The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) organization (org) is preparing to form the Implementation Review Team (IRT) to support the implementation of policy recommendations for future rounds of new generic top-level domain (gTLD) applications.
At the ICANN76 Public Meeting, the ICANN Board directed ICANN org to produce a comprehensive Implementation Plan by 1 August 2023. This will contain a work plan that includes relevant information for infrastructure development, timelines, and anticipated resource requirements to announce the targeted opening of the next round of new gTLDs. The Board noted in its resolution that the "delivery of the Implementation Plan no later than August 1, 2023, requires the satisfactory completion of […] A working methodology and Implementation Review Team (IRT) work plan and timeline as agreed upon by ICANN org and the GNSO Council."
Having consulted with the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council during ICANN76, ICANN org is piloting an "Open + Representative model" for the upcoming IRT. This model will provide a structure that allows for efficient resolution of issues that may arise.
The model is based on the GNSO's Policy Development Process (PDP) 3.0 Open + Representative model for Policy Development Processes. Translated to implementation, this means that the upcoming IRT will be equally composed of participants and representatives, which together make up the IRT members. These IRT members will work with ICANN org to assist in the implementation of the recommendations and provide input on the intent and purpose of the Board-adopted recommendations, in line with the IRT Principles and Guidelines. The model will not change the ability of all IRT participants to raise concerns about the implementation approach. Nor will it allow for any policy issues to be reopened that were settled during the PDP.
Per the Consensus Policy Implementation Framework (CPIF) and the Guidelines, all IRT members will:
- Serve as a resource to implementation staff on policy and technical questions that arise with regard to the Board-approved recommendations of the Final Report on the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP.
- Serve as a resource to ICANN org on the background and rationale of the Final Report's policy recommendations and seek additional guidance from the GNSO Council, as required.
- Assist ICANN org with developing the policy implementation details to ensure that the implementation conforms to the intent of the recommendations as detailed in the Final Report.
While participants always speak in their own personal capacity, representatives are expected to speak on behalf of their constituency, stakeholder group, Supporting Organization (SO), or Advisory Committee (AC). Therefore, an important part of representatives' role is to engage actively and consistently with the groups they represent as the contributions they make to the IRT will be considered viewpoints of the groups, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
In addition, when determining the level of consensus in the circumstance described in Section V(E) of the Guidelines, the GNSO Liaison, under this Open + Representative model, shall take into consideration that members who are representatives are expected to express the viewpoint of their respective community groups, while members who are participants should express their own views. Please note that this does not impact any members' ability to raise any concerns they may on the IRT, nor does it absolve ICANN org or the GNSO Council liaison from "exercis[ing] all reasonable efforts to resolve disagreements" within the IRT, whether it stems from a participant or a representative.
Finally, the model does not change the role of ICANN org, per the CPIF, to be "responsible for the entire implementation life cycle, from creating an Implementation Plan, engaging the Implementation Review Team (IRT) (if there is one), consulting with relevant ICANN org staff and any outside parties that are required, and conducting outreach surrounding the implementation, including communicating with the public and relevant stakeholders regarding the progress of implementation."
- ICANN org will send a note to SO, AC, stakeholder group, and constituency leaders to nominate a representative to the IRT and an alternate.
- ICANN org will issue an open call for volunteers to act as participants in the IRT.
- ICANN org expects to hold the first IRT meeting no later than the week of May 14, 2023.
I encourage you to watch for the upcoming announcement calling for IRT volunteers to learn more about the role of the IRT and how to sign up.