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Minutes | Board Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) Meeting

OEC Attendees: Avri Doria – Chair, Becky Burr, Danko Jevtovic, Lito Ibarra, Mandla Msimang, Ihab Osman and Matthew Shears

Executive and Staff Attendees: Susanna Bennett, Michelle Bright, Steve Conte, Amy Creamer, Samantha Eisner, Negar Farzinnia, Larisa Gurnick, Lars Hoffmann, Aaron Jimenez, Göran Marby, Wendy Profit, Laena Rahim, Theresa Swinehart and Victoria Yang


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

The Meeting was called to order at 16:00 UTC.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. Discussion on Status of Specific Reviews - ICANN organization provided a brief update on the progress of Specific Reviews i.e., third review of ICANN Accountability and Transparency (ATRT3), second review of Security, Stability and Resiliency of the DNS (SSR2), and the Competition, Consumer Trust & Consumer Choice (CCT) review:

    • ATRT3: The ATRT3 Review Team is finalizing its work and is on target to deliver the Final Report to the Board in May 2020. The ATRT3 Board Caucus Group intends to discuss with the ATRT3 Review Team the status of the ATRT3 and some overarching concerns. Given that some of the recommendations have changed quite significantly from the version of the recommendations that was published for Public Comment, some ATRT3 Review Team members are considering submitting minority statements on some of the recommendations. Responding to a query from the OEC, ICANN organization clarified that the deadline to submit minority statements is on Friday, 15 May 2020 (23:59 UTC); and at this juncture, the ATRT3 Review Team has not specifically discussed the possibility of having another Public Comment proceeding on the ATRT3 Draft Final Report.
    • SSR2 Review: The SSR2 Draft Report closed for Public Comment on 20 March 2020. Eighteen (18) public comments were received (which contain more than 300 substantive individual comments) and the comments received expressed a great diversity in views with no clear alignment. At this juncture, the SSR2 Review Team is in the midst of analyzing the comments received and amending the Draft Report, as necessary. Their planned completion date of June 2020 may be impacted, depending on the amount of work involved to address the public comments.
    • CCT Review: In relation to the CCT Review, ICANN organization held a meeting with the CCT Caucus Group on 6 May 2020 to discuss the pending recommendations which are ready for action, and the status of other recommendations which require additional time to complete. The Board is expected to take action in the near future on a set of pending recommendations for which the analysis/information is available. In line with Board expectations, engagement sessions with the CCT Implementation Shepherds will take place at appropriate junctions to ensure the Shepherds are apprised of work undertaken. It is anticipated that the Chairman of the Board will post a blog to inform the community of the progress made to date on the CCT recommendations.
  3. Discussion on Streamlining of Reviews – ICANN organization provided an update on this topic; recapping the issues surrounding ICANN's current review configuration and summarizing the state of discussion of the ATRT3's proposal with regards to streamlining of reviews.

    Pursuant to a request from the OEC at its previous meeting, ICANN organization is in the midst of finalizing a comparative analysis of problems previously identified by the Board and/or the community in relation to the streamlining of Organizational and Specific Reviews; and the extent to which the ATRT3 Draft Final Report addresses those identified problems. This analysis considers input provided by the Board to the ATRT3 as part of the Public Comment proceeding on the ATRT3 Draft Report; and it would also reflect the latest changes/developments from the ATRT3.

    ICANN organization's preliminary observation demonstrates that the Board identified 22 problem statements related to the current processes guiding Organizational and Specific Reviews. The ATRT3 addresses six of these problems outright; and potentially one more depending on interpretation and elaboration once the recommendations are implemented. Therefore, at least 15 existing problems remain unaddressed. 

    A majority of the problems which the ATRT3 have addressed are in relation to the cadence and timing of reviews and the ATRT3 has recommended the following:

    For Specific Reviews:

    • RDS: To suspend any further RDS reviews until the next ATRT review can consider the future of RDS reviews.
    • CCT: There should be one additional and clearly scoped CCT review which should commence within two years after the first introduction of new gTLD round.
    • SSR: Given that SSR2 review will not be finalized prior to ATRT3 completing its work, SSR reviews should be suspended until the next ATRT Review (or any type of review that includes current ATRT duties) which shall decide if these should be terminated, amended, or kept as is.
    • ATRT: ATRT reviews should continue, with some enhancements.

    The ATRT3 also recommends a "Holistic Review of ICANN" cadenced to Accountability and Transparency reviews, which is envisioned to fall under Specific Reviews. A Holistic Review would be limited to 18 months; and it includes a review of continuous improvement of SO/AC/NomCom individually and collectively based on best practices, collaboration mechanisms, accountability, continuing purpose, and changes to structure/operations.

    For Organizational Reviews:

    • To evolve current reviews into continuous improvement programs for each SO/AC/NomCom, which includes:

      • An annual satisfaction survey of members/participants, made public to inform the Holistic Review; and
      • At least every three years, SO/AC/NomCom undertake a formal process to evaluate and report on continuous improvement, published for Public Comment. If desired by SO/AC/NomCom, this evaluation can be carried out by an independent examiner.

    ICANN organization highlighted some examples of problems which were not addressed by the ATRT3, including:

    • It is unclear whether the purpose and intent of Organizational and Specific Reviews still live up to their initial purpose in the Affirmation of Commitments/pre-transition Bylaws.
    • Lack of agreement on what Organizational Reviews should achieve and what areas should be subject to review process.
    • There is no mechanism for cross-community SO/AC accountability in the case that an SO/AC rejects Organizational Review recommendations.
    • For Specific Reviews, there is a lack of sufficient Review Team member skills sets to cover the required skills and scope articulated in the Operating Standards and Bylaws.
    • For Specific Reviews, despite guidance included in the Operating Standards, recommendations are often untethered from an identified finding/problem and there is a lack of clear rationale in relation to the problem that is being addressed.

    ICANN organization reiterated the importance of evaluating the ATRT3's recommendations (in relation to the streamlining of reviews) holistically with the work of the CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 2, as well as the ongoing dialogue on the evolution of the multistakeholder model.

  4. Update on the IANA Naming Function Review (IFR) – ICANN organization provided a brief update on the status of the IFR. The IFR team is continuing with its regular meetings. IFR team members have self-selected particular sections of the IANA Naming Functions Contract to research and determine if ICANN and PTI are in compliance (due date for each research to be completed moved from April to May 2020). IFR team members have had difficulty finding time to conduct their work in between team calls, so the work has moved slowly. ICANN organization and the IFR Co-Chairs discussed ways to move forward and assist IFR team members to progress smoothly and in a timely manner.
  5. Review of OEC Open Action Items – ICANN organization circulated the OEC's open action items list via e-mail, prior to the OEC meeting. The OEC noted that some of the open action items will be completed during the discussion at the current meeting, there are several action items which will be followed up in time for the next OEC meeting; and there are also other action items which will require more time to complete.
  6. Confirmation of Action Taken via E-mail:

    • Approval of 8 April 2020 Preliminary Report.
  7. Any Other Business –

    • Review of OEC "Watched Action Items" – The OEC reviewed and revised the OEC's "Watched Action Items" list to reflect items which should remain on the list. Items on the list are not for current action, but deserve periodic examination or discussion by the OEC. 

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 10 May 2020

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."