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Draft Travel Support Procedure

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1.0 Background

ICANN has more resources than in the past, and it is natural at this time to reconsider ICANN's approach to providing constituent travel support. As the ICANN institution matures, it is increasingly important that the approach to travel support be well considered, documented, and implemented in a transparent way.

Several in the community have called for additional travel support, though certainly all do not agree. In addition to many anecdotal comments received from the community, a public discussion forum was held in ICANN's Delhi meeting during February 2008. Further, a public forum was opened from 3 March 2008 through 24 April 2008 with various comments received. (For a summary of these comments, see: .)

Based on this broad discussion, ICANN staff is proposing an updated community travel support procedure with respect to the three-times-yearly ICANN meetings. (Note, the word "procedure" is used instead of "policy" to avoid confusion with ICANN's core policy development work.) Staff is actively seeking feedback from the community over the next 30 days regarding this new travel support procedure. After consulting with ICANN's Board in Paris, the intent is to adopt this community travel procedure (with possible amendments), and ensure adequate funding to support it in the ICANN budget for Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09), beginning July 1, 2008.

1.1 Purpose of Community Travel Support

Participation in ICANN's multistakeholder model comes at a cost of time, energy, effort and often direct expense. It is entirely appropriate for ICANN revenue, derived from registrant fees, to offset some of this cost. At the same time, one of the strengths of ICANN is that it brings together a range of interests within the umbrella of a community where passion and commitment isn't measured just in financial terms.

For years, ICANN has had a practice of offsetting some costs of participation. For example, the ICANN Board and liaisons to the Board are reimbursed for ICANN travel expenses. Members of the Nominating Committee have also been reimbursed for travel expenses to their meetings, and the At Large Advisory Committee has been reimbursed for their travel to ICANN meetings.

Clearly, there is a balance point of purpose and budget to consider when thinking about how far to extend the travel support approach, and based on what principles. Since a primary deliverable from ICANN's multi-stakeholder model is policy development, it seems logical to extend the travel support available to the Supporting Organizations who originate ICANN policy.

In general, the goal of travel support money should be to lower the barrier to participation, and broaden the group of participants. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that a key way to enhance participation is to continue to improve remote participation, and by stretching all travel expenditures; traveling as economically as possible to benefit the maximum number of travelers.

1.2 Review of Current Travel Support to ICANN Meetings (No Change in Procedure)

ICANN Board and Liaisons – The ICANN Board is reimbursed for reasonable travel and living expenses to attend ICANN meetings. For trips longer than five hours, Board member travel is booked at Business class airfares.

Justification: ICANN Board members carry some of the most significant personal and professional responsibility for the ICANN organization. This level of support is intended to recognize that responsibility and to afford a higher level performance efficiency and comfort in their extensive travel on behalf of ICANN.

ALAC: All committee members are reimbursed for economy airfare plus a per diem to attend ICANN main meetings.

Justification: At the inception of the At-large structure, it was determined to be important to fund travel participation for the entire ALAC.

NomCom: In general, NomCom members are not reimbursed for travel to ICANN meetings, though reasonable expenses and economy-class airfare are reimbursed for the NomCom meetings themselves. (Current NomCom Chair, Vice-Chair, and previous Chair are reimbursed for attendance at ICANN meetings.)

Justification: NomCom work is above and beyond ICANN's normal policy development work, thus travel expenses for participants is fully supported.

Fellowship Program: Over approximately the last year, ICANN has operated a fellowship program. This program has the specific goal of increasing participation from people and regions who might not otherwise be able to attend an ICANN meeting. Fellows are reimbursed for economy-class airfare plus a per diem to attend ICANN meetings.

Justification : The explicit purpose of this program is to provide travel expense support to broaden participation.

2.0 Proposed Community Travel Support Procedure

The proposed Community Travel Support Procedure will bring forward all elements of the existing procedures for the ICANN Board and Liaisons, ALAC and NomCom. Additionally, it will extend new financial support to ICANN's Supporting Organizations. It does not extend travel support to other organizations within ICANN.

In summary, the new community travel procedure proposes allocate funds (based on a transparent calculation methodology) to be budgeted for the use of each SO in traveling to ICANN meetings. The SO chair (or designee) will sign off and report on all travel, reporting on usage and efficacy, and with fiduciary sign-off by appropriate ICANN staff. Staff will work with the SOs to minimize the administrative burden of this activity.

2.1 Key Elements of the Community Travel Support Procedure

  • Provide some travel support funding to each of the policy-making supporting organizations for travel to ICANN meetings. (Note: As a matter of policy, the ASO has not taken support funds for items like travel. Recognizing this is unlikely to change, equity still dictates that the ASO be treated the same as the other SOs with respect to the proposed travel support approach.)
  • Set aside a fixed amount of travel support funding for each SO, based on a transparent calculation methodology
  • SO Chair (or designee/designated committee) to determine for whom this travel support funding is to be used, based on best meeting the policy-making needs of the entity; funding can only be used for air fare and other travel expenses to and from ICANN meetings for active constituency members.
  • To maximize participation, class of travel will be economy, however the Chair will travel according to the same policy as the Board. Funding the Chair at the same level as the Board recognizes the responsibility Chairs undertake (similar to the Board), and is a small incentive to accept these demanding roles.
  • A key goal will be to make the support policy simple to implement for the SO. (See "Mechanics" section below.)
  • While the calculation of travel support funding is based in part on the size of each council and its liaisons, other constituency members can be supported based on what will best serve each SO's policy development work, e.g. working group members could be supported.
  • The policy proposes that there should no longer be a travel support distinction between Nomcom selectees and other counselors with respect to travel support.
  • Levels of travel support for each SO will be determined as follows:
    • ICANN will allocate sufficient funds so that the Chair and half of the remaining counselors will receive travel support (again, travel support could be used to support other-than-counselors)
    • The Chair is assumed to use Business class air travel; remaining travel is budgeted at economy rates. Average airfares are assumed to be $2,000 economy and $6,000 business.
    • Average total per-diem is assumed to be $2800/meeting. Actual per diem amounts will be published for each meeting, based on international standards

For the FY09 budget, amount proposed for travel support is:

Supporting Organization

Council Size

(Counselors and Liaisons)

Number supported to travel

(Half of Council Size + 1 for Chair)

Travel Support Budget Impact













  • Each SO and AC using travel funding shall create a process for public reporting to provide transparency and accountability and demonstrate efficacy
  • The overall efficacy of this new community travel support procedure will be reviewed at the end of FY09.
  • Note that this increment to operating budget will be funded in large part by ICANN staff traveling economy class to ICANN meetings


  • Each Chair (or designee) will provide ICANN staff with a list of SO members to be supported at least 45 days prior to each ICANN meeting
  • All travel will be booked through ICANN's approved travel agency unless impractical (as determined in conjunction with staff). Booking details will be posted on ICANN's web site.
  • Exceptions to the economy-class travel approach should be made for documented health issues.
  • ICANN will directly pay for air travel, provide reasonable reimbursement for other forms of travel (e.g. rail), and pay a per diem to cover all other expenses (meals, lodging, sundries, taxis, parking, etc.). If ICANN is directly paying for a hotel for a community member, that cost will be deducted from the per diem. If ICANN provides meals, these also will be deducted from the per diem as well.
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