As ICANN evolves, the ICANN organization (org) continuously strives to identify process improvements in support of ICANN community work. Resource planning is one area of robust collaboration between the ICANN community and org. ICANN org develops a draft Operating Plan and Budget (OP&B) for each fiscal year (FY) to further its commitments to accountable and transparent budgeting and planning. ICANN org also consults the ICANN community during the annual OP&B planning process through webinars, briefings, and Public Comment before submitting the annual OP&B to the ICANN Board for its consideration.
Since FY2013, ICANN org has also facilitated the separate Additional Budget Request (ABR) process for resource requests from the ICANN community. Confusion about the ABR process and the annual OP&B process often results in requests that do not meet the ABR criteria, but could have been considered in the annual OP&B process, if it was not already too late in that cycle.
Moving forward, ICANN org encourages ICANN community groups to use the annual OP&B process for all resource requests. ICANN org will end the ABR process beginning with the FY2025 OP&B process. The annual OP&B process is better understood, and several ICANN community groups already align their operations and planning work to it. Streamlining resource requests from the ICANN community into a single process is expected to result in more efficiencies.
Why End the ABR Process Now?
Since FY2017, the number of ICANN community groups submitting requests has decreased from a high of 19 to a low of eight—a 58 percent drop. Also, since FY2017, the total number of requests has decreased from a high of 66 to a low of 18–a 73 percent drop. These trends largely reflect the transition of ABR allocations from successful pilot projects to programs managed by ICANN org in the annual OP&B. Examples include:
- Establishment of the Generic Names Supporting Organization Council Strategic Planning Session, the High-Level Governmental Meetings organized by the Governmental Advisory Committee, Root Server System Advisory Committee workshops, and Security and Stability Advisory Committee workshops
- Enhanced language services for the At-Large community and the Country Code Names Supporting Organization
- Numerous trainings on consensus building, leadership skills, and writing for Public Comment
- Outreach and engagement in developing regions through the Community Regional Outreach Program
To ensure that the annual OP&B process adequately reflects ICANN community priorities and support needs, ICANN org recommends that ICANN community groups regularly review their resourcing with their support teams. ICANN community groups should ensure that requests for additional resources align with the ICANN strategic plan and enhance existing support or anticipate future work.
Ongoing Support for the ICANN Community
Current resourcing in support of ICANN community work includes subject matter expertise, operational support, and engagement activities that are captured in the annual OP&B. ICANN org supports ICANN community objectives in areas such as policy and advice development; capacity building and technical training; language services, such as interpretation; and outreach, including travel support. The ABR process was only one part of the resourcing available for the ICANN community.
The ABR process helped the ICANN Board and ICANN org better understand and strategically address the evolving needs of the ICANN community. Over the course of 12 years, ICANN supported 264 requests and considered 502 total requests. As a result, ICANN org developed resources to reflect activities that were not already included in the annual OP&B. The ABR process worked as intended and addressed a process gap for several years. By working together, the ICANN community, Board, and org have matured and refined the annual OP&B planning process to best manage resources for its mission and future.