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Chair’s Blog: Best Wishes for 2019

21 December 2018
By Cherine Chalaby

On behalf of the Board, I want to thank you for all your hard work and continued engagement this year. I wish everyone a peaceful holiday season and a happy and healthy year ahead.

In this blog, I will provide you with an end-of-year update on some outstanding items and an overview of our final Board meeting of the year and the Board calendar for 2019.

Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP)

The ICANN Board, via its two liaisons, has been closely following the EPDP. These are challenging and complex issues, as this is the first time in ICANN’s history that a Temporary Specification has been adopted and an EPDP has been launched. The Board stands ready to engage, listen, and support the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council, as appropriate. We appreciate the ongoing efforts being made by everyone in the community working on the EPDP, and those of you working on General Data Protection Regulation issues overall. The Board looks forward to our next steps, consistent with the ICANN Bylaws and ICANN’s contractual agreements with Contracted Parties.

Draft FY20 Budget

ICANN org recently published the Draft FY20 Operating Plan and Budget and the current-year update to the Five-Year Operating Plan for community and public comment. I am sure, as always, that you will give these documents a thorough review and be forthright with your thoughts. As Göran Marby said in his letter, ICANN org has brought the timeline for public comment forward and extended the comment period to 53 days. But we need to improve and give the community more time for reviewing the draft budget.

Two-Year Budgeting Cycle

In the spirit of continuous improvement, please also review the public consultation on a two-year budgeting cycle. This change could allow for a budget development process that provides time for more in-depth community discussions, increased collaboration between ICANN org and the community, and increased transparency. This consultation paper does not propose a solution at this stage, but rather seeks to get a common understanding if a two-year budgeting cycle is truly required.  If a need is established, a second consultation paper will follow including suggested options and solutions.

Draft Strategic Plan 2021-2025

As promised in Barcelona, we have published the Draft ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2025 for your review. After the public comment process, we will hold discussions on the plan at ICANN64. We need your continued participation, feedback, and input at this stage to ensure that what we develop together is a plan that will set ICANN on the right course in the years ahead.

Operating Plan and Budget 2021-2025

The new strategic plan will be complemented by a fully-costed five-year operating plan and budget which will show how and at what cost we will implement our chosen strategy. It will include details of activities, dependencies, phasing and cost estimates.  The work on this plan will begin in January 2019 and ICANN org intends to post a first draft for consultation before the end of the current fiscal year.

Evolution of ICANN’s Governance Model

A key part of developing the draft strategic plan was the identification of the top five trends that will have an impact on ICANN’s future. One of those five trends is related to the evolution of ICANN’s governance model. The community articulated that trend as: “Our multistakeholder model of governance, which grew to fit ICANN’s needs, has the potential of becoming less effective and more expensive as it matures and scales up to respond to the increasing needs of our community.” 

At ICANN63 in Barcelona, the Board’s preliminary discussions on this topic with the community in multiple fora has indicated several common threads related to the evolution of ICANN’s governance and how it should adapt as ICANN matures.

The Board is currently working with ICANN org to prepare for further discussions and engagements with the community at ICANN64. Shortly after ICANN64, the Board intends to post a consultation paper seeking your views on the status of ICANN’s governance model and how should it evolve.

.AMAZON Update

I wish to update you on the progress of the facilitation process with the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) members states and the Amazon corporation about the .AMAZON applications. We have spent the past year engaged in a good-faith effort to facilitate a solution that supports the cultural heritage of the countries in the Amazonian region as well as the business interests of the Amazon corporation. Unfortunately, the facilitation process appears to have stalled. ICANN is now proceeding with a review of the Reconsideration Request that ACTO filed recently, using ICANN’s Accountability Mechanism. I have corresponded with the ACTO Secretary General expressing our regret for the recent turn of events and reiterating  our hope that we can put any misunderstanding behind us and move forward together in a constructive and positive manner. In addition, Göran has corresponded with the Governmental Advisory Committee on the same matter (18 December Letter to M. Ismail). You can find my two recent letters on ICANN’s correspondence page (18 December Letter to HE J. Mendoza, 3 December Letter to HE J. Mendoza).

Final Board Meeting of 2018

We held our final Board meeting of 2018 in November, following ICANN63, where we passed two resolutions, the first on a reconsideration request and the second on reaffirming the Temporary Specification for gTLD registration data.

Board Calendar for 2019

For your information and planning, the Board will hold six workshops over the course of the year, as follows:

  • January 25-27, in Los Angeles
  • March 8-10, in Kobe (ahead of ICANN64)
  • May 1-3, in Istanbul
  • June 21-23, in Marrakech (ahead of ICANN65)
  • September 13-15, in Los Angeles
  • November 1-3, in Montréal (ahead of ICANN66)

You will hear from me in January ahead of our first Board workshop with an overview of our agenda and information about how to listen to any public sessions.  Please have a safe and healthy holiday season.


Cherine Chalaby

Former ICANN Board Chair