Enhancing ICANN Accountability: Reviews & Special Projects
This page provides a high-level overview of initiatives conducted to maintain and improve ICANN’s effectiveness.
The ICANN Reviews Program encompasses the management of Specific Reviews and Organizational Reviews, including any resulting implementation work that relates to improving the reviews process. Specific and Organizational Reviews are required by ICANN Bylaws and critical to maintaining a healthy multistakeholder model. These review efforts assess how certain aspects of the ICANN ecosystem are performing, including how ICANN org, Board and the community fulfill various commitments.
SPECIFIC REVIEWS - Click here for more information
Anchored in Section 4.6 of the ICANN Bylaws
Scope: periodic review of ICANN’s execution of its commitment to maintain and improve robust mechanisms for public input, accountability, and transparency so as to ensure that the outcomes of its decision-making reflect the public interest and are accountable to the Internet community.
Status: The Third Accountability and Transparency Review (ATRT3) Review is complete. Implementation of the ATRT3 recommendations is in progress.
Scope: periodic review examines the extent to which the expansion of gTLDs has promoted competition, consumer trust and consumer choice. It also assesses the effectiveness of the New gTLD Round’s application and evaluation process, as well as the safeguards put in place to mitigate issues arising from the New gTLD Round.
Status: The first iteration of the CCT Review is complete. Implementation of the CCT recommendations is in progress.
Scope: periodic review of the effectiveness of the gTLD registry directory service and whether its implementation meets the legitimate needs of law enforcement, promoting consumer trust and safeguarding registrant data.
Status: The second iteration of the Registration Directory Service Review (RDS-WHOIS2) Review is complete. Implementation of the RDS-WHOIS2 recommendations is in progress.
Scope: periodic review of ICANN’s execution of its commitment to enhance the operational stability, reliability, resiliency, security, and global interoperability of the systems and processes that are affected by the Internet’s system of unique identifiers that ICANN coordinates
Status: The second Security, Stability and Resiliency Review (SSR2) Review is complete. Implementation of the SSR2 recommendations is in progress.
ORGANIZATIONAL REVIEWS - Click here for more information
Anchored in Section 4.4 of the ICANN Bylaws
Organizational Reviews assess the effectiveness of ICANN’s supporting organizations and advisory committees. Organizational Reviews are conducted by independent examiners to assess: (i) whether that organization, council or committee has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure; (ii) if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness; (iii) whether that organization, council or committee is accountable to its constituencies, stakeholder groups, organizations and other stakeholders.
Further information available on At-Large Review page on ICANN.org
Status: The second Address Supporting Organization Review (ASO2) implementation was considered complete in November 2019.
Further information available on ASO Review page on ICANN.org
Status: The second Country Code Names Supporting Organization Review (ccNSO2) implementation was considered complete by the ICANN Board in October 2021.
Further information available on ccNSO Review page on ICANN.org
Status: The second Generic Names Supporting Organization Review (GNSO2) implementation was considered complete by the ICANN Board in January 2019.
Further information available on GNSO Review page on ICANN.org
Status: The second Nominating Committee Review (NomCom2) implementation is estimated to complete by June 2022.
Further information available on NomCom Review page on ICANN.org
Status: The second Root Server System Advisory Committee Review (RSSAC2) implementation is estimated to be completed by June 2022.
Further information available on RSSAC Review page on ICANN.org
Status: The second Security and Stability Advisory Committee Review (SSAC2) implementation was considered complete in March 2021.
Further information available on SSAC Review page on ICANN.org
Scope: Implemented in 2016 to review the performance of the IANA Naming Function against contractual requirements and in relation to the needs and expectations of its naming customers.
|Enhancing ICANN Accountability - Work Streams|
Enhancing ICANN Accountability - Work Streams
Scope: The project was created as initial discussions of the IANA Stewardship Transition were taking place to provide assurance that ICANN remains accountable in the absence of any contractual relationship with the U.S. Government:
Status: Work Stream 2 in implementation - Learn more about the progress in implementing WS2 Recommendations.
Recommendation 3.6 from Community Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3) requires the evolution of Organizational Reviews into a Continuous Improvement Program for the SOs, ACs, and the NomCom. The work to implement the Continuous Improvement Program will begin as a pilot, based on the direction from the ICANN Board.
Status: ICANN is finalizing the governance plan for the Continuous Improvement Program and developing a Community Coordination Group (CIP-CCG) with the community. CIP Framework development will take place soon after ICANN78.
Scope: “Enhancing the Effectiveness of the ICANN’s Multistakeholder Model” project originated in 2019 with the objective to refine and further improve the ICANN’s multistakeholder model of governance. The analysis conducted on the model identified six overarching areas and gaps that should be addressed to improve the functioning of the model. The following three areas were prioritized for a more immediate-term investigation: Prioritization of the work & efficient use of resources; Precision in scoping the work; and Consensus, representation, and inclusivity.Status: In implementation
Pilot Holistic Review:
Recommendation 3.5 from Community Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3) calls for the creation of the Holistic Review, a new Specific Review, to consider the effectiveness of the continuous improvement programs of Supporting Organizations (SOs), Advisory Committees (ACs), and the Nominating Committee, the accountability of SOs and ACs or their constituent parts to their members/constituencies, and whether the SOs, ACs and the NomCom have a continuing purpose as they are currently constituted. The work to implement the Holistic Review will begin as a pilot, based on the direction from the ICANN Board.
Status: A Public Comment proceeding on the initial Pilot Holistic Review Draft ToR in 2022 revealed diverging community views on the pilot and Holistic Review. To address the public comments, the Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) of the Board reconvened the drafting ToR Development Team to revise the ToR document in March 2023. Following completion of the revisions, the Board directed ICANN org to open a Public Comment proceeding on the revised Draft ToR. A Public Comment proceeding opened on 28 September 2023 and will close on 27 November 2023.
Scope: The Lifecycle of Reviews Project is an internal project aimed to enhance the end-to-end process, support and approach for strategically, proactively, and cohesively managing the Reviews process to continue to evolve in achieving Reviews purpose. The Lifecycle of Reviews project ties into other current projects and pilots, including the Holistic Review Pilot, ICANN Prioritization Framework Pilot, and the Deferral of Organizational and Specific Reviews. These activities influence one another and will require regular communications with the community. The Lifecycle of Reviews project will inform best practices going forward for Reviews, including the overall, continuous program of Reviews for ICANN org.Status: Following an analysis of over five years of input on Specific Reviews from across ICANN, ICANN org developed a series of proposed procedural improvements. ICANN drafted a Thought Paper to facilitate high-level discussions with the community on the existing challenges and proposed improvements to the Specific Review process. The work to further develop the proposed improvements will culminate in a draft revision of the Operating Standards for Specific Reviews which will be published for Public Comment.