Tangible progress was made for human rights at ICANN during its 63rd meeting, held in Barcelona from 20-25 October. Some highlights:

  • CCWG-Acc Work Stream 2 recommendations have now been approved by all Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. The next step is final approval from the Board, at which point the Human Rights Bylaw will become activated.
  • ICANN CEO Göran Marby mentioned their organizational HRIA in his opening remarks during the ICANN63 Welcome Ceremony, clearly citing the community’s success in putting human rights on the agenda. (video, starts at 41:56; more information about ICANN’s HRIA available here)
  • HRIAs were also major topic in the NCSG’s meeting with the ICANN Board, where we confirmed that both the methodology and the unredacted results from the assessment will be made public once it has wrapped up. (video, starts at 33:38)

ICANN org’s engagement with human rights sets a positive example in the DNS and the tech sector more broadly. However, it’s important to reiterate that ICANN’s HRIA does not cover DNS policy. As identified in the CCWP-HR’s latest paper, ICANN Policy and Human Rights: A Primer on Current GNSO Policy Development Processes, DNS policy directly impacts the human rights of both registrants and internet users at large. Therefore,  it’s important for the ICANN community to continue working to assess the impact of ICANN’s policies and ensure that they live up to the Human Rights Bylaw.

** ICANN policy HRIAs will be the focus of our workshop during the UN Internet Governance Forum Wednesday 14 November in Paris — contributions to the session are highly encouraged, and remote participation will be available.

More broadly speaking, there are currently many conversations underway within the ICANN community about improving the efficiency and effectiveness of consensus-based community policy development processes. During the CCWP-HR’s September call, the GNSO’s “PDP 3.0” and its articulation with the Human Rights Bylaw was a topic of conversation. More recently, presentations on diversity and transparency in Barcelona sparked a lively exchange on the relationship between bottom-up consensus-based processes and standards for legitimacy and accountability. The evolution of ICANN’s multistakeholder model — particularly as it relates to the new community standards for human rights, diversity, transparency, and accountability — will be an important topic to keep track of as conversations evolve.