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ICANN SubPro ODP Update: Policy Development & Implementation Materials Work Track

11 April 2022

Last month, I shared details about the Project Governance work track, which organizes and supports ICANN org's work on New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures (SubPro), including the Operational Design Phase (ODP) currently in progress. This month, I would like to highlight Work Track 2 - Policy Development and Implementation Materials, which focuses on the GNSO's SubPro Final Report outputs (affirmations, policy recommendations, and implementation guidance).

Policy recommendations are developed and refined by the ICANN community through its Supporting Organizations, composed of volunteers from across the world, in a bottom-up, open, and transparent process. The SubPro recommendations were developed and approved through the GNSO. As with all policy recommendations, the recommendations are put before the ICANN Board of Directors and, if approved, the Board directs ICANN org to work with the community to implement them.

The ODP is now in progress to help inform the Board's decision on the SubPro recommendations.

Work Track 2 has been active since the SubPro Policy Development Process (PDP) working group was in the process of developing its recommendations via ICANN's multistakeholder process, monitoring the community's work, and providing input from an implementation perspective for the working group's deliberations.

With the group's recommendations now before the ICANN Board of Directors, the work track is now focusing on the policy recommendations that form the requirements for future gTLD application rounds.

The Work Track 2 team synthesizes relevant information from the SubPro Final Report, related sections from the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook, and lessons learned from the 2012 New gTLD Program round as documented in the Program Implementation Review Report (PIRR). An important part of this is identifying any policy-related questions that may require clarification from the GNSO Council. For such questions, the team works with an ODP liaison, appointed by the GNSO Council, to share the questions. You can find the questions and answers submitted to date here. The clarifications and responses provided by the GNSO Council are important in ensuring that the Operational Design Assessment (ODA) accurately reflects the working group's recommendations.

The Work Track 2 team also produces assumptions about how the recommendations could be designed for implementation. The assumptions are shared with the GNSO Council liaison and the wider community via the SubPro ODP community workspace. They are also published on the biweekly Community Leadership Digest.

These assumptions are a key output of the ODP, as they will also form the basis for some of the implementation work if the Board approves the Final Report. A narrative is then developed that broadly lays out how the output could be operationalized. This includes, where applicable, raising operational concerns and risks. The Work Track 2 team collaborates with ICANN org's Engineering and IT, Finance and Operational Readiness work track teams to fine-tune the operational flow and calculate estimates for resource requirements for the implementation as well as the operational phases. The product of this collaboration will then form the core of the assessment, which the Board has requested to help inform its decision on whether the adoption of the outputs contained in the Final Report are in the best interest of the ICANN community or ICANN.

If the Board decides to adopt the outputs, this will trigger the stages of work needed for launching a new application round.

For more information, visit the SubPro ODP webpage, which includes a high-level timeline of ongoing activities, the New gTLD SubPro ODP session held at the recent ICANN73 public meeting, community status reporting, and other information. To provide feedback or ask questions about the SubPro ODP, contact the team at subpro-odp@icann.org.


Karen Lentz

Karen Lentz

VP Policy Research & Stakeholder Programs