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Structural Improvements Committee (SIC) Meeting - Minutes

SIC Members: Sébastien Bachollet, Francisco da Silva (Non-Voting Liaison), Bertrand de La Chapelle, Ray Plzak – Chair, and Judith Vazquez

Staff Attendees: Megan Bishop, Michelle Bright, Samantha Eisner, Larisa Gurnick, Robert Hoggarth, John Jeffrey – Secretary and General Counsel, Denise Michel, David Olive, Karine Perset, and Erika Randall


The following is a summary of discussions, decisions, and actions identified:

The Meeting was called to order at 08:00 local time Los Angeles, CA.

  1. Agenda: The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. Open Action Items: The Chair provided a review of the open action from previous meetings, and noted those items that would be addressed during the meeting. The Chair made note that the SIC is waiting for a final report from the NRO on the ASO Review Implementation. The Chair also reported that the work plan will be on the agenda for discussion at the SIC's meeting in Buenos Aires, and noted that the SIC would evaluate the structural impact of the conflict-of-interest policies on the composition and efficiency of the Board in connection with the BGC. He also noted that the action following on from the review of the TLG is moving forward with oversight from the Board and the Board Chairman instead of the SIC.
  3. Approval of Minutes: The Chair noted that SIC approved the minutes from the 16 May 2013 meeting online in advance of the meeting.
  4. ccNSO Review: The Chair noted that the ccNSO Chair sent a letter to the SIC to notify the SIC of the completion of the ccNSO work, and to provide a final copy of the ccNSO Improvements Implementation Project Plan. The SIC adopted a recommendation that the Board receive the final ccNSO Implementation Project Plan update, dated September 2013, and that the Board direct the ICANN President and CEO to assess the improvements arising out of the ccNSO review in accordance with the assessment phase of the organizational review cycle.
    • Action:
      • Staff to forward the recommendation to the Board for consideration.
  5. GNSO Review: The SIC was provided with a status update of the responses received during the public comment period launched to collect feedback from the community regarding the potential postponement of the GNSO review. Most of the community responses recommended that the review proceed as quickly as feasible.

    With regard to the public comments, some members of the SIC suggested that when posing questions to the community for comment concerning structural changes and reviews of the organization, the questions should be more specific so that the SIC has the benefit of pointed feedback from the community. The SIC discussed whether to recommend to the Board to schedule review of the GNSO to commence in 2014, with the preparation for this review to commence as soon as feasible. Members of the SIC expressed their views on whether the review should commence, the appropriate scope of the review, and how the strategic planning and the ATRT 2 work could be factored into the review. The SIC requested a change to the proposed resolution to be submitted to the Board for consideration, to reference that the review will take into account the results of the ATRT 2 and strategic planning work. The SIC approved a recommendation that the Board direct the SIC to schedule the review of the GNSO, which is mandated by ICANN Bylaws Article IV, Section 4, to commence in 2014, and that preparations for this review commence as soon as feasible.

    • Action:
      • Staff to revise the recommendation to the Board in line with SIC direction.
      • Staff to forward the recommendation to the Board for consideration.
  6. GNSO Charter Amendment Procedure: The SIC was provided with an update on the community comments submitted in connection with the review of the proposal to establish a charter amendment procedure for use by GNSO stakeholder groups or constituencies to request approval of charter amendments by the ICANN Board of Directors. The SIC was informed that the comment period lasted for 88 days and only two comments were received. Staff noted that the proposed charter amendment procedure was revised to reflect the community input, including provisions addressing the amount of time the Board may take to review the proposals before taking action. The SIC approved a recommendation that the ICANN Board approve the charter amendment procedure, and suggested that this item be considered by the Board on its main agenda to allow for discussion and debate.
    • Action:
      • Staff to forward the recommendation to the Board for consideration.
  7. Organizational Effectiveness Audit: The Chair presented the SIC with a revised version of a concept paper providing an overview of an organizational audit program. The Chair discussed different types of audits, including outcome audits, structural audits and process element audits, and explained the elements of each audit type and how they may be used to assist the overall effectiveness of the organization. With regard to process element audits, one member of the SIC inquired whether the ATRT 2 considers the question of how ICANN conducts reviews, and the SIC discussed whether it would be the appropriate for the SIC to begin looking at conducting an assessment of how ICANN conducts its reviews. Another member of the SIC recommended that the SIC consider having a meeting in Buenos Aires to focus specifically on the topic of organizational effectiveness audits.
    • Action:
      • SIC to review the concept paper in more detail in preparation for additional discussion at the next meeting.
  8. 2010 NomCom Review Recommendation: The Chair provided SIC members with a brief update of the steps taken by the Board Governance Committee to consider the SIC's recommendation that the review of the NomCom's selection and recruiting procedures not be conducted, but that the BGC look into the matter of ethics noted in the recommendation. The Chair noted that the SIC should begin to consider recommendation 10 of the previous review, which tasked the SIC to review the structure of the NomCom within three years. Members of the SIC discussed the importance of having a dialogue about who should participate in establishing the method by which the review is undertaken, possibly including the Chair of the NomCom.
    • Action:
      • SIC to consider at a future meeting a process for addressing the review called for in recommendation 10 of the prior report.
  9. AOB: One member of the SIC suggested the SIC may want to consider the question whether the reconsideration request process is appropriate in the context of the new gTLD program..
    • Action:
      • Bertrand de La Chapelle to prepare a paper for discussion and consideration at a future SIC meeting.

The Chair called the meeting to a close at 09:01 local time in Los Angeles, CA.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."