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Chair’s Blog: A Preview of the Istanbul Board Workshop

26 April 2019
By Cherine Chalaby


From 1-3 May, the ICANN Board will convene in Istanbul, Turkey, for its third Board workshop of calendar year 2019. We’ll use this time to discuss and deliberate on some important topics, such as Internationalized Domain Names, the subsequent round of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), the development of the FY21-25 Operating & Financial Plan, .AMAZON and more.

During the workshop, we will hold three public sessions, including a public Board meeting. I highly encourage you to join if you are able. Instructions on how to dial-in to these listen-only sessions is available here.

Wednesday, 1 May, will kick off with a meeting of the Board Governance Committee.  Then, Tripti Sinha and Chris Disspain will lead a training session on the Board’s decision-making processes, followed by a session, led by Avri Doria, about how the Board and the community could work together on prioritizing the recommendations coming out of the various ICANN reviews. This last session stems from community discussions at ICANN64 and will help us prepare for a follow-up community session at ICANN65 in Marrakech, Morocco to further discuss the issues of prioritization and affordability of review recommendations.

The rest of this day will be dedicated to Board committee meetings, including the Board Technical Committee (BTC), Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee, Anti-Harassment Working Group, and Board Finance Committee.

On Thursday, 2 May, after my opening and introduction, the Board will talk with Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO, about the progress he’s made toward his goals and priorities for the ICANN org.  Akinori Maemura will then lead our first public session of the workshop, where the Board will be considering approving the updated Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names Version 4.0.  The BTC will then present to the full Board its recommendations on the advice laid out in RSSAC 37 and RSSAC 38 during another session led by Akinori.

Following a lunch break, Ron da Silva will lead two sessions. The first is a final Board review of the public comments made on the FY20 Operating Plan & Budget, and the second is an update on the development of the FY21-25 Operating Plan & Financial Plan, which will underpin our new Strategic Plan. After this, Avri and Göran will host a session focused on preparations for the subsequent round of new gTLDs. To close out the day, we will meet with the ICANN org staff based in the Istanbul office, followed by an engagement event with local community members.

Friday, 3 May, will start with a review of the resolutions that we plan to vote on during the Board meeting, which will take place shortly after. I hope you will be able to join us for the public Board meeting. After the meeting, Becky Burr and Göran will update the Board on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and Phase 1 & 2 of the Expedited Policy Development Process. After this update, Maarten Botterman will host a public session to give an update on the status of the Board’s FY19 priorities. Next, Brian Cute will join us remotely, to present the progress made thus far in developing a Governance Plan to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of our multistakeholder model.

Then, Göran will update the Board on the status of the .AMAZON applications.  The ICANN Board passed a resolution, on 10 March 2019, calling on the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) member states and the Amazon Corporation to engage in a final effort that allows both parties to work in good faith toward a mutually acceptable solution regarding the .AMAZON applications, and if one is reached, to inform the Board of that solution by 7 April 2019. The Board did not receive a mutually acceptable solution nor a joint request for extension of that date.  Ten days later, on 17 April 2019, the Amazon Corporation submitted to the ICANN Board its own modified proposal for how it will address the concerns of the ACTO member states.  Accordingly, and in line with the process and timetable outlined in the 10 March 2019 Board resolution, the next step is for the ICANN Board to consider the proposal forwarded by Amazon Corporation.

In the final session of the day, Lito Ibarra will present the Board Risk Committee’s risk report.

These workshops are an important opportunity for the Board to come together and discuss a range of issues and topics, and our schedules are designed to cover as much ground as possible. While our agenda is very full, I’m confident that our Istanbul workshop will be a productive and constructive three days.

For those of you participating in the Global Domain Division’s Industry Summit and the ICANN DNS Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand later this month, best wishes for productive meetings. 


Cherine Chalaby

Former ICANN Board Chair