1st October: United States Government Ends its Oversight Role over the IANA Functions.
Global Internet Community Assumes this Major Responsibility
This past Friday 30 September, during the closing ceremony of LACNIC 26 (San Jose, Costa Rica), we had the pleasure of informing our community in real time about the culmination of the IANA Functions' Stewardship Transition process.
As you know, this Transition process began in March 2014 with the announcement by the United States Government through the NTIA, the agency in charge of this responsibility. In that announcement, the NTIA established the criteria that the new entity would have to meet in order to take over that responsibility. Among other requirements, one of the prerequisites was that it needed to be a multistakeholder organization, as opposed to a multilateral entity (where only governments are involved).
The community then began working on several fronts. On the one hand, each of the three operational communities –numbers, names and protocols– worked on a proposal that was eventually consolidated into a single community proposal (ICG). At the same time, every community worked to define which transparency and accountability elements needed to be implemented prior to the Transition.
The outcome of this work was a proposal that was submitted to and approved by the NTIA. The structural changes needed to meet this proposal remained conditional upon the conclusion of the original contract that the US government maintained with ICANN, the IANA functions operator. This contract was to expire on 30 September and everything was set for the transition, not without having gone through a series of political and legal obstacles product of domestic US politics. Yet the Transition occurred in a timely manner.
This is one of the most significant milestones in the history of the Internet, as it means that the United States government, who previously held the role of IANA Functions Steward, is transferring this responsibility to a diverse multistakeholder community in each of the three operational communities: Names, Numbers and Protocols. And no individual government has a major role in this stewardship, as the United States once had.
This transition has no operational consequences for the Numbers community, as both our number resource registration processes (IP numbers and autonomous systems) and policy development process will continue as usual. However, the functions the IANA performed for our community will now be supervised by the five Regional IP Address Registries (AFRINIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE NCC), which in turn will be supported by a Review Committee expressly created for this purpose with the participation of the communities of the five Registries.
The criteria for this relationship are set out in the agreement the five Registries have signed with ICANN –the organization that continues to serve as the IANA functions operator– and which established service levels and control mechanisms to guarantee that these functions are maintained in accordance with our expectations.
This successfully concludes the work carried out by our community during the past 30 months to ensure the smooth transition of these functions, and once again highlights the ability of the numbers community in the five regions to work in a coordinated manner and reach consensus on issues of global relevance.
Congratulations to all three operational communities (Numbers, Names and Protocols) for this historic achievement that will allow us to continue working for an open, stable and secure Internet!