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Chair’s Blog: ICANN Board Highlights from October Board Workshop and ICANN72

15 November 2021

The ICANN72 Annual General Meeting (AGM) concluded with a clear focus of the job ahead. In our interaction with the constituencies over the week, prioritization was a frequent topic. The ICANN Community, Board, and Organization (Org) all have a role to play in how our work is conducted, and transparency in our processes is critical.

The Operational Design Phase (ODP) for complex projects, such as the potential next round of Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) (Subsequent Procedures) and the System for Standardized Access/Disclosure (SSAD), is an important mechanism to assure ongoing transparency while the Org assesses the operational impacts of the related recommendations.

By assessing these impacts ahead of our decision, we assure that our deliberations are fully informed, and that the work conducted will reduce unnecessary delays following the Board decision. In this, the Board appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from Community members about their concerns and priorities during ICANN72.

In the days leading up to ICANN72, the Board convened for its final workshop of 2021.

Board Workshop
The October Board Workshop was dedicated to preparing Board members for engaging with the Community at ICANN72. Here are some of the key topics we discussed:

Update on Returning to Normal Operations
On the first day of the workshop, ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby briefed us on the status of the Org’s planning on returning to normal operations to help inform the Board’s impending decision on the format for ICANN73, which was scheduled to take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The topic of inclusive and equitable Public Meetings was also on the agenda of an ICANN72 plenary session, where we heard from colleagues in the Internet governance ecosystem about how they are adapting their meeting formats. The Board appreciated the information we gained from the conversations and looks forward to the results of further work on how to effectively organize hybrid meetings.

On 4 November, after the conclusion of the AGM, the Board decided that, as a result of the ongoing pandemic, ICANN73 will be conducted as a virtual meeting. The Board also reaffirmed its intention to hold ICANN74 in The Hague, Netherlands as a hybrid meeting in June 2022.

Update on SSAD ODP
The Board received an update on the SSAD ODP. The delivery date for the resulting assessment has been extended to the end of February 2022. The extension was necessary due to the complexity of the issue and the inability to collect the necessary input over the last months. The data the team has gathered as part of the ODP has raised new questions and requires further discussion with the Community over the coming months. To ensure full transparency and gain additional input from the Community, the team is planning webinars in November and December 2021. I encourage you to take part.

Update on ccNSO Proposed Policy on ccTLDs
During the second day of our workshop, Nigel Roberts and Patricio Poblete walked the Board through the specificities of the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO)-proposed policy on the retirement of Country Code Top-Level Domains. The Board greatly appreciates the initiative by the ccNSO and looks forward to considering these policy recommendations following a Public Comment period for at least 40 days, as in accordance with our Bylaws.

Update on the EPDP
We received an update on the status of the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) work on Specific Curative Rights Protections for Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), noting that there are still issues on which the EPDP team remains divided. There is also standing Governmental Advisory Committee advice on this.

Update on DNSTICR
The Board discussed a proposal to expand the Org’s Domain Name Security Threat Information Collection and Reporting (DNSTICR) to provide reports on registered IGO-related domain names that are used for phishing or malware distribution.

Update on FY21 Audited Financial Statements
Last, but not least, Sarah Deutsch facilitated a session where the Board was presented with the FY21 Audited Financial Statements, which are available here. Our thanks to the Org Finance team for its ongoing excellent work, as confirmed by the auditors, and the Board Audit Committee for its work on this important governance requirement.

Board Meeting
On the final day of the AGM, the Board held two meetings – a regular meeting and an organizational meeting – during which a number of resolutions were approved. Below are highlights:

Regular Meeting

  • Acting on a recommendation from the Board's Strategic Planning Committee, the Board resolved to keep the Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025 in force and unchanged at this time. The analysis and conclusions from this year’s strategic planning process have been compiled in the FY23 Strategic Outlook Trends Report
  • The Board acknowledged the completion of the second organizational review of the ccNSO, which is part of a Bylaw-mandated series of reviews to assess that the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees each have a continuing purpose and are operating effectively within ICANN's multistakeholder model. The Board also initiated a ccNSO-recommended Bylaws amendment process to enable inclusion of Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) ccTLD managers in the ccNSO.
  • As a result of a recommendation from Org and the Board Finance Committee, the Board approved a US$10 million transfer from the Operating Fund to the Reserve Fund and a US$5 million transfer from the Operating Fund to the Supplemental Fund for Implementation of Community Recommendations (SFICR).

Organizational Meeting
During this meeting, we conducted our AGM requirements. I am grateful to be selected again as Chair of the Board and look forward to another year working with León Sánchez as the Vice-Chair. We also agreed on the new composition of our Board committees, as proposed by the Board Governance Committee, and confirmed ICANN's officers for the coming year.

We also met one of the important governance requirements over our controlled affiliate that performs the IANA functions on ICANN's behalf by convening our annual sole member meeting for Public Technical Identifiers (PTI). This included the election of the PTI President.

Thanks again to the Community for your work in preparation of and during ICANN72, and to the Org for their relentless support. I look forward to working and meeting with you all over the coming weeks and months.

ICANN is the sum of its parts – only together can we get the work done.


Maarten Botterman

Maarten Botterman

ICANN Board Member