Governing the Governance: Too many ICANN High-Level Panels

Is ICANN forming too many panels to risk its own inundation?

This week in the midst 17 November 2013 at the start of ICANN Buenos Aires, ICANN has released a ICANN High-Level Panel Organizes to Address Future of Internet Governance, this comes barely 6 months after there was announcement during the ICANN 47  Durban meeting where 5 Strategy Panels Unveiled.

The panels were designed to conduct work in critical strategic areas identified by the community [PDF, 209 KB], Board and staff, the ICANN Strategy Panels will build on public input being generated to inform a new, overarching vision and five-year strategic plan, and subsequent operating plan, for the organization. Advisory in nature, the ICANN Strategy Panels will report to Chehadé; will operate in a manner consistent with ICANN’s commitment to transparency and accountability; and will channel all views, guidance and advice produced into the standard community and Board processes that guide ICANN ‘s activities.

The strategy panels invited applications for interested parties to participate in constituting them, names have been released shortly after but no one knows how the selections or suitability were made. There have been many compliments as well as criticism in the way ICANN is taking direction globalize. We are eagerly awaiting the activities of the panel and results that will affect how the internet governance will fair.

The new diverse global group of stakeholders is from government, civil society, the private sector, the technical community and international organizations has formed a Panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation. The Panel’s first meeting is scheduled for December 12 – 13 in London.

There has been much discussion on the selection of the list of the members who made it, probably the misses or if it was global enough. The members will be focusing on the pressing issue of Internet Governance, and committed to a multistakeholder approach, the panel plans to release a high-level report in early 2014 for public comment.

ICANN has been seen as taking most selection responsibilities without much public participation in the famed, less used “multistakeholder” method. Some believe that ICANN is taking an uncharted path and ma soon choke of isolation or separate itself from its instituted mandate. This follows the steps that have been taken by the CEO including the Monte Video statement on epsionage.

This is the first time ICANN has done so much recruitments without public appraisal, its not immediately known if the inputs will serve the purpose. It’s not only tricky on ICANN’s budgetary allocations [seeing that ICANN is quite wealthy- especially on the new GTLD funds].

Given the new appointments as well as strategy panel, is ICANN surrounding itself with friends to shield them from perceived backlash should any of the strategies fail, it’s very clear that the league of friends is being expanded at an alarming rate, but to whose benefit? ICANN or the Internet users?

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