At nearly 300 pages, the recently published Accountability & Transparency Review Team Report, including recommendations and five appendices, doesn’t pretend to be an easy read with simple solutions that can be implemented overnight. Nor should it be. Instead it is a serious and complex report, mandated by the Affirmation of Commitments. The AOC is unique in that it provides for multistakeholder review mechanisms – it is an agreement that reinforces ICANN’s accountability to the global community. The report provides a snapshot of where ICANN is today regarding its accountability and transparency efforts, and a roadmap for improving those. It is crucial to ICANN’s credibility within the Internet governance ecosystem.
Encyclopedic in length, the ATRT2 report documents and analyzes ICANN’s commitment to accountability and transparency, and the review is the mechanism that proves ICANN’s accountability to global community first. I see it as a giant syllabus for continuous learning and improvement within this great multistakeholder experiment of ICANN. I’m excited to get started on this stage of implementation, and believe we should make this the central theme of our dialogue at ICANN 49 in Singapore.
There won’t be a day when we decide: “OK, we’re accountable and transparent now, so we can stop reviewing these things.” Long-term accountability is not a box you check, or a certificate you hang on the wall. It’s a continuous, evolving process of careful implementation and review.
ICANN’s commitment to accountability and transparency reminds me of a marriage. Marriage vows are not the end of the conversation. You live those vows out every day, year after year.
Nothing will demonstrate the maturity of ICANN as an accountable, transparent organization more than our thoughtful review and collaborative implementation of these 12 recommendations. This is how we will show the world we are practicing the principles of accountability and transparency in our every day business. Some of the recommendations, I’m pleased to say, we are already implementing; others will require ongoing processes. But all are now open for additional public input. Following the close of the public comment period, board and staff will carefully review all recommendations, considering additional input, before determining how best to implement. I’ve appointed Jamie Hedlund as ICANN’s lead executive on this important work.
So, if you’re hoping for a quick answer to the question, is ICANN accountable and transparent — well, you won’t find that quick answer in this report or its 12 recommendations. What you will find is a complex and crucial examination of many facets of ICANN, showing areas of achievement and improvement. The 277-page report is the direct result of the commitment and diligence of 16 ATRT2 members, who were drawn from the ICANN community via a public notice as well as recommendations from ICANN’s SOs and ACs, and selected by the chairs of the ICANN Board and its Governmental Advisory Committee. These community members spent nearly a year reviewing, studying, questioning, debating and listening to the community as well as staff in preparing their report. Join us in our journey to review and implement these, and continue to evolve our multistakeholder model into a more finely honed organization. Much depends on it.
The Public Comment period for the ATRT2 Recommendations closes on 21 February 2014; the reply period ends 15 March.