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Enhancing ICANN Accountability: Reviews & Special Projects

This page provides a high-level overview of initiatives conducted to maintain and improve ICANN’s effectiveness. 

N E W S  /  U P D A T E S

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. To learn how to get involved, please visit Getting started with Reviews.

SPECIFIC REVIEWS - Click here for more information

Anchored in Section 4.6 of the ICANN Bylaws

Accountability and Transparency (ATRT) Review

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.

(star) Among the various ATRT3 recommendations, there is a recommendation regarding the creation of a Holistic Review. The Holistic Review is in implementation design subject to prioritization. Learn more about the work of the Pilot Holistic Review Terms of Reference Team.

Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice (CCT) Review

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.

Registration Directory Service (RDS) Review

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. 

Security, Stability and Resiliency (SSR) Review

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.  

The Operating Standards mandated by ICANN Bylaws guide how current and future Specific Reviews are conducted. For more information, please visit wiki space.

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.

At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) Review

Status: The second At-Large Review (At-Large2) Review implementation was considered complete by the ICANN Board in September 2020.

Further information available on At-Large Review page on ICANN.org

Address Supporting Organization (ASO) Review

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

Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) Review

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

Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Review

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

Nominating Committee (NomCom) Review

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

Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) Review

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

Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) Review

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

Operational Reviews

IANA Naming Functions Review (IFR)

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.

Special Projects

Enhancing ICANN Accountability - Work Stream 2

Scope: 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, Work Stream 2 of the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing Accountability (CCWG-ACCT) entails accountability and transparency-related recommendations which cover a range of topics, such as diversity, human rights, the ICANN Office of the Ombuds, and transparency.

Status: In implementation -  Learn more about the progress in implementing WS2 Recommendations.

Enhancing Effectiveness of ICANN’s Multistakeholder Model 

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

The Lifecycle of Reviews Project 

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: Recent progress includes assignment of responsibilities for managing this project and the development of project documents.