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Promoting Mutual Respect at Public Meetings

13 October 2020

As ICANN69 approaches, the ICANN Office of the Ombudsman would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your commitment to and respect for ICANN’s consensus-based, multistakeholder process of policymaking. ICANN Public Meetings are an important forum for the community to exchange views, update one another on current issues, and advance policy work together.

ICANN’s Expected Standards of Behavior govern all aspects of interaction between and among all participants in ICANN’s policy processes, meetings, and activities. The Expected Standards of Behavior extend to all visual, written, and verbal communications. All participants are entitled to expect that everyone will speak and act with professional courtesy, consider cultural differences, and behave with mutual respect at all times.

Meeting sessions may be led by ICANN Board members, ICANN organization (org) staff, or leaders of ICANN’s Supporting Organizations, Advisory Committees, and their constituent stakeholder structures, work parties, and working groups. These session leaders are committed to observing and enforcing the Expected Standards of Behavior. This is why, for every meeting session, participants are reminded of these standards as well as the need to abide by them.

In addition to the Expected Standards of Behavior, the Community Anti-Harassment Policy emphasizes, encourages, and promotes the spirit of mutual respect within the ICANN community.

It is not always easy to maintain one’s composure or remember that, in our global community, what may pass for humor in one venue may be offensive in another. This can happen in a virtual setting or a face-to-face interaction. From time to time, community members have appropriately turned to the ICANN Office of the Ombudsman for guidance relating to specific incidents that may be considered harassment or a violation of the Expected Standards of Behavior.

My role as described in the ICANN Bylaws – with the assistance of the Adjunct Ombuds, Barbara Curwin – functions as an informal dispute resolution office for the ICANN community and ensures that members of the ICANN community are treated fairly. As an objective advocate for fairness, the Office of the Ombudsman is available to provide guidance, facilitation, and investigation, depending on the severity of the circumstance.

If you believe that another ICANN meeting participant’s behavior or material falls short of the Expected Standards of Behavior, we encourage you to bring the matter to the attention of the session chair, ICANN org staff, or the Office of the Ombudsman. If you believe you have experienced or observed an incident of harassment, there is a process and procedure available to report and resolve a claim. Complaints to the Ombuds are completely confidential.

Should you need to contact either of us at the Office of the Ombudsman, please send us an email at ombudsman@icann.org, contact me at herb.waye@icann.org, Barbara at barbara.curwin@icann.org, or fill out a complaint form at https://omb.icann.org.

In the meantime, Barbara and I wish you all a productive and enriching ICANN69.


Herb Waye

Herb Waye

ICANN Ombudsman