LACTLD Board comments on improving ICANN’s accountability framework

LACTLD has worked with CENTR in a discussion for ICANN’s consultation on the enhancement of its accountability and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the public dialogue on a crucial issue, particularly in the current context.

    Comments: 1.  Any effort to strengthen ICANN’s accountability should not make the current accountability process more complex than it already is. Changes to the current mechanism should aim at simplifying the process rather than adding additional layers.  2.      We welcome the creation of an ICANN Accountability Working Group to coordinate the community dialogue and acknowledge the importance of external expertise in bringing in new and refreshing ideas. The identification of the external experts should be a joint effort of ICANN staff, the Working Group and the Community.  3.      The ICANN accountability should be guided by globally accepted and understood accountability principles. ICANN is asking the wrong question when it asks “What should be the guiding principles to ensure that the notion of accountability is understood and accepted globally?” It should ask how ICANN can implement the globally accepted accountability principles. 4.      We strongly feel that there are knowledge gaps that affect the effectiveness of the current accountability process.  ICANN should continue to close these knowledge gaps which occur at two different levels: a. During the input phase and b. During the evaluation and mapping of the results with the initial input.Currently the resources required to follow the processes, review the outcomes and hold ICANN accountable to the community are too large to be taken on by one individual, especially as this is done on a volunteering basis. As a result, the tasks mentioned above are split between different groups and individuals, which leads to fragmentation and creates knowledge gaps.  Current supporting staff for the SO’s and AC’s lacks the independence to provide unbiased advise – even though it should be underlined that they have been doing an exceptional good job so far. To improve the process, communities should consider putting in place a dedicated resource who could _on behalf of this particular community_ take on this advisory and coordinating role. This resource should be funded by the respective communities and not by ICANN.  5.The timeline for input in this vital process is unjustifiably short. While it respects the minimum requirements, it is difficult to understand why in particular this crucial process could not benefit from a somewhat longer period of discussion within the communities.