Read ICANN Blogs to stay informed of the latest policymaking activities, regional events, and more.

Chair’s Blog: Wrapping up the Istanbul Workshop

17 May 2019
By Cherine Chalaby

In this blog, I share some of the more significant discussions from the ICANN Board workshop, which was held earlier this month in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as a summary of the key resolutions passed during the public Board meeting in Istanbul. I will also update you on three Board actions we have taken since the workshop.

Istanbul Workshop
We followed the agenda which was detailed in my preview blog, with one exception.

The open Board session regarding approval of the IDN v4 Guidelines that was planned for 2 May 2019 was postponed so that the Board can review and consider a request received by the GNSO Council on 30 April 2019 to review the policy implications prior to a decision being made. A new date and time for the IDN v4 Guidelines discussion will be announced.

Community Reception
While in Istanbul, we also had the pleasure of attending a reception with more than 40 community members.

During the Istanbul workshop, the Board continued our discussions on the Root Server System Advisory Committee's proposal for a DNS Root Server System (RSSAC037) governance model and recommendations for next steps on the Proposed Governance Model for the Root Server System (RSSAC038). As part of the ICANN Board’s consideration of RSSAC037 and RSSAC038, ICANN org, working with the Board Technical Committee, prepared a “Concept Paper on a Community-Driven Process to Develop a Final Model Based on RSSAC037” that outlines a community-driven process to finalize a cooperation and governance model for the Root Server System, based on the recommendations in RSSAC037. This effort will be led by the Root Server System Governance Working Group (GWG), to be composed of nine invited representatives, including two from the Registry Stakeholder Group. As a next step in this evolution process, the Board directed ICANN org to publish RSSAC037, the Concept Paper, draft charter and draft GWG documents for Public Comment.

FY20 Operating Plan & Budget
The Board adopted the FY20 Operating Plan & Budget after conducting a final review of the public comments.

FY21 – FY25 Operating and Financial Plan
The Board reviewed the framework document for the Operating and Financial Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025. This document will be posted for Public Comment at the beginning of June, and following this, the framework will be developed into a comprehensive draft plan that will be posted for a second Public Comment period by December 2019. A detailed Operating Plan & Budget for the first year of the plan (i.e. Fiscal Year 2021) will also be posted for Public Comment in December 2019 so that the community can review the two documents together, and within the context of the Strategic Plan.

Strengthening ICANN's Multistakeholder Model of Governance
The Board received an update on the progress made in developing a Governance Plan to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of our multistakeholder model. We appreciate the participation of the SO/AC leadership thus far, and want to encourage everyone to participate in the open public comment on this topic, which closes 4 June 2019.

Board Resolutions
On 3 May 2019, we held a public Board meeting and passed several resolutions, including:

Board Actions since the Istanbul Workshop
On 15 May, we held a Board meeting and passed the following three resolutions:

1- Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data
During the Istanbul workshop, the Board had an extensive discussion of the recommendations presented by the EPDP team. On 15 May, following the workshop, the ICANN Board adopted all the recommendations, apart from portions of two recommendations.

The Board action is in the best interests of ICANN and the community and will serve the global public interest by allowing ICANN and gTLD registry operators and registrars to continue to comply with existing ICANN contractual requirements and community-developed policies concerning gTLD registration data (including WHOIS) in light of the GDPR. More detail is available in the Board Resolution and the accompanying Rationale and scorecard. The Board has adopted twenty-seven of the twenty-nine recommendations in the Final Report. The Board did not adopt two of the recommendations in full, where the Board has identified that portions of those recommendations are not in the best interests of the ICANN Community or ICANN and is initiating the consultation process between the Board and the GNSO Council. This concerns recommendation #1, purpose 2 and recommendation #12, deletion of data in the Organization field.

The Board is grateful for the efforts of the EPDP Team and the GNSO Council. We are aware that significant work still remains, both in the context of the implementation of these recommendations as well as phase 2, and look forward to a successful conclusion.

In Istanbul, the Board reviewed the history of the .AMAZON applications, from the development of the Applicant Guidebook to the present state of discussions with ACTO member states and the Amazon corporation. The Board had a discussion about whether it needed any additional inputs or information prior to taking a decision on the .AMAZON applications in line with the 10 March 2019 resolution, and agreed that it would be ready to move forward to a decision on the .AMAZON applications in light of the Amazon corporation’s 17 April 2019 proposal.

On 15 May 2019, the ICANN Board took action in accordance with the process established in the resolution adopted on 10 March 2019 and in recognition of all input received, directing ICANN org to continue processing the .AMAZON applications toward delegation.

The Board has taken this action in accordance with the process established in the resolution adopted on 10 March 2019, and in recognition of all input received relating to the applications. The Board recognizes the need to balance the concerns of all those involved, and to act fairly and transparently.

The Board is also cognizant that seven years has passed since the .AMAZON applications were originally submitted. And, since the Amazon corporation prevailed in its Independent Review Process against ICANN in July 2017, the ICANN Board and org have engaged with the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), and the Amazon corporation to find a mutually acceptable solution, as evidenced by the many meetings, proposals, and letters received on the topic over the past few years.

The Board believed that its March 2019 resolution, allowing a further short period of time before the Board made a final decision about whether to move toward delegation of the .AMAZON applications, was appropriate and in line with requests by ACTO member states. The Board remained hopeful that additional time could lead to a mutually acceptable solution regarding those applications. However, the ACTO and the Amazon corporation were unable to come to a mutually acceptable solution or agree on an extension of time for continued discussions.

The next step in the process is to publish the Public Interest Commitments (PICs), as proposed by the Amazon corporation, for a 30-day public comment period, per the established procedures of the New gTLD program.

3- Consideration of GAC Advice: Kobe Communiqué
The Board passed a resolution approving a scorecard that includes the Board’s response to the GAC advice contained in the Kobe GAC Communiqué. The Board took action on all items in the Kobe Communiqué, including the items related to WHOIS and data protection legislation and the ICANN Board’s Consideration of the CCT Review Recommendations. The Board also took action on one item from the San Juan Communiqué which was previously deferred.

For more details about the Board Meetings and a complete list of resolutions passed, please see the Board Page. Preliminary Reports and Minutes of all ICANN Board Meetings are available here.

The Board will hold its next workshop from June 21-23, in Marrakech, Morocco, ahead of ICANN65.


Cherine Chalaby

Former ICANN Board Chair