It is my privilege to announce that on 12 June 2022, the ICANN Board approved the recommendations of the Cross-Community Working Group on New gTLD Auction Proceeds (CCWG-AP).
Through this action, the Board accepts the ICANN Community's recommendations and looks to the ICANN Organization (Org) to start a new phase of work: design, planning, and implementing an ICANN grant-giving program. Through this program, millions of dollars will be delivered to projects around the world to support the global interoperability, reliability, and security of the Internet's unique identifiers.
This decision materializes the Board's long-standing promise to the Community that disbursement of the auction proceeds would be done in line with Community-developed proposals. The CCWG-AP was tasked with delivering proposals to the Board for how the proceeds accrued from the auctions of last resort in the 2012 New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program should be distributed. The Community devoted years of work to reach consensus recommendations, which form the basis of a grant-making program that has the potential to positively impact the Internet ecosystem and people across the world in furtherance of ICANN's mission.
The Board looks forward to Org developing a program in line with the Community's recommendations.
At the Board's request, ICANN Org conducted an assessment of the CCWG-AP recommendations for our consideration. The assessment examined the content of the recommendations, related CCWG-AP rationales and descriptions, CCWG-AP implementation guidance, and Community participation and approaches to conflicts of interests. The recommendations were assessed against the list of Board Principles submitted to the CCWG-AP, as well as the Board and Executives' legal and fiduciary duties over the proceeds. This groundwork allowed the Board to take action on the recommendations and also will enable us to move efficiently through implementation planning.
The Board has requested that a preliminary implementation plan and preliminary timeline be delivered within 120 days of our resolution. We also have requested that the ICANN President and CEO regularly report to the Community and the Board on the status of implementation planning and design. We anticipate that Board and Community input will be needed as the design and implementation progresses.
On behalf of the Board, I extend sincere gratitude and appreciation to members and participants of the CCWG-AP who dedicated their time to developing proposals that align with ICANN's mission and meet the legal and fiduciary requirements that must guide this work. I particularly want to thank the Co-Chairs Erika Mann and Ching Chiao, who guided this work over many meetings and time zones. I had the great opportunity to witness the dedication and professionality of the CCWG-AP in my role as Board Liaison and very much enjoyed my time working with the group on this important project. I also extend my thanks to my fellow liaisons, Becky Burr, Sarah Deutsch, and Danko Jevtović, for their time and expertise in supporting this work.
While there is still much work to be done, this action represents a key moment for ICANN of which we all – Community, Board, and Org – can be proud.