Last month, the ICANN Board of Directors traveled to Montevideo, Uruguay, for our January Board Workshop.
During the workshop, which took place 19–21 January, the Board made progress in several areas of our work. The gathering concluded with a Regular Board Meeting, during which the Board passed several resolutions, including:
- Approving the contract amendments aimed at combating Domain Name System abuse. The Board thanks the contracted parties and the ICANN organization (org) team for their efforts on this important initiative.
- Approving the initiation of a Fundamental Bylaws Amendment to describe how access to ICANN's accountability mechanisms will be limited in certain circumstances. The proposed amendment will be posted for Public Comment.
- Confirming the composition of the inaugural Independent Review Process Standing Panel, which consists of 12 members selected by the ICANN community.
- Responding to the Governmental Advisory Committee's (GAC) ICANN78 Hamburg Communiqué, which included accepting the GAC's advice that closed generic applications not be permitted in the next new generic top-level domain (gTLD) application round.
For details on these and other approved resolutions, visit the Board Activities and Meetings page.
Here is an overview of the main takeaways from the Board Workshop:
Next Round: The Board received an update on the implementation of the New gTLD Program: Next Round and tackled several outstanding dependencies. As I have informed the At-Large Advisory Committee and GAC chairs, the Board determined that closed generic top-level domain applications will not be permitted until there is an approved methodology and criteria to evaluate whether a proposed closed domain is in the public interest. We also planned for the ICANN79 plenary session that is part of the community consultation on Public Interest Commitments and Registry Voluntary Commitments. Additionally, the Board considered the resolution of contention sets in the context of the GAC's advice on this topic and asked the program team to further explore the options to help inform the Board in its consideration.
Reviews: In response to the Board Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) briefing, the Board agreed in concept to proceed with the Pilot Holistic Review, provided that the OEC gives the Pilot Holistic Review Team additional guidance via the Terms of Reference. Next, ICANN will initiate a community consultation on the timing of the Fourth Review of Accountability and Transparency to ensure efficient use of community resources.
Internet Governance: ICANN org staff presented ICANN's plan to follow up and prepare for next year's World Summit on the Information Society review. The plan, including how ICANN community members can participate, will be presented at ICANN79 during the Geopolitical, Legislative, and Regulatory Developments Update session.
Budget: The Board reviewed the financial forecast for the remainder of fiscal year 2024 (FY24) and the draft FY25 budget, which has been published for Public Comment. We discussed various options to address the growing financial pressures on ICANN.
Planning: The Board is in the process of developing a new five-year Strategic Plan. As part of the Strategy Formulation Phase, the Board's Strategic Planning Committee led a discussion of the draft vision statement for fiscal years 2026–30. The Board is committed to involving the community in this process and is eager to provide a progress update and invite feedback during ICANN79.
Community Engagement: We discussed improving Board-community interactions during ICANN Public Meetings and agreed to continue to summarize our bilateral meetings with community groups in the post-meeting Policy Outcomes Reports. The Board will also hold an ICANN79 Prep Week session that will feature different breakout rooms hosted by Board members to discuss specific topics with the community.
Delegation of Authority: We reviewed the Board Governance Committee's proposed amendments to ICANN's Delegation of Authority Guidelines. They detail the responsibilities of the Board, those that the Board has delegated to the President and CEO, as well as those shared by the Board and CEO.
While in Montevideo, we also met with the board of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry. Together, we held a productive discussion on how to make the Regional Internet Registries more resilient to prepare for natural disasters and other unforeseen events.
The next time the Board meets in person, we will be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in March for the ICANN79 Community Forum. I hope to see you there in person or online!