Ottawa, Canada – November 26, 2014 – The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) supports the transition of the United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) stewardship role for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global multi-stakeholder community.

Principles

The Commission endorses the NTIA conditions which are:

  • Support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model;
  • Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System;
  • Meet the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services;
  • Maintain the openness of the Internet.

In addition, the Commission recommends that the stewardship transition and ongoing operation of the IANA functions support the following principles:

  • Ensure that no single government, collection of governments, intergovernmental organization, or any other single stakeholder community, have sole oversight of these functions;
  • Maintain the security, resiliency and interoperability of the Internet by retaining a single root;
  • Directly involve the Internet’s technical community of experts in the transition and in the outcome of the transition;
  • Create a mechanism for maintaining these principles and the stability of the process over time, during the transition and beyond.

To maintain the confidence of and credibility with the broad international community, it is key that this transition commence in 2015. At the same time, it is equally important to ensure that the principles enumerated above are carried through the transition and that the full process should not be rushed.

IANA Process

As the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) community considers mechanisms to facilitate the transition of the US Department of Commerce authorization function in the IANA process, the Commission urges that the process be clearly described and transparent; and that the success of the IANA functions transition be measured in terms of the continuing effectiveness and reliability of technical operations.

ICANN’s Accountability for Performance of the IANA Function

The Commission recommends the following steps to help improve the accountability of ICANN’s performance of the IANA functions:

    1. The accountability provisions of the existing US IANA contract should be migrated to contracts between ICANN and its IANA services partners and these contracts should include a clause favouring specific performance as a remedy.
       
    2. The Commission recommends an enhanced mechanism for independent and authoritative review to consider the exercise of decision-making powers of ICANN under three general headings:
      • Fairness;
      • Mandate;
      • Transparency.
      Such a mechanism should be supportive of the bottom-up participatory policy making process of ICANN. 
    3. Such an independent and authoritative mechanism might comprise diverse and internationally recognized technical experts and jurists, appointed through an independent and transparent process.
       
    4. We consider that the development of such a mechanism will add to the stature and authority of the IANA/ICANN accountability framework and help counter any risk of capture by any stakeholder or constituency.

Accompanying this communiqué is an independent report prepared for the Commission that addresses some of these issues: www.cigionline.org/publications/legal-mechanisms-governing-transition-of-key-domain-name-functions-global-multi-stakeho

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The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org.

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