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About the FY19 Board Activities & Priorities

11 October 2018
By Cherine Chalaby

With ICANN63 in Barcelona now on the horizon, the Board felt it appropriate to once again share our activities and priorities for FY19, much like we did last year. They continue to be divided into five key areas of responsibilities, or "blocks," that the Board uses to organize and think about its work.

Within these blocks of responsibilities, the Board's substantive activities are most often community-driven. The Board has also identified operational priorities for itself, with associated deliverables, timelines, and measurements within each.

For each block, (i) I provide a short overview of the Board's main duties, (ii) go over the various activities the Board is focusing on, and (iii) outline the priorities that we've laid out.

Block 1 - Oversight Over Policy Development and Cross Community Initiatives

The duties of the Board under this responsibility include:

  • Being well informed of the content, priority, and timing of all policies being developed by the community and being ready to approve these policies when submitted to the Board.
  • Providing timely Board comments to cross-community initiatives.
  • Responding to Supporting Organization/Advisory Committee (SO/AC) advice on a timely basis.

FY19 Activities

With respect to community-driven activities, in FY19 the Board is focusing on:

European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – The Board continues to work closely with ICANN org and the community on several fronts:

  • (a) Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP)

    We are closely monitoring these discussions, with two Board members serving as liaisons to the EPDP. We acknowledge the progress that has been made so far and look forward to the group reaching timely consensus on a new policy to replace the Temporary Specification.

  • (b) Unified Access Model

    Developing a possible access model has been part of ICANN org's conversations regarding the GDPR from the start. The Board is closely following the ICANN org's efforts to seek more legal guidance and certainty for all parties with respect to a possible access model to reduce the legal risks for contracted parties who offer WHOIS services. The support and input from the community to seek that guidance from the Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) is important.

New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP – The Board continues to follow the work being done in this PDP in preparation for reviewing the recommendations. The Board has responded to the request for feedback from the PDP working group.

CCWG on Auction Proceeds – The Board continues to closely follow this work and has provided input on the disbursement mechanisms.

Red Cross Names Protection – The Board monitored progress of the reconvened Red Cross PDP Working Group and noticed with interest that the GNSO Council recently approved, with a super majority vote, the consensus recommendations from that PDP, which modify a previously-adopted GNSO policy.

IGO-INGO Curative Rights – The Board is monitoring progress of the IGO-INGO Access to Curative Rights Mechanisms PDP Working Group and wishes that a path forward is developed to facilitate the resolution of the outstanding inconsistencies between GAC advice and prior GNSO policy recommendations on the overall scope of IGO protections.

FY19 Priorities

With respect to operational priorities, in FY19 the Board continues to focus on alignment with and furthering ICANN's mission. In particular:

1.1 ICANN's Multistakeholder Model – The Board will facilitate a community discussion on how the ICANN's multistakeholder model should evolve to balance the need for increased inclusivity, transparency, and accountability with the need for effectiveness, timely delivery, and the efficient use of ICANN resources. Following the community discussion, the Board will develop a consultation paper on this topic before the end of FY19.

1.2 The Global Public Interest (GPI) – The Board will develop a consultation paper on this topic. In addition to the Articles of Association committing ICANN to serving the public Interest, there are several specific mentions in the Bylaws, including: "to ensure that the bottom-up, multistakeholder policy development process is used to ascertain the global public interest." However, our community has never reached consensus on what the GPI is as related to the specific issue of the policy development process.

1.3 Temporary Specification – The Board is planning on reviewing and renewing the Temporary Specification in November 2018 and in February 2019, before it expires on 25 May 2019.         

Block 2 - ICANN Org Oversight

The duties of the Board under this responsibility include:

  • Ensuring that community-approved policies are implemented in a manner consistent with the adopted policies.
  • Overseeing the implementation of significant engineering projects undertaken by the ICANN org.
  • Overseeing that the ICANN org is delivering operational services to the community both effectively and efficiently.

FY19 Activities

With respect to community-driven activities, in FY19 the Board is focusing on:

Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) – The Board continues to oversee the development of this system, which currently holds almost 24 months of data. The ICANN org will soon start providing regular reports from that data to the Board and the community.

Information Transparency Initiative (ITI) – The Board is overseeing the development of this system, which is in its ninth month of implementation work. The ITI project team continues to make progress on the technical architecture of the documentation management system (DMS) and content management system (CMS).

