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Chair’s Blog: Recap of the March Board Workshop and ICANN76

27 March 2023

After ICANN76, the first hybrid Community Forum since before the start of the global pandemic, I assume many participants are feeling the way I am now – optimistic, energized, and ready to take on the next challenge.

During the public Board Meeting, the ICANN Board adopted 98 recommendations contained in the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process Final Report. This sets in motion the implementation process for the next round of new gTLD applications. The Board directed the ICANN Organization (Org) to deliver a comprehensive implementation plan by 1 August 2023, pending the satisfactory completion of four deliverables from the Community by 15 June.

The Board also accepted the status of the implementation of recommendations from the Second Organizational Review of the Nominating Committee (NomCom) and directed ICANN Org to initiate a Bylaws Amendment Process to implement four recommendations. These recommendations call for NomCom members to serve two-year terms, instead of one year; for all NomCom members to be able to vote, except for leadership; and for the creation of a NomCom Standing Committee to promote continuity from year to year. The recommendations also call for three of the eight Board seats appointed by the NomCom to be designated for "Unaffiliated Directors." These proposed Bylaws amendments will be posted for Public Comment, alongside a proposed statement defining "Unaffiliated Directors" and a draft NomCom Standing Committee charter.

The Board also acknowledged the NomCom Review Implementation Working Group's position that rebalancing the seats on the NomCom is not feasible at this time and directed ICANN Org to facilitate Board engagement with the Community on the matter.

In addition, the Board said farewell to Manal Ismail, who has served as the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Liaison to the Board since 2017. Thank you, Manal, for your six years of faithful service to the Board. To fill the role of GAC Liaison, the Board welcomed newly elected GAC Chair Nico Caballero.

Before ICANN76, we held a three-day Board Workshop to prepare for the meeting and to dive deep into some of the more complex issues facing ICANN. Here are areas where the Board advanced our work during the workshop and during ICANN76:

  • ICANN's Next CEO: The Board's CEO Search Committee held its first listening session with the Community, during which participants shared thoughtful input on the future of ICANN and what we need in a leader. If you didn't get a chance to provide input, please email ceosearch2023@icann.org or visit our webpage for information on future listening sessions.
  • Registration Data Request Service: ICANN Org shared its implementation plan for the WHOIS Disclosure System, now called the Registration Data Request Service, which it is aiming to launch by November. During the Board's joint session with the GAC, the committee raised concerns regarding use of the service by law enforcement. The Board wishes to clarify that the approved resolution is not meant to exclude law enforcement authorities from submitting requests. While the Board understands that some law enforcement authorities may go directly to registrars and registries with court orders and other legal tools to request nonpublic gTLD registration data, law enforcement requests must be considered in the same manner as other legitimate requests for registration data, such as from government agencies, intellectual property professionals, and security researchers.
  • DNS Abuse: During the workshop, ICANN Org gave an update on its negotiations with the contracted parties to add obligations to both the Base gTLD Registry Agreement and 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement intended to mitigate or disrupt registrations engaged in DNS abuse. The Contracted Parties House (CPH) DNS Abuse Group also shared an update with the Community during an open session at ICANN76.

    Defining specific improvements to the existing obligations in the agreements can become an important building block in further mitigating DNS abuse, enabling the Community to evaluate if additional obligations are needed. ICANN Org and CPH have said they are optimistic that they will have proposed amendments to publish for Public Comment before ICANN77.

As I said during the ICANN76 Welcome Ceremony, ICANN is at an inflection point. We are facing mounting pressure in this evolving Internet-based world order, but I can see that the ICANN Community is committed to our mission and ready to face the challenges ahead. During the listening session, as well as the plenary sessions on current geopolitical trends and the 2025 World Summit on the Information Society review, Community members asked tough questions and provided valuable insights on ICANN's position in the Internet ecosystem and the world.

Let's embark together on the work ahead and embrace the unique and diverse perspectives across our Community. Next, I hope you will join ICANN and the Universal Acceptance Steering Group at the first-ever UA Day. Nearly 50 events are planned in 40 countries on or around 28 March. Visit the event website to find an event near you!


Tripti Sinha

Tripti Sinha

ICANN Board Chair