On 14 March 2014 the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent to transition its stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions and related root zone management to the global multistakeholder community. NTIA asked ICANN to convene a multistakeholder process to develop a proposal for the transition. The IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) was formed in July 2014 to assemble and deliver through the ICANN Board to NTIA a transition proposal consistent with the key principles outlined in the NTIA announcement.
As initial discussions of the IANA Stewardship Transition were taking place, the ICANN community raised the broader topic of the impact of the transition on how to hold ICANN accountable. From this dialogue, the Enhancing ICANN Accountability process was developed to provide assurance that ICANN remains accountable in the absence of its historical contractual relationship with the U.S. Government, which has been perceived since 1998 as a backstop with regard to ICANN's organization-wide accountability.
The ICANN community divided the work of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-ACCT) into two phases:
- Work Stream 1: concluded in 2016 and developed consensus recommendations on accountability enhancements required for the IANA Stewardship Transition;
- Work Stream 2: concluded in 2018 and focused on addressing accountability topics for which a timeline for developing solutions and full implementation may extend beyond the IANA Stewardship Transition.
In July 2018, the CCWG-ACCT WS2 submitted its Final Report containing consensus recommendations (including implementation guidance on four of those recommendations) to the Chartering Organizations. Upon approval by the Chartering Organizations, the CCWG-ACCT Co-Chairs submitted the WS2 Final Report to the Board in November 2018.
Following submission of the WS2 Final Report, ICANN org prepared the WS2 Implementation Assessment Report outlining the recommendations and considerations of effort required from the community, ICANN org and Board in the implementation of the WS2 recommendations.
In considering the WS2 Final Report, the Board confirmed that no recommendations within the report contradict any of the principles NTIA established for the transition, and resolved to adopt all recommendations in November 2019, including the implementation guidance contained in the WS2 Final Report and considerations identified in the WS2 Implementation Assessment Report.