The year has only just begun, and the members of the ICANN Board of Directors already are hard at work.
Just last week, I, along with ICANN Board Vice Chair Danko Jevtović and Interim President and CEO Sally Costerton, met with the leaders of ICANN's Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees in Washington, D.C. The meeting, which took place over three days, was our first in-person, multiday gathering since January 2020. I am pleased to report that we had many productive and strategic discussions about the most pressing issues facing ICANN in 2024.
Next, the Board will gather in Montevideo, Uruguay, for our first workshop of the year. Here is an overview of the agenda for the workshop, which is taking place 19–21 January:
- Planning: The Board is developing a new Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2026–30. We completed the first phase of the process, Environmental Scan and Analysis, and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the brainstorming sessions. Now, we are in the second phase: Strategy Formulation. At the workshop, the Board will apply strategic principles to the trends identified and define ICANN's core competencies and vision for the future. In addition, the Board will review the draft Operating Plan and Budget for fiscal year 2025, which are currently available for Public Comment.
- Board Efficiency: We will receive training on a new tool, called Nasdaq BoardVantage, which is aimed at enhancing the Board's efficiency and collaboration.
- Grant Program: The Board will receive an update on the ICANN Grant Program, which launched last week with the release of the Applicant Guide, in preparation for the opening of the first application cycle in March.
- Reviews: The Board's Organizational Effectiveness Committee will provide an analysis of the Public Comment proceeding for the Pilot Holistic Review Revised Draft Terms of Reference and recommend a path forward for the Pilot Holistic Review. The Board also will discuss the timing of the Fourth Accountability and Transparency Review (ATRT4), which is currently scheduled to start in April 2024. The Pilot Holistic Review may affect the timing of ATRT4 and the ongoing implementation of ATRT3 recommendations.
- RDRS: ICANN launched the Registration Data Request Service (RDRS) in November, and during the workshop, the Board will review the usage statistics for the service's first full month of operation.
- DNS Abuse: The Board will consider the proposed amendments to the registrar and registry contracts targeting DNS abuse, which the Contracted Parties voted to approve. Additionally, we will discuss eight pending pieces of advice from the At-Large Advisory Committee related to DNS abuse.
- Next Round: The Board will receive an update on the status of implementation of the New gTLD Program: Next Round, including the new governance model. We also will discuss the next steps in relation to issues such as auctions, closed generics, and limited challenges or appeals.
- Internet Governance: The ICANN organization (org) team will share an update on its strategy to address next year's review of the World Summit on the Information Society, which includes monitoring and reporting on the related discussions of the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations.
While in Montevideo, the Board will take the opportunity to meet with local ICANN org staff, as well as the board of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry. The Regional Internet Registries are essential to the secure and stable operation of the Internet, and we anticipate further strengthening our relationship with this key ecosystem partner.
Following the workshop, I will share an update on the outcomes and the decisions taken. I look forward to the year ahead, and the work that the Board, community, and org will do together in pursuit of our mission.