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Chair’s Blog: ICANN64 Meeting & Board Workshop

29 March 2019
By Cherine Chalaby

With ICANN64 now behind us, I'd like to briefly share thoughts on our week in Kobe, summarize the highlights of the Board workshop, and provide a summary of the key resolutions that the Board recently passed.

Our Week in Kobe

Let me start by thanking everyone who participated at ICANN64, and special thanks to our hosts for ensuring a successful and smooth meeting. There was significant progress made on many policy and community-led efforts, and I hope it was a productive meeting for everyone.

ICANN Plans for the Future
During this meeting, there were many conversations about ICANN's future challenges and the continuing need to improve and evolve our multistakeholder governance model. We need to plan for these challenges now, not only because we must, but also because our bylaws mandate that we have new strategic and operational plans in place by July 2020. In order to have sufficient time to prepare for a successful implementation, we need to finalize our plans at the latest by end 2019, as follows:

  • the new strategic plan for fiscal years 2021 to 2025 – to be finalized by May 2019
  • the new operating and financial plan for the same fiscal years – a final draft to be published for comment by December 2019
  • the governance plan to improve the effectiveness of our multistakeholder model, which was started in Barcelona and continued in Kobe – a final draft to be published for comment by December 2019.

My thanks to everyone who participated in the Governance Plan session. If you missed it, I encourage you to view it here. Please continue to participate in this process. This issue is not a new challenge to ICANN, as over the years, we have often expressed the need to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of our governance.

Expedited Policy Development Process
On 20 February, ahead of ICANN64, the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) Team on the Temporary Specification for generic top-level domain (gTLD) Registration Data finalized and submitted its Final Report [PDF, 2.7 MB] to the GNSO Council. The community delivered its consensus policy recommendations under tight and unprecedented deadlines, and for that effort, the Board thanks all involved. The Board also looks forward to deliberating on the recommendations when they are submitted, and providing support for Phase 2 of the charter.

Universal Acceptance & Internationalized Domain Names
One of the major topics on the agenda in Kobe was Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Universal Acceptance (UA). During ICANN64, ICANN org announced that the proposals for the Root Zone Label Generation Rules have been completed for 19 of the 28 language scripts, which cover most of the world's commonly written languages. In addition, 152 IDN top-level domains, including IDN country code TLDs and gTLDs, have been delegated. During the meeting, the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) continued to raise awareness of the need for UA by highlighting the work that has been done in developing documentation and resources for UA readiness, developing processes for measuring UA compliance and establishing benchmarks, and emphasizing the importance of email address internationalization. Based on the level of interest and engagement around UA and IDNs at ICANN64, I encourage you to join in this effort.

Board Workshop

Ahead of ICANN64, on 8-10 March 2019, the ICANN Board held its second workshop of the year. We spent significant time preparing for Constituency Day to ensure that the discussions with the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees conducted throughout the week would be a good use of everyone's time.

During the workshop we also held sessions on:

  • GNSO final report for EPDP phase 1;
  • Status of facilitation between ACTO members states and the Amazon Corporation;
  • New gTLD SubPro status;
  • FY19 Board priorities update;
  • FY21-FY25 Strategic Plan next steps;
  • FY21-FY25 Operating & Financial Plan update;
  • WS2/CCT/other reviews/ financials implication and implementation cadence;
  • IDN Variant TLD Management Recommendations; and
  • Short/long-term options for adjusting timing of Reviews.

Recent Board Resolutions

Leading to ICANN64 and at ICANN64, the Board passed several resolutions, as follows:

The Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCT) Final Report and Recommendations

On 1 March, at a special Board meeting, the Board took a resolution addressing each of the 35 recommendations in the final report in one of three ways:

  • accepted, with ICANN org directed to develop costing and implementation plans;
  • referred, with ICANN org directed to pass the recommendations, that are not directly within the Board's remit, to the appropriate policy development bodies or ICANN org;
  • pending, with ICANN org directed to take specific actions to resolve the pending status as soon as possible.

This resolution spurned a productive conversation with the community during ICANN64 about processes by which we can, together, identify priorities and develop a sustainable cadence for implementing review team recommendations over time. The Board has asked the ICANN org to create a standard protocol for handling specific review recommendations, including a standard timeline for the Board's review and response, building in both cost and implementation analyses and dialogue with the review team to avoid surprises in the future. At the suggestion of the CCT-RT, we will hold a session at ICANN65 in Marrakech, Morocco, to allow further discussion of this matter and to address how to improve costing and implementation of review recommendations. We will also engage with the CCT-RT before ICANN65 to address their concerns regarding the Board's resolution.

.AMAZON and related IDNs
On 10 March 2019, we held a public Board meeting where the ICANN Board passed a resolution calling on the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization 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 resolution also stated that if the ACTO member states and the Amazon corporation do reach a mutually acceptable solution regarding the Amazon Applications, and that solution is not inconsistent with any of ICANN's policies and procedures surrounding the new gTLD Program, ICANN org will continue processing the Amazon applications according to the policies and procedures governing the 2012 round of the new gTLD Program.

Other Resolutions at ICANN64

On 14 March 2019, the ICANN Board held a public Board meeting, closing out ICANN64. The Board passed several resolutions, including:

For more details about the public Board Meetings, please see the Board Page. Preliminary Reports and Minutes of all ICANN Board Meetings are available here.

The Board will hold its next workshop from 1 – 3 May 2019, in Istanbul, Turkey. I look forward to seeing you all again in June 2019 at ICANN65 in Marrakech, Morocco.


Cherine Chalaby

Former ICANN Board Chair