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Minutes | Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) Meeting

OEC Attendees: Rinalia Abdul Rahim – Chair, Markus Kummer, Bruno Lanvin, Kuo-Wei Wu and Lousewies van der Laan

Other Board Member Attendees: Ron da Silva, Chris Disspain and Erika Mann

Other Attendees: Becky Burr and Jennifer Wolfe

Executive and Staff Attendees: Larisa Gurnick, David Olive, Wendy Profit, Laena Rahim, Amy Stathos and Theresa Swinehart


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

The Meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. local time in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.

  2. Review of Open Action Items – The Chair noted that all open action items are on the agenda but will not be discussed during the meeting.

  3. At-Large Review Update – ICANN’s Bylaws require that its structures, including the At-Large Advisory Committee, be reviewed on a five-year cycle. This review is part of ICANN’s commitment to continuous improvement, accountability and transparency. The At-Large Review will be conducted under a new, improved approach and will leverage the learnings from the GNSO review.

  4. Staff supporting the review presented a brief update on the progress of preparations for the At-Large Review. Pursuant to an extensive due diligence process and collaboration with the At-Large Review Working Party in the RFP process, ITEMS International was appointed as the independent examiner to conduct the At-Large Review. Preparations are being made to hold a kick-off meeting with ITEMS International and initiate work at ICANN56 in Helsinki.

  5. Review Framework – This area involves developing an integrated approach to reviews. It consists of two phases – codifying the way reviews are conducted currently; and thereafter developing the future strategy for reviews. Staff provided an update to the OEC and sought its feedback and guidance on the development of the Operating Standards (i.e. all the policies, procedures, guidelines, tools, checklists, and various other elements of how a review is conducted), as a component of the overall Review Framework. The Chair noted that the Operating Standards would be applicable to both AoC reviews and organizational reviews. In essence, the Operating Standards should reflect the following elements:

    • A system which enables reviews to be conducted efficiently and effectively
    • Developed through collaboration – community, Board and staff
    • Aligned with ICANN Bylaws
    • Designed to support and lead into implementation of Board-approved recommendations as part of ICANN’s continuous improvement
    • Guidance and tools to assist with the review process
    • Evolving to reflect lessons learned and best practices

    While various components of the Operating Standards exist at present in various places (e.g. on icann.org, the wiki and various other documents), they are challenging to find and comprehend. Therefore, the purpose of creating an Operating Standards is to have a single, comprehensive, easy-to-use document, that has been “curated” based on user’s needs.

    Staff further explained the draft process involved to formulate the Operating Standards. The OEC will be provided with some concrete examples to demonstrate the purpose of the Operating Standards, i.e., to illustrate the kinds of tools, best practices and various other elements that would ultimately be developed and included in the Operating Standards. For example, staff has drafted a tool to assist in the development of useful recommendations, consisting of a series of questions and options to select from, for both review teams and independent examiners as they construct their respective recommendations. Tools such as this will make the Operating Standards a useful resource for the review teams. In addition to the coordination with the OEC, staff will also collaborate with the community to obtain feedback on issues such as whether a working group should be formed on this item, the need for a public comment, or utilizing other mechanisms that could be useful to develop to refine the Operating Standards.

    • Action Items:

      • Going forward, staff to prepare a draft outline of the process involved for the creation of the Operating Standards, to be presented to the OEC at its next meeting.
      • Staff to analyze the public comments received on the new ICANN Bylaws; and to ascertain its impact on the Operating Standards, prior to the OEC’s next meeting.
      • Staff to provide an example to the OEC to demonstrate the usage of the Community wiki space to collaborate on developing the Operating Standards, prior to the OEC’s next meeting.
  6. Review of Community Charter Amendments – Pursuant to the Process for Amending GNSO Stakeholder Group and Constituency Charters approved by the Board, the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group of the GNSO (RySG) has voted to amend its governing charter document. The proposed amendments adhered to the various phases of the Board review and approval process. Pursuant to the public comment period which closed on 4 April 2016, no opposition to the amendments were recorded.

    For record keeping purposes, the Chair noted that the OEC approved via online process (e-mail) on 27 April 2016, i.e. the OEC to recommend to the Board to approve the RySG charter amendments and for the Board to direct the RySG to review the changes within one year to determine if they have the intended impact.

