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Minutes | Board Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) Meeting

SPC Attendees: Matthew Shears – Chair, Ron da Silva, Lito Ibarra, Ihab Osman, Nigel Roberts, León Sánchez and Tripti Sinha

SPC Apologies: Becky Burr

Observers: Avri Doria, Danko Jevtovic, Manal Ismail and Merike Käo

Other Board Attendees: Maarten Botterman (Chair, ICANN Board) and Göran Marby (President and CEO)

Executive and Staff Attendees: Michelle Bright (Board Content Coordination Director), Xavier Calvez (SVP, Planning and Chief Financial Officer), Franco Carrasco (Board Operations Specialist), Sally Newell Cohen (SVP, Global Communications), Samantha Eisner (Deputy General Counsel), John Jeffrey (General Counsel & Secretary), Vinciane Koenigsfeld (Senior Director, Board Operations), Becky Nash (VP, Planning), Amy Stathos (Deputy General Counsel), Theresa Swinehart (SVP, Global Domains and Strategy) and Nathalie Vergnolle (Director, Planning)


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

The Meeting was called to order at 18:00 UTC.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. Review of ICANN Strategic Outlook: 2020 Trends Analysis -

    1. Discussion on a proposed recommendation to the Board to confirm that the current ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025 remains unchanged:

      The Board has an obligation to ensure that the adopted Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025 continues to meet ICANN's needs. The SPC oversees the annual Strategic Outlook trend identification process.

      The Chair recapped the Strategic Outlook trend identification process, which ensures that ICANN has a consistent way to identify and track trends, prepare for opportunities, mitigate or avoid challenges, inform strategic and operational planning and prioritization.

      Between November 2019 and March 2020, ICANN organization conducted 21 Strategic Outlook trend identification sessions with participants from the community and ICANN org. Between April and September 2020, the Strategic Planning Board Working Group (which was in place prior to the formation of the SPC), as supported by ICANN org, conducted a thorough analysis of the trend session data inputs received, including assessing the risks, opportunities, and potential impacts on ICANN.

      The SPC concluded its discussion on this topic. The SPC approved the recommendation to the Board confirming that the current ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025 remains unchanged, with no restatement of the Strategic Plan needed at this time. The SPC recognizes that there may be future need to evolve the Strategic Plan, such as to address funding realities identified through the update of ICANN's five-year Operating and Financial Plan, or mid-course modifications during the span of the Strategic Plan.

    2. Discussion on steps to publish a report for transparency:

      ICANN org provided a brief background on this topic. Pursuant to the Strategic Outlook trend identification sessions held with the ICANN community, a webinar was held with the ICANN community on 6 October 2020 to present the Strategic Outlook process and the methods used to conduct the analysis. Thereafter, no documentation has been shared with the ICANN community on the results of the analysis conducted.

      The Chair noted the importance of demonstrating to the ICANN community that their inputs and issues have been considered and/or addressed by the Board; and providing transparency on the level of priority assigned to each issue raised.

      As part of the Board's communications plan, and to increase the SPC's transparency and outreach with the ICANN community, ICANN org and the SPC discussed the possibility of highlighting the importance SPC's scope of work in a blog following the conclusion of an upcoming Board workshop.

      • Action Items:

        • Pursuant to a discussion on this topic, the SPC agreed with ICANN org's recommendation to publish the "ICANN Strategic Outlook: 2020 Trends Synthesis" document and to include a reference to this document in the Draft ICANN FY22-26 Five-Year Operating Plan, scheduled for public comment in December 2020. This step illustrates the transparency of the decision-making process of the SPC in relation to the annual Strategic Outlook trend identification exercise.
        • The SPC to present its recommendation to the Board confirming that the current ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025 remains unchanged, with no restatement of the Strategic Plan needed at this time.
  3. Review of the SPC charter and illustrative workplan – The Chair provided a brief summary of the SPC's draft workplan which is currently a work-in-progress, to identify its scope of responsibilities and the relevant timelines.

    The SPC will engage in further discussions to finalize the SPC's workplan.

    • Action Item:
      • In relation to the SPC's scope of responsibility on "oversight of strategic planning process and its evolution", the SPC agreed that as a next step, the Chair will engage in a discussion with the Chairs of the Board Finance Committee, the Board Risk Committee and the Board Technical Committee to gather some preliminary input/feedback in relation to the alignment and overlap of the scope of responsibilities among these committees.

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 25 November 2020

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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."