Last March 11th an historic proposal for the global community to assume stewardship of the IANA functions, produced after nearly two years of work by the global Internet community, has been delivered to the U.S. Government for its consideration. The proposal would remove U.S. Government oversight over a set of fundamental Internet administrative functions, including management of the global pool of Internet number resources (IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and Autonomous System Numbers), and replace it with a set of arrangements for community-based oversight.
The proposal, developed by the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG), is based on input from three operational communities, including the Internet Number Community (those with an interest in the global management of Internet number resources). The contributions of the Internet Number Community were coordinated via a Consolidated RIR IANA Stewardship Proposal (CRISP) Team made up of community members drawn from each of the five RIR regions. CRISP Team Chair Izumi Okutani said:
"The discussions that have taken place over the last two years have been a showcase for the kind of bottom-up, community-driven processes that are a central feature of the Internet Number Community. This approach has been fundamental in making the Internet a truly global resource. It is very satisfying to see the input of so many stakeholders explicitly reflected in the ICG's proposal, and I believe that the solution presented here successfully meets the needs of the Internet Number Community, and of all IANA stakeholders."
The ICG proposal includes mechanisms for stewardship of the number-related IANA functions, as developed by the Internet Number Community. These mechanisms include a contractual Service Level Agreement signed by the RIRs (as stewards of these functions) and ICANN (as the entity responsible for management of the functions). More information on this aspect of the proposal is available here.
While the ICG published the final draft of its proposal in October 2015, elements of the proposal relied upon the adoption of a set of recommendations regarding the accountability of ICANN to its community. These recommendations were developed separately by a Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG) and were adopted by the ICANN Board at its meeting this week in Marrakech, Morocco. The Board was at that point able to pass on both the ICG and CCWG documents to the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the U.S. Government.
"The events of this week, here at ICANN 55 in Marrakech, represent another significant step in the long process to better operationalize the global community's shared stewardship of the IANA functions," said Number Resource Organization Chair and LACNIC CEO Oscar Robles. "We have not reached the end of this process yet, and we respect the attention that the U.S. Government must give to this proposal before making what will be a historic decision.
At this point though, we recognize the achievement that this proposal represents: a huge, global community of people from different sectors and stakeholder groups has achieved agreement on a complex plan to achieve something of huge importance. It is something about which we, as a community, should feel justifiably proud, and it is a testament to the effectiveness of the multistakeholder model.
The Regional Internet Registries have publicly supported the progressive steps taken by the U.S. Government over the years to reduce its oversight of global Internet administrative functions. Since the NTIA's announcement in 2014, we have been pleased to help facilitate our communities' contributions to this important IANA stewardship transition process. We now stand ready to work with ICANN and all of the IANA stakeholders towards full implementation of the ICG and CCWG proposals."
The U.S. Government will now review the proposal to ensure that it meets the criteria set out by the NTIA when they first announced their intention, in March 2014, to pass stewardship of the IANA functions to the global community. If approved, the RIRs and ICANN will continue their work towards implementation of the proposal, which will be completed prior to the expiration of ICANN's current contract with NTIA in September 2016.