(Between jet lag and the pace of ICANN-related events, it’s taken a while to summarize the events at ICANN 49 in Singapore…)
Monday, March 23, began with the Opening Ceremony, even though the work of ICANN started on Saturday for many attendees. This ICANN meeting is freighted with history – Singapore was the site of ICANN 1, and also the site of ICANN 41 in 2011, where the New gTLD Program was officially approved. And now it has become the official kick-off for the IANA transition, the biggest change in the structure of Internet governance in many a year.
Steve Crocker, Chairman of the ICANN Board – himself freighted with history – kicked off the Opening Ceremony, then ceded the floor to Fadi Chehade, President and CEO of ICANN. Not surprisingly, much of the Opening, after the Ceremony, was devoted to Internet Governance – the IANA transition and the upcoming NETmundial meeting.
Immediately after the Opening, the room was turned over to a meeting that wasn’t even on the schedule two weeks ago – “IANA Accountability Transition.” After touching on other developments at ICANN, Fadi walked through a series of slides, showed ICANN’s vision of how the transition process should go – and subtly pushed a plan where oversight of the IANA function is transferred to a global “multistakeholder mechanism” (not a separate entity), while the IANA function remains ensconced within ICANN, functionally separate and insulated from the policy business of ICANN. While this may be the wish list for ICANN management, others definitely disagreed on both points. An active discussion followed. The community made it clear, in comments from the floor, that ICANN needed to respect the bottom-up, consensus-driven multistakeholder process in facilitating the discussion and process of development.
Continue Reading Straight from Singapore #3 (Jet Lag Edition) – Monday: ICANN Begins, For Those Who Think ICANN Begins on Monday