The Future of ICANN: After the JPA, What?

4 December 2008 - A Workshop on Critical Internet Resources in Hyderabad, India

Original Proposal

This workshop explores future models for governance of critical internet resources.

ICANN, which coordinates and sets policy for the global domain name system (DNS) and IP addressing, is linked to the US Government through a Joint Project Agreement (JPA) that expires in September 2009. The JPA and its renewal process provides what, during WSIS, became known as "political oversight" over ICANN. The US government says that it is committed to "completing the transition" to private sector coordination of the Domain Name System, which implies an expiration of the JPA. During the recent mid-term review, ICANN made it clear that it also strongly supports an end to the JPA. ICANN's call was supported by some stakeholders, but others expressed concerns about ensuring its accountability without some kind of governmental oversight.

This panel is designed to provide a careful and balanced exploration of whether ICANN is ready to be free of US government oversight, and if so what kind of external oversight - if any - should replace it. Panelists will be encouraged to provide specific models for ICANN's status and various oversight models and offer practical suggestions on how to make changes in the current situation. Advocates of retaining the status quo will also be represented.