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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

Other Board Member Attendee: Göran Marby (President & CEO)

Invited Representative of Meridian Institute: Kristy Buckley

Invited Representatives of ccNSO Review Work Party (RWP): Katrina Sataki (ccNSO Council Chair); and Biyi Oladipo (ccNSO Councillor)

Executive and Staff Attendees: Jean Baptiste-Deroulez, Bart Boswinkel, Joke Braeken, Michelle Bright, Jennifer Bryce, Xavier Calvez, Kimberly Carlson, Franco Carrasco, Negar Farzinnia, Larisa Gurnick, Lars Hoffmann, Wendy Profit, Laena Rahim, and Theresa Swinehart


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. Country Code Names Supporting Organization ("ccNSO") Review
    • Briefing on the ccNSO Review Final Report – Kristy Buckley, on behalf of the Meridian Institute, the independent examiner that conducted the ccNSO Review, provided a briefing of the Final Report to the OEC. As per the Bylaws, the purpose of the ccNSO Review is to determine (i) whether the ccNSO has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure; (ii) if so, whether any changes in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness; and (iii) whether the ccNSO is accountable to its constituencies, stakeholder groups, organizations and other stakeholders. The ccNSO Review also assessed the effectiveness of improvements resulting from the previous ccNSO Review, conducted in 2010.

      Ms. Buckley briefed the OEC that the Meridian Institute conducted approximately 45 interviews and launched an online survey to collect input from a broader set of people than could be interviewed. 111 people responded to the survey (78 complete responses). The Meridian Institute further observed the ccNSO Members Day meetings at ICANN63 and ICANN64, as well as a ccNSO Council Meeting at ICANN64. An Assessment Report was published for public consultation on 8 April 2019. The Draft Final Report was posted for Public Comment on 17 June 2019. The Final Report was submitted on 3 September 2019. In addition to the one-on-one interviews and the online survey, the Meridian Institute participated in a productive session with the community to help explain the findings and recommendations set out in the Draft Final Report at ICANN65 and via a webinar on 10 July 2019.

      During the meeting, Ms. Buckley provided a high-level summary of the Meridian Institute's findings and recommendations across a broad set of topic areas (e.g. continuing purpose, structure and operations, and accountability). Among others, the Meridian Institute recommended that:

      • the ccNSO Council, with support from the Secretariat, should develop communication materials (including talking points) that clearly articulate the value of the ccNSO to potential new and current ccNSO members.
      • the ccNSO Council should update Section 3.5 of the Guideline: ccNSO Working Groups to clearly articulate and standardize the process for nominating and appointing Working Group Chair(s).
      • the ccNSO should limit the number of consecutive terms a Councillor can serve. In regions with fewer members to draw upon/ or in the case of no willing volunteers seeking election, this requirement could be waived for that term.
      • the ccNSO Meetings Program Committee should develop and adopt meeting formats to allow more varied interaction between participants at ICANN meetings.
      • the ccNSO website should be redone as soon as possible.
      • the ccNSO Council should adhere to the ccNSO Council Practices Guideline. If the guidelines for the Council agendas are too restrictive or impractical to follow, then the Guideline should be updated to reflect practices that are sustainable, keeping in mind members' interests in continued transparency and accountability.

      In addition to the recommendations set out in the Final Report, the Meridian Institute also provided 34 suggestions across 13 categories, which represent a vast range of continuous improvement ideas received from the community during the interviews and the online survey responses.

      The OEC sought clarification from Ms. Buckley as to whether the recommendations within the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN's Accountability's (CCWG-Accountability) final report from its Work Stream 2 (WS2) were taken into consideration in formulating the recommendations set out in the Final Report. Ms. Buckley clarified that the Meridian Institute referred to, and where necessary, reiterated the relevant recommendations from the CCWG-Accountability WS2 Final Report, in relation to accountability and transparency recommendations.

      The Chair thanked Ms. Buckley for her presentation.

