Release date: 16 June 2008
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Where are we now and how did we get here?
Ten years after its founding, ICANN is recognized as fulfilling its original vision of being the global coordinator of the Internet’s unique identifier systems. This position has been reached through ongoing participation by ICANN’s stakeholder communities, supporting ICANN to achieve the development goals set out in various versions of a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Government from 1998 until 2006 and a Joint Project Agreement (JPA) since then,
The President’s Strategy Committee (PSC) has since 2006 undertaken research on various options, conducted community consultations, published periodic reports, and taken specialist advice on the steps necessary for ICANN to continue to fulfill its mandate at the expiry of the JPA.
The JPA Midterm review process further demonstrated that the Internet community recognizes and supports ICANN as the multi-stakeholder, private sector-lead organization responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's unique identifier systems. It identified some final steps necessary to complete ICANN’s ability to fulfill this role.
The JPA concludes in September 2009. The PSC has prepared this Transition Action Plan, setting out the requirements of a post-JPA ICANN, and the steps needed to consult the community and then implement that Transition Action Plan.
ICANN will continue to be the secure, global coordinator of the Internet’s critical infrastructural resources. It will continue to operate as a multi-stakeholder organization, in which the private sector plays a leadership role, with informed participation by a wide and diverse stakeholder community, including governments providing support and advice. This will allow the Internet to expand its reach and scope, to ultimately serve all the peoples of the world.
The key requirements, for ICANN to fulfill its mandate are:
The PSC considers the following initiatives may be appropriate to meet the objectives listed above:
1. To address freedom from capture
1.1 Ensure consensus or super-majority requirements for policy making,
based on broad and diverse participation of affected stakeholders;
1.2. Ensure recruitment and maintenance of large and diverse constituencies
1.3. Maintain presence in a jurisdiction with strong anti-trust law;
1.4. Continue to adopt best practice transparency measures;
1.5. Place limitations on cross-participation in councils and constituencies by single or related entities;
1.6. Improve participation so that all relevant stakeholders around the world are able to interact with ICANN, including by establishing ICANN’s presence in different jurisdictions.
2. To strengthen ICANN’s accountability to its community
2.1. Implement a mechanism whereby the community can require the Board
to re-examine a decision based on a proposed new structured and well defined
2.2. Construct an extraordinary mechanism by which the community can remove and replace the Board in special circumstances;
2.3. Continue regular periodic reviews of ICANN structure, and of Reconsideration, Independent Review and Ombudsman functions;
2.4. Enhance and expand contractual compliance and enforcement.
3.1. Explore adjusting the bylaws to confirm ICANN’s historic headquarter
location in the United States, while allowing for the establishment of
legal presence in other jurisdictions;
3.2. Establish a subsidiary entity, or entities, in those locations whose jurisdictions best meet the defined objectives for ICANN subsidiary entities offices;
3.3. Maintain and develop as required the physical location of ICANN staff and operations around the globe in offices that best allow ICANN to meet the needs of the global Internet community;
3.4. Enhance efforts to make ICANN multilingual, including providing interpretation and translation services.
4. To Ensure Financial and Operational Security
4.1. Maintain and enhance the current Reserves Policy;
4.2. Ensure Alternative Sources of funding to lessen dependence on current registries and Registrars funding;
4.3. Continue and enhance the business processes of ICANN, building on the experiences gained with Strategic Planning, Operational Planning and Budgeting to ensure international organizational best practices are achieved.
5. To Maintain Secure and Stable operations
5.1. Make recommendations for improving the efficiency and responsiveness
of the IANA function, through the automation of processes;
5.2. Implement, after discussions with Verisign and the US Department of Commerce, the Root Server Management Transition Completion Agreement.
Historical information, research advice and background information about the elements raised in the Transition Action Plan are outlined in the accompanying document, Improving Institutional Confidence in ICANN.
An FAQ answering many of the background questions arising in this context
is provided at http://www.icann.org/en/jpa/iic/faq.htm.
Consultation Topics and Timeline for consultation
A number of key initiatives are recommended in this paper, many of them arising from previous consultation, including the JPA midpoint review. The essence of the Transition Action Plan now requires testing in a further community consultation, around the following key questions;
The PSC recommends that the process be broken into two, substantive
pieces of work: a first “analysis and design” as part of the
project, and a second “Implementation” project. The first
phase should be completed before the end of calendar 2008. Implementation
should occupy the first half of 2009, so that it is complete and can be
assessed before September 2009
It is vital to the success of the entire project that the broad stakeholder community be consulted, and kept informed of outcomes. The PSC will engage the community through a comprehensive consultation process on the Analysis and Design project, the key dates for which are:
Additionally, the PSC may also engage in targeted outreach on a regional basis.
The PSC recommends the formation of a special Expert Advisory Group to assist with consultations on the Analysis and Design project.