In March 2014, the United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent to transition its stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function to the global multi-stakeholder community. The IANA function is a technical administrative function relating to three categories of Internet identifiers: Internet protocol parameters, Internet Protocol addresses, and Internet domain names. Policy development relating to these three categories takes place outside of the technical administration of the IANA function. Various parties, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force, the regional communities associated with the Regional Internet Registries, and Supporting Organisations within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), develop these policies, which are then translated into the technical fabric of the Internet by the IANA team. This process ensures that the Internet remains the globally unique resource that we are all familiar with today.
The IANA function is performed by ICANN, pursuant to a contract between ICANN and the NTIA. Discussion about the stewardship of the IANA function has generated a parallel discussion about accountability within ICANN. From an organisational perspective, this discussion focuses on how ICANN’s broader accountability mechanisms should be strengthened to address the absence of its historical contractual relationship with the US Government. While separate from the IANA stewardship transition discussion, the process on enhancing ICANN’s accountability is a key component to the success of the IANA stewardship transition.
The IGF enables the global community to further deliberate on these two issues: the transition of NTIA’s stewardship of the IANA functions and the parallel process of enhancing ICANN’s accountability. This Main Focus Session will have been successful if participants leave feeling better informed on these two interrelated processes.
Thus this session will be divided into two parts: the first will discuss the transition of NTIA’s stewardship role, and the second will discuss the impact of the transition on ICANN’s accountability scheme. For each part, the session will provide questions that both panelists and audience members can respond to. The session will open with a brief background on the IANA functions.
Relevant questions include the following:
1. Transition of NTIA's Stewardship of the IANA Functions:
1. How is the IANA transition discussion evolving?
2. How will the various parties involved in the IANA functions be affected by these proposals?
3. What are the expectations with respect to the timeline and how could the process improve to meet the deadline?
2. Enhancing ICANN Accountability:
1. What are the guiding principles to ensure that the notion of accountability is understood and accepted globally?
2. What features does the community identify as being core to strengthening ICANN's overall accountability in the absence of its historical contractual relationship to the U.S. Government?
3. What are the means by which the global community is assured that ICANN is meeting its accountability commitments?
Mr. Nihat Sümer, Vice-President, Information and Communications Technologies Authority, Turkey
For Panel No 1 on IANA stewardship: Nii Quaynor, University of Cape-Coast, Ghana.
For Panel No 2 on ICANN accountability: Matthew Shears, Center for Democracy and Technology.
Panelists for the IANA stewardship transition:
Panelists for ICANN’s accountability process:
5.5. Remote moderator
Susan Chalmers, Principal, Chalmers & Associates
5.6. Feeder workshops
No. 185: ICANN Globalization and the Affirmation of Commitments
No. 191: ICANN Globalization in an Evolving IG Ecosystem
No. 114: Developing countries participation in global IG