    • Briefing on the ccNSO Review Recommendations Feasibility Assessment & Initial Implementation Plan – Katrina Sataki, ccNSO Council Chair, and a member of the ccNSO Review Work Party (RWP), presented an overview of its Feasibility Assessment & Initial Implementation Plan, which was developed based on the ccNSO RWP's review of the Final Report. The Feasibility Assessment & Initial Implementation Plan contains the RWP's assessment of the feasibility of the recommendations in the Final Report and provides an initial plan of how to implement them. It includes areas where the ccNSO RWP agrees with the Final Report, as well as those areas where it does not.

      In its Feasibility Assessment & Initial Implementation Plan, the ccNSO RWP accepts 13 out of the 15 issues identified by the Meridian Institute. However, it accepts only five of the 15 recommendations that Meridian Institute has issued. The ccNSO RWP did not provide any alternative recommendations to those that it rejected but supported the underlying issue. In terms of the implementation of recommendations, the ccNSO's priorities include the following:

      • Increasing the level of interest (in ccNSO in general and for meetings) and numbers of volunteers and participants (in Working Groups, Committees and as Councillors) – [Recommendations 1, alternative for 2a/2b, alternative for 5 and 6];
      • Instrumental to increasing and maintaining a high level of interest and participation is the revamping of the ccNSO Website – [Recommendation 11]; and
      • Real-time scribing of ccNSO Members Day meetings (and Tech Day) would support and maintain high level of interest in ccNSO and ccNSO related meetings – [Recommendation 7].

      Responding to a query from the OEC, Ms. Sataki noted that the ccNSO RWP collaborated well with the Meridian Institute in carrying out the ccNSO Review. In the process of drafting its Feasibility Assessment & Initial Implementation Plan, the ccNSO RWP analyzed the recommendations from the CCWG-Accountability WS2 Final Report to ascertain the relevant requirements which the ccNSO needs to implement.

      Mr. Oladipo, a ccNSO Councillor and a member of the ccNSO RWP, briefly shared his experience as a newcomer to the ccNSO Council. He elaborated that the lack of understanding of the workings of the ccNSO is a significant obstacle which prevents volunteers from actively participating and contributing to the ccNSO process. However, the ccNSO's advocacy and outreach efforts have proven to be fruitful as more newcomers and volunteers have become active in the ccNSO. Such efforts should be continued and intensified to encourage more active participation and contribution from the community.

      The Chair thanked Ms. Sataki for her presentation. The Meridian Institute representative and the ccNSO RWP members left the meeting at this juncture.

      Further to the presentations from the Meridian Institute and the ccNSO RWP, the OEC continued its discussion on this topic.

      ICANN org emphasized that some of the recommendations (e.g. in relation to diversity, transparency and accountability aspects) have dependencies on ongoing community discussions and work in other related areas, e.g. CCWG-Accountability WS2 recommendations regarding SO/AC accountability; ATRT3 recommendation on Specific and Organizational Reviews, specifically continuous improvement programs for SO/ACs and Holistic Review of all ICANN structures; and the Evolving the Effectiveness of the Multistakeholder Model's high-priority topic area of Consensus, Representation, and Inclusivity.

      The OEC agreed to engage in further detailed discussions on this topic, prior to making its recommendations to the Board.

      • Action Item:
        • The OEC to follow-up with the ccNSO RWP to seek further clarification and/or additional implementation details and address any other gaps in relation to the Feasibility Assessment & Initial Implementation Plan in due course.
  3. Confirmation of Action Taken via E-mail:

    • Approval of 14 July 2020 Preliminary Report
  4. Any Other Business

    • OEC/Board Caucus on Budgeting and Prioritization of Community Recommendations (BPCR) meeting – A joint OEC/BPCR meeting will be held on 25 August 2020 at 14:00 UTC to discuss the identified issues with the way Specific and Organizational reviews are currently conducted, potential areas that may address some of these issues (i.e. ATRT3 recommendations and Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN's Multistakeholder Model – Next Steps), and discuss ways to address the significant gaps, leading to next steps toward streamlining of reviews.

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 22 September 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."