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ICANN Strategy Panels & the Planning Process

22 March 2014

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At the dawn of the ICANN 49 meeting in Singapore, we wish to provide you with an update on ICANN’s strategic planning.

Last October, ICANN’s Draft Vision, Mission & Focus Areas for a Five-Year Strategic Plan [PDF, 313 KB] was published for public comment and for community discussion at the Buenos Aires meeting. Built on prior community feedback, the draft proposed a new Vision, reiterated ICANN’s existing Mission, and described five proposed Focus Areas. This draft was the result of a collaborative, extensive, multistakeholder, bottom-up process, which began at the Beijing meeting last April with an invitation to join the strategy conversation. For information about the process, visit the strategic planning portal at http://www.icann.org/en/about/planning/strategic-engagement.

The community has been actively engaged throughout this important process and the feedback received since Beijing has been very precious in informing the strategic plan as well as in convening the four Strategy Panels. A variety of opportunities and tools are still available to the community to share opinions. The Strategy Panels are seeking input on their respective draft reports and recommendations, and are eager to hear your unique perspectives. Comments are invited through April 30. Details may be found at http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/strategy-panels-25feb14-en.htm

Join the Conversation!

Designed to conduct work in critical strategic areas identified by the community, Board and staff, the ICANN Strategy Panels serve as an integral part of a framework for cross-community dialogue on strategic matters. Advisory in nature, their quintessential objective is to inform the new, overarching vision and Five-Year Strategic Plan, and subsequent operating plan. The Strategy Panels’ work and mission is primarily to offer guidance on matters to be factored into ICANN’s strategic and operating plan. Designed to think outside the box, the Panels bring new ideas into the community conversation on strategic planning. Strategy Panels are viewed as repositories, fora, think-tanks that contribute to triggering discussions on new initiatives, concepts or ideas that potentially could be explored within the context of the strategy conversation. The community is encouraged to interact with the Panels which conducted, and continue to conduct, engagement and outreach throughout their process through webinars, discussions at ICANN meetings, surveys, mailing lists, public comment, and status reports. The Panel Chairs recently walked interested community members through their draft recommendations during an interactive webinar. The dialogue continues in Singapore on Monday, 24 March at 15:15-16:45 SGT and we encourage you to attend this important session and to spread the word. The Panels will fine-tune their recommendations in light of the feedback they have received.

What’s Next?

The diverse array of proposed recommendations arising out of the four panels will not go straight to implementation. Their consideration is expected to follow various paths, as needed. Some recommendations are high-level, overarching and strategic and would be appropriate to consider as part of ICANN’s long-term strategic plan. Others have an operational or programmatic focus and would be appropriate to consider as part of ICANN’s annual Operating Plan, while still others may be appropriate for further consideration and work.

To highlight the Panels close connection with ICANN’s planning processes, the panels’ schedule was first escalated to be in parallel with the strategic planning process and to provide more opportunity for community consideration and public comment on the Panels’ output. As noted above, the call for public comment on Strategy Panels reports will end on April 30. The Final Draft Strategic Plan was scheduled for public comment in February and March, but is now anticipated to be issued for public discussion in April and May. This update to the schedule will allow the community’s reactions to the Strategy Panels’ recommendations to be factored into the Final Five-Year Strategic Plan, as appropriate. This change also strengthens the bridge between these two intertwined processes and confirms ICANN’s commitment to alignment, consistency and its wish to make this a truly collaborative and multistakeholder-based process. As such, we wish to encourage you again to attend, in person or remotely, the public session on Monday, 24 March at 15:15-16:45 SGT, where an update will be given on strategic planning and the Strategy Panels’, followed by an interactive discussion.

Beginning with the FY16 annual planning process, the Five-Year Strategic Plan will inform the annual planning process. Additional details on how this will work will be provided when we reach this phase of planning later in 2014, but we invite you to consult the graphic on the strategic planning portal which offers a high level preview of the expected annual planning cycle for FY16-20.

We look forward to seeing you in Singapore and to hearing your thoughts.


Theresa Swinehart

Theresa Swinehart

SVP, Global Domains & Strategy