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Chair’s Blog: ICANN69 Virtual Annual General Meeting

10 November 2020

Last month, the ICANN community convened its Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was also our third virtual ICANN Public Meeting. We continue to make the best of the circumstances, and I want to thank you for joining and working together constructively and effectively despite the challenges that come with this new format.

On Monday 19 October, the ICANN Board hosted a listening session with the community to solicit feedback about the change from in-person to virtual meetings as a result of the global pandemic. This is part of our wider effort to better understand how we can evolve ICANN Public Meetings, so that our community has the tools and resources they need to conduct their work effectively. I want to thank everyone who participated during this session and voiced their thoughts. This feedback will help shape ICANN org’s recommendations to the Board on the future of Public Meetings.

Board Priorities

As with all our Public Meetings, ICANN69 was an opportunity for the Board to discuss the topics that are top of mind for the community and Board.

Since ICANN66 in Montréal, Canada, the topic of Domain Name System (DNS) abuse has been front and center in the community’s discussions. As this focus on threats to the security of the DNS grows, there’s a greater level of awareness and recognition that we must take steps toward mitigating these threats together. The Board continues to follow these discussions with the highest interest.

Following the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council’s approval of the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) Phase 2 Final Report, the Board is working closely with the GNSO to determine the best path forward. This includes a dialogue regarding a proposed Operational Design Phase (ODP) that would outline and assess the impact of proposed policy recommendations. As I expressed on several occasions during ICANN69, the Board believes that this important step will increase transparency and accountability, and ultimately better inform our decision-making as we move from policy decisions into implementation.

Another topic of high interest during ICANN69 was the ongoing conversation about how we can improve the effectiveness of ICANN’s multistakeholder model. It is key that we evolve how we work together, so that we remain effective in executing on our mission, and can do so in a bottom-up multistakeholder fashion. This effort will continue to have our full attention, especially as it relates to a number of recommendations stemming from the third Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3).

Changes to the ICANN Board

After nine years of service, we bid farewell to Board member Chris Disspain. Chris has been part of the ICANN community for more than two decades, and it’s an understatement that we will miss his experience and dedication on the Board. His many contributions include helping create the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO), and playing key roles in the IANA Stewardship Transition, the first round of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), and the GNSO’s EPDP on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data.

While we are sad to see our colleague and friend end his full three terms on the Board, we are very happy to welcome Patricio Poblete as the newest ICANN Board Member, appointed by the ccNSO. Patricio has been involved with ICANN for a long time, which will help him easily transition into an otherwise unchanged Board.

Following his reappointment by the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) in January 2020, ICANN Board Vice Chair León Sánchez began his second term. Matthew Shears was reappointed by the GNSO in June and Nominating Committee (NomCom) appointees Sarah Deutsch and Avri Doria began their second term. The Board also decided to extend Göran Marby’s contract as ICANN President and CEO until May 2024.

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 passed. Below are the main highlights:

Regular Meeting

  • Resolved to take action on each of the 11 recommendations specified within the scorecard titled "Competition, Consumer Trust, Consumer Choice Review Team (CCT-RT) Pending Recommendations: Board Action on 11 Recommendations.”
    • For the six recommendations that remain in pending status, the Board directs the ICANN President and CEO to complete as promptly as possible the outstanding actions needed to prepare the recommendations for further Board action.
  • Determined that the Board may take an action that is or may not be consistent with the Governmental Advisory Committee’s (GAC) advice on the scope of a permanent notification mechanism concerning third party registrations of second-level domain names matching the acronyms of the Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) on the GAC’s list.
    • The Board has initiated the Board-GAC Bylaws Consultation Process required in such an event.

Organizational Meeting

  • Approved the establishment of the Board Strategic Planning Committee (BSPC), adopting the Charter for the committee as presented by the Board Governance Committee (BGC), and directs the creation of this new committee.
    • The Board has taken this action to coordinate and enhance the Board's oversight of ICANN strategic planning on an ongoing basis, and not only as part of a five-year planning cycle.

I extend my deepest gratitude to those who participated in ICANN69 from around the globe. Despite the time zone challenges that are even greater during multiday virtual events, it was a highly productive meeting. Together, we managed to make substantial progress on work in support of our mission. I have deep respect for your participation and you continue to demonstrate your commitment to ICANN’s mission. This dedication is what makes it possible to get our work done. On behalf of the Board – thank you!


Maarten Botterman

Maarten Botterman

ICANN Board Member