From 24 to 26 January 2020, the ICANN Board held its first workshop of the calendar year at ICANN’s Los Angeles, California, office. Holding our workshop in an ICANN office is a great opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between the Board and the ICANN org, so the Board welcomes and appreciates the change.
On Thursday, 23 January, we received a letter from the California Attorney General’s office asking questions regarding the proposed sale of Public Interest Registry (PIR). Our discussions on the PIR matter and the letter necessitated postponing a number of issues to our Board meeting in Cancún.
Most of Friday, 24 January, was dedicated to meetings of the Board’s various committees. Toward the end of the morning, we had a short meeting outside of the office with a number of people that had come to Los Angeles to express their concern over the proposed sale of PIR. We then had an opportunity to join the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council for lunch, where we discussed several topics, including Policy Development Process (PDP) 3.0.
To close out the day, the Board participated in a team-building exercise aimed at finding new ways of working together effectively and efficiently. As part of our commitment to remaining accountable to the community, it’s key that we continuously look for ways to improve our processes.
On Saturday, 25 January, following my opening remarks, we met with Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO, who briefed the Board on matters related to the organization. I encourage you to download and read the latest ICANN CEO Report to the Board, which provides a comprehensive overview of the various issues and projects that ICANN org is working on.
We were then provided with a progress report on the situation surrounding the proposed sale of PIR to Ethos Capital. The Board explored and discussed the key elements that must be considered when the Board is in a position to move forward and make a decision. After this, the org gave an update on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) and Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Operating Plan and Budget. The org also provided an update on the work being done surrounding the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including the implementation of the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) Phase 1 and the development of EPDP Phase 2.
For the final session of the day, the Board discussed how it will approach providing continuous updates to the ICANN Strategic Plan. We concluded that this should not be a lightweight exercise, but a more thorough, focused, and comprehensive review should be conducted periodically in case more fundamental changes are needed to the plan.
Sunday, 26 January, began with a Public Board meeting, the resolutions from which are provided down below. This was followed by a review of the Draft Report of the Third Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3), which was recently posted for Public Comment. We also reflected on how ATRT3’s work interrelates with other ongoing activities, such as community budget prioritization and more.
Vice-Chair León Sánchez then hosted a public session where the Board shepherds provided progress reports on the status of the Board’s operational priorities, such as optimizing the role of liaisons and rolling updates to the strategic plan. The day ended with a discussion about the workplan to improve the effectiveness of ICANN’s multistakeholder model of governance. We’re fully prepared to make progress on this effort but are also sensitive to the burden being placed on the community. We’ll continue to work towards finding a less intensive, more effective way forward.
Public Board Meeting
During the public Board meeting, a number of resolutions were passed, which you can view in full here, including the rationale for our decisions. I’d like to highlight a few:
- Voted to approve and adopt the final FY21 IANA Operating Plan and Budget. The Board Finance Committee (BFC) had previously taken into consideration the various public comments received and incorporated the necessary changes into the final version.
- Adopted a scorecard outlining the Board’s responses to the advice laid out in the Governmental Advisory Committee’s (GAC) Montréal Communiqué. The Board appreciates the progress that has been made in strengthening the collaboration between the Board and the GAC. This ensures that both sides are working from a common ground, so that the dialogue is well understood and useful responses can be given.
- Directed the ICANN President and CEO to commence implementation of the accepted recommendations from the Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice (CCT) Review’s Final Report.
- Requested that the country code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) and GNSO Councils take into account the Recommendations for the Technical Utilization of the Root Zone Label Generation Rules (RZ-LGR) as they develop their respective policies.
- Approved the delegation of two additional International Domain Name (IDN) country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), البحرين. ("albahrain") and .ລາວ ("Lao").The introduction of additional IDN ccTLDs into the root zone is an important step towards ensuring that the Internet is accessible to all stakeholders, regardless of their native language.
Immediately after the workshop, León and I attended a gathering of the Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee (SO/AC) chairs and representatives, where we discussed how to best address the cross-community coordination work being undertaken to improve ICANN’s multistakeholder model of governance. This was a great opportunity to explore new avenues and opportunities for collaboration and clear communication.
As always, this workshop was productive and spirited, and the conversations provided plenty of food for thought. With ICANN67 in Cancún already in sight, I look forward to seeing you all there, and keep an eye out for our preview of the next Board workshop.