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Engaging the Communities

The NTIA announcement in March 2014 asked ICANN to convene a global multi-stakeholder process to develop a proposal for transition of the current NTIA oversight role. The five RIR communities are key stakeholders in this process - it is vital that these issues be discussed within the RIR communities and that all interested parties have an opportunity to contribute their ideas and suggestions.

Developing a RIPE Community Position

In the RIPE community, the RIPE Cooperation Working Group is the primary venue for discussion, both as a mailing list and at RIPE Meetings. The RIPE NCC is working with the Cooperation Working Group Co-chairs to facilitate these discussions and ensure that their output is effectively channeled into the global process.

Past Discussion at RIPE Community Events

RIPE 68 Cooperation Working Group Session, 15 May 2014

Location: Warsaw, Poland
Attendance: Approximately 150

Major points coming out of the discussion:

  1. The RIR communities need to assert their ownership of issues regarding the distribution and registration of Internet number resources. This transition is an opportunity to more solidly formalise that ownership, with minimal change to the existing policy-making and operational processes.
  2. While the IANA functions (as a bundle) present a number of complex issues, identifying a future model for the IANA Internet number registry functions should be straightforward. The policy-making and operational processes relating to the IANA Internet number registry functions are solid and have been in place for many years, and they have never included an explicit stewardship role for the NTIA.
  3. The Regional Internet Registries must ensure that their processes and policies are clearly defined, well documented, transparent and accessible.
  4. While the RIPE NCC will facilitate discussion of these issues throughout the service region (including at community regional events), the RIPE Cooperation Working Group will serve as the central venue for RIPE community discussion and development of any proposal relating to the future of the IANA functions.

Some additional points made during the discussion:

  • Speakers reported on the progress of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in establishing their ownership and authority over protocol parameter registries maintained by IANA.
  • Several speakers noted the dangers arising from this process, particularly the potential for an outcome that does not solidly define and protect the community-driven, bottom-up control and development of IANA policy.
  • Several speakers noted the interest that governments throughout the world are taking in this process and that government voices will be a factor in the final outcome.
  • Several speakers stressed the importance of reaching RIPE community consensus on a proposal or position, with this process potentially seen as a test-case for bottom-up policy making.
  • Several speakers argued strongly that any RIR proposal should aim to separate the IANA number management functions from oversight of the other IANA functions.

ENOG 7, 27 May 2014

Location: Moscow, Russian Federation
Attendance: Approximately 150

Major points coming out of the discussion:

  • Additional ways in which the RIPE NCC interacts with the IANA include reverse DNS and running the K-root name server.
  • It is important to note that the stewardship function will not transition to a government-based body.
  • The technical community has not had any issues with the U.S. government's conduct of its oversight of these functions for the past 20+ years - any new model should not complicate the current system and processes.
  • The RIPE NCC is not interested in DNS operations and should not be put under that umbrella.
  • The community should ensure that operators are protected from possible commercial interests, given that some of ICANN's activities, such as the registration of domain names, are profit-making.

IPv6 Day and More, 6 June 2014

Location: St Petersburg, Russian Federation
Attendance: Approximately 90

During the RIPE NCC presentation on IPv6 adoption, Maxim Burtikov noted the ongoing RIPE community discussion on development of future IANA stewardship mechanisms, referencing the presentation delivered at ENOG 7.

Major points coming out of the discussion:

  • There was little discussion during the session, but participants welcomed the additional information on how to participate in the community process.

RIPE NCC Regional Meeting Almaty, 9 June 2014

Location: Almaty, Kazakhstan
Attendance: Approximately 105 total (approximately 60 in the room during the IANA discussion)

Major points coming out of the discussion:

  • There was broad awareness of IANA amongst meeting participants.
  • There was little discussion during the session, but participants welcomed the additional information on how to participate in the community process.

ENOG 8, 9 September 2014

Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
Attendance: Approximately 120

RIPE NCC provided an update on the RIPE community discussion on development of an IANA stewardship proposal.

Major points coming out of the discussion:

  • The presentation included an explanation of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) and plans to combine the output of the five RIR communities to develop a single proposal for oversight of the IP address-related IANA functions.
  • The ENOG audience indicated some familiarity with the IANA functions, and the ongoing stewardship discussions.
  • The was a question regarding redress mechanisms in the event that ICANN violates its own by-laws. An ICANN representative noted that a process to address such a situation is currently being developed.

