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Chair's Blog: Recap of the Board's April to May Workshop

13 May 2021

On Friday, 30 April, following our dialogue with ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby, Becky Burr provided an update on the implementation of the recommendations included in the Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice (CCT) Review Team Final Report. As explained in this blog, the report contains several pass-through recommendations, and the Board continues to monitor the ICANN community's implementation efforts.

Afterward, Matthew Shears presented the key trends identified by us during the Board's Strategic Outlook Trend Identification session held during our ICANN70 workshop. The ICANN Board then reflected on its responses as compared to the responses from across ICANN. It is important that the Board understands how its thinking aligns with the community's perception on key issues, especially as we consider updates to ICANN's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025.

Next, we started on Saturday, 1 May with a discussion about how to scope the Operational Design Phase (ODP) for the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures (SubPro) Policy Development Process (PDP) recommendations that were approved by the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council. Last month, we launched the first ODP to better understand different aspects regarding the System for Standardized Access/Disclosure (SSAD) that we need to consider before moving forward. Expanding the root zone of the Domain Name System (DNS) with more top-level domains (TLDs) will undoubtedly be a significant undertaking that is directly related to our core mission of providing a secure and stable unique identifier system. An ODP will provide us with a clear understanding of the resource requirements, potential impacts, and will enable the Board to make a fully informed decision.

During our second session of the day, Danko Jevtović and Becky Burr led a session focused on the prioritization framework that is being developed by the ICANN organization (org). The Board recognizes that ICANN's resources are finite. We have started the discussion on what resource increases will be needed for ICANN organization org to be able to do the work that needs to continue, as well as the new work that we are to decide in the coming months. Having a clear, transparent framework for how ICANN org prioritizes its available resources to achieve its objectives is an important step in further maturing our processes, especially with the amount of policy actions and review recommendations awaiting implementation and with more on the way.

On the final day of the workshop, Sunday, 2 May, we began with a conversation about the Governmental Advisory Committee's (GAC) ICANN70 Communiqué. The Board is keen on better understanding the intent of the advice provided in the GAC's meeting communiqués. We want to consider the different aspects that are touched upon, so that we can benefit from the advice and decide on the issues related to the advice in a well-informed way.  

Next, Vice Chair León Sánchez led a session preparing the Board for this year's update of its operational priorities. The Board's operational priorities complement its activities in support of the community and its oversight role. The process of developing these priorities aims to improve the Board's contribution to the ICANN ecosystem in pursuit of our its joint mission. Deliverables relating to Board operational priorities are formulated to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. We will continue to keep you informed on our operational priorities and progress as we move along.

The workshop ended with a feedback session, which gave us a moment to reflect on how we can improve our collaboration and leverage any successes for future workshops. Like the community, the Board has faced difficulties in developing schedules that work across so many time zones. While the Board is eager to meet again in-person, the format and timing of the virtual workshops have given us a unique perspective on how we get work done as a team. This unusual time has given us ideas for how future workshops will be structured and how to make the best possible use of the tools we have learned to appreciate.

With ICANN71 already on the horizon, I'll soon share a preview of our next Board workshop. Until then, I wish you all the best, wherever you are. Keep healthy and safe.


Maarten Botterman

Maarten Botterman

ICANN Board Member