ICANN: CWG-Stewardship Chairs’ Statement | Summary of Istanbul Face-to-Face Meeting by Lise Fuhr & Jonathan Robinson

ICANN logoThe Cross Community Working Group on Naming Related Functions (CWG or CWG-Stewardship) held a face-to-face meeting in Istanbul on 26-27 March 2015. The CWG-Stewardship meeting followed the CCWG-Accountability meeting held on 23-24 March in the same venue. On the last day of the meeting, the Chairs concluded that this was a very effective and constructive week for the CWG.
For the CWG-Stewardship, the meeting specifically illustrated the success of the revised working methods, in place since ICANN52 in Singapore in February and whereby; the CWG uses small, expertise-based subgroups, known as Design Teams, to focus on developing the many operational aspects of the proposal. Following the retention of independent legal counsel (Sidley Austin LLP) by the CWG, the commitment to have comprehensive legal input and associated consultation with the group regarding the post-transition arrangements, was also fulfilled in Istanbul.


On Wednesday 25 March, the Chairs of both the CCWG-Accountability and the CWG-Stewardship held a joint meeting to update each other on progress and to prepare for the further work to be done. In this joint meeting, the CCWG-Accountability Chairs specifically requested input from, and coordination with, the CWG-Stewardship in the following four areas:

  • ICANN budget (in particular, the requirement for transparency around cost allocation in relation to the IANA functions)
  • Community empowerment mechanisms (in particular, relating to a confidence vote option)
  • Review and redress mechanisms (in particular, relating to a ‘fundamental bylaw’ mechanism)
  • Appeal mechanisms (especially with regard to ccTLD related issues)


Day 1 of the meeting comprised a briefing from the CCWG-Accountability co-chairs, input from several Design Teams and discussion of the key issues in both cases. In addition, a detailed session took place with the legal counsel around their preliminary response to the questions posed by the CWG-Stewardship in its legal scoping document [PDF, 143 KB].

Day 2 continued the work on the post-transition structural arrangements, with ongoing input from the legal professionals. The meeting as a whole therefore addressed both the functional (or operational) aspects and the structural components of the emerging CWG proposal. The Design Teams had delivered their proposals to the CWG in advance of the meeting and this prior work was an essential contribution to the success of the meeting as was the diligent preparation of the legal counsel. Furthermore, the willingness of the lawyers to work openly and interactively with the CWG-Stewardship as a whole, was particularly helpful in the group settling on a clear way forward.

The CWG-Stewardship converged around a plan to have legal counsel focus on further evolving the detail and variants of an ‘internal model’. The CWG arrived at this point through a series of discussions, having started the meeting with a set of seven [PPTX, 853 KB] existing variations of structure (or models), all previously proposed by CWG members and participants. While significant progress was made, the work on the post-transition structural arrangements remains in a developmental stage and there are details to resolve. Moreover the proposed structure will need to be reviewed against the CWG-Stewardship principles, amongst other tests and considerations.

In addition to advancing considerations of the post-transition structural arrangements, the CWG-Stewardship also assessed the work of its Design Teams, agreed on many their recommendations to date and outlined key next steps for each team to focus on. As the Design Teams continue their productive work, the CWG-Stewardship will move ahead on other key areas of focus including; further development of elements of the draft proposal [PDF, 672 KB] which are dedicated to the implications of post-transition arrangements and also on reviewing the twenty-five stress tests [PDF, 206 KB] from the CCWG-Accountability, as well as the recently received input from direct customers of the IANA function (gTLD and ccTLD registries).

The Chairs recognize that continued and close engagement with the CCWG-Accountability is essential to the elaboration of a complete proposal, since aspects of the CWG proposal will be conditional on the output of the CCWG-Accountability. Giving the CCWG-Accountability the input they have requested a key next step, as will be keeping the CCWG apprised of the evolution of key aspects of the proposal which are linked to their work.


The next milestone for the CWG-Stewardship is the publication of its 2nd draft proposal for public comment. The original opening date was planned for early April, but the date has now shifted back to 20 April 2015, giving the CWG-Stewardship additional time to finalize Design Team work. Key dates include:

  • 20 April – 20 May: Public Comment (30 days) on the Draft Proposal
  • 8 June: Delivery of the Final CWG Proposal to the Chartering Organizations
  • 25 June: Target to deliver approved Final CWG Proposal to IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG)

The CWG-Stewardship revised its timeline, cognizant of the constraints relating to the broader ICG and IANA Stewardship Transition timelines and recognizing the requirements of the SO/AC chartering organizations to have final sign-off on the proposal, including utilizing the ICANN53 meeting in June 2015.

A video interview CWG co-chairs Lisa Fuhr and Jonathan Robinson can be seen here.


The CWG-Stewardship began its work in October 2014, with regular weekly virtual meetings and a working meeting at ICANN 51 in Los Angeles, California. In addition to weekly ICANN supported virtual meetings, and at the request of the Chairs, ICANN agreed to support a two-full-day face-to-face meeting in Frankfurt, Germany on 19-20 November 2014 to advance the work of the group.

On 1 December, the CWG-Stewardship published its draft proposal for a 21-day public comment period. Following the publication of the draft proposal [PDF, 1.7 MB], between 4 – 6 December 2014, the CWG hosted three public webinars to present the draft proposal and engage with the broader community.

At the conclusion of the public comment, the CWG-Stewardship dedicated its time to full review and analysis of the feedback received, in particular during an intensive work weekend on 10-11 January 2015. As part of the outcome, the group began to study a series of alternative models that had not yet been fully considered. These models were presented in two public webinars on 3 February and in a Discussion Document [PDF, 447 KB] that was released for discussion at ICANN 52 in Singapore.

Seeing the need to focus on the operational aspects of the proposal, and limiting further discussion on structural models until independent legal counsel input was available, the CWG-Stewardship shifted into a revised methodology with small, expertise-based subgroups, known as Design Teams (DTs), whose output mapped directly into the draft proposal. With some Design Teams provisionally closed, others in progress, and others to be started, the CWG-Stewardship will continue to drive its work through the use of agile Design Teams in the weeks ahead.

The next CWG-Stewardship working meeting is envisioned as a Design Team update and will take place on 2 April from 11:00-12:00 UTC.

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