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Chair’s Blog: A Preview of the Pre-ICANN70 Board Workshop

10 March 2021

Ahead of the upcoming ICANN70 Virtual Community Forum, the ICANN Board is meeting for its second virtual workshop of 2021. This workshop will be an opportunity for the Board to further our discussions on a range of topics, such as recent developments regarding the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Second Security, Stability, and Resiliency Review (SSR2), and more.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us in far-reaching ways. Last year, the ICANN community went above and beyond to continue moving forward with its work in support of ICANN's mission as best it could, despite the difficulties and limitations imposed by the pandemic. The Board is grateful to each and every one of you for your contributions, tenacity, and resilience during these incredibly difficult times. Together, you were still able to make meaningful progress on key projects, including the Third Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3) and new generic top-level domains (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures (SubPro).

This year, with so many competing priorities on our plates – as well as the ongoing challenges and sacrifices that arise as a result of a global pandemic – the Board is keen to find new and more efficient ways to plan and prepare for the work ahead. This includes ongoing efforts to develop an Operational Design Phase (ODP), which would provide the Board with relevant operational information during its consideration of recommendations approved by the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council. Having a transparent, defined process for informing the Board of the operational impact of these recommendations will ensure that decisions are made with a full understanding of associated costs, time, risks, and obstacles. The Board is also eagerly anticipating the launch of the Information Transparency Initiative (ITI), which will improve access to and findability of ICANN's public content.

Board Workshop

The Board continues to host its workshops virtually and with a more streamlined, focused schedule. While we continue to work on a number of subjects before and after ICANN70, our pre-meeting workshops ensure that we stand ready to work with the community, and provide us with an opportunity to tackle a number of issues that need to be addressed at this point in time.

On Monday, 8 March, I kicked off the workshop with introductory remarks, followed by a briefing led by Becky Burr on the most important topics being discussed during ICANN70. The rest of the week, the Board is participating in the ICANN70 Prep Week sessions.

The workshop will resume on Wednesday, 17 March, starting with the Board's Strategic Outlook trends exercise led by Matthew Shears. We will then hold our dialogue with President and CEO Göran Marby, followed by our preparation for the Public Forum. On Thursday, 18 March, we'll start by continuing our discussion about the "hot topics" at ICANN70. Danko Jevtovic and Kaveh Ranjbar will then host a discussion on SSR2.

On Friday, 19 March, the final day of our workshop, Becky and Matthew will lead a session on the System for Standardized Access/Disclosure (SSAD) to nonpublic gTLD registration data, as well as the proposed ODP. As part of our commitment to continuous improvement in the way we do our work, I plan to close the workshop with a feedback session, reflecting on how we experienced the workshop and inviting thoughts and comments on how we can improve future workshops. We will report back to you after the workshop.

ICANN70 is just around the corner, and the Board looks forward to engaging with you. We are also confident that the new collaboration tools and language service enhancements being deployed for this meeting will help increase our interactivity and productivity during our sessions. Once again, we will all participate in meetings from our different time zones – community, org, and Board alike – so I would like to thank you all, on behalf of the Board, for your continued dedication to helping ICANN fulfill its mission, no matter the circumstances. Please stay healthy and safe during these difficult times. I look forward to seeing you all in-person again.


Maarten Botterman

Maarten Botterman

ICANN Board Member