14 October 2015

NRO Statement on IANA Stewardship Transition and ICANN Accountability

The NRO takes this opportunity to comment on the current discussions of ICANN accountability, prior to the series of meetings coming up in Dublin, Ireland, during October 2015.

The NRO has worked to ensure that to the extent possible, relationships between ICANN, RIRs and the global numbering communities are established in formal relationships that provide necessary definition and separation of responsibilities.

The number community proposal for IANA oversight transition relies on these existing relationships, and builds on them to ensure that responsibilities, commitments and accountabilities are clear and robust in the post-transition environment.

Regarding our expectations of ICANN accountability: in our relationships with ICANN, we have and will continue to rely upon binding agreements as the primarily mechanism for ICANN accountability to the numbers community.

Regarding organizational models for ICANN accountability, the NRO notes that two legal memos [1][2] reached the conclusion that ICANN currently uses a “Designator” model for appointment of Directors, and that the designators currently have the power to remove the Directors that they appoint.  We also note that both legal memos pointed out gaps in the current ICANN bylaws, and one of them was associated with concrete suggestions for bylaw changes to address the identified gaps [3].

The NRO believes that a clarification and formalisation of ICANN’s existing designator structure via the “Empowered SO/AC Designator” model (as referenced in the CCWG-Accountability “2nd Draft Proposal on Work Stream 1 Recommendations” [4]) is the most straightforward approach to provide ICANN structural accountability to the community.  We believe that the ability for designator organisations (SOs, ACs, and the NomCom) to remove and replace their designated Directors would provide a sufficient mechanism for enforcement of the desired community powers.

However, we are able to support any accountability reform proposal which preserves and ensures ICANN’s ability to perform in accordance with our agreements, providing also that they are consistent with the successful IANA stewardship transition in the time available.

The NRO is fully committed to the completion of the current IANA stewardship transition as a desirable and necessary evolution of the current ICANN and IANA models.  Indeed, this is an overdue development that we have explicitly supported in several prior public statements.

We therefore urge the global multistakeholder community to continue the work to converge on a mutually acceptable accountability reform proposal, which needs to achieve only the following:

– Satisfying immediate concerns over ICANN accountability
– Allowing the IANA transition to take place within the expected timeframe
– Ensuring that ICANN evolution can and will continue in future.

Finally we recognize the ongoing efforts by the CCWG and the ICANN Board to arrive to a successful conclusion of the work which is necessary for the IANA transition to occur. It is important that all of these efforts be fully respectful of the work of the community and that any discrepancies be dealt with in a true and amicable multistakeholder fashion.

Alan Barrett

John Curran
President and CEO

Paul Wilson
Director General

Oscar Robles

Axel Pawlik
Managing Director


[1] “Proposed Articles and Bylaw Amendments for ICANN”, Caplin & Drysdale, 31 Mar 2015. A  memo discussing the existing designator model within ICANN, and discussing proposed amendments to the ICANN bylaws.  Associated with proposed bylaw amendments [3].  Forwarded to the CCWG on 7 April 2015.  <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/accountability-cross-community/attachments/20150407/de2d2f36/ARINMemoonProposedICANNBylawsAmendments-0001.pdf>.

[2] “Current Corporate Status of ICANN under California Law”,
Sidley Austin and Adler & Colvin, 11 Oct 2015.  A memo concluding that ICANN currently functions under a designator model under California law, and identifying related gaps in the current ICANN bylaws.  Forwarded to the CCWG on 12 Oct 2015. <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/accountability-cross-community/attachments/20151012/66a93bb8/Memo-CurrentCorporateStatusofICANNunderCalifornialaw-0001.pdf>.

[3] “Proposed Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers re Designators”, Caplin & Drysdale, 31 Mar 2015.  Associated with memo [1].  Forwarded to the CCWG on 7 April 2015.  <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/accountability-cross-community/attachments/20150407/de2d2f36/ARINProposedAmendmentsforICANNreDesignators-0001.pdf>.

[4] “CCWG-Accountability 2nd Draft Proposal on Work Stream 1 Recommendations”, 3 August 2015, <https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/ccwg-draft-2-proposal-work-stream-1-recs-03aug15-en.pdf>

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