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IANA Transition Set to Disrupt ICANN Operations

Stéphane Van Gelder

The US Government's decision to transition its oversight of the IANA function to a multi-national, multi stakeholder organisation is set to impact ICANN's standard operations.

On April 25, ICANN Board Chair Steve Crocker send an email to the ICANN community leaders suggesting changes to the agenda for the upcoming 50th International ICANN meeting, set to be held in London from June 22 to 26.

"How to ensure that we carve out enough quality time in the agenda to handle effective and comprehensive public dialogues on the Transition of the NTIA Stewardship of the IANA function as well as the new ICANN Accountability track," Crocker asked in the email.

His suggestions are two-fold. First set up remote hubs similar to the ones seen at the recent NETmundial meeting "to offer high quality remote access to maximise participants from around the world."

Second, change the Thursday agenda to focus on the IANA issue. Recent ICANN meetings have traditionally ended on a Thursday with a "public forum" and subsequent Board meeting. The forum is an opportunity for anyone to address the ICANN Board, and is a firm favourite with ICANN audiences.

The forum would not disappear if proposed changes are implemented for ICANN London, but it would be made shorter as part of what would become a true marathon of a Thursday. "Currently our thinking is that we start the morning at 8:30 to allow those groups having wrap up sessions to handle those requirements between 8:30 and 10:00 am," Crocker continued. "We follow this with a two hour session on ICANN Accountability followed by an early lunch break and then run a session on the Transition of the NTIA Stewardship of the IANA function from 1-3 or 3:30. This is the most effective time slot to maximise international participation. We'd run a shorter Public Forum from 4 – 6 and wrap up with a public Board meeting finishing at 7."

ICANN London is not the only knock-on from the IANA transition. The day after Crocker's email, ICANN CFO Xavier Calvez sent an email informing community leaders that the publication of the FY15 Draft Operating plan and Budget would be delayed from April 25 to May 8.

"The main driver to this delay is the NTIA announcement and its impact on the budget process," Calvez wrote."The management needed to change the allocation of resources in order to allow the organization to prioritize the USG transition work, and therefore adjust the resource allocation of the rest of the organization."

These concurrent announcements have some worried that in its drive to carry out the IANA transition successfully, ICANN is about to take its eye off its primary work streams of managing the Internet's domain name and IP address systems, including the all-important new gTLD program currently being rolled out.

By Stéphane Van Gelder, Chairman, MILATHAN

Related topics: DNS, ICANN, Internet Governance, IP Addressing, Top-Level Domains

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