RIPE NCC Roundtable Meeting for Governments and Regulators (CENTR General Assembly), 1 October 2014

Location: Brussels, Belgium
Attendance: Approximately 100

The RIPE NCC and CENTR, the European country code top-level domain (TLD) organisation, held a meeting on Wednesday, 1 October 2014, in Brussels, Belgium, for governments and regulators to discuss issues of relevance to both the RIPE and CENTR communities. Paul Rendek, RIPE NCC Director of External Relations, participated in a panel with Nominet's Martin Boyle and Afnic's Mathieu Weill, chaired by Peter Vergote, Chairman of the CENTR Board of Directors. This panel addressed the discussion process currently underway in the RIPE and TLD communities regarding both the IANA stewardship and ICANN accountability.

Major points coming out of the discussion:

  • The RIPE NCC presentation described the relationship between the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) and IANA, the model of regional Internet number policy development, efforts to document the RIRs' accountability to their stakeholders, the discussion of IANA stewardship in the RIPE community, and some of the key principles that have emerged from that discussion. These principles include a preference for minimal operational change and to build on existing structures and processes to formalise the RIR communities' role as stewards of global Internet number registration.
  • Many in the room expressed concern about the timeline leading up to the expiration of the current contract in September 2015, and the challenge of reaching an agreement on a proposal for future IANA stewardship upon which all affected communities can agree.
  • RIPE NCC Chief Scientist Daniel Karrenberg was among those who stressed the importance of early and effective communication between all parties to assure the best chance of a widely accepted outcome to the process. Several governments also suggested the possibility of a neutral third-party assuming the oversight role currently held by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Others noted that such an arrangement would be contrary to preferences already expressed in the RIR and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) communities.

RIPE 69 Cooperation Working Group Session, 6 November 2014

Location: London, UK
Attendance: Approximately 200

Major points coming out of the discussion:

  • Speakers stressed the importance of communicating with other communities, including the IETF, whose current and proposed arrangements regarding IANA may be replicated or serve as a useful base. Members of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) also stressed the need for coordination between the affected communities ahead of submitting proposals to the ICG, and highlighted the fact that different communities will have somewhat different needs.
  • The links between ICANN accountability and the IANA transition were discussed in detail. Athina Fragkouli gave an update on the ICANN transition processes. The need for transparency in processes was highlighted as fundamental to ensuring the accountability of ICANN and all organisations involved in this process.
  • Several speakers noted that the longer-term goal of ensuring ICANN's accountability in all areas of activity should not prevent the global community moving forward with the transition of IANA stewardship. It is important to identify those areas of accountability that are fundamental to this transition. Others felt that this transition process may be the only opportunity to address the larger ICANN accountability issues.
  • There was discussion of the risks associated with this process. Speakers noted that in operational terms, the current system works and the status quo may not be problematic, but also noted that the failure of this transition process would have political implications, as highlighted in discussions in other forums over recent months.
  • There was discussion of a RIPE preference for keeping ICANN in the role of IANA operator - many agreed that this fit with the community's preference for minimal operational change and that the RIRs have been happy with ICANN's performance during its time in the role. It was also noted that not specifying a preference for ICANN keeping the role would be taken as a specific political statement.
  • A representative of the NTIA confirmed that the US Government remains committed to proceeding with the transition process, assuming the requirements laid out in the NTIA's initial communication are met.
  • The accountability of the RIRs to their memberships and communities was highlighted, and it was stressed that a strong legal agreement was necessary to ensure that the IANA functions operator is accountable to the global Internet community.
  • Speakers noted that the existing structures and processes were recognised and accepted, and that building on this trusted base to develop a proposal for future stewardship is important.

RIPE 70 Plenary Session, 12 May 2015

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Attendance: Approximately 200

On Tuesday, 12 May 2015 at the RIPE 70 Meeting there was an update on the developments of the on the drafting of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between ICANN and the RIRs regarding the IANA number-related functions.

The RIPE NCC reported that a first draft of the SLA was published on 1 May 2015, with community comments sought until 14 June 2015. The goal is to have a final draft of the SLA by the ICANN 53 meeting (21-25 June).

The draft was prepared by the RIR legal team (a group of staff counsels and advisors from the five RIRs). The draft has not been approved by the NRO Executive Council (the NRO EC, made up of the five RIR CEOs), nor has it been reviewed by the CRISP team or negotiated with any ICANN representatives.

It was clarified that:

  • In this process, the RIR legal team has the administrative role of translating the principles detailed in the Internet numbers community IANA stewardship proposal (produced by the CRISP team) into operational clauses. The RIR legal team will also produce subsequent drafts of the SLA and explain how concerns or comments from the community have been incorporated.
  • The NRO EC will give their feedback, together with the rest of the community. The NRO will also make the final decision on the SLA text.
  • ICANN is welcome to give feedback together with the rest of the community in a transparent manner.
  • The CRISP team will coordinate this discussion and will comment with regards to the compliance of the SLA with the Internet numbers community IANA stewardship proposal.

