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Minutes | Board Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) Meeting

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

SPC Apologies: Nigel Roberts

Observer: Avri Doria, Danko Jevtovic and Manal Ismail

Other Board Attendee: 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), Samantha Eisner (Deputy General Counsel), Becky Nash (VP, Planning), Wendy Profit (Board Operations Senior Manager), 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 15:00 UTC.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. 2021 Planning Activities -

    1. FY22 and FY23 Planning Summary Timeline – ICANN organization provided a brief summary of the FY22 through FY26 planning activities that are taking place within the next five months. The planning has also begun for FY23 through FY27.
      • Action Item:

        • Pursuant to the Chair's suggestion, ICANN organization to amend the FY22 and FY23 Planning Summary Timeline to incorporate additional details to demonstrate the intersecting and overlapping points of the work of the SPC, in order to provide a more holistic picture of the overall timelines for the SPC's work.
    2. Draft SPC Work Plan - ICANN org provided an overview of the SPC's draft work plan for January – December 2021, which sets out the scope of work, responsibilities and the respective timelines, for the SPC's consideration. ICANN org and the Chair will monitor and assess the work plan on a regular basis, to ascertain whether it requires any further modifications.

      Pursuant to an in-depth discussion on this topic, the SPC emphasized the importance of ensuring that the SPC carries out its oversight role relating to the ICANN's strategic priorities in a strategic manner.

      The SPC approved the Work Plan for 2021, subject to the amendments to be incorporated by ICANN org.

      • Action Item:

        • ICANN org will assist the SPC to amend the Work Plan, and to establish a regular cadence of meetings for the SPC.
    3. FY23 ICANN Strategic Outlook Trends - 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 trends identification process. ICANN org provided a brief overview of the Strategic Outlook trends 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 decisions.

      The SPC noted that the community engagement process is an important component of the Strategic Outlook trends identification process to demonstrate to the ICANN community that their inputs and issues are taken into consideration. This annual process helps to ensure that ICANN's Strategic Plan remains current, taking into account the ever-evolving environment.

      The SPC discussed, and is supportive of the proposal of inviting external third parties to provide a briefing to the SPC and/or the Board on relevant topics/ existential threats (e.g., market trends on domain names or on IP addresses), which may have an impact on the ICANN ecosystem as a whole.

  3. Review of the Roles and Responsibilities of SPC -
    1. Role of Board Committees in Planning Process - The Chair provided an overview of the role of the Board Committees in the planning process to demonstrate the overlapping and/or demarcation between the scope/role of each committee. Each Board Committee has a specific role, which helps to ensure that the planning process and coordination between the Board Committees are conducted effectively and efficiently.
    2. Coordination with other Board Committees - The Chair provided a brief summary of the coordination process involving the Chairs of the SPC, the Board Finance Committee (BFC), the Board Risk Committee (BRC) and the Board Technical Committee (BTC). The cadence of coordination meetings between the Board Committees is anticipated to be twice annually (in January and July annually). The Chair highlighted that the objective of the coordination between the Board Committees is to ensure alignment between strategic priorities with financial objectives, risk considerations, and ICANN overall technical mission and strategic goals. The Chair further noted that there is a separate coordination process between the Board Audit Committee, the BFC and the BRC.
  4. Action Items and Next Steps (from the previous meeting) -

    The SPC reviewed the action items and next steps from the previous SPC meeting, which have either been completed and/or discussed during the present meeting.

    ICANN org briefed the SPC on the agenda items to be included in the next and future SPC meetings, for the SPC's consideration:

    • Framework and proposed work plan for the prioritization of ICANN's work process;
    • Approach to strategic sessions(s) of the Board on strategic priorities;
    • Monitoring strategic priorities and providing regular updates to the Board; and
    • Board trends session - proposed to be scheduled in March 2021.

    The SPC also discussed the formulation of a communications plan to identify the areas of engagement with the community in the strategic planning process, as well as the planning and participation from SPC members as part of its oversight of the strategic priorities. The SPC reiterated that community participation is a critical component of the strategic planning process in collaboration with the ICANN Board and ICANN organization. The strategic planning process is designed to ensure continuous participation of the ICANN community throughout the development of the plan.

    A potential area to explore of community engagement is to develop a webinar about the SPC and its evolution from a Board working group to the SPC. The proposed webinar would also illustrate the oversight role of the SPC; and how the perspectives of the community have been considered at different stages of the exercise (e.g., planning process, etc.).

    The ICANN President and CEO suggested the SPC consider the adoption and integration of ICANN org's new project management framework. The SPC agreed to explore the new project management framework tool and assess how it can be used to connect the work of the Board, the SPC and ICANN org.

    • Action Item:
      • ICANN org to assist the SPC to organize a separate informal call for the SPC members to discuss how to integrate the new project management framework into the work of the ICANN Board committees. ICANN org to provide a brief presentation on the project management tools to the SPC.
  5. Any Other Business:

    Danko Jevtovic (Observer) expressed his interest to join the SPC as a member. As the BFC Chair, he noted that sufficient coordination will be required between the work of the BFC and the SPC; and therefore, he will be able to provide valuable contribution to the work of the SPC. The SPC is supportive of this proposal.

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 11 March 2021

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."