As noted earlier, The Joint Project Agreement (JPA) between the United States government and ICANN will have a mid-term review in March. As part of this review, the US government put out a Notice of Inquiry asking for comments on the continued transition to the private sector.
ISOC has issued a draft statement that recommends, contrary to ICANN’s desire to complete the process forthwith, that the agreement be allowed to run its full course.
From the statement:
When the JPA was created in September 2006 it had two parts:
Â· the agreement itself and
Â· an annex written by the ICANN Board.
The annex contained 10 commitments that the Board voluntarily made to the US government. The present mid-term review was also promised in the JPA.
Some, including ICANN itself, seem to think it is possible that the JPA could be terminated at the mid-term. Others see obstacles â€“ political and otherwise. – Irrespective of whether early termination is possible. For three major reasons, ISOCâ€™s position is that the JPA should continue until its end in 2009 so that ICANN can prepare itself for private sector management. Briefly those reasons are:
(1) ICANN has done a lot in the first half of the JPA with respect to advancing work on the JPA responsibilities in areas such as transparency, to making progress in other key areas such as IDNs, and working to improve stability and security. The next 18 months will be an opportunity to put these into operation and ensure that the new mechanisms are adequate to meet community expectations. This is essential for the stability of the organization post-JPA, and is central to strong engaged community support â€“ a central tenet of the private sector model envisaged for ICANN.
(2) ICANN needs to develop a vision or plan for what it will look like and how it will work without the US government oversight. This will need community support and buy-in and must be developed within ICANNâ€™s processes, following principles of openness, transparency and accountability. The community needs to understand how ICANN plans to operate and evolve in the absence of the USG oversight role. That needs to be elaborated & test-driven over the next year(s) in order to be credible, to gain support, and before various constituencies should be comfortable with ending the JPA.
(3) In the 2006 DoC proceedings, both ISOC and IAB strongly expressed the need for all parties to recognize that the protocol parameter function carried out by ICANN is on behalf of and performed fully under the IETFâ€™s direction. ICANNâ€™s responsibilities for these assignments is therefore different from ICANNâ€™s other responsibilities within the IANA function. In the next 18 months, concrete steps must be taken to recognize this, and to ensure that the IETFâ€™s protocol parameter needs will continue to be met to its satisfaction, regardless of any changes that may be made in ICANNâ€™s relationship with the DoC.
Comments may be made directly to Bill Graham of ISOC’s Global Strategic Engagement department, and it is expected there will be further discussion at the coming ICANN meeting in New Delhi. The deadline for submission is Feb 15 2008.