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Minutes | Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) Meeting

OEC Attendees: Khaled Koubaa - Chair, Avri Doria, Lito Ibarra, Leon Sanchez and Matthew Shears

Other Board Member Attendee: Akinori Maemura

Executive and Staff Attendees: Samantha Eisner, Teresa Elias, Negar Farzinnia, Larisa Gurnick, Lars Hoffmann, Aaron Jimenez, Vinciane Koenigsfeld, Wendy Profit, Laena Rahim, Charla Shambley, and Theresa Swinehart


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

The Meeting was called to order at 5:45 p.m. local time in Los Angeles, California.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. Roles and Responsibilities for Specific Reviews – ICANN organization provided the OEC with a brief update of the framework elucidating the roles and responsibilities of the Board, the OEC, the Board Caucus Group and ICANN organization in Specific Reviews. Given the OEC's expanded role including oversight of Specific Reviews, and with the introduction of the Board Caucus Group construct, the intent of the framework is to align and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder.

    At ICANN60, the OEC deliberated on the composition of the Board Caucus Group. The OEC agreed that a flexible and open membership would be more appropriate than setting a fixed number on membership. The Roles & Responsibilities document now specified that the Board Chair, Vice Chair, and the Board Governance Committee Chair will select the members of a Board Caucus Group.

    The OEC concluded its discussion on this topic and approved the framework for the roles and responsibilities for Specific Reviews.

    • Action Item:

      • The OEC to forward the recommended Roles and Responsibilities document to the Board, to obtain guidance and to determine the appropriate action by the Board.
  3. Overview of the OEC's Oversight Functions for Specific and Organizational Reviews– This item is on the agenda in order for OEC members to be well-versed in the OEC Charter, especially for the benefit of new OEC members, as well as a way to satisfy the OEC's responsibility to perform a review of its Charter on an annual basis.  As part of its Charter review, the OEC considered the elements listed within its Charter, which is available at: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/charter-oec-2017-05-11-en.
  4. Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) Review Update: Selection of Independent Examiner – ICANN organization provided a brief update on the status of the SSAC Review.

    The Request for Proposal (RFP) for an independent examiner was launched in July 2017. ICANN organization completed its evaluation of applicants in September 2017. Before confirming the selected candidate, the OEC requested an additional review of the selected candidate's technical capacity by ICANN's Office of the Chief Technical Officer (OCTO). Having reviewed the selected candidate's application, interview, and the CV of their consultants, OCTO is of the view that the selected candidate has the technical expertise to conduct the SSAC Review.

    The OEC affirmed that ICANN organization has adhered to the prescribed procurement process and selection criteria.

    The OEC approved the selection of the independent examiner.

    • Action Item:

      • ICANN organization to proceed with the contracting process with the selected independent examiner and thereafter make the necessary announcement.
  5. Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) Review Update – ICANN organization provided a brief update on the status of the ccNSO Review, which is currently at the planning phase of its review cycle.

    The ccNSO Review has been deferred by twelve months (until August 2018), due to the ccNSO's heavy workload and community bandwidth concerns resulting from the IANA Stewardship Transition, multiple reviews, among other work. The goal of the ccNSO Review, to be undertaken pursuant to such criteria and standards as the Board shall direct, shall be to determine:

    1. whether the ccNSO has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure;
    2. if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve the ccNSO's effectiveness; and
    3. whether the ccNSO is accountable to its constituencies, stakeholder groups, organizations and other stakeholders.

    Currently, the ccNSO is helping to develop the scope of work for the ccNSO Review. ICANN organization informed the OEC that the ccNSO will seek specific guidance from the OEC and/or the Board on this aspect. Furthermore, the ccNSO will potentially seek for an exclusion of the following areas from the review scope:

    1. Assessment of financial contributions of member ccTLDs to ICANN; and
    2. The procedures and rules governing the ccNSO's policy development process.

    The OEC will deliberate on this topic once it receives an official request from the ccNSO leadership.

