[arin-ppml] Request for Community Input – Enhancing ICANN Accountability
info at arin.net
Mon Jun 2 15:03:44 EDT 2014
ICANN issued a call for community input regarding its continuing
accountability in the future in the absence of a contractual
relationship with the U.S. Government.
The Executive Council of the Number Resource Organization (NRO) has
drafted a response on behalf of the five Regional Internet Registry
(RIR) communities. (See below)
ARIN welcomes your feedback on this draft, and we will be accepting
input through 4 June 2014. Please send your comments to info at arin.net.
The community may also participate directly by providing feedback
directly to ICANN as described here:
Communications and Member Services
American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)
ICANN call for public comments on Enhancing ICANN’s Accountability
Response from the Number Resource Organization (NRO)
DRAFT ONLY - 29 May 2014
The NRO thanks ICANN for the opportunity to comment on means for
improving its accountability, and we provide the following responses to
the questions contained in the call for comments:
1. What issues does the community identify as being core to
strengthening ICANN’s overall accountability in the absence of its
historical contractual relationship to the US government?
Regarding ICANN's accountability with respect to IP addressing
functions, we believe that the ASO structure provides a necessary and
sufficient separation between policy formation and policy
implementation. Global IP addressing policy is developed by the RIR
communities and passed via the ASO to ICANN, in accordance with the ASO
MoU; while policy is implemented by the IANA in the form of services
delivered to the RIRs under specific service agreements. While these
existing mechanisms have proven successful over the past 10 years, we
believe than a review is appropriate at this time, prior to the expected
NTIA transition, along with reviews by each of the RIRs of their own
Notwishstanding any improvements needed, these agreements must clearly
define appropriate dispute resolution, escalation and arbitration
procedures. We note that there is no agreement or expectation of any
role for the USG NTIA in these processes; therefore we do not view the
historical contractual relationship between ICANN and the US government
as an accountability mechanism, and neither do we consider the NTIA's
role as a source of ICANN’s accountability with respect to Internet
number resources. In the hypothetical case that IANA had ever failed
to provide number allocation services to any RIR in accordance to
existing policies and agreements, we would have not relied upon the US
government to solve this issue. Rather we would have worked
transparently with ICANN, in accordance to the terms of existing
agreements, to address the issue.
The NRO is committed to continue to work with ICANN to strengthen
escalation and dispute resolution mechanisms to allow the parties to
work better in any hypothetical case of failed expectations.
2. What should be the guiding principles to ensure that the notion of
accountability is understood and accepted globally? What are the
consequences if the ICANN Board is not being accountable to the
community? Is there anything that should be added to the Working Group’s
The NRO does not believe that the contract with the US government should
be replaced with a similar mechanism at a global level, therefore a
guiding principle is specifically not to create any "superior" structure
or organisation; rather ICANN's accountability should be defined in
terms of transparent agreements with ICANN stakeholders, in which roles
and responsibilities, and dispute resolution and arbitration mechanisms
are fully defined.
We believe that a failure by ICANN to abide clearly by established
accountability mechanisms, and in particular by defined dispute
resolution and arbitration mechanisms should have clear consequences,
and therefore that arbitration mechanisms should be binding.
Furthermore, they must be implementable and effective upon ICANN,
regardless of its final structure or locale.
The guiding principles for defining or strengthening these
accountability mechanisms should be: that they are transparent,
implementable and open to improvement; and that they operate in the
interests of the open, stable and secure operation of the Internet.
3. Do the Affirmation of Commitments and the values expressed therein
need to evolve to support global acceptance of ICANN’s accountability
and so, how?
The NRO believes that the Affirmation of Commitments is a good umbrella
covering higher-level issues that may not be specifically included in
existing contracts, MoUs, accountability frameworks and documents that
govern ICANN’s relationships with its different stakeholder groups.
While the most important accountability of ICANN is with its respective
stakeholders and community, the Affirmation of Commitments and its
evolution could support wider trust in ICANN’s ongoing operations at the
We believe that this evolution could take the form of a new affirmation
into which many more stakeholder communities, including Governments,
4. What are the means by which the Community is assured that ICANN is
meeting its accountability commitments?
The current contracts, MoUs, accountability frameworks and documents
that ICANN currently has with different parts of its community provide
certain levels of accountability. These documents can evolve and improve
however this should be an ongoing process which continues beyond the end
of NTIA’s role, and throughout the entire lifetime of ICANN.
5. Are there other mechanisms that would better ensure that ICANN lives
up to its commitments?
If ICANN can in time be incorporated as an international organization
under international law, this may provide the ICANN community with
additional mechanisms to solve disputes through mediation, arbitration
or judicial avenues; and added confidence in the ability to serve
stakeholders uniformly across the globe. While we would like this
possibility to be actively explored by ICANN, we do not believe it is a
necessary prerequisite to any of the other measures described in this
response, but welcome continued engagement with the global stakeholder
community on this topic.
6. What additional comments would you like to share that could be of use
to the ICANN Accountability Working Group?
The NRO notes the present clarity of responsibility that exists with
respect ICANN's roles in administration of Internet protocol identifiers
for the IETF and Internet number resources for the Internet address
community, and suggests that it might helpful for the ICANN
Accountability Working Group to examine these successes in its efforts.
The NRO expects to contribute and work together with the ICANN
Accountability Working Group, and other stakeholders in the ICANN
community, to improve mechanisms for enhancing accountability in the
years to come.
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