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ICANN 55: IANA, Accountability and Public Safety

ICANN 55 was held from 5-10 March 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco, and marked another milestone in the march towards transition of the IANA functions stewardship to the global Internet community. RIPE NCC Executive Board members, staff and members of the RIPE community took part in meetings throughout the week, discussing issues ranging from IANA stewardship and the accountability of ICANN to the accuracy of RIR whois databases.

IANA Stewardship Transition

The meeting saw the culmination of several processes that together marked the conclusion of the complex, community-based effort to develop a proposal on future stewardship of the IANA functions. Related events during the week included:

With these steps now complete, the NTIA (in consultation with other U.S. Government branches) will take up to 90 (U.S.) legislative days to consider whether to approve the proposal. Should they approve, the current contract will lapse in September, and ICANN and the various IANA communities (numbers, names and protocol parameters) will move forward with their plans to implement the arrangements described in the proposal.

So while this meeting is not the end of the IANA stewardship transition process, there was an air of celebration in Marrakech at the successful conclusion of a global multistakeholder process that has been unprecedented in its scale and complexity.

Meeting with the ICANN GAC PSWG

Together with colleagues from the other Regional Internet Registries, RIPE NCC staff participated in a meeting of the ICANN Government Advisory Committee Public Safety Working Group (GAC PSWG) during ICANN 55. The meeting was attended by around 80 delegates representing governments and law enforcement agencies as well as public safety officials, and served as an informational session on the RIR system and its relationship to public safety issues. Specific topics under discussion included how the RIRs fit into the Internet governance space and the ICANN community structure, and RIR whois databases and whois accuracy. Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive, and RIR representatives were invited to contribute to ongoing PSWG discussions to build understanding, capability and capacity.

A key aim of the RIPE NCC was to encourage PSWG participants to more actively engage the RIPE community and contribute to RIPE policy development and technical discussions. It is encouraging to note that several PSWG participants are planning to attend RIPE 72 this May, which will allow members of the RIPE community to gain an understanding of this group and its goals.

Future ICANN Meetings

The meeting also saw the release of information regarding future ICANN meeting dates and locations. Perhaps most significant here was the news that ICANN 56, which had been scheduled to take place in Panama, will now be in Helsinki, Finland from 27-30 June. In addition, two other meetings will be held in the RIPE NCC service region: Copenhagen in March 2017 and Abu Dhabi in October 2017.