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ICANN Preparing to Launch the Pilot Holistic Review

25 April 2022
By Avri Doria

The Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) of the ICANN Board is responsible for leading the ICANN Board's review and oversight in several areas, such as the organizational and specific reviews mandated by the Bylaws.

The Final Report of the Third Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3) includes five recommendations made of 15 components, one of them being the setting of a recurring Holistic Review. The ATRT3 states that the scope of the Holistic Review will be to review "the continuous improvement efforts of Supporting Organizations (SO), Advisory Committees (AC) and Nominating Committee (NC) based on good practices; the effectiveness of the various inter-SO/AC/NC collaboration mechanisms; the accountability of SO/ACs or constituent parts to their members and constituencies, as well as to review SO/AC/NC as a whole to determine if they continue to have a purpose in the ICANN structure or if any changes in structures and operations are desirable to improve the overall effectiveness of ICANN as well as ensure optimal representation of community views."

Subject to prioritization and available resources, the Board directed ICANN org to initiate the first Holistic Review as a pilot to be operated pursuant to community-agreed upon Terms of Reference (TOR) and relevant elements of the Operating Standards for Specific Reviews.

The OEC discussed how to progress the pilot Holistic Review in a timely manner during their November and December 2021 meetings. In early 2022, on behalf of the OEC, I reached out to the former ATRT3 shepherds and asked about their willingness and availability to work with the OEC on developing the TOR for the pilot Holistic Review. Several questions and issues have been raised during discussions with the SOs and ACs that may need to be addressed in the TOR, including the degree, if any, to which internal SO and AC structures are subject to a Holistic Review; the consideration of the roles and responsibilities of the various SOs, ACs, stakeholder groups, constituencies, and structures with respect to each other; the consideration of any activities already ongoing for continuous improvement in the various structures; the relationship to work already underway on enhancing the effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model; and how to ensure that a Holistic Review team proposes a limited number of recommendations addressing the most critical gaps or issues.

The pilot Holistic Review is an unprecedented and experimental effort that may contribute to significantly improving the ICANN review processes, as well as the multistakeholder framework that is at the core of ICANN. The TOR is an important deliverable input for this review.

The pilot Holistic Review TOR team is made of members of the ICANN Board's OEC Committee, former ATRT3 shepherds, and other ATRT3 members. Three representatives of the team are coordinating the work in close cooperation with ICANN org and the subject matter experts (SME). The TOR team's kick-off meeting took place on 25 March. The newly created Holistic Review space on the ICANN wiki includes links to meeting recordings, meeting records, and team information.

The pilot Holistic Review TOR team will meet regularly over the coming months with the objective to deliver the final TOR draft by ICANN74. The final draft will be posted for public comment and shared with the SOs and ACs for their evaluation.

I would like to thank the members of the pilot Holistic Review TOR team, the ICANN org support team, and all those who will contribute to drafting the TOR for a review that should enhance our future work.


Avri Doria

Avri Doria

ICANN Board Member