  6. At-Large Review Update – ICANN organization provided brief update on the status of the At-Large Review.

    In relation to the ICANN At-Large Review Final Report by ITEMS International ("Final Report") and At-Large Review Recommendations Feasibility Assessment & Initial Implementation Plan ("Feasibility Study"). The Final Report was submitted on 3 May 2017. The At-Large Review Working Party ("RWP"), in cooperation with the ALAC and RALO leadership, reviewed the Final Report and developed the Feasibility Study. On 21 September 2017, a representative from the independent examiner, ITEMS International, shared an overview of the findings and recommendations with the OEC. Representatives from the RWP also discussed their observations with the OEC on the Final Report and the Feasibility Study. 

    Previously, the OEC requested ICANN organization to develop documentation to map the underlying issues noted by ITEMS International to the Feasibility Study, to assist the OEC in the formation of a recommendation of how to address the divide between the Final Report and the Feasibility Study. The mapping document was shared with the RWP for their review and assessment of the issues/queries raised in the mapping document. The OEC agreed further discussion with the RWP is required on this topic, prior to making a recommendation to the Board on the Final Report or the Feasibility Study.

    The RWP is currently reviewing the mapping document. The RWP is expected to complete its update to the feasibility assessment by early March 2018

  7. Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) Review Update – ICANN organization provided a brief update on the RSSAC Review. The RSSAC Review was launched in September 2017 with the selection of Interisle Consulting Group as the independent examiner.

    To-date, the independent examiner has conducted 44 interviews and received 39 survey responses, to collect input from those who have interacted with RSSAC and/or have ideas for ways to improve it. The independent examiner will share an Assessment Report with the RSSAC Review Work Party on 9 February. Thereafter public consultation will be carried out, including webinars, which will take place throughout February and March 2018.

    The current timeline anticipates the draft Final Report to be published for public comment in May 2018 and the Final Report is due in July 2018.

  8. Nominating Committee (NomCom) Review Update – The OEC was provided with a brief update on the NomCom Review.

    Thus far, 60 interviews have been conducted and 85 survey responses collected, in addition to the public consultation on the Assessment Report. On 18 January 2018, the independent examiner hosted a webinar on the Assessment Report, during which participants had the opportunity to provide initial feedback and sought clarification. Additionally, the NomCom Review Working Party (RWP) held a public call on 25 January 2018, during which the wider ICANN community was invited to contribute to the feedback process with the RWP and the independent examiner.

    Draft recommendations are due in February 2018 and the public comment for the Draft Final Report is expected to open after ICANN61. The Final Report is due to be finalized in May 2018.

    The framework for separating the review into two parts (Assessment and Recommendations) is piloted during the NomCom Review. This requires first an assessment of what is working and what needs improvement, followed by the recommendation phase. ICANN organization will provide observations on lessons learned from this new approach. The Chair apprised the OEC that he has received positive feedback from the community on the implementation of the two-phased approach for Organizational Review process.

    ICANN organization highlighted some of the issues raised in the NomCom Review Assessment Report, including:

    • The extent to which NomCom appointees and members are independent and prioritize the interests of the community in their decision-making is an area of some concern.
    • The lack of experience among some NomCom members in recruiting and selecting candidates for an organization the size and complexity of ICANN.
    • The lack of continuity in many processes and functions of the NomCom.
    • The lack of understanding around the role of, and consensus regarding the effectiveness of both the professional recruitment firm (OB Brussels) and professional evaluation firm (OB Frankfurt).
    • The lack of diversity of the NomCom, especially with respect to gender.
    • There is some concern that the NomCom term length of one year, even if often renewed for a second year, may not allow for sufficient learning and engagement of its members.
  9. Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO2) Review Update – On 2 January 2018, the OEC received the semi-annual update from the GNSO2 Review Implementation Working Group.

    In February 2017, the Board passed a resolution adopting the implementation plan that the GNSO2 Review Working Group had developed. In this resolution, the Board supported the phased approach laid out in the Implementation Plan and acknowledged that more details about implementation details may be required for implementation Phases 2 and 3.

    As such, the Board directed the GNSO2 Review Working Group to provide updates to the OEC every six months and requested that those bi-annual updates identify implementation achievements and future implementation plans. Additionally, the Board asked that during these updates the GNSO2 Review Working Group provide more details on implementation progress, and measurability.

