ICANN Resolutions » Initiation of the Root Server System Governance Working Group

Important note: The Board Resolutions are as reported in the Board Meeting Transcripts, Minutes & Resolutions portion of ICANN's website. Only the words contained in the Resolutions themselves represent the official acts of the Board. The explanatory text provided through this database (including the summary, implementation actions, identification of related resolutions, and additional information) is an interpretation or an explanation that has no official authority and does not represent the purpose behind the Board actions, nor does any explanations or interpretations modify or override the Resolutions themselves. Resolutions can only be modified through further act of the ICANN Board.

Initiation of the Root Server System Governance Working Group


Resolution of the ICANN Board
Meeting Date: 
Thu, 7 Nov 2019
Resolution Number: 
2019.11.07.42
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, the ICANN Bylaws establish the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) with the role to advise the ICANN community and ICANN Board of Directors on matters relating to the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Internet's Root Server System.

Whereas, the RSSAC published "RSSAC037: A Proposed Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System" (RSSAC037) proposing five functions to provide governance, accountability, and transparency for the Root Server System and "RSSAC038: RSSAC Advisory on a Proposed Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System" (RSSAC038) making three recommendations for next steps to the ICANN Board.

Whereas, the ICANN Board, through its Board Technical Committee, oversaw the development of a "Concept Paper on a Community-Driven Process to Develop a Final Model Based on RSSAC037," (Concept Paper) proposing a model based on the RSSAC037.

Whereas, the Concept Paper proposed a community-driven process to develop a final model to be led by the Root Server System Governance Working Group (GWG) in response to recommendation one from RSSAC038.

Whereas, under the direction of the Board Technical Committee, ICANN org developed a draft charter, operating procedures, and work plan for the GWG.

Whereas, ICANN org published RSSAC037; the Concept Paper; and the GWG draft charter, operating procedures, and work plan for Public Comment from May to August 2019.

Whereas, nine submissions were received during Public Comment. ICANN org summarized the submissions and proposed next steps to the Board Technical Committee.

Whereas, the Board Technical Committee reviewed the Public Comment submissions, amended the charter and operating procedures of the GWG, adjusted the work plan timeline of the GWG, and recommended the convening of the GWG.

Resolved (2019.11.07.42), the ICANN Board directs the ICANN President and CEO, or his designee(s), to publish the final charter, operating procedures, and work plan for the GWG and to convene the GWG.

Rationale for Resolution: 

Following the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) stewardship transition, the RSSAC developed an initial framework to evolve the Root Server System (RSS). In June 2018, RSSAC published its proposed governance model for the RSS and the Root Server Operators in "RSSAC037: A Proposed Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System" (RSSAC037). The RSSAC037 Model calls for five functions to provide governance, accountability, and transparency for the RSS. The RSSAC concurrently published "RSSAC038: RSSAC Advisory on a Proposed Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System (RSSAC038). In RSSAC038, the RSSAC makes three recommendations for next steps in RSSAC038 to the ICANN Board.

Since then, the ICANN Board, through the Board Technical Committee, oversaw the development of a "Concept Paper on a Community-Driven Process to Develop a Final Model Based on RSSAC037" (Concept Paper) as part of the ICANN Board's consideration of RSSAC037. The Concept Paper proposes a model (Concept Model) based on the RSSAC037. The Concept Model establishes three new groups: the Root Server System Governance Board, the Root Server System Standing Committee, and the Root Server Operator Review Panel. In addition to these groups, ICANN org would manage Financial and Secretariat Functions.

The Concept Paper also outlines a community-driven process to develop a final governance model for the RSS. This is in response to recommendation one from RSSAC038, which calls on the ICANN Board to "initiate a process to produce a final version of the Model for implementation based on RSSAC037". There are three phases in the community-driven process: Design, Consultation, and Implementation. During the implementation phase, there are two tracks. The Root Server System Governance Working Group (GWG) will lead the Structural Track to develop a final model, and ICANN org will lead the Administrative Track to plan for implementation of a final model.

The ICANN Board Technical Committee directed ICANN org to develop a draft charter, operating procedures, and work plan for the GWG. RSSAC037; the Concept Paper; and the GWG draft charter, operating procedures, and work plan were available for Public Comment from May to August 2019. Nine submissions were received during Public Comment. ICANN org summarized the submissions and proposed next steps to the Board Technical Committee. The Board Technical Committee reviewed the Public Comment submissions, amended the charter and operating procedures of the GWG, adjusted the work plan timeline of the GWG, and recommended the convening of the GWG.

RSSAC037; the Concept Paper; and the GWG charter, operating procedures, and work plan provide a starting point for discussions in the ICANN community about evolving RSS governance. By convening the GWG, the ICANN Board completes its consideration of recommendation one from RSSAC038. Furthermore, the ICANN Board continues its evaluation and consideration of recommendations two and three from RSSAC038.

This action is within ICANN's mission and within its role of facilitating the coordination of the operation and evolution of the RSS. It is in the public interest because it supports the enhancement and evolution of the DNS. Supporting the evolution of RSS governance contributes to the commitment of ICANN to strengthen the security, stability, and resiliency of the DNS. Evolving RSS governance will result in significant changes to the ICANN community and ICANN org. The community-driven process to develop a final model envisions considerable work and commitment of resources. Any budgetary and financial implications will be handled through ICANN processes that ensure accountability and transparency.