It is intended that the draft SLA will be signed as part of the IANA transition, and that it be based on the principles detailed in the Internet numbers community IANA stewardship proposal and on the current NTIA agreement.

The RIPE NCC further explained that the draft SLA regulates the IANA numbering service and outlines the obligations of the RIRs and ICANN (the two contractual parties) to each other. It does not include any obligations or commitments between the RIRs and their communities. Such obligations and commitments will be dealt with separately, via different mechanisms and tools.

In the discussion following the RIPE NCC's presentation, it was suggested that the SLA should be public and that the community should ensure that is in conformity with the principles of the CRISP proposal. However, the drafting of legal language should be left to the RIRs and should not be discussed by the community.

The importance of openness and transparency in this process was highlighted. In particular, it was noted that ICANN making its comment publicly would ensure open negotiations and the continued engagement of the open bottom‑up community. On this point in particular, Patrik Fältström, in his capacity as Co-chair of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG), informed the audience that ICG had released a statement one day earlier, in which they strongly encouraged all stakeholders to participate in whatever processes the operational communities have defined themselves, and not to start side discussions in a non‑transparent manner. The ICG also requested clarification on ICANN's internal policies regarding participation directly from Steve Crocker, Chair of ICANN board.

There were discussions on whether the RIRs should sign the SLA with ICANN or with the Post-Transition IANA (PTI) structure proposed in the CWG-Stewardship's draft proposal (the PTI would be legally separate from, but wholly owned by ICANN). It was suggested that the RIRs consider this option and make a risk analysis on questions including whether signing with the PTI would limit ICANN's liability.

Finally it was highlighted that the RIR communities had, via the CRISP team, requested a termination clause allowing them to seek a different IANA number functions operator, at least in the case of failure to adequately perform the services detailed in the SLA.

Developing a Consolidated RIR Community Proposal

Each of the five RIR communities is discussing an IANA proposal via their own open forums and events. Information on these processes, including a summary of the output of each community's discussions, is available online:

In October 2014, a Consolidated RIR IANA Stewardship Proposal (CRISP) team was proposed to bring together the output from the five community discussions and develop a single Internet numbers community proposal for future IANA stewardship. All information on this group's membership, charter and working methods (including a schedule of public teleconferences) are available at:

The CRISP team is made up of three representatives from each RIR community: two community members and one member of RIR staff. The RIPE community CRISP representatives, selected during RIPE 69 in November 2014, are:

  • Andrei Robachevsky (Internet Society)
  • Nurani Nimpuno (Netnod)
  • Paul Rendek (RIPE NCC staff)

On 15 January 2015, the CRISP team submitted the Internet numbers community's proposal on IANA stewardship to the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group.

Read the final proposal:

Developing a Global Proposal

The IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) has been formed to convene the global process for developing a single proposal to the NTIA. The following information has been published by the ICG:

The ICG will receive proposals from the three "operational communities":

  • Names community (those with an interest in DNS and domain name issues)
  • Numbers community (those with an interest in administration of Internet number resources)
  • Protocol parameters community (those with an interest in the maintenance of the IANA protocol parameter registries)

These three proposals are to be submitted by January 2015. Based on these proposals, the ICG will develop a single proposal to the NTIA.

The CRISP team will produce a proposal on behalf of the numbers community. The other proposals are to be developed by the following groups:

This flowchart illustrates how community input will be consolidated into a global IANA stewardship proposal.

IANA Proposal Flowchart

Earlier Steps in the Process

In March 2014, at the ICANN 49 meeting in Singapore, ICANN began its discussion with the global community on a global process how such a proposal should be developed. ICANN has published a draft proposal on this:

ICANN set a deadline of 8 May 2014 for public feedback on this proposal (which was sent to [email protected]) and will announce the outcome of this consultation ahead of the ICANN 50 Meeting in London this June.

The ICANN IANA Transition list [[email protected]] will serve as a global venue for discussion of an IANA transition proposal.

Discussion in Other Venues

ICANN 49 (23-27 March 2014, Singapore):

ICANN 50 (22-26 June 2014, London, UK) [RIPE NCC summary]

IETF 90 (20-25 July, Toronto, Canada)

Internet Governance Forum 2014 (2-5 September 2014, Istanbul, Turkey)

  • Main Session - IANA Functions / NTIA stewardship transition ICANN's accountability process [transcript | video]

ICANN 51 (11-16 October 2014, Los Angeles, USA)

ICANN 52 (6-12 February 2015, Singapore) [RIPE NCC summary]

EuroDIG 2015 (4-5 June 2015, Sofia, Bulgaria)

ICANN 53 (18-25 June 2015, Buenos Aires) [RIPE NCC summary]

Full schedule