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Monday, December 26, 2016

Update on ICANN transparency reporting

Transparency is foundational to the success of a healthy multistakeholder model and even more essential in the post-transition environment. Recognizing this, ICANN has a strategic goal to address transparency, along with accountability and ethics, which are essential and closely related components. While the global Internet community continues its work on ICANN’s and the community’s transparency and accountability through the work of Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing Accountability: Work Stream 2 (CCWG WS2), ICANN as an organization is also making improvements. This includes the implementation of recommendations from the second Accountability and Transparency Review (ATRT2 [PDF, 3.46 MB]) and enhanced reporting on the progress toward related strategic goals.
ATRT2 identified the need for “a report on the broad range of ICANN Transparency issues with supporting metrics to facilitate accountability” and included several additional recommendations for improving transparency. Various transparency enhancements have already been implemented. For example, a comprehensive explanation of ICANN’s Publication Practices is now posted in icann.org and progress reports on implementation of Specific Review recommendations are published on a quarterly basis (see ATRT2SSRWHOIS). On a parallel track, ICANN has improved reporting of progress toward strategic goal [PDF, 1.65 MB] to promote ethics, transparency and accountability, included on the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Dashboard (see goal 5.2).
In addition to these enhancements, ICANN will publish the first Annual Transparency Report before ICANN58 to make it easier for stakeholders to find and understand relevant information about ICANN’s transparency efforts. The report will provide an overview of transparency-related activities from across the organization with the ability to view detailed information, where feasible. The report will cover information included under ICANN’s Publication Practices as well as numerous other activities which demonstrate transparency, such as the published audited financial statements, operating plans and budgets, progress toward addressing the needs of ICANN’s multilingual community, and information about ICANN’s quarterly stakeholder calls.
The ATRT2 recommendations also asked ICANN to analyze the “continued relevance and usefulness of existing transparency metrics [and to] provide recommendations for new metrics.” ICANN has been reporting Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) using the ICANN KPI Dashboard to measure progress on strategic goals for some time. We are continuously looking for more relevant and meaningful measures as well as improvements to the way we communicate activities and progress. Community feedback is key to making useful improvements. For example, recent community input from ICANN57 will inform the evolution of the Annual Transparency Report as well as the KPI Dashboard. Community members provided useful suggestions such as:
  • The development of interactive “drill-down” capability;
  • Bringing community activities into the reporting on promoting ethics, transparency and accountability;
  • Incorporating ethics awareness training for the community and opportunities for community wide discussions on the topic of measuring progress toward transparency, as well as ethics and accountability.
In line with these suggestions, ICANN is planning enhancements to the current KPI Dashboard to be launched around June 2017.
The work of improving transparency is a continuous exercise in partnership with the global stakeholder community. We have heard community feedback and will continue to analyze and incorporate improvements to enhance the information around the organization’s transparency, and how we measure and report progress made toward our transparency goals.
ICANN is committed to evolving our annual reporting to incorporate new relevant activities – such as the outcomes of community work on WS2, and we look forward to working with the ICANN community to find ways to improve all our transparency efforts.
*Contributed by Theresa Swinehart, Senior Advisor to the President on Global Strategy, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

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