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Chair’s Blog: September Board Workshop Recap

26 September 2023

I'm pleased to report that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board of Directors held another successful workshop this month. We met in Istanbul, Republic of Türkiye, to discuss the most pressing issues before ICANN, including the search for ICANN's next CEO and Domain Name System (DNS) abuse.

The workshop concluded with a Regular Board Meeting, during which we passed several resolutions. Here are the highlights of what we discussed and acted on:

Next Round of New gTLDs: The Board passed a resolution on a set of pending recommendations from the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process Final Report. We approved seven recommendations; approved 11 recommendations with clarifying statements from the Generic Names Supporting Organization; and did not adopt six recommendations because we determined they are not in the best interest of ICANN. This action marks significant progress on several issues and paves the way for the ICANN organization (org) to incorporate the newly approved recommendations in its continuing implementation work.

Registration Data Request Service: The ICANN org team gave the Board a demonstration of the new Registration Data Request Service. ICANN-accredited registrars have received early access to the RDRS beginning this month, allowing them to become familiar with the service and prepare for incoming requests.

Strategic Planning: The Board has launched the strategic planning process for fiscal years 2026–2030. Led by the Board Strategic Planning Committee, the process will result in a new five-year ICANN Strategic Plan. To ensure that we develop the best possible strategy for ICANN's future, we encourage members of the ICANN community and the wider Internet ecosystem to participate in the process.

ICANN Grant Program: The Board continued the discussion on the recommendation of the Cross-Community Working Group on Auction Proceeds that ICANN's accountability mechanisms should not be used for individual grant application decisions.

DNS Abuse: ICANN org briefed the Board on the status of proposed contract amendments to enhance obligations for registrars and registry operators to stop or otherwise disrupt DNS abuse. The next step in the process will be a vote by the contracted parties on whether to approve the amendments.

The Board also considered several pending community recommendations related to DNS abuse. We determined that many of the issues raised have already been addressed in some way, including by ICANN's multifaceted DNS Security Threat Mitigation Program.

NomCom: The Board took action on several recommendations of the Second Review of the Nominating Committee (NomCom), approving the proposed Standard Bylaws amendments that apply to the composition and terms of the NomCom, the implementation of the NomCom Standing Committee, and the manner of selection of the Root Server System Advisory Committee. The Board also directed its Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) to develop a plan within six months to address the issue of Unaffiliated Directors.

ICANN President and CEO Search: The Board's CEO Search Committee provided an update on the status of the search process. Progress on this matter will be posted on the Search Committee webpage.

ICANN Ombudsman: In light of the ICANN Ombudsman's resignation, effective 30 September 2023, the Board established a temporary committee to facilitate the search for the next Ombudsman. On behalf of the Board, I thank Herb Waye for his many years of service with ICANN's Office of the Ombudsman.

The Board understands the importance of providing the ICANN community with uninterrupted access to an Ombudsman and has appointed Krista Papac to be the Interim Ombudsman. The Board believes that Krista's breadth of experience and her current role as ICANN's Complaints Officer make her well-suited to serve as Interim Ombudsman, and we thank Krista for agreeing to take on this interim role. As the Interim Ombudsman, Krista will report to the Board to ensure that the confidentiality and independence of the Ombudsman Office are maintained.

Reviews: The Board determined that the Pilot Holistic Review Revised Draft Terms of Reference should be posted for Public Comment as soon as feasible. Having been briefed on the Reviews-related risks, the Board discussed the timing of the next Accountability and Transparency Review, noting that the Bylaws-mandated start of April 2024 requires further consideration. We discussed the utility of assessing the effectiveness of ICANN's Specific Reviews to gain an understanding of the benefits and impacts of prior review outcomes. The OEC will investigate possible options.

Internal Audit Function: The Board reviewed and discussed a proposal from ICANN org to create an internal audit function. The Board welcomed this initiative and requested an update at the next opportunity.

Environmental Sustainability: The Board discussed creating an environmental sustainability strategy for ICANN, which is one of the ICANN CEO's goals for fiscal year 2024 (FY24). ICANN serves the global public interest and has the potential to promote sustainable development by increasing awareness, sharing data, and collaborating with the community.

CEO Goals: In addition to the environmental sustainability goal, the Board approved 12 other performance goals for the ICANN President and CEO in FY24. Each year, the Board works with the CEO and the Executive team to set goals based on the organization's current challenges and needs. Look for Interim President and CEO Sally Costerton's forthcoming blog for details on these goals.

Now, the Board is focused on preparing for next month's ICANN78 Annual General Meeting. I look forward to engaging with the community and further advancing our work on these important issues.


Tripti Sinha

Tripti Sinha

ICANN Board Chair