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Chair’s Blog: Preview of June Board Workshop

7 June 2021

Work in the ICANN ecosystem builds on more than 20 years of practice, and we continue to learn every day. To ensure future effectiveness, we must continuously evolve and improve the way we get things done together. As explicitly noted by the third Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3), we should prioritize our commitment to improving our work methods. Several initiatives have already contributed to this, including the Policy Development Process 3.0 (PDP3.0) project, the Consensus Playbook, the evolution of the multistakeholder model initiative, and many others. Now we are preparing major new initiatives, such as the proposed launch of a new round of generic top-level domains (gTLDs), building a System for Standard Access/Disclosure to Non-Public Registration Data (SSAD), and addressing Domain Name System (DNS) security threats. When all of us – Community, Board, and Organization – commit to the same mission, we will be successful. These initiatives are a worthy challenge to unite around.

As part of the Board's commitment to transparency and accountability, I would like to share with you our focus for the upcoming Board workshop. It will take place from 10 to 12 June in between the ICANN71 Prep Week and the ICANN71 Virtual Policy Forum. We have several issues to examine, and we are all looking forward to seeing each other again, albeit virtually. We are finding that, while the virtual environment has tested us, the new ways of collaborating that we are exploring will continue to improve our effectiveness even after the pandemic has faded. For those who have not yet, you can read my recap of our recent May workshop. Here are our priorities for our upcoming workshop:

Thursday 10 June

On Thursday, I will officially kick-off the ninth virtual Board workshop since our last face-to-face meeting in Los Angeles in January 2020. The first agenda item is a dialogue with ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby.

Following that session, Kaveh Ranjbar and Danko Jevtović will facilitate a session on the Final Report of the second Security and Stability Review (SSR2). The issues identified in the Final Report are at the core of our commitment to protect the security and stability of the Internet. We have set up a series of sessions to ensure that all the aspects of the recommendations are considered thoroughly prior to the Board's formal action on the Final Report prior to 25 July.

Friday 11 June

To prepare for ICANN71, we will receive policy briefings and updates on the issues that are being discussed among the community. A core issue that will be the subject of one of the ICANN71 plenaries is the effort to enhance the effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model. This work, which is essential to ensure that the multistakeholder model continues to support ICANN's mission, leverages the best practices in different constituencies to help the processes work better for all. Mandla Msimang and Matthew Shears will facilitate a discussion to prepare our resolution in support of these efforts.

Becky Burr and Theresa Swinehart, ICANN Senior Vice President of Global Domains and Strategy, will update the Board on the development of the Operational Design Phase (ODP) currently assessing the SSAD proposal. The ODP provides us with a more purposeful and transparent deliberation process. It will help us make informed decisions, and, at the same time, make it clear to the community how we arrived at those decisions.

After that, Becky and Theresa will brief the Board on the European Union's Revised Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS2) and its potential implications for areas within ICANN's remit.

Saturday 12 June

High on ICANN's agenda are discussions over launching a new round of gTLDs. Avri Doria will facilitate a conversation about the community's policy and planning work around launching a next round. It will be important to get a good understanding of its implementation options, feasibility, costs, and impacts. To support this effort, the Board is also considering launching an ODP for a new gTLD round.

While many new activities are beginning, it is equally important for us to monitor what is already underway. Avri will facilitate a discussion on the progress of implementation of various Work Stream 2 accountability commitments.

The last item on our workshop agenda is a session facilitated by León Sánchez focusing on the Board's fiscal year 2022 (FY22) operational priorities. You can watch a video of our conversation about this process here. The Board divides its work into blocks of responsibility to focus our efforts. Within these blocks, we set specific operational priorities where we see opportunities to support ICANN's mission within our Bylaws-mandated responsibilities. As I detailed in last year's update, the operational priorities are a living list, and part of a continual reassessment and ongoing discussion. The resulting priorities and deliverables will be actioned in our September workshop, and we will update the community on our planned lines of activity at that point.

In addition to the June Board workshop, we have other important activities which I would like to highlight:

  • The week after ICANN71, the Board will meet with various stakeholder groups. All are welcome to attend these sessions, although the interaction will be limited to members of specific stakeholder groups. These sessions help us to ensure a more common understanding of the issues we are facing, including the perspectives of specific stakeholder groups within ICANN.
  • The Board is also reviewing the Final Declaration of the Independent Review Process (IRP) decision on the .WEB issue. We will carefully consider and take appropriate actions resulting from the panel's opinion.

All of this would not be possible without the continued dedication of all of us, the Community, Organization, and Board. Throughout the pandemic, my colleagues and I have seen that the number of hours spent to get things done often increases; this may be because we do not have the advantage of gathering around a coffee machine, or even having hallway chats, through which we could quickly reach consensus on the best ways forward. We also see an increased demand for flexibility to accommodate the many requests for our time and attention. Many of you will have experienced similar challenges. We are grateful for your continued commitment – ICANN cannot function without you. Let us keep our work moving forward together, remembering that we all share one mission for the Internet.

I am sorry I will be unable to welcome you to my city of birth, The Hague, at ICANN71, but I hope and trust this will be possible in June 2022. In the meantime, I look forward to a constructive time together at our second Virtual Policy Forum.


Maarten Botterman

Maarten Botterman

ICANN Board Member