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Next Steps to Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN’s Multistakeholder Model

4 June 2020

One of the Board's high-priority topics for 2020 is to continue working on the Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN's Multistakeholder Model initiative, building on the work that the community has completed to date. These challenging times, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, remind us that the Internet plays a vital role in keeping people around the globe connected and informed, and ICANN's role in coordinating the Internet's system of unique identifiers is a key component. To remain successful in performing this role, our bottom-up multistakeholder model of governance must continue to evolve. As a result of our ongoing work, we developed a paper that has been published for public comment today, "Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN's Multistakeholder Model – Next Steps," and we would like your feedback.

An Updated Work Plan

The purpose of the "Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN's Multistakeholder Model – Next Steps" paper is to identify a path forward following community comments received on the draft "Evolving ICANN's Multistakeholder Model Work Plan," included as Appendix C to ICANN's Draft FY21-25 Operating & Financial Plan and Draft FY21 Operating Plan & Budget. The Board heard the public comments from the community and agrees that a holistic approach to evolving the multistakeholder model must not duplicate work underway or put additional strain on volunteers. It's become clear that neither the community, Board, nor org can take on the six work areas proposed in the Draft Work Plan while balancing against ICANN's priorities and workload. With this in mind, the Board proposes to focus this effort on the topics the community chose as the top three priorities in the public comments, which are: 1) prioritization of the work and efficient use of resources; 2) precision in scoping the work; and 3) consensus, representation, and inclusivity. The proposed Work Plan, found in Section II of the paper, focuses on these top three community-identified priority topics, describes work underway, identifies gaps in those efforts, and suggests actions to address each gap. The overarching goal is to build upon existing work taking place across the ICANN community to achieve the necessary balance that will result in incremental enhancements to the multistakeholder model and will improve efficiencies across everyone's future work.

Section III, Remaining Work Areas, also represents important areas of community concern. However, due to time and resource limitations, the Board suggests the community revisit these later in the FY21-25 Operating Plan & Financial Plan five-year time frame, as they may benefit from actions taken to address the three priority work areas and the community's ongoing work.

We Want to Hear From You

To continue this work, the Board is seeking the community's feedback on three key areas:

  1. The Work Plan: We are interested in your input on the priority work areas and whether the mechanisms or actions outlined sufficiently address the identified gaps in work already underway. We encourage your feedback on the gaps identified in the Work Plan, and whether there are any additional gaps that should be considered.
  2. Remaining Work Areas: While we focused the updated Work Plan on the priority areas mentioned above, we also welcome any community-driven actions to help address the remaining work areas. We would like to know if your community group would like to initiate or coordinate any other actions.
  3. Evaluation Mechanism: The Work Plan includes a proposed evaluation mechanism to gauge whether the project is achieving its goals. We would like to hear your thoughts as to whether periodic evaluation should be conducted and if so, whether it should be done by using existing structures such as the strategic plan review process, or if you believe other more suitable means should be considered.

The Board encourages you to provide your feedback and has extended the public comment period to 60 days in order to give stakeholders enough time to consider the Work Plan. The public comment period will open on 4 June 2020 and close on 2 August 2020 .

For this work, Matthew Shears and Mandla Msimang have acted as Board shepherds, accompanying the work of the community on this project and its future developments. We are looking forward to discussing this paper with you during the ICANN68 Prep Week webinar scheduled for 15 June. During the webinar we'll provide an overview of the document out for public comment and we will answer your questions.

I'd like to highlight the great spirit of collaboration that has gone into this effort. It demonstrates the incredible commitment all parties in the ICANN ecosystem have to furthering the robustness of our multistakeholder model. It shows the strength and resiliency of our community regardless of what is happening in the world around us. We are grateful for your contributions to the evolution and success of ICANN's multistakeholder model.

I wish you and your loved ones all the best as we all continue to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. I look forward to our ongoing discussion regarding enhancing the effectiveness of the multistakeholder model.


Maarten Botterman

Maarten Botterman

ICANN Board Member