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Chair's Blog: ICANN63 Meeting & Board Workshop

12 November 2018
By Cherine Chalaby

Thank you all for your participation in ICANN, and your efforts in Barcelona. Everyone worked hard and I hope you're all back safely home and catching up.

In this blog, I will briefly summarize the salient points from the Board workshop, share some thoughts on the Annual General Meeting (AGM) itself, and finally provide a summary of the key reolutions that the Board passed on the final day of the AGM.

If you haven't already done so, please take a look at the blog I posted leading up to the meeting to learn about the Board's FY19 activities and priorities.

Five New Board Members

In Barcelona, we welcomed the new directors of the Board: Harald Alvestrand, Danko Jevtovic, Merike Kaeo, Nigel Roberts and Tripti Sinha. All five were seated at our public Board Meeting. I look forward to their contributions. We also thanked departing directors, Lousewies van der Laan, Jonne Soininen, Mike Silber, Ram Mohan and George Sadowsky for their service to the ICANN Board.

Board Workshop

Ahead of ICANN63, the Board held a workshop in preparation for the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The first two days provided onboarding activities for incoming Board members, followed by Constituency Day preparation to ensure that discussions with the Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) conducted throughout the week would be productive. We also held sessions to discuss the Board Finance Committee's recommended strategy to replenish the ICANN Reserve Fund, we reviewed the FY18 Audited Financial Statement and report of the Board's expenses, and we received an update on the status of the .AMAZON applications. In addition, we held sessions dedicated to strategic planning and Board leadership slating.

During one session, our departing Board members shared their thoughts and advice for the future: Lousewies encouraged the Board to be very cognizant of political realities outside of ICANN and reminded us that clear and strategic communication is important to our success as a Board. Jonne reminded us that the Board operational effectiveness is a process of continuous improvement, and encouraged us to continue to work on improving our relationships with the community and the staff.

Mike reminded us to be kind and courteous to each other and to respect and embrace the diversity of cultures, skill sets, points of views and experiences on the Board. Ram focused on the reality of the marketplace and encouraged us to always take into account the views of countries and groups that are traditionally not the most vocal, as they to have an important role to play in the future of the Internet. George's message was to make sure that ICANN's mission is at the forefront of our minds, and to make sure that all of ICANN's activities are in service of that mission.

Annual General Meeting

On the first day of the AGM, the fourth High-Level Governmental Meeting (HLGM) held in conjunction with an ICANN meeting was hosted by the Spanish government. In attendance were nearly 200 ministers, vice ministers, senior officials and heads of delegations from governments and various inter-governmental organizations representing 124 delegations from around the world. Delegates discussed and acquainted themselves with the technical, legal, and geopolitical challenges that ICANN faces as it works to fulfill its mission in an ever-changing Internet ecosystem. The delegates also expressed, from their own points of view as government officials and active participants in the Governmental Advisory Committee, input related to ICANN's strategic priorities.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Spanish government and all the attendees for their continued commitment to the multi-stakeholder model that ICANN embodies.

Overall, ICANN63 was extremely productive, with nearly 2,400 attendees participating in more than 300 community sessions. The Board had a particularly fruitful Constituency Day that gave us the opportunity to spend hours with the various Community members from stakeholder and constituency groups, the SOs and ACs. The Board heard about the 2019 priorities of these groups and addressed specific questions relating to the ICANN budget, the Temporary Specification, a unified access model, contractual compliance, and the current review process, to name a few. We had good exchanges on how ICANN's multistakeholder model of governance should evolve in a manner that balances the increasing needs of inclusivity, accountability and transparency, while at the same time ensuring that our work gets done and our policies get developed in an effective and timely manner. We welcomed the Community's comments on this topic.

Board Meeting

On the last day of the AGM, the Board held two Board Meetings: a regular meeting and an organizational meeting. We passed several important resolutions, including a few I would like to highlight here. During the regular meeting we:

  • Appointed Maarten Botterman as Board Designee to the third Accountability and Transparency Review Team to ensure ongoing support and engagement of this important Review.
  • Accepted the recommendations presented in the Geographic Regions Review Working Group Final Report and directed the org to implement those recommendations to ensure continued certainty in the community's operations as well as geographic diversity and representation in its policy and advisory activities.
  • Directed the CEO to reach out to and meet with the ACTO organization, in order to ensure a clear, acceptable solution to the delegation of .AMAZON.
  • Adopted the Independent Review Process Interim Supplementary Procedures, making sure there is a process in place for third-party review of ICANN Board or staff actions (or inactions) alleged by any harmed party to be inconsistent with ICANN's Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws.
  • Directed the CEO to take two actions that will further strengthen ICANN's financial stability: (i) implement the Reserve Fund replenishment strategy approved by the Board, and (ii) transfer US$3 million from operational excesses in FY18 to the Reserve Fund.

We passed several additional resolutions in the organizational Board meeting to appoint the Chair and Vice-Chair, Board members and liaisons to membership and leadership of Board Committees, and to appoint the Officers of the Organization. For more details about the public Board Meetings, please see the Board Page.

The Board will hold its next workshop in January 2019, but I expect you will hear from me sooner. I look forward to seeing you again in March 2019 at ICANN64 in Kobe, Japan.


Cherine Chalaby

Former ICANN Board Chair