ICANNfocus.org writes "In a letter dated January 19, 2004, ICANN informed NTIA that they anticipated sharing their Strategic Plan “with the community in general as part of our public fiscal year 2004-2005 budget formulation process...” The letter also thanked NTIA for “not sharing the document until that time.” The letter went on to state, “To the end, I would appreciate it if, for the time being, you were only to distribute paper copies, only within the Department of Commerce and only as necessary.”
Despite ICANN’s apparent commitment to NTIA to release the Strategic Plan as part of the budget formulation process, the Plan has not yet been made publicly available. ICANN published their proposed FY 2004-2005 budget for public comment on May 17th. ICANN plans to vote on a final budget on July 23rd. Thus, even though almost half of the public comment period has already passed, ICANN has not yet released a document that is essential for evaluating the necessity of the planned doubling of the corporation’s budget."
"The proposed budget states that, in accordance with their MOU with the Commerce Department, ICANN “has developed a strategic plan to guide its activities...” The budget document’s strategic planning discussion describes four key principles and explains that, “Identifying objectives under these four headings ensured that the strategic plan mapped to ICANN’s role as originally envisioned and does not expand ICANN’s role. What this budget does is explain how the resources necessary to actually perform these tasks will be provided.”
Since the budget is explaining how ICANN will raise the funds to carry our tasks identified in the Strategic Plan, it is not apparent how stakeholders could meaningfully comment on the proposed budget without reading the Plan. Thus, the public comment portion of ICANN’s budget process appears to potentially be nothing more than an empty exercise.
ICANN’s failure to release the Strategic Plan as part of the budget process raises questions about their willingness to: 1) adhere to their stated intentions to NTIA; and 2) allow meaningful public participation in the budget process.
ICANN’s proposed budget states that “Accomplishing the goals set out in the MoU is required for ICANN to achieve fully independent status.” ICANN may wish to consider how their refusal to release the Strategic Plan reflects on their ability to achieve such independent status.
To read the ICANN letter to NTIA, please see www.ICANNfocus.org".
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