ICANN 53, IANA Transition, Stakeholder Proposals, NTIA Questions

Ahead of the ICANN 53 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina (pre-ICANN 53 meetings have already started in Buenos Aires) Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling, posted a review of the work thus far in the IANA Stewardship Transition, including the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability. Strickling raised several questions (excerpt follows, emphasis added):

photo of NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling
NTIA Administrator
Lawrence E. Strickling
(source: US government)
"Next week, hundreds of members of the Internet stakeholder community will attend the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) 53rd meeting in Argentina ... one of NTIA’s top priorities continues to be the transition of NTIA’s role related to the Internet Domain Name System. Since we announced the IANA stewardship transition in March 2014, the response of the stakeholder community has been remarkable and inspiring ... the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) must combine these proposals into a consolidated transition proposal and then seek public comment on all aspects of the plan ... [The ICG] must build a public record for us on how the three customer group submissions tie together in a manner that ensures NTIA’s criteria are met and institutionalized over the long term.

... the final submission to NTIA must include a plan to enhance ICANN’s accountability. Given that the draft proposal of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability will be a major focus of the discussions next week in Argentina, I would like to offer the following questions for stakeholders to consider:
  • The draft proposes new or modified community empowerment tools. How can the Working Group on Accountability ensure that the creation of new organizations or tools will not interfere with the security and stability of the DNS during and after the transition? 
  • Do new committees and structures create a different set of accountability questions?
  • The draft proposal focuses on a membership model for community empowerment. Have other possible models been thoroughly examined, detailed, and documented
  • Has the working group designed stress tests of the various models to address how the multistakeholder model is preserved if individual ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees opt out? 
  • Similarly, has the working group developed stress tests to address the potential risk of capture and barriers to entry for new participants of the various models? 
  • Further, have stress tests been considered to address potential unintended consequences of “operationalizing” groups that to date have been advisory in nature?
  • The draft proposal suggests improvements to the current Independent Review Panel (IRP). The IRP has been criticized for its own lack of accountability. How does the proposal analyze and remedy existing concerns with the IRP?
  • In designing a plan for improved accountability, should the working group consider what exactly is the role of the ICANN Board within the multistakeholder model
  • Should the standard for Board action be to confirm that the community has reached consensus, and if so, what accountability mechanisms are needed to ensure the Board operates in accordance with that standard?
  • The proposal is primarily focused on the accountability of the ICANN Board. Has the Working Group also considered if there need to be accountability improvements that would apply to ICANN management and staff or to the various ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees?
  • ... the ICG, the Working Group on Accountability will need to build a public record and thoroughly document how the NTIA criteria have been met and will be maintained in the future. As the plans take final shape, I hope the community starts to focus on the matter of implementation of its recommendations. Have the issues of implementation been identified and addressed in the proposal so that the community and ICANN can implement the plan as expeditiously as possible once we have reviewed and accepted it

... after the Buenos Aires meeting, NTIA will need to make a determination on extending its current contract with ICANN, which expires on September 30, 2015. Last month, I asked both the ICG and the Working Group on Accountability for an update on the transition planning, as well as their views on how long it will take to finalize and implement the transition plan if it were approved. Keeping in mind that the community and ICANN will need to implement all work items identified by the ICG and the Working Group on Accountability as prerequisites for the transition before the contract can end, the community’s input on timing is critical and will strongly influence how NTIA proceeds with the contract extension. I look forward to hearing from everyone in Buenos Aires. At this key juncture, it is timely to not only take stock of all the work that has occurred, but also what lies ahead." 

Read Secretary Strickling's full comments here: Stakeholder Proposals to Come Together at ICANN Meeting in Argentina.

Members of ICANN's CCWG-Accountability have started discussing and answering Strickling's (who is referred to as simply "Larry" on the CCWG mail list) questions:

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