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With the end of the JPA in short time, the discussions on the need to reform ICANN are more and more intense. This reform should take into account issues such as:
-ICANN should remain private sector lead, but, at the same time, it should be accountable to the global Internet community;
-Governments participation in ICANN should be improved, especially when it comes to developing countries;
-ICANN needs to be based in the USA;
-participation of all other stakeholders must be improved;
-the decision making process inside ICANN must be improved;
-there is a need to establish ICANN offices in different parts of the world.
There have been discussions at the EU level regarding the future of ICANN. In this respect, the EU Troika underlines the following important issues regarding ICANN reform:
-full transparency and accountability of ICANN;
-internationalization of ICANN;
-improved interaction inside the organization and with all stakeholders;
-group scalability report.
From the point of view of the European Union, the process inside ICANN must be transparent and include all stakeholder groups. The starting point in this discussion is to whom ICANN should be accountable and how to make sure it is accountable to the wider stakeholder community, much of which is not regularly taking part in ICANN meetings.
There are issues that need to be addressed whatever the post JPA agreement would look like. One of these issues is the accountability: it should be clearly established to whom ICANN should be accountable and for what.
The question is not whether the JPA should or not be extended, but rather how ICANN is going to evolve to become accountable, internationalized, and truly multistakeholder.
ICANN is the only organization that has the capability to deal with issues related to DNS managements. The JPA should be let to expire, so that ICANN is free to become more accountable. JPA served its purpose and ICANN can be now left to its own communities.
Since 2005, the Council of Europe has drawn attention on the fact that ICANN accountability to the international community has to be increased. That doesn’t mean that the structures and mechanisms of ICANN must be changed. ICANN could create an advisory structure for human rights and international law; it would be soft accountability, as sanctions are not always necessary in an accountability structure.
ICANN achieves much more in transparency than any other existing organizations.
Transparency is all about understanding what decisions were made and that there are opportunities for people to be able to challenge or to see that their interests are properly addressed. Transparency enables accountability. Mechanisms need to be established in order to allow stakeholders to require the Board to reconsider a certain decision and to change it in certain cases.
ICANN is an organization functioning under an unique model in which governments participate, support and advice.
Because the civil society feel like under represented in ICANN, there is a need for more participation from the part of this group.