Revised Travel Support Procedure
For some time, the community has called on ICANN to consider community travel support in various forms, and for clarity and transparency on travel support procedures. 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: http://forum.icann.org/lists/travel-support-policy/msg00009.html.)
Further, a document proposing a specific travel support policy was posted on 2 June, 2008. See: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/travel-support/draft-procedure-22may08.htm. This document received a number of written comments, with further comments received during ICANN's Paris meeting. Comment from the forum has now been summarized, and is available at: http://forum.icann.org/lists/travel-support-draft/msg00013.html.
Based on this broad discussion involving two written consultations and public discussions, 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.) This travel procedure will apply to travel for ICANN meetings in fiscal year 2009 (FY09). The efficacy of this procedure, including amount of support funding/coverage, processes, etc., will be reviewed at the end of the fiscal year. The review itself will be made public, and changes to the travel procedure will be considered.
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, now that ICANN has resources available to support this extension.
In general, the goal of travel support funding should be to lower the barrier to participation, broaden the group of participants and, advance the “work” of ICANN. 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
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 of performance efficiency and comfort in their extensive travel on behalf of ICANN.
ALAC: Currently, 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 organization, it was determined to be important to fund travel participation for the entire ALAC to support its “start-up.” At ICANN's Paris meeting, the Board adopted a resolution that affects At-Large travel in two ways. First, the Board approved specific travel support funding for a one-time, At-Large Summit. This Summit will be held in concert with an ICANN main meeting, and one member from each ALS will be funded to attend the meeting. Second, the Board recognized the key milestone that this Summit represents in the maturation of the At-Large organization, and called for future ALAC travel support to be in concert with the level of travel support provided to the rest of ICANN's organizations (as documented in this travel procedure).
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 elements of the existing procedures for the ICANN Board and Liaisons, ALAC and NomCom (noting expected changes in ALAC travel). Additionally, it will extend new financial support to ICANN's Supporting Organizations. It does not extend travel support to other organizations within ICANN.
It was mentioned at ICANN's Paris meeting, and later the GAC Chair formally requested that the GAC receive additional travel support (after the close of the FY09 budget cycle). In FY09, it is expected that the Fellowship program will consider the possibility of prioritizing GAC participation (while meeting all fellowship criteria) and that the GAC's request will be taken up again during the next budget cycle, where the travel policy as a whole will be reviewed.
In summary, the new community travel procedure proposes to allocate funds (based on a transparent calculation methodology) for the use of each SO in traveling to ICANN meetings. Each SO will agree on a process appropriate to that SO for determining the constituent members to be supported. In all cases, requests for travel support will become public, and each supported constituent is expected to provide a public report on basic activities and the utility of attending the meeting. This reporting will be modeled on the fellowship program. 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
- Each SO will adopt a selection/allocation process to determine who from that SO should receive funding, 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 SO members. Examples of a selection/allocation process could include, for example: an SO travel committee with members of each constituency (or geographic region) that follows a publicly-posted process to select their SO's ICANN-funded participants for each ICANN meeting; or the SO could ask ICANN staff to execute a process based on some criteria the SO identifies.
- To maximize participation, class of travel will be economy, however the SO Chair will travel according to the same policy as the ICANN 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, the SO can choose to support other constituency members based on what will best serve each SO's policy development work, e.g. working group members could be supported.
- In all cases, NomCom appointed members will be provided travel support, and at the same level as others receiving support (described in this travel procedure document).
- Levels of travel support for each SO will be determined as follows:
- ICANN will allocate sufficient funds so that the Chair, NomCom appointees, 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:
(Counselors and Liaisons)
(Half of Remaining Council Size and Chair)
|Total Supported Travelers||Approximate 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 SO will provide ICANN staff with a list of SO members to be supported at least 60 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 may be made by ICANN staff 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, meals or transportation for a community member, these costs will be deducted from the per diem.
- As there are numerous special case questions and issues with respect to travel, ICANN staff will post and maintain a Frequently Asked Questions document with respect to travel support. The goal will be to ensure good communication about the details of travel support, and fair and consistent decision-making over time. Participants accepting ICANN travel funding will be responsible for understanding and complying with the travel procedure and related FAQs.