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Structural Improvements Committee (SIC) Meeting - Minutes

SIC Members: Sébastien Bachollet, Bertrand de La Chapelle, Ray Plzak – Chair

Apologies: Francisco da Silva (Non-Voting Liaison)

Staff Attendees: Larisa Gurnick, Robert Hoggarth, Alice Jansen, Denise Michel, David Olive, Karine Perset, Erika Randall, Amy Stathos, and Theresa Swinehart


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

The Meeting was called to order at 10:02 local time Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  1. Agenda: The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. Approval of Minutes: The SIC approved the minutes from the 27 September 2013 meeting.
  3. Open Action Items: The SIC reviewed the open actions from previous meetings, making note of those items that would be addressed during the meeting. The Chair noted that he has the final report from the NRO on the ASO Review Implementation and will discuss the report with the NRO. The Chair 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, so the SIC agreed that this action item should be closed out.
    • Action:
      • The Chair to discuss with the NRO Chair the final report from the NRO on the ASO Review Implementation.
  4. Conflicts of Interest Policies: One SIC member gave a presentation to the SIC about the Board's conflict of interest policies. The presentation included an overview of how the new policies came into existence, the role served by the policies and the consequences of the policies. Various recommendations were presented for discussion, including a recommendation to focus on ethics (as opposed to conflicts). Recommendations also included exploring the idea of an independent ethics commission, and the concept of a fully independent Board. The SIC noted that the issues presented may be more appropriate for handling by the BGC and/or the Board, and decided to close this action item.
    • Action:
      • The Chair to forward the presentation on Conflicts of Interest to the Board Chairman for consideration by the Board as appropriate.
  5. Reconsideration Requests: One SIC member gave a presentation to the SIC about the accountability mechanisms available to aggrieved parties purportedly caused by Board and/or staff decisions, and the expert determinations of dispute resolution service providers that are part of the New gTLD Program. The presentation identified purported challenges with the existing accountability mechanisms, such as self-review of the decisions and the basis for which a party may invoke the accountability mechanisms. The SIC was made aware of ongoing discussions in the New gTLD Program Committee on this topic in the context of the New gTLD Program. One SIC member noted that some discussions regarding accountability mechanisms in the context of the New gTLD Program may be appropriate for consideration by the entire Board. The SIC agreed to close to this action item.
    • Action:
      • The Chair and Bertrand de La Chapelle to discuss how to introduce the information discussed by the SIC into the ongoing discussion of the New gTLD Program Committee concerning available review mechanisms.
  6. 2010 NomCom Review Recommendation: The SIC began consideration of a plan to implement Recommendation 10 of the Nominating Committee (NomCom) Review Finalization Working Group's Final Report issued in January 2010, as well as the recruiting and selection functions from Recommendation 4. The SIC discussed having a Working Group (WG) undertake the review, noting the WG would not eliminate the need for community consultation. The SIC considered the size and responsibilities of the WG, and whether its membership should be limited to Board members or be open to community members. The SIC noted that it would be important for the WG to analyze the appropriate length of term and term limits for NomCom members, as well as the long-term consequences of modifying the composition of the NomCom. The SIC agreed to recommend that the Board create a WG, approve its charter, and appoint members, which should be done following an in depth discussion on the comments and concerns raised by SIC members, including the appropriate size and composition of the Working Group.
    • Action:
      • Staff to forward recommendation to the Board for consideration.
  7. NPOC Observer on the NomCom: The SIC discussed the request of NPOC and the NCSG to create a NomCom delegate role for a representative from the NPOC. The SIC discussed whether considering this request outside of the process to review the NomCom composition would create a precedent whereby the SIC would be confronted with a series of similar requests. A member of the SIC noted that the request may have been submitted as a temporary method to have representation as the structure of the GNSO evolves. The SIC discussed the differences between having a non-voting observer or liaison seat on the NomCom, and considered whether accommodating the request would require a change to the ICANN Bylaws.
    • Action:
      • Staff to prepare a note for the Chair to forward the Board.
  8. 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 elements of different types of audits, (outcome audits, structural audits and process element audits), and how they may be used to assist the overall effectiveness of the organization. The suggestion is that outputs of the various audits would be integrated into the strategic planning process and operational plans. The Chair also noted that the organizational effectiveness audit could consider 360 degree reviews, community working groups as part of the evaluation process, and having the group being reviewed take an active role in the process. A member of the SIC recommended that the SIC consider having a telephone conference meeting to focus specifically on the topic of organizational effectiveness audits.
    • Action:
      • The Chair to update the Organizational Effectiveness Audit concept paper to include the additional points discussed in the meeting.
      • SIC to review the concept paper in more detail in preparation for additional discussion at the next meeting.
  9. AOB: The Chair thanked Bertrand de La Chapelle for his contributions to the SIC. The Chair also inquired about the quorum and notice requirements for the SIC given the changing membership of the SIC.
    • Action:
      • Staff to provide an update on quorum and notice requirements for the SIC.

The Chair called the meeting to a close at 11:27 local time in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Published on 19 February 2014

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."