    Matthew Shears highlighted a concern raised by Non-Contracted Parties House (NCPH), that the GNSO3 Review is likely to begin when implementation of the current GNSO2 Review actions are still underway. Thus, there is concern about its ability to undertake these reviews in quick succession and implement the actions accordingly.

    • Action Item:

      • The OEC to acknowledge receipt and appreciation for the community's work and progress on the GNSO2 Review.
  10. Security, Stability and Resiliency of the DNS Review (SSR2) Update– The OEC had a telephonic meeting with the SO/AC Chairs on 8 January 2018 to discuss the status of the SSR2 Review. There has been no further update on the status of the SSR2 Review since then. The OEC's focus is to provide the SO/AC chairs and the community with support for their work toward resuming the work of the SSR2 Review, considering the timing of resuming the work of SSR2 and budget/resource implications.

    The OEC agreed to ascertain the challenges faced, and the type of support that is required by the SO/AC chairs and the community to resume the work of the SSR2 Review.

    • Action Items:

      • OEC to request an update on the progress by the SO/AC Chairs toward resuming the SSR2 Review, and to ascertain the challenges which they are facing, and the assistance which they require from the OEC to resume work on the SSR2 Review. Thereafter, if necessary, the OEC will engage in individual discussions with the SO/AC Chairs.
      • Further, ICANN organization to facilitate a face-to-face meeting between the OEC and the SO/AC Chairs at ICANN61 in March 2018, if deemed useful.
  11. Registration Directory Service (RDS/WHOIS2) Review Update – ICANN organization provided a brief overview of the status of the RDS/WHOIS2 Review.

    The RDS/WHOIS2 Review Team reached out to the RDS Board Caucus Group informally to obtain feedback on the adopted Terms of Reference (ToR) and work plan. The RDS Board Caucus Group reviewed documents and assessed some areas of concern:

    • Review being full-scoped (vs. limited) in consideration with community bandwidth issues; and
    • Potential duplication of work with ongoing community-driven activities (PDP WGs, GDPR, etc.).

    ICANN organization updated the OEC that the Board-appointed RDS/WHOIS2 Review Team member (Chris Disspain) has provided informal feedback to encourage the RDS/WHOIS2 Review Team to revisit their scope and assess the best approach toward conducting an effective review. The RDS/WHOIS2 Review Team will finalize their amended ToR and submit to the Board for official comment/input.

  12. Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice (CCT) Review Update – ICANN organization provided a brief update on the progress of the CCT Review. The second public comment period on new recommendations closed on 15 January 2018.

    The CCT Review Team is targeting to submit their Final Report to the Board by end of March 2018.

  13. Any Other Business

    1. Proposal for Establishing a Process for Pausing/Resuming a Review: Going forward, given that the draft Operating Standards currently does not contain any provision on "pausing/resuming a review", the OEC discussed the possibility of establishing a process for monitoring the progress of a Review Team, where concerns can be raised, discussed and remedied without having to "pause" a Review in the future.  In this regard, the OEC agreed to assess this issue in line with comments received during the public comment period on the draft Operating Standards, as it would be useful to take into account the feedback/input received from the community in response to the pausing of the SSR2 Review.

      • Action Item:

        • ICANN organization to analyze the feedback received on the draft Operating Standards, specifically on the topic of "pausing/resuming a Review".
        • ICANN organization to formulate a concept paper on the recommended process/guidelines for monitoring the progress of a Review Team, for purposes of discussion with the community, based on lessons learned from the pausing of the SSR2 Review.
    2. Appointment of a Vice-Chair for the OEC:  For purposes of succession planning and owing to the expanded workload of the OEC, the Chair initiated a discussion on the nomination of a Vice-Chair for the OEC.

      • Action Item:

        • The OEC to communicate with the Board Governance Committee (BGC) to assist with the succession planning aspect, and to ensure that it aligns with the BGC's slate of board leadership.

The Chair called the meeting to a close at 6:45 p.m. local time (Los Angeles, California).

Published on 5 March 2018

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."