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A Conversation About Evolving The Effectiveness of Our Multistakeholder Model

25 April 2019
By Brian Cute

At ICANN63 in Barcelona, Spain, the ICANN Board asked the community for feedback on Strategic Objective #2 concerning ICANN's governance in the draft ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025. Specifically, the community was asked how to improve the effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model (MSM) of governance. Based on the community's response at ICANN63, we held a session at ICANN64 to continue the conversation. I was asked to serve as an independent facilitator to build on the conversation that began at ICANN63.

On 14 March 2019 in Kobe, Japan, that conversation began in earnest about how we can evolve our multistakeholder model to make it more effective. The stated goals of the conversation are: 1) to develop a list of issues that challenge the effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model; and 2) to create a work plan based on those issues that will become part of ICANN's Operational Plan in December 2019.

The energy in the session was palpable. Voices from long-time ICANN community members, as well as more recent members, contributed to our issue identification exercise. The comments offered were candid and clear. Statements ranged over a number of topics from how ICANN was originally set up, to how incentives don't exist to create conditions for compromise, to the importance of informed policy-making, and the need for greater participation of NextGen members in the work of the ICANN community.

Community members also shared their thinking on this topic in the sessions between the ICANN Board and the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SO/ACs), as well as some constituency groups, which were held earlier in the week at ICANN63. Listening to community members from across the stakeholder spectrum, there was clear and consistent recognition of the "pain points" in the system: decision-making and policy processes take too long, resources are stretched too thin, there are too many work streams, and volunteers are feeling exhausted and burned-out.

It is often said that the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that you have one. The first step has been taken.

For the ICANN64 session, we began the exercise of creating a list of issues that the community believes must be addressed to improve the effectiveness of our multistakeholder model. I want to thank all of you who offered your thoughts. I have captured those inputs, along with the community member inputs made during the community sessions with the ICANN Board. That information is included in the public comment period.

Next Steps

  1. A Public Comment period to continue developing the issues list is being launched today and will be open for forty days. The Public Comment proceeding can be found here. Comments will be reviewed and incorporated into the issues list and an updated issues list will be published prior to ICANN65 in Marrakech, Morocco.
  2. Webinars to review the final issues list and to develop the work plan will be held in mid-May and in June, during Prep Week for ICANN65 (details to come).

Continue to check this site for updates on activities and the Evolving MSM process. If you want to share your thoughts on any of these materials, you can post them to this publicly archived email list, which you can subscribe to here. I will also be sharing my updates to this list.


Brian Cute