[arin-ppml] Request for Community Input – Enhancing ICANN Accountability

ARIN 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 
accountability mechanisms.

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 
international level.

We believe that this evolution could take the form of a new affirmation 
into which many more stakeholder communities, including Governments, 
would enter.

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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