Minutes of the Special Board Meeting 22 January 2010

A Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors was held via teleconference 22 January 2010 @ 19.00 UTC. Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush promptly called the meeting to order.

In addition to Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush the following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Rod Beckstrom (President and CEO), Dennis Jennings (Vice Chairman), Harald Tveit Alvestrand, Raimundo Beca, Steve Crocker, Gonzalo Navarro, Rita Rodin Johnston, Raymond A. Plzak, Rajasekhar Ramaraj, George Sadowsky, Mike Silber, Bruce Tonkin, and Katim Touray.

The following Board Liaisons participated in all or part of the meeting: Janis Karklins, GAC Liaison; Ram Mohan, SSAC Liaison; Thomas Narten, IETF Liaison; Jonne Soininen, TLG Liaison; Vanda Scartezini, ALAC Liaison; and Suzanne Woolf, RSSAC Liaison.

Jean-Jacques Subrenat sent apologies.

Also, the following ICANN Management and staff participated in all or part of the meeting: John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary; Doug Brent, Chief Operating Officer; Anne-Rachel Inne, Regional Liaison for Africa; Greg Rattray, Chief Internet Security Advisor; and Nick Thorne, International Relations Advisor.

The Chair noted that this was a special meeting of the Board on the Nairobi m meeting, regarding the series of events in Nairobi starting on 15 January 2010 causing concern regarding the security of the meeting.

The CEO provided a presentation to the Board on this topic. The CEO noted that this discussion was triggered because of the recent events in Nairobi. for the riots. The CEO noted that ICANN has been to other developing countries with similar security ratings.

The CEO acknowledged that some community members may not attend the meeting. The ICANN Global Partnerships team, a strategic advisor, and the CEO all recommend continuing with the Nairobi, and the CEO recommends an enhanced security recommendation. The CEO suggests: an enhanced security commitment from the Kenyan government and add private security advisors – as done in Mexico City.

The CEO notes that street crime is the biggest risk, and ICANN must keep educating participants on proper behavior. ICANN will also continue monitoring the situation.

If ICANN moves forward with a meeting in Nairobi, there will be complaints on low turnout and costs; potential complaints on remote participation given sensitivity of the tools; and potential policy progress slowdown, though not too much critical path with be interrupted.

The Chair noted that the Board must assure that the organization runs a meeting that is as safe as possible for the attendees. There are a number of objective third party analyses since the events in Nairobi that indicate the risk is unchanged since the initial decision to have the meeting there.

Harald Alvestrand noted that he does not see a change in risk level from the prior assessment done, and the costs to change the location will be great.

Raymond Plzak commented that the question is to proceed or not to proceed and requested that the conversation focus on that, and not on alternatives to proceeding in Nairobi. The initial take from staff is to proceed.

Dennis Jennings stated his assessment of the presentation, that the risk of street crime is high, but no higher than other cities that ICANN has visited, the risk of ICANN as a soft target is low, and the security will continue to be monitored. Dennis supports continuing with Nairobi as planned.

Rita Rodin Johnston thanked the CEO for the presentation and confirmed the need to do the homework and look at data prior to making decisions. She noted that it is important that ICANN should avoid knee-jerk reactions, and this evaluation is moving towards that. Rita inquired as to the breadth of security that ICANN will be presenting for all attendees, not just the Board members.

The CEO thanked the security staff for obtaining the data for Board assessment and confirmed that more rigorous guidelines will be imposed in future situations. There is no plan for special consideration to be given to ICANN staff and Board, and security will be available to all attendees. This includes keeping bus rides as short as possible. However, the streets of Nairobi present risk and attendees are responsible for behaving in accord.

Janis Karklins noted that a majority of the GAC members want to proceed with the meeting in Nairobi. In addition, the Board needs to revisit the discussion about rotating ICANN meetings across hub cities and avoid this discussion in the future.

Vanda reported that the RALO’s have had conversations and they will support the continuation of going to Nairobi if ICANN is not a soft target. Therefore, based on the conversation, the At Large community is OK with going. They would like more clear information on what is expected. They request assurance that hotel shuttles will go to other venues because a lot of the people from the At Large cannot afford to stay at the recommended venues. ICANN needs to pay attention to the frequency of the buses as well. ALAC supports to the continuation of the meeting in Nairobi.

Mike Silber presented the view of the ccNSO is in favor of continuing to Nairobi.

Katim Touray expressed his support for continuing to proceed to Nairobi. Katim noted the ALAC suggestion that the members may be located in less expensive venues further from downtown, and this may spread ICANN too thin. Individual preferences may make practical considerations difficult in catering to everyone’s wishes on where to stay. Katim noted that there should be transport to and from the airport to and from hotels.

Greg Rattray responded that the risk of street crime is manageable, but dependent upon individual behavior as well, such as taking buses provided and not walking between locations. The threat of injury during trigger events is where ICANN is concentrating work.

Mike Silber moved and Rita Rodin Johnston seconded the following resolution:

Commitment to Nairobi for ICANN’s 37th International Meeting:

Whereas, the ICANN Board approved holding its 2010 Africa meeting in Nairobi during its May 2009 Board Meeting (see resolution 2009-05-21-09)

Whereas, ICANN has received questions [from individuals, companies and an ICANN constituency group] regarding security and has conducted internal reviews and external reviews of the current security conditions following on from recent events in Nairobi,

Resolved (2010.01.22.01), the ICANN Board confirms its commitment to hold the ICANN 37th International Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in March of 2010.

Thirteen Board members supported the resolution. Dennis Jennings and Jean-Jacques Subrenat were not available to vote on the resolution. The motion is carried.

Ray Plzak moved and Katim Touray seconded the following resolution:

Resolved (2010.01.22.02), the ICANN Board authorizes the CEO and President to work with the Kenyan hosts and authorities and others for the provision of additional security.

Thirteen Board members supported the resolution. Dennis Jennings and Jean-Jacques Subrenat were not available to vote on the resolution. The motion is carried.

The CEO noted that ICANN is considering a reduction in the staff attendees at the Nairobi meeting based on the number of attendees and cost considerations.

Rita noted that if there are ICANN staff members who are not committed to travel to meet ICANN’s global mandate, the CEO should review the future implications of this in ICANN staffing decisions. Ray and the Chair noted their agreement with this statement.

The Chair inquired about the availability of remote participation for those members of the community who elect not to travel to Nairobi to attend the meeting.

The CEO confirmed that staff will now focus on how to move forward with promoting the event and encouraging attendance.

Doug noted that for members of constituencies that elect not to attend, staff will work on making remote participation tools better than ever, though some policy work may slow down.

The Chair noted staff’s work now is to focus on making the Nairobi meeting the most successful as it can be. The CEO confirmed that staff will undertake this work.

Meeting adjourned.