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Enhancing Predictability and Transparency: Policy Implementation Webpage and Calendar Now Live

14 July 2015
By Cyrus Namazi

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The policies that apply to generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are developed through the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) policy development process, which often represents several months of work, consideration, and discussion in the stakeholder community. When a new policy completes that process and is approved by the ICANN Board of Directors, the ICANN staff then puts those policy recommendations into practice – what is referred to as "policy implementation."

After consulting with the community and the Policy/Implementation Non-PDP Working Group, ICANN developed a set of resources to help streamline and communicate how we implement Consensus Policies, including a standard policy implementation framework and policy change calendar system. These resources will be housed on the new policy implementation status and resources page, which is now live. The processes and resources will likely evolve over time, but mark an exciting first step toward enhancing the transparency, accountability and predictability of ICANN's implementation of Consensus Policy recommendations.

Specifics about the new standard policy implementation framework and policy change calendar system are below. ICANN will review these resources in one year to determine if any updates are needed.

Implementation Framework

First, ICANN has standardized the process that Global Domains Division staff follow when implementing GNSO Consensus Policy recommendations that have been approved by the ICANN Board of Directors.

This new implementation framework (https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/gdd-consensus-policy-implementation-framework-31may15-en.pdf) is intended to provide additional transparency surrounding the processes that staff use to implement a policy, and to enhance predictability surrounding the implementation process and timeline.

ICANN also launched a new implementation status page that will allow the community to track the anticipated path of an implementation effort from the time a policy development process launches in the GNSO, until a consensus policy is fully implemented and, if applicable, reviewed down the road. The page provides projected timeframes for each project's anticipated effective date, which will become more accurate over time as a policy project nears the Board approval and implementation stage.

Policy Change Calendar System

Additionally, starting today, ICANN will bundle the effective dates for new Consensus Policies into groups. The groups' effective dates will be announced at least six months apart, to give contracted parties time to prepare for each group of changes before the next round of new requirements goes into effect.

For example, ICANN could announce on 1 February that a new group of policy implementations is scheduled to go into effect (announcements of new policy requirements are posted on ICANN.org and sent as notifications to the relevant contracted parties). Following the standard policy change calendar's six-month implementation window, each new policy in this group would go into effect on 1 August. This would give contracted parties a full six months to prepare to comply with the new requirements of each policy in the group. After this period has passed, the official announcement for the next group will go out, with its effective date six months from the announcement.

These groupings will be assigned based on a variety of factors, including the time of the policies' completion and the total estimated level of effort that the new requirements will place on contracted parties.

If implementation details are ready before the planned announcement date, ICANN staff will share the details with the community beforehand to provide even more time to prepare. All details about the implementations and projections about upcoming change cycles will be posted on the new implementation status page (https://www.icann.org/policy/implementation).

A full description of ICANN's Policy Change Calendar is available at: http://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/gdd-policy-change-calendar-13may15-en.pdf

Continual Improvement

We welcome your input on these processes at any time, and urge you to share your experiences and suggestions for improvement when these processes are reviewed in 2016. Share your ideas by emailing gdd-implementation@icann.org.


Cyrus Namazi