The Future of ICANN: After the JPA, What?

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


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.


The following people have been invited to participate in the panel. Others are also being considered.

  • Michael Palage, Attorney, former ICANN Board member, and consultant to several private sector domain name registries
  • Jean-Jacques Subrenat, ICANN Board and member of President's Strategy Committee
  • Milton Mueller, Internet Governance Project
  • Len St-Aubin, Director General, Telecommunications Policy, Industry Canada
  • Stefano Trumpy, Italian Government GAC representative and participant in the EU High Level Internet Governance Group
  • Tim Ruiz, VP, Corp. Development & Policy, The Go Daddy Group, Inc.

The main actors in this field are ICANN, domain name industry companies, ccTLD registries, domain name consumers, national governments, advocacy groups, and any other stakeholder who depends on global coordination of the Internet's unique identifiers.


Internet Governance Project (IGP)

Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus (co-sponsor)

Pharos Global (co-sponsor)

The Go Daddy Group, Inc. (co-sponsor)

IGP and the IG Caucus are associated with civil society. Palage is part of the private sector business stakeholder group. At the time of submission, we were negotiating with other private sector interests, including GoDaddy, about co-sponsorship and will probably succeed in adding at least one of them later.

Due to the nature of the topic, few if any governments or inter-governmental organizations are willing to act as organizers or sponsors, however governments will be represented on the panel.