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Chair’s Blog: September Board Workshop Preview

6 September 2023

As we approach ICANN's 25th Annual General Meeting in October, the ICANN Board of Directors comes together this week to advance our work in key areas, including the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program: Next Round.

The Board Workshop takes place 8–10 September in Istanbul, Republic of Türkiye. While there, the Board will have the opportunity to meet with ICANN organization (org) staff at the Istanbul Regional Office, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Here are a few highlights from the agenda:

Next Round of New gTLDs: Launching the next new gTLD application round is a top priority for the Board. As I shared in my last blog, the Board accepted the ICANN org's implementation plan in July. During the workshop, the Board will continue to work through the pending recommendations, including those related to Public Interest Commitments and Registry Voluntary Commitments, as well as appeal mechanisms.

Registration Data Request Service: The Board will receive a demonstration of the Registration Data Request Service, a new ticketing system for requests for access to nonpublic gTLD registration data. The service is on track to launch in late November, but registrars will have early access starting this month.

DNS Abuse: The Board will review the results of the Public Comment proceeding on the proposed contract amendments that would enhance the obligations of registrars and registry operators to stop or otherwise disrupt Domain Name System (DNS) abuse. The ICANN org team is reviewing the feedback and consulting with the contracted parties to finalize the amendments. Once finalized, eligible registrars and registries will hold a vote on the proposed amendments.

The ICANN org will also present a proposed approach to resolving pending recommendations from the Second Security, Stability, and Resiliency of the DNS Review and the Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice Review related to DNS abuse.

Reviews: The Board will consider feedback received on proposed Bylaws amendments pertaining to the Nominating Committee (NomCom), resulting from the recommendations of the Second NomCom Review. Based on community input, including the Public Comment proceeding, the Board will discuss the next steps on the recommendations relating to the definition of Unaffiliated Directors and the rebalancing of the NomCom.

CEO Search: The CEO Search Committee will update the Board on its progress in Phase 2 of the search process, which includes the selection of an executive recruiting firm.

Environmental Sustainability: The Board will hold a session on ICANN's environmental sustainability strategy. We will discuss the elements that are in scope for the effort and the approach to ensure fulsome community input on the proposed plan.

FY26–30 Strategic Plan: Another essential topic on our agenda is the ICANN Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2026–2030. The process to develop the next five-year plan will begin soon, and we have planned a timely discussion on the ideal characteristics to include in this next plan. We will start by reviewing the structure and elements of the current Strategic Plan as well as the Operating Plan to establish a cohesive linkage between the two.

Pilot Holistic Review: The Board's Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) will brief the Board on the latest version of the Pilot Holistic Review Draft Terms of Reference. The OEC also will brief the Board on the Reviews Risk Assessment and present proposed mitigation approaches.

Internal Audit Function: The Board will analyze and discuss a recommendation from the Board Audit Committee to establish an internal audit function.

The September workshop is always a time of complex transitions as we begin the first of many steps of handoff between current and incoming colleagues. The Generic Names Supporting Organization has selected Chris Buckridge to take the seat currently filled by Matthew Shears, and the NomCom announced that it has selected Catherine Nyaki Adeya to take the seat currently filled by Avri Doria.

After the Board Workshop, the Board Governance Committee will convene to begin the leadership and Board committee slating process ahead of the ICANN78 Annual General Meeting in Hamburg, Germany, where we will officially welcome our two new colleagues. We are very grateful for the deep contributions and engagement of Avri and Matthew over the many years they have served as members of the ICANN Board.

The workshop will conclude with a Board Meeting, for which the agenda is available on the Board Activities and Meetings page. After the workshop, I will share another update on our progress and the decisions taken. For now, don't forget to register for ICANN78!


Tripti Sinha

Tripti Sinha

ICANN Board Chair