ICANN Ombudsman Blog Creating Dialogue Affirming Fairness

January 21, 2016

Principles for Designing Accountability

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris LaHatte @ 8:05 pm

I recently stumbled across a political scientist whose work I think has direct relevance to the work we’re doing on the IANA transition. Dr Elinor Ostrom was a political scientist writing on many subjects and was a Nobel Prize winner in economics. Among other topics she discussed what is known as the tragedy of the commons and came up with a different approach, based on extensive fieldwork. I have extracted part of this from an excellent Wikipedia article, which talks about “Design principles for Common Pool Resource (CPR) institutions”

Ostrom identified eight “design principles” of stable local common pool resource management

Clearly defined boundaries (clear definition of the contents of the common pool resource and effective exclusion of external un-entitled parties);
Rules regarding the appropriation and provision of common resources that are adapted to local conditions;
Collective-choice arrangements that allow most resource appropriators to participate in the decision-making process;
Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators;
A scale of graduated sanctions for resource appropriators who violate community rules;
Mechanisms of conflict resolution that are cheap and of easy access;
Self-determination of the community recognized by higher-level authorities; and
In the case of larger common-pool resources, organization in the form of multiple layers of nested enterprises, with small local CPRs at the base level.
These principles have since been slightly modified and expanded to include a number of additional variables believed to affect the success of self-organized governance systems, including effective communication, internal trust and reciprocity, and the nature of the resource system as a whole.

There are a number of aspects of this which are directly applicable to the exercise we are undertaking. I thought I would post this just as a possible measure against the work which is being done. This is not intended as a criticism of that work which has been an awesome cooperative effort, but perhaps to outline some of the principles which underlie the work.

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