Project Cost Support Team (PCST) – The entire ICANN ecosystem has taken on the challenge of managing resources more effectively. The Board and ICANN org will continue to promote the deployment of the now proven methodology of the PCST, in order to ensure that ICANN becomes more financially disciplined, and that decisions to start projects, reviews, and community initiatives must be based on clear needs, priorities, and affordability. The use of the PCST to support the GNSO EPDP is another good example that demonstrates its usefulness.

Anti-Harassment Issues – The Board has created a new working group specifically focused on monitoring the implementation of its resolution to address anti-harassment issues.

Accountability Workstream 2 (WS2) Implementation Plan – Once the chartering organizations approve the WS2 recommendations, the Board will work with the ICANN org to develop a cost-effective implementation plan.

FY19 Priorities

With respect to operational priorities, in FY19 the Board is focusing on improving cost awareness and financial stability, as well as strengthening security. In particular:

2.1 Cost Awareness and Financial Stability

  • ICANN Reserve Fund – The Board will continue with the process of replenishing the reserve fund, following the community's engagement in the two public comments processes that have now been completed on the target level and rationale and on the replenishment strategy. The Board is now adopting a replenishment strategy, based on community input, and is instructing the ICANN org to implement it. The next step is to develop a consultation paper on an updated governance of the reserve fund.
  • 2-Year Budgeting – The Board and ICANN org are working on a proposal for a 2-year budget cycle, aimed at providing more time for expanded engagement between the community, ICANN org and Board to plan for future activities and resource allocation.

2.2 Security

  • L- Root Strategy – The Board will work with ICANN org to finalize and implement the strategy.
  • Crisis Communication Plan – The Board and ICANN org will develop a communication plan for coordinating with other Root Operators during root server crises.
  • Key Signing Key (KSK) Rollover – The Board has approved a resolution to rollover the KSK on 11 October 2018, and will keep monitoring its progress closely.
  • DNS Evolution and Security – The Board will cooperate actively with the technical community on the evolution of the DNS and on improving its security.

Block 3 - Strategic & Forward Thinking

The duties of the Board under this responsibility include:

  • Monitoring the implementation of the Five-Year Strategic Plan.
  • Being aware of external forces and trends at work and anticipating how they might affect ICANN and the community.
  • Thinking ahead about any structural or organizational issues and assessing their impact on ICANN.
  • Ensuring that the ICANN org's globalization strategy evolves in furtherance of ICANN's mission.

FY19 Activities

With respect to strategic and forward-thinking activities, in FY19 the Board is focusing primarily on the completion of ICANN's new strategic plan for 2021to 2025:

ICANN Strategic Plan – The approach to develop the next strategic plan consists of four phases: trends identification, prioritization and analysis, drafting, and finalization of the plan. The community, Board, and the ICANN org completed the process of identifying the trends in June 2018. The Board and ICANN org have since then conducted an analysis of key priority trends and their impacts on ICANN. The findings from the analysis will be shared with the community via webinars in October. This will help inform further community discussions during a session planned for ICANN63. A draft strategic plan will be assembled and posted for public comment following ICANN63. Read more about ICANN's strategic planning process in this blog.

FY19 Priorities

With respect to operational priorities, in FY19 the Board is focusing on:

3.1 Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System – The Board Technical Committee is working with the Office of ICANN's Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) in reviewing the recent advice received from the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC), in order to propose to the Board an action plan in response to the RSSAC037 & RSSAC038 recommendations regarding a Proposed Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System.

3.2 Board Skills Adequacy (deferred from FY18) – The Board continues to focus on ensuring that it has all of the skillsets needed to serve ICANN. We are finalizing the development of a three-year rolling skills plan to form a part of the Board Governance Committee's tool kit to guide Board training, committee slating, and information provided to Board nominating bodies.

Block 4 - Governance & Fiduciary Responsibilities

The duties of the Board under this responsibility include:

  • Proficiently handling ICANN's governance and accountability issues.
  • Discharging its fiduciary (legal and financial) responsibilities.
  • Monitoring organizational risks and mitigation actions.
  • Progressing the implementation (and understanding) of the Bylaws.
  • Improving Board transparency.

FY19 Activities

In FY19, the Board is focusing on progressing issues which are subject to accountability mechanisms:

Specific & Organizational Reviews – Progress has been made on the issue of Specific and Organizational reviews. Our collective aim is to have a more sustainable and practical model that allows for effective participation without overwhelming our already heavily-taxed volunteer community. We received community input on an initial proposal, and recently finished a public comment period on a second paper on this issue. The Board appreciates the input provided by the community and, together with the ICANN org, we are now navigating through the comments. It is suffice to say at this stage that ATRT3 will start in early 2019, but we are still defining a path forward for the specific and organizational reviews.

