The ICANN Reviews Program encompasses the management of Specific Reviews and Organizational Reviews, including the implementation of the recommendations they generate and the ongoing work to improve the reviews process. Specific and Organizational Reviews are required by the ICANN Bylaws. They are critical to maintaining a healthy ICANN multistakeholder model.
Reviews are conducted to assess how certain aspects of the ICANN ecosystem are performing, including how the ICANN organization (org), Board, and community fulfill commitments to global stakeholders. Each review is a multistakeholder effort in which the community or independent examiners make recommendations, the Board considers the recommendations, and the org implements those recommendations that are adopted by the Board. A new Interim President and CEO Goal 11 has been added for Fiscal Year 2024 which recognizes the importance of reviews. This goal is focused on the continued management of reviews, implementation of review team recommendations, and introducing refinements in the review process.
Over the course of numerous review cycles, challenges have emerged in conducting Specific and Organizational Reviews. Some of these challenges include the impact of having many overlapping reviews, difficulty recruiting review team members who are able to dedicate sufficient time, accurate resource planning in the absence of an established scope of work, and a large inventory of recommendations that can be unclear and difficult to implement.
Addressing these challenges has been an ICANN-wide effort and is a key focus of the ICANN Reviews Program. As part of this effort, the community-led Third Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3) published two recommendations to address issues related to the function of reviews:
- Recommendation 3.5 calls for the creation of the Holistic Review, a new Specific Review, to consider the effectiveness of the continuous improvement programs of Supporting Organizations (SOs), Advisory Committees (ACs), and the Nominating Committee, the accountability of SOs and ACs or their constituent parts to their members/constituencies, and whether the SOs, ACs, and the NomCom have a continuing purpose as they are currently constituted.
- Recommendation 3.6 requires the evolution of Organizational Reviews into a Continuous Improvement Program for the SOs, ACs, and the NomCom.
- The ICANN Board has directed that both the Holistic Review and the Continuous Improvement Program begin as pilots.
Additionally, ICANN org launched the Lifecycle of Reviews project in September 2022. It is an internal ICANN org project to improve the Specific Reviews process under the Reviews Program. This project is a continuation of work started by the ICANN Board via the Organizational Effectiveness Committee; the work was paused while ATRT3 was active.
The ICANN community's contribution to the Bylaws-mandated reviews is essential to the success of reviews and to ICANN's mission to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. ICANN org will provide further information about the Pilot Holistic Review, Continuous Improvement Program pilot, and Lifecycle of Reviews project as they develop, along with opportunities for community engagement and participation. Please join us during the ICANN78 Prep Week webinar on ICANN org implementation efforts and ICANN Reviews on 9 and 11 October 2023 to learn more.
We look forward to working with everyone across ICANN on this important effort.