11 March 2002
ICANN's core mission is to create an effective private sector development process capable of administrative and policy management of the Internet's numbering and address allocation systems, based on a consensus policy process. ICANN was created approximately 3 years ago, after an extensive international consultative process with the broad Internet stakeholder community. After a number of other efforts to create an international approach to privatizing management of key technical functions of the Internet, ICANN represents a consensus, which drew together a very diverse set of stakeholders. As part of the stakeholder agreements, certain goals for ICANN were embodied in the Memorandum of Understanding, signed with the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding deliverables to demonstrate progress toward the global DNS management and coordination.
ICANN has a fourth anniversary of the MOU in 2002, and faces a serious challenges demonstrating progress on some core issues, including relationships with ccTLDs, RIRs and the root server operators. In order to further develop and maintain international community support, ICANN must demonstrate broadening international participation and support..
The Names Council had established a Structure Task Force to address a number of proposals for restructuring; it has drafted an interim report on the policy implications of the At Large Study Committee's Final Report. The Task Force was also anticipating receiving the ccTLD Supporting Organization draft, when n late February, M.Stuart Lynn, ICANN President and CEO released a report to the community entitled: "A Case for Reform."
The report includes an extensive assessment of what ICANN's challenges are, describes the critical need to take urgent steps to address these challenges, and makes an extensive set of restructuring recommendations. The paper presents the vision that, without broad anddeep structural changes, , sufficient progress will not be made in addressing these challenges, thus threatening ICANN's ability to succeed, and indeed, survive. Further, the position presented in the paper is that without significant changes in structure and funding, ICANN can not make sufficient progress on the MOU's core requirements.
The Call for Reform identifies four areass:
The paper identifies the priorities as: the participation of key stakeholders, avoiding too much process, and the lack of both stable, and sufficient funding.
The paper paints a rather dire view of ICANN's situation, driven by these problems, and calls for a restructuring in ways which will challenge many of the original consensus agreements among parties, including the technical community.
While different views, and in many cases, serious questions are being heard about the solutions which are proposed in the paper, there seems to be broad agreement that the paper identifies core problem areas where significant progress and improvement is critical.
The Names Council has created a Structure Task Force, with representation of each constituency and the GA, and chaired by the NC chair, which is responsible for assessing restructuring proposals, including policy making within the DNSO and ICANN's decision making, and providing recommendations to the NC based on these assessments.
The first work of the Structure TF was consideration of policy aspects related
to the final report of the At Large Study Committee which is under development
as a draft Interim Report of the Task Force. The TF anticipates addressing the
imminent ccTLD Supporting Organization proposal when it is received. The TF
intends to review its recommendation and address additional issues raised in
"The Case for Reform".
The Names Council acknowledges the critical nature of the challenges, which are identified in the "The Case for Reform" and the serious implications for ICANN's success, effectiveness and survival.
The Names Council agrees that ICANN needs significant improvement in many core areas; among them funding, key stakeholder support, participation and relationships ; however, the Names Council also recognizes that over its short four year existence, significant progress has been made in a number of key areas and that parts of the current structure are functioning well.
The Names Council is concerned by the solutions proposed in the paper and advises the Board and the Staff that the issues of ICANN stability are of priority concern. The DNSO remains committee to the orginal vision of a consensus based on bottom up policy development process and to private sector leaderhship.
The Names Council advises the Board and Staff that the Structure Task Force has begun a process to respond to the President's Reform Proposal, including development and consideration of alternative solutions, and will present preliminary findings in mid April to the Names Council at a scheduled NC call. A draft report will be completed by May.
The NC further advises the Board, staff and the community that they recognize that the problems facing ICANN are significant and call for support from interested stakeholders to participate in any proven need for restructuring to ensure that consensus based policy development, under the leadership of a private sector led entity - ICANN - is attained in a
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