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Making ICANN Public Meetings Work for You

2 October 2020
By Göran Marby

As we prepare for the ICANN69 Virtual Annual General Meeting, I am reminded of the important role our Public Meetings play in our multistakeholder model. It's where we develop policies that shape the future of the Internet. They also provide a space to build and strengthen our community. While the COVID-19 pandemic has altered how we meet, it has not changed our commitment to ICANN's mission or each other.

Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

I'm immensely proud of how the ICANN community, the Board, and the organization rallied together to ensure we could continue with our Community Forum in March, albeit virtually. In short order, everyone worked hard to create and implement the tools and online environment for us to accomplish our meeting goals. We expanded and innovated our tools for the Policy Forum in June and have made further improvements for our upcoming Annual General Meeting. This was no easy feat. Whenever we are faced with a challenge, we are able to meet it head on because we work together.

After what will be a full year of virtual Public Meetings, the learnings from these meetings provide an opportunity for us to take stock of how these meetings are working, what could be improved, and how we should use this experience to advance our in-person meetings when they return. The reason we are kicking off this process now is because many of you have reached out to me wanting a forum for this discussion. I trust that this process provides the type of forum you are seeking.

Seeking Community Feedback

The ICANN Board is engaging with the community to assess: the effectiveness of our virtual Public Meetings, the improvements that the org should make to its support for the community's work at meetings, and any other aspects that should be integrated into our in-person meeting strategy going forward. Our rapid transition to virtual Public Meetings has allowed us to continue our work as productively as possible under the circumstances. Now, we need you to tell us what this adjustment has meant for your ability to do your work and accomplish your meeting goals.

Innovating Our Meeting Strategy

The first step in this process will be an examination of our past meeting experience. To that end, we are sending a survey to our Supporting Organization (SO) and Advisory Committee (AC) chairs to spark a discussion within each group, as this discussion belongs to the community. The chairs will then coordinate and consolidate their respective group's feedback. The Board will also host a session at ICANN69 to continue the conversation with the community about our meeting strategy. The survey will serve as a guidepost for those discussions.

Next, the org will compile the community's feedback into a summary report, and develop recommendations based on that input. We will share the recommendations with SO/AC chairs to ensure it accurately reflects the community's priorities and wishes. The recommendations will then be submitted to the Board for consideration.

It is important that we hear from you during this evaluation period. Please contact your leadership to ensure your view is represented in the survey. ICANN Public Meetings are central to the work we do and we are committed to consistently improving and evolving that experience. This year has been an undeniably challenging one, but it has also provided us with a unique opportunity. We can look at ICANN Public Meetings with fresh eyes, incorporate new ways of working together, and strengthen our community that protects the security, stability, and interoperability of the Internet.

If you have questions, please post them in the comment section below.

Participate in the ICANN69 Board/Community Focus on Meetings Session

19 October 2020, 12:30 UTC, Zoom Room 6


Göran Marby

Göran Marby

Former President & CEO