereignty, non-intervention into the internal affairs of other states”.

These principles are focused on the state, however the Communique does not ignore the rights of a citizen. It also specifically refers to “respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms” and considers it of “paramount importance”

Internet Governance in the Communique

The fourth and most interesting issue covered in paragraph 12 of the Communique is that of Internet governance. It considers the Internet a “global resource”. This is language that has been previously used in the Ufa Declaration at the 7th BRICS Summit. It is also not far from the language of the WSIS+10 Review Outcome Document which uses language from the Tunis Agenda and provides for the management of the “Internet as a global facility”. Further borrowing from the WSIS documents, the Communique goes on to refer to participation of all states on “equal footing”. It emphasizes the need for Internet governance to be based “on multilateralism, democracy, transparency with multi-stakeholders in their respective roles and responsibilities” (emphasis supplied). The paragraph concludes with the need for further internationalization of Internet governance and “to enhance in this regard the role of International Telecommunication Union”.  

India’s approach

Some see this text in the Communique as a step forward – as a measure that creates a middle ground between countries with polar opposite positions on internet governance. While others worry this is an exclusionary road to multilateralism, one that can lead to back to an oscillating ambivalence of India’s position on internet governance. However, this text is not far from India’s position on multistakeholderism. While being vocal about India’s support for multistakeholderism in internet governance, the Minister for Communications and IT has also emphasised one condition. That is, government will have supreme right and control on matters of national security. On examining the internet governance related text of the Communique, the heavy focus on security concerns of the countries is evident.

In many ways, this can be seen as a pit-stop before Brazil and South Africa join the discussion at the BRICS Summit later this year. In a post earlier this year, I argued the possibility of a BRICS Bridge for Dialogue on Internet governance. India will host the 8th BRICS Summit, in Goa from 15th to 16th October, 2016. Now could be an opportune moment to take the reins of internet governance debates and steer towards a constructive path.

 

CCWG-Accountability: A Marrakech Wrap-up

By Aarti Bhavana

With the final two chartering organizations confirming their approval yesterday, the co-chairs of the CCWG-Accountability sent the Final Report to the ICANN Board, which has now been transmitted to the NTIA. Today’s CCWG meeting outlined the work that lies ahead in the upcoming months.

Work Stream 1 recommendations will be implemented through the Budget Implementation Group and IRP Implementation Group. However, a majority of the work lies in Bylaws drafting, to ensure that the recommendations are accurately captured in the text of the new bylaws. The drafting and finalization of the bylaws are going to take place over the next few weeks, on a rather tight timeline. Though the final report has been transmitted to the NTIA, the review and assessment on that end will not be completed until bylaws implementing the Work Stream 1 recommendations are in place. Further, it is desirable that the NTIA-assessed report be submitted to the U.S. Congress before it goes on recess mid-July. Accordingly, the CCWG has set for itself a target timeline:

8 April: CCWG finishes draft bylaws

15 April: Open Public Comment for bylaws

15 May: Close Public Comment for bylaws

31 May: Board approves draft bylaws

Once this is completed, Work Stream 2 is expected to kick-off around June 2016. The work will be divided into subgroups on the themes of: Human Rights, Jurisdiction, Transparency, Diversity, SO/AC Accountability, Staff Accountability and Ombudsman. At present, the chartering organizations have been invited to re-confirm their appointed members, to ensure that they can take on the heavy workload that lies ahead.

As this historic meeting draws to a close, it must be remembered that the battle is far from over. While CCWG has completed a significant portion of its mandate, it must be emphasised that implementation details are crucial to this process. The importance of Work Stream 2 mustn’t be underestimated either, as each of those issues is critical to enhancing ICANN’s accountability.

A Marrakech update: CCWG-Accountability at ICANN55

By Aarti Bhavana

The most discussed topic floating around the surprisingly chilly winds of Marrakech this week has been the CCWG-Accountability proposal. Over the past few weeks we traced the evolution of each recommendation of this Final Report, which was sent to all the chartering organizations for their approval. SSAC was the first to confirm its approval, even before the meeting started, with ASO quick to follow. ALAC has also ratified the entire proposal. The much-awaited response from GAC came last night, as it confirmed that it had no objection to the current proposal being transmitted to the ICANN Board. While GAC finally confirmed its (conditional) intention to participate as a decisional participant in the Empowered Community, it has not reached consensus on Recommendation 11 and the GAC ‘carve-out’ proposed in Recommendations 1 and 2. Finally, GNSO and ccNSO passed the report this afternoon, completing the process of approval from Chartering Organisations. The next few days will see the report being sent to the ICANN Board, to be transmitted to the NTIA for the final steps of the IANA transition. The Board has confirmed that it will do so immediately, without making any changes.