The IANA stewardship transition: a test case for Internet governance? – PL 04 2015

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5 June 2015 | 16:30-18:00
Programme overview 2015

Session teaser

A year into the IANA stewardship transition: an update on the ongoing process and its effects on European and global multistakeholder Internet governance discussions.

Session description

The announcement by the U.S. Government in March 2014 that it intends to transfer oversight of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community has sparked one of the most significant Internet governance processes of recent years. While high-level and essentially administrative functions for the global coordination of Internet names and numbers, this move would represent an important step in the development of truly global and multistakeholder stewardship of the Internet itself.

More than a year after this announcement, we are in the midst of a global dialogue, spread over three distinct operational communities, to develop a new model for stewardship of these key administrative functions. A great deal of work has already been achieved - thousands of emails sent and read; countless hours spent talking, deliberating and debating on conference calls; proposals, ideas and analyses generated from all corners of the global multistakeholder Internet community.

As significant as this process is, we must also consider it in a broader context - as we move towards the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) +10 year review in December, the outcome or progress of this transition may prove a significant factor in Internet governance negotiations at the UN level.

This session will seek to achieve the following goals: first provide an update on the status and key points of the proposals from the three operational communities; second, it will seek to clarify how the IANA transition discussions contribute to wider discussions on multistakeholder Internet governance and the Internet itself; final, it will seek to put the IANA stewardship into the wider context of Internet governance and in particular will discuss whether (and in what ways) it might affect the discussions of the UN General Assembly in New York this December.


IANA, governance, multistakeholder, WSIS+10, bottom-up, accountability


The session will be split across three separate “panel” segments, moderated by Konstantinos Komaitis (Internet Society), with the discussion focused on three speakers in each segment. Those segments are as follows:

1. Following a brief introduction by Konstantinos, reports from the three IANA “affected communities” on their processes and proposals (such as they currently are). The speakers are:

  • Olivier Crepin Leblonde (involved in names community)
  • Nurani Nimpuno (involved in the numbers community)
  • Eliot Lear (involved in the IETF, protocol parameters community)

Both Olivier and Eliot were involved in a panel at last week’s WSIS Forum that followed a similar format - learning from that, there may be an interest in having (the bare minimum of) slides - if so, a single slidedeck would be preferable. [Olivier, might it be possible to obtain the original Powerpoint presentation from our previous gig?]

2. The second segment will take a step back from the specific proposals and processes, to look at how this has worked as a multistakeholder process and where it fits in with other ongoing discussions (particularly bringing in some of the ICANN accountability connections). The speakers are:

  • Jean-Jacques Sahel (ICANN)
  • Athina Fragkouli (RIPE NCC / CCWG-Accountability)
  • William Drake (University of Zurich / Noncommercial Users Constituency, ICANN)

3. The final segment will zoom out to consider the WSIS+10 (and other global IG discussions), the specific implications of the IANA stewardship transition for these discussions, and more generally the outlook for the “multistakeholder” approach that was emphasised in the original WSIS outcomes. The speakers are:

  • Janis Karklins (Latvian Ambassador, IGF MAG Chair)
  • Cristina Monti (European Commission)
  • Anriette Esterhuysen (Association for Progressive Communications)

Further reading

IANA Stewardship Transition Background

Current Community Proposals on IANA Stewardship

ICANN Accountability Work

WSIS+10 Information


  • Focal Point: Chris Buckridge
  • Org team: Andrea Beccalli, Konstantinos Komaitis, Jean-Jacques Subrenat, Walid Al-Saqaf, William Drake, Ana Kakalashvili
  • Key participants|Panelists: Nurani Nimpuno, Eliot Lear, Olivier Crepin Leblonde, Jean Jacques Sahel, William Drake, Athina Fragkouli, Cristina Monti, Janis Karklins
  • Moderator: Konstantinos Komaitis
  • Reporter: Chris Buckridge
  • Remote moderator: Lorena Jaume-Palasí, EuroDIG

Conf. call schedule & minutes

PL4 Org Team Teleconference, 9 April 2015

Participants: Andrea Beccalli, Chris Buckridge, William Drake, Athina Fragkouli, Ana Kakalashvili, Konstantinos Komaitis

The first call of the PL4 organising team was held on 9 April, and these discussions produced loose agreement on a format for the 90-minute session that breaks into three distinct segments:

  1. info sharing on what's going on, top level, re. the IANA stewardship process
  2. discussion of the multistakeholder process and its generalizable implications, and then
  3. a link to the broader geopolitics of 'oversight', WSIS+10 and global Internet governance generally

The current approach is to have 2-3 “focus” speakers for each of those segments (with the moderator leading discussion in an interview-style format) and reserving time for audience discussion between each segment (though it was noted that this would require some quite strong, pro-active moderation).

On a related note, we discussed the possibility of Konstantinos Komaitis moderating the session (at this initial stage he was open to the possibility). Other tentative suggestions for speakers included Matthew Shears (Centre for Technology and Democracy, civil society) and someone from the European Commission (or EU more generally... perhaps an MEP?).

The group on the call discussed the teaser sentence and key words, both of which need to be updated on the wiki by 10 April. General consensus was reached on these, and they are now reflected on the wiki.

We will endeavour to schedule a second call during the week of 27 April-1 May (a Doodle poll will be made available shortly). This actually fits quite nicely with our next “deadline” for content, which is 30 April.

Notes taken by Chris Buckridge

Current discussion

See the discussion tab on the upper left side of this page

Mailing list


Video record

Video record

Final report

The final plenary session considered one of the most significant Internet governance processes currently underway, the development of a proposal to transition stewardship of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community. The discussion, including inputs from a diverse range of panelists and session participants, stressed the following points:

  • While noting that the IANA stewardship transition processes and discussions relate to very specific technical issues, the discussion highlighted the sense that the success or failure of this process will have far-reaching geopolitical implications. The IANA stewardship transition process should be seen as a landmark event in the evolution of the Internet’s multistakeholder governance, but numerous speakers noted the long history and numerous venues over which that multistakeholder model has developed.
  • There were participants who spoke to the specific stewardship proposals and oversight mechanisms under discussion in the IANA “affected communities”; these speakers particularly stressed the importance of trust and accountability in the structures and organisations involved, including ICANN.
  • Several participants noted the challenge in conveying the relevance of these issues to Internet users, and there was discussion of the outreach efforts that involved parties from various stakeholder groups have made in this area. Speakers noted that there is still some way to go in terms of achieving balanced gender and global north/south participation in the discussion.
  • The importance of the upcoming ten-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10) was noted by several speakers. The political nature of that process was highlighted, and the fact that many UN Member States see Internet governance issues (particularly relating to IANA or ICANN-related developments) as a central point of contention. Some participants raised the possibility of a concerted European effort to shift the focus of WSIS+10 discussions back to the important role that Internet can play in global development.

Session twitter hashtag

Hashtag: #eurodigiana