What is it about?
As background information, I can recommend this blog, written by my colleague Maarten Simon.
The essence is that the United States Government is preparing to relinquish its oversight over the IANA Function (part of which is the management of the DNS root zone file, a crucial component in the functioning of the Domain Name System and thus in the functioning of .nl and all other top level domains) to the global internet community.The IANA Function itself is presently executed by ICANN under contract with the United States Government. ICANN will remain the IANA Function operator, the contract with the US will disappear.
The new situation will not have to deal with the oversight on the IANA Function only. In the present situation, the US Government has a lot of leverage over ICANN in general, through its supervision of the IANA. It has “a stick to beat the dog”: it can contract another party and thus take the IANA Function away from ICANN. Waggling that stick is an effective threat, which presently makes ICANN in the end ultimately accountable to the US government.
This is exactly the reason why many stakeholders, among which a significant number of governments, want this situation to change. Even though the system has worked well and brought us the internet we have today, it no longer fits the truly global importance of the internet and the impact it has on our economies and societies.
Soon after the discussions on the IANA Stewardship Transition had started, the ICANN community raised the broader topic of the impact of the transition on ICANN's current accountability. It was clear that the end of the contractual relationship with the United States Government would impact ICANN’s ultimate accountability and that reforms to improve would be necessary. The creation of the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN’s Accountability (CCWG) was the result. I joined the CCWG as one of the five members representing the ccTLD community.
The CCWG is tasked to investigate accountability mechanisms regarding all of the functions provided by ICANN and deliver proposals that will enhance ICANN’s accountability towards all stakeholders.
Why should you care?
The Enhancement of ICANN¹s Accountability is an inseparable part of the IANA Stewardship Transition, a conditio sine qua non. In its turn, the successful transition of the IANA Stewardship is a necessity for the global, single internet to develop to it¹s maximum potential. And, we will not have a second chance for this transition any time soon , so we cannot afford to fail.
The final proposals to enhance ICANN¹s accountability and to transition the IANA Stewardship are the ultimate test of the multi-stakeholder model and failure would, in the end, mean the end of that model. And that would mark the end of the internet as we know it today. So you cannot afford to ignore the CCWG draft proposals, or any other proposal in this process. Unless maybe if you want to get rid of the multi-stakeholder model...
What should you do?
Read the initial report and provide us with your feed-back before 3 June 2015.
If you don't agree; let us know, if you have suggestions for improvements; tell us. But above all: give us guidance with your opinion on the specific issues that we ask your feed-back on in the report.
Just so you know
The report itself is certainly not perfect, it surely is not complete and it is definitely not final. The timeline, the enormous amount of work, the unknown territories we had to explore and insights and opinions we had to unite, made the process quite painful at times.
But the result -and in the end that is what really counts- is good. To be honest: far better then I expected. And quite solid enough to ask your feed-back on. So it can be improved. The CCWG looks forward to hear from you!