As we approach our fifth consecutive virtual ICANN Public Meeting and the second virtual Policy Forum, the ICANN Executive Team would like to thank our global community for your commitment to the ICANN multistakeholder model and your participation in the many policy, technical, and outreach activities that we continue to conduct remotely. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the chairs of the Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) for working with the ICANN organization to create a set of Meeting Planning Guidelines that we hope will enhance the collaboration between ICANN organization (org) and the community to plan the Community Forum, Policy Forum, and Annual General Meeting that constitute the three ICANN Public Meetings every year.
ICANN Public Meetings function as milestones for community policy development and advisory work. They are also important forums for cross-community dialogues and relationship-building across the various ICANN structures. A community-based Meetings Planning Group works with ICANN org to ensure that each ICANN meeting aligns with the community's needs and priorities. These tasks include planning plenary sessions on high-interest topics selected from a number of community proposals and allowing for a variety of networking and outreach opportunities.
The Meetings Planning Group was formed when ICANN Public Meetings were primarily in-person gatherings with a substantial remote participation component. With the move to virtual meetings and the added complexities of meeting planning, ICANN org and the SO and AC chairs began to discuss the need to document the role and responsibilities of the Meetings Planning Group and clarify the oversight role of the SO and AC chairs. Feedback from a survey and consultation on how to improve ICANN Public Meetings also demonstrated the community's desire for concrete guidelines to assist with meeting planning. As part of its March 2021 decision to hold the upcoming ICANN71 Policy Forum as a virtual meeting, the ICANN Board agreed with the need for guidelines that can facilitate continuity and consistency in meeting planning and allow for transparency and accountability of the decisions that are made.
Between January and April 2021, the ICANN org Meetings and Policy Development Support teams worked with the SO and AC chairs to develop and finalize the guidelines. This document was based on an initial draft prepared by ICANN org and updated based on feedback from the SO and AC chairs. The final ICANN Public Meeting Guidelines were completed in April 2021 and can be accessed here. They include guidelines for proposing plenary session topics and requesting meeting sessions, which will help improve resource planning. The ICANN Board has expressed its appreciation for the efficient and collaborative effort that resulted in a set of clear guidelines that is already in use for the ICANN71 Virtual Policy Forum.
As community needs and priorities change and as we look toward an eventual return to in-person ICANN Public Meetings while continuing to enhance ICANN org support for remote participation, we will work with the SO and AC chairs to ensure that the guidelines also evolve to meet those changing needs and priorities.