Canadian comments on ICANN Draft Accountability & Transparency Frameworks and Principles
Government of Canada Comments to the ICANN Public Consultation on ICANN's Accountability & Transparency Frameworks and Principles 31 August, 2007 The Government of Canada is pleased that ICANN is consulting with the community on the development of a set of Management Operating Principles as part of its commitment to continuously improving transparency and accountability. We offer the following comments as a contribution to that consultation. The issues raised in the draft document have been of interest to the Government of Canada for some time, as indicated by the submission made to the United States Department of Commerce Notice of Inquiry in July, 2006 (see http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/insmt-gst.nsf/en/h_sf06310e.html). We have been pleased to see that ICANN is taking those issues seriously both in its practices over the last year, and in the production of the draft Management Operating Principles. The document helpfully draws together for the first time information on the organisation's existing accountability and transparency mechanisms, as well as principles, policies and a code of conduct in support of those mechanisms. The success of the principles will depend upon the ongoing implementation of the mechanisms outlined, as measured by the ICANN constituencies' recognition that their needs are being met. That recognition is key to any accountability regime. For example, there remain concerns about the amount and pace of work being undertaken in ICANN and its supporting organisations. In the past year this has been overwhelming for governments, and for others who want to be involved but are unable to sustain the amount of effort required. This can best be dealt with by setting priorities and ranking the importance of issues to be addressed. ICANN as an organisation could assist in this regard by undertaking a disciplined prioritisation of issues when developing the Strategic and Operating plans. It would also be helpful to limit the number of simultaneous consultation processes addressing complex issues. The Government of Canada will continue to participate actively in ICANN processes, primarily through the Governmental Advisory Committee, with the goal of making positive contributions to ICANN's continuing development of its accountability and transparency mechanisms. We would note in particular that the GAC has agreed to provide further guidance to the Board on the definition of accountability, as a next step in this effort.