On Friday 14 March, the United States Government announced that it intends to transition oversight of key Internet functions (including the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or IANA) to the global multi-stakeholder community. It has asked ICANN to facilitate, in consultation with the global multi-stakeholder community, the development of a proposal for the transition.
Leaders of the I* Internet technical coordination organisations (including AFRINIC), met several times and, in line with the Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation (October 2013), we agreed on some common principles for an evolution such as the one announced by the US Government. Regular participants in those meetings, including their affiliated organisations, are noted here:
As an outcome of these discussions, a common position was developed on the following points:
- The roles of all Internet registry policy bodies will stay unchanged. These bodies continue to hold policy authority for the protocol parameter, number, and name spaces, including responsibility to ensure the faithful registry implementation according to those policies.
- The IETF, IAB, and RIRs are committed to the role of ICANN as the IANA protocol parameter and IP address registry operator.
- ICANN reaffirms its commitment to implement all IANA registry functions in accordance with the respective policies. ICANN will also provide affirmations to all stakeholders (including governments) that all Internet registry policy bodies and ICANN itself will continue to use open and transparent processes.
Separately, ICANN released a timeline that details its expectations of the multi-stakeholder consultation process. More information on these plans will undoubtedly come out of the upcoming ICANN Meeting in Singapore (23-27 March). The timeline document is available here: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/iana/functions-transfer-process-14mar14-en.pdf
While this timeline focuses on ICANN meetings and events, it is clear that this process will not take place only in ICANN venues. The five RIR communities are key stakeholders in this process, and it is vital that we discuss these issues both within our regional communities and globally to ensure that our voices are heard and our concerns recognised. The stable, accurate and professional management of the IANA functions, including management of the global IP address pool, is fundamental to the operation of the Internet. It is important that we not lose sight of this fact as management of the IANA evolves to more faithfully reflect the multi-stakeholder nature of the Internet community.
AFRINIC urges the African community at all levels to participate to the upcoming discussions on the future of the IANA functions. We all want to engage because we want the discussions to come up with suggestions and mechanisms that ensure an ongoing interoperable stable and yes, secure Internet. These discussions need to take into consideration views from all over the world as the services provided by IANA touch everyone. The Internet itself has become a tool that we cannot live without today and studies demonstrate how embracing ICTs and the Internet can boost economic and social development, thus taking us ever closer to a world where Sustainable Development Goals can be a reality.
I look forward to further discussion at AIS’14.
Adiel A. Akplogan
In order to ensure global acceptance and affirmation of ICANN's role as administrator of the IANA functions, we are now pursuing the transition of USG's stewardship of the IANA functions from the USG to ICANN. The roles of all Internet registry policy bodies (such as the RIRs, IAB, IETF, ASO, ccNSO, ccTLD ROs, and gNSO) stay unchanged. These bodies continue to hold policy authority for the protocol parameter, number, and name spaces, including responsibility to ensure the faithful registry implementation according to those policies.
This transition from the USG has been envisaged since the early days of ICANN. It is now feasible due to the growing maturity of ICANN and other organisations in the Internet ecosystem. ICANN's structures and accountability mechanisms continue to evolve and advance guided by the AoC community reviews, including ATRT. In addition, ICANN will continue to embrace its aggressive roadmap to truly globalize its structures.
In order to operationalize the transition from USG, ICANN will engage with the Internet community in a bottom-up public consultation process to ensure appropriate accountability mechanisms. In addition, ICANN will work with the names, numbers, and protocol communities to formalize relationships, commitments, and mutual responsibilities.
When community stakeholders have input about the policies emanating from the names, numbers, and protocol communities, they would be directed to pursue their interests through the relevant Internet communities (such as the gNSO, ccNSO, ccTLD ROs, ASO, IAB, IETF, or the RIRs) and their mechanisms for consideration and potential redress.
The IETF, IAB, and RIRs are committed to open and transparent processes. They also are committed to the role of ICANN as the IANA protocol parameter and IP address registry operator. The accountability mechanisms for ICANN's administration of these core internet functions will provide escalation routes that assure the names, numbers, and protocol communities that if IANA's performance is lacking, those communities can pursue defined processes for improving performance, including pre-agreed independent 3rd party arbitration processes.
ICANN reaffirms its commitment to implement all IANA registry functions in accordance with the respective policies. ICANN will also provide affirmations to all stakeholders (including governments) from all Internet registry policy bodies and itself that all of us will use open and transparent processes.