Independent Review Process (IRP) – The Board is following closely the work of the Implementation Oversight Team (IOT) regarding the development of Interim Supplementary Procedures for the ICANN IRP. The IOT is also responsible for recommending training materials for the panelists for the IRP, as well as updating the Cooperative Engagement Process leading up to a filing of IRPs. The Board has active liaisons to the IOT and will work to meet all of the Board's bylaws obligations in appointing standing panelists to hear IRPs.

.HALAL & .ISLAM – The Board made progress on these two outstanding applications, and at its meeting on 3 October 2018, the Board resolved that the pending applications for .halal and .Islam not proceed.

.PERSIANGULF – The Board made progress on this outstanding application, and at its meeting on 3 October 2018, the Board adopted the portion of the IRP Panel's recommendation that the application for .Persiangulf submitted in the current new gTLD round not proceed and directed the President and CEO, or his designee(s), to take all steps necessary to implement this decision.

Pending Accountability Mechanisms – The Board was updated on the remaining new gTLD applications (including .WEB & .AMAZON) on hold due to pending accountability mechanisms that are in various stages of completion. Our keen interest in properly addressing all of the accountability mechanism matters was a key factor in our creating the new Board Accountability Mechanism Committee (BAMC), which has allowed for a deep understanding of the issues and allowed the committee to make recommendations to the Board for action. The BAMC has followed the progress and is making all efforts to promptly address each issue as they arise to the Board level. This year, in particular, we have begun to work through the Reconsideration Requests that were placed on hold during the pendency of the Community Priority Evaluation Process Review, and we have recently completed receiving oral presentations from those parties seeking reconsideration that chose to make such a presentation.

FY19 Priorities

With respect to operational priorities, in FY19 the Board is focusing on:

4.1 Annual Review Implementation Report – In line with article 4.5 of the Bylaws, the Board will develop a process for the preparation and publication of an "Annual Review Implementation Report" on the state of the accountability and transparency reviews.

4.2 Picket Fence – The Board will post a blog intended to provide clarity and a shared understanding of the 'picket fence' under the new Bylaws.

4.3 Board Effectiveness – The Board continues to improve its own operational effectiveness, through:

  • Implementing actions identified in the Board 360 review conducted in FY18.
  • Undertaking communications training for Board members.

Block 5 - Community Engagement & External Relationships

The duties of the Board under this responsibility include:

  • Reaching out and being present in the community during the ICANN Public meetings, as well as in-between ICANN Public meetings.
  • Supporting the ICANN org in meeting four strategic objectives of:
    1. Serving ICANN's stakeholders effectively so that they participate more actively and meaningfully at ICANN.
    2. Attracting new stakeholders globally to meet the needs of a globalized ICANN.
    3. Developing effective relationships with key actors in the global Internet ecosystem, based on an insightful mapping of the roles they play, the dynamic between them, and the type of rapport ICANN wishes to have with each one of them.
    4. Advocating ICANN's mission and its multistakeholder model of governance within the Internet Governance ecosystem.

FY19 Activities

With respect to community-driven activities, in FY19 the Board is focusing on:

ICANN's Global Community – The Board continues its engagement activities with the ICANN global community with specific focus on the technical community. More recently, the Board has been in dialogue with the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) to better understand their needs in an attempt to identify a more effective way for them to participate in the ICANN Empowered Community.

Internet Governance (IG) Ecosystem – The Board continues to oversee the implementation of the plan it approved last year for ICANN's participation in the IG ecosystem. The Board wants to ensure that ICANN's participation in the IG ecosystem serves our mission and reflects the commitments and core values specified in the ICANN Bylaws.

FY19 Priorities

With respect to operational priorities, in FY19 the Board is focusing on:

5.1 Service Satisfaction (deferred from FY18) – The Board will review the findings of community surveys conducted over the past three years to understand whether ICANN (Board and ICANN org) activities actually lead to an overall improvement of service satisfaction within the community.

5.2 Relationships with External Bodies – The Board is developing a clear rationale for membership, alliances, and sponsorships with other international organizations and key actors in the global Internet governance space.

Let me close by saying that the Board sincerely hopes that this blog will enable you to have a better understanding of the Board's responsibilities and its FY19 activities and priorities.

The Board looks forward to engaging with you in Barcelona and answering any questions you may have about this blog.


Cherine Chalaby

Former ICANN Board Chair