  7. GNSO Review Update – The Final Report on the organizational review of the GNSO was delivered by Westlake Governance (the independent examiner) on 15 September 2015. The GNSO Review Working Party has finalized their Feasibility Assessment and Prioritization of 36 recommendations issued by the independent examiner and submitted their final report to the GNSO Council. Staff had previously presented the Feasibility Assessment and Prioritization of Recommendations to the OEC for its initial discussion.

    The GNSO Council has adopted the GNSO Review Working Party’s recommendations on 14 April 2016. In relation thereto, staff prepared a summary of the GNSO Review Recommendations’ for the OEC’s consideration, to provide the OEC with a comprehensive overview of all pertinent information in connection with the GNSO Review Recommendations.

    For purposes of this segment of the meeting, the OEC invited Jennifer Wolfe, the Chair of the GNSO Review Working Party, to address any question and/or clarification which the OEC may have in relation to the GNSO Review Recommendations. This is to assist the OEC to consider the feasibility assessment, and thereafter make the necessary recommendation to the Board.

    Jennifer Wolfe discussed and expanded upon the three recommendations (Recommendations 21, 32 and 23) that are coded red i.e. do not implement.

    The Chair congratulated the Chair of the GNSO Review Working Party for the successful completion of the review. The OEC agreed to make the recommendation to the Board to accept the final report of the independent examiner and to adopt the recommendations as recommended by the GNSO Review Working Party, including the modification of the GNSO Council.

    The GNSO community raised some concerns, e.g. that further clarity is required on the scope of implementation and prioritization of work in relation to recommendations that were coded green. Thus, staff is collaborating with the community to develop some proposals for implementation.

    In terms of the implementation of the recommendations, and based on learnings from previous reviews, particularly ATRT2, staff emphasized that having a shared understanding of the desired outcome of recommendations from the outset facilitates the implementation process. Therefore, staff is working closely with the community to ensure that there is clarity in terms of what each recommendation aims to achieve.

    Staff also provided an update on the GNSO review timeline, noting that the next steps include:

    • ICANN Board action on Final Report – expected June 2016
    • GNSO Council to determine steps towards implementation and implementation plan for Board approval – expected July 2016
    • ICANN Board approval of implementation plan – expected September 2016

    The OEC also stressed that the experiences with prior reviews can help provide lessons learned and insight to ICANN and the OEC for the review process. Thus, the OEC proposed to implement an ongoing process of identifying lessons learned and the overall benefits for the organization as a whole. This will ensure that such knowledge can be communicated from constituency to constituency; and for such knowledge to be applied to the conduct of the next review in the Organizational Review Cycle (in this case, the At-Large Review).

    • Action Items:

      • Staff to prepare a board paper for the OEC to present to the Board for its consideration and action at its next meeting.
      • Staff to initiate work on the planning and implementation of the recommendations.
      • Staff to develop a proposal on the prioritization of the implementation of the recommendations; taking into consideration a work plan that is feasible for the community.
      • Staff to circulate to the OEC a report published in 2009 by the Boston Consulting Group/ Colin Carter & Associates who performed an external review of ICANN’s Board of Directors.
  8. Any Other Business

    The OEC discussed the timing of a holistic review of the entire ICANN organization, noting that it would be advisable to wait for a few years, in order for the anticipated changes to the bylaws to become fully operationalized. The OEC stressed the importance of lessons learned and encouraged staff to stage exchanges between community members to share useful information and to apply the lessons learned to upcoming reviews.

    The OEC suggested that a review of the recent transition-related Cross-Community Working Group processes could provide some lessons learned and provide an assessment of the impact on the organization.

    The OEC initiated a discussion on how to improve efficiency in relation to conducting reviews e.g. project planning, producing reports and time-boxing reviews. Various factors have to be taken into consideration e.g. level of participation of volunteers, number of reviews, resourcing and costs involved. The OEC proposed to have a framework implemented, with guidance and feedback from the community.

    • Action Items:

      • The OEC to discuss further the possibility of the review of the CWG and CCWG mechanisms, in conjunction with a staff-proposed timeline for this review.
      • Staff to include a discussion on the agenda for the next OEC meeting on review improvements, including getting community buy-in, as reviews are being recalibrated and streamlined.

    The Chair called the meeting to a close at 11:00 a.m. local time (Amsterdam, the Netherlands).

Published on 22 July 2016

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