In December 2019, the draft Five-Year Operating and Financial Plan and draft Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Budget were submitted to the ICANN community for Public Comment. Both plans were the subject of broad participation and engagement from the ICANN community, and we want to thank everyone who submitted their feedback and thoughts on these drafts.
Since concluding the Public Comment process, quite a lot has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound economic impact on the world, and as a result, ICANN expects that its planned activities and financial position for both the remainder of FY20 and FY21 will be significantly impacted.
While it is difficult to predict long-term economic impacts, ICANN, as a steward of public funds, has a responsibility to ensure that its activities are planned with absolute fiscal responsibility. Following its assessment, ICANN org acted quickly and responsibly to revise its plans, with the goal of ensuring that they take into account this new reality and the uncertainties of our rapidly changing world.
ICANN org and the Board are fundamentally committed to being accountable and transparent to the ICANN community. With only a short period of time available between the revision of the plans and the Board’s adoption on 5 May 2020, both ICANN org and the Board acknowledge and regret that it was not possible to submit the revised plans for Public Comment.
Instead, ahead of the Board’s decision, ICANN org published the proposed plans and organized two informational webinars to explain the changes made to the draft plans, answer questions, and collect input. These webinars were aimed at mitigating the absence of a Public Comment period. We are thankful to the community for the high level of participation and engagement during these two webinars.
Given these circumstances, the Board and the org believe that we have acted in the public’s best interest by adopting these revised plans. The changes that ICANN org has made are necessary at this time to ensure that ICANN is capable of fulfilling its mission and Bylaws-mandated responsibilities.
We want to assure you, the community, that in these challenging circumstances, the Board remains committed to being transparent and accountable, and hope that you’ll be understanding of the rationale behind this decision.
Now, more than ever, we – the org, Board and community – must stand together and be responsible, agile, and efficient in responding to the needs of the wider Internet community in our quickly changing world.