ICANN Considers Structural Reform
Stuart Lynn, President and CEO of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently proposed a sweeping series of structural reforms
designed to lead ICANN towards attainment of its core mission. "The current structure of ICANN was widely recognized as an experiment when created three years ago,"
noted Board Chairman Vint Cert. "The rapid expansion of and increasing global dependence on the Internet have made it clear that a new structure is essential if ICANN
is to fulfill its mission."
ICANN was formed three years ago as an entirely private global organization designed to assume responsibility for the DNS root from
the U.S. government and to coordinate technical policy for the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. In the new
proposals, the basic mission remains intact, but the means of achieving that mission changes. "What has become clear to me and
others is that a purely private organization will not work," said Lynn. "The Internet has become too important to national economic
and social progress. Governments, as the representatives of their populations, must participate more directly in ICANN's debates
and policymaking functions. We must find the right form of global public-private partnership—one that combines the agility
and strength of a private organization with the authority of governments to represent the public interest."
Noting that current organizational inertia and obsession with process over substance has impeded agility, Lynn laid out a roadmap
designed to instill confidence in key stakeholders and to ensure that ICANN can be more effective. This roadmap entails
restructuring the Board of Directors into a Board of Trustees composed in part of trustees nominated by those governments who
participate in the ICANN process; in part by the chairs of proposed new "policy councils" that would replace the existing
supporting organizations and that would provide expert advice; and in part by trustees proposed by a broadly-based nominating
committee and appointed by the Board itself. The roadmap is designed to bring all critical stakeholders to the table, something
that has been difficult to achieve with the present structure and has slowed ICANN's progress and its ability to fulfill its
responsibilities. It is also designed to establish a broad-based funding mechanism sufficient to support the critical mission of
"We need to build a stronger organization, supported by our key stakeholders, led by the best team that can be assembled, and
properly funded," Lynn said. "We must be structured to function effectively in this fast-paced global Internet environment." "A key
requirement is to keep the best of the present ICANN," added Cerf, "in ensuring transparency, openness, and participation, while
creating an ICANN that can act responsibly and quickly. That will mean rejecting practices that have emphasized process over
achievement. Above all, ICANN must be—and be seen to be—effective and supportive of technical innovation and of a
A paper written by Lynn that explains the reasons for change and the roadmap for reform is posted on the ICANN web site:
The Internet Protocol Journal
Ole J. Jacobsen, Editor and Publisher
Editorial Advisory Board
Dr. Vint Cerf, Sr. VP, Internet Architecture and Technology WorldCom, USA
Dr. Jon Crowcroft, Marconi Professor of Communications Systems University of Cambridge, England
The Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems University of Pennsylvania, USA
Peter Lothberg, Network Architect
Stupi AB, Sweden
Dr. Jun Murai, Professor, WIDE Project
Keio University, Japan
Dr. Deepinder Sidhu, Professor, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Director, Maryland Center for Telecommunications Research, USA
Pindar Wong, Chairman and President
VeriFi Limited, Hong Kong
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