ICANN Resolutions » Adoption of Operating Standards to provide guidance on conducting Specific Reviews, as mandated by the ICANN Bylaws, Article 4, Section 4.6

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Adoption of Operating Standards to provide guidance on conducting Specific Reviews, as mandated by the ICANN Bylaws, Article 4, Section 4.6


Resolution of the ICANN Board
Meeting Date: 
Dim, 23 Juin 2019
Resolution Number: 
Rationale for Resolutions 2019.06.23.13 – 2019.06.23.14
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, the ICANN organization (ICANN org), in consultation with the ICANN community, developed the Operating Standards to provide guidance on conducting Specific Reviews, as mandated by the ICANN Bylaws, Article 4, Section 4.6.

Whereas, the ICANN org published a first draft of the Operating Standards for public comment in October 2017 and an updated draft for public comment in December 2018. The ICANN Community provided input to the development of the Operating Standards via two public comment proceedings, via public sessions at ICANN57, ICANN58, ICANN60, ICANN63 and ICANN64, and via webinars in February 2017, October 2017, and October 2018.

Whereas, the ICANN org incorporated feedback from the ICANN Community as given in the public comments, public sessions and webinars on the Operating Standards, as well as community input provided in the public comments on Long-Term Options to Adjust the Timeline for Specific Reviews. ICANN org also incorporated best practices from recent and ongoing Specific Reviews.

Whereas, the Operating Standards address the required items detailed in the Bylaws (see Section 4.6 (a) (i)) pertaining to: candidate nomination, review team selection, size of the review team, conflict of interest policies, decision-making procedure, solicitation of independent experts, and review team access to confidential documentation subject to the Confidential Disclosure Framework.

Whereas, the Board's Organizational Effectiveness Committee received substantive and procedural briefings from ICANN org throughout the development of the Operating Standards.

Resolved (2019.06.23.13), the Board adopts the Operating Standards for Specific Reviews, developed for the conduct of reviews under Bylaws Section 4.6.

Resolved (2019.06.23.14), the Board confirms that the Operating Standards adhere to the Bylaws requirements and directs ICANN org to publish the Operating Standards on the ICANN web site. Operating Standards shall be updated as needed and in accordance with Section 6 of the Operating Standards, to assure the document continues to meet the needs of the ICANN community, the ICANN Board, and the ICANN org by supporting the effective and efficient conduct of current and future Specific Reviews.

Rationale for Resolution: 

What is the proposal being considered?

The proposal being considered is for the Board to adopt the Operating Standards for Specific Review, as mandated by the Bylaws Section 4.6.

Why is the Board addressing the issue?

Specific Reviews are an integral part of ICANN's accountability measures that derive from Article 4, Section 4.6 of ICANN's Bylaws. Four such reviews are specified in the Bylaws: Accountability and Transparency Review; Security, Stability, and Resiliency Review; Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review; and Registration Directory Service Review.

Section 4.6 of the Bylaws calls for the development of Operating Standards to support the work of these reviews that are conducted by the ICANN community, facilitated by ICANN org, and overseen by the ICANN Board. Specifically, section 4.6 requires that the Operating Standards should adhere to guidelines regarding candidate nomination, review team selection, size of the review team, conflict of interest policies, decision-making procedure, solicitation of independent experts, and review team access to confidential documentation subject to the Confidential Disclosure Framework. The Operating Standards address all of these issues and conform with the Bylaws. Adherence to the Operating Standards will result in Specific Reviews being conducted in a transparent, consistent, efficient, and predictable manner, while supporting the community's work to derive the expected benefit and value from review processes.

Input from the ICANN Community

ICANN org has facilitated the development of these Operating Standards in close consultation with the ICANN community, via two public comment periods, three webinars, and five public sessions during ICANN meetings:

ICANN org first organized a public session during ICANN57 for the community to share input on the development of the Operating Standards with the goal of making Specific Reviews more efficient, consistent and transparent.

In February 2017 ICANN org conducted a webinar to obtain community support on the process of how to develop the Operating Standards, as well as feedback on some of the key issues that the document will contain, such as the review team selection process.

Another public session was held during ICANN58 in March 2017 to update the community and obtain additional input into substance and process of drafting the document.

In October 2017, ICANN org published the first full draft of the Operating Standards for public comment. The release of the document was followed by a webinar to provide an overview of the document and allow for community feedback as well as an extended 'question and answer' session. ICANN org also presented the draft at a public session during ICANN60 in October 2017. Following the 90-day public comment period, ten comments were submitted, including from the GAC, GNSO Council and the ccNSO Council. Commenters provided constructive feedback, supporting some of the proposals and expressing reservations about others, including the proposed scope setting procedure as well as the selection process of review team members by the SO/AC Chairs.

ICANN org held a session at ICANN63 in October 2018, during which the discussion focused on some components of the Operating Standards: scope setting, review team selection, and decision-making procedures for ICANN's specific reviews. In the run-up to the next iteration of the Operating Standards, ICANN org conducted another webinar, to highlight proposed updates to the draft Operating Standards in several key areas and provided a proposed timeline for their adoption.

In December 2018, ICANN org published an updated draft of the Operating Standards for public comment. During the 65-day public comment period, six comments were received, providing constructive feedback in the form of mostly supportive comments. The six comments contained a combined 48 suggested edits to the draft Operating Standards, and ICANN org was able to incorporate 43 of these; the remaining five were not included because they were either individual suggestions that did not appear to have the support of the wider community or they were not feasible in light of the Bylaws or existing best practices. ICANN org also conducted a final public session during ICANN64 in March 2019, to provide an overview of the public comments and how they will be incorporated into the final document.

What concerns or issues were raised by the community?

During the two public comment periods, three webinars, and five sessions during ICANN meetings, the ICANN community raised a number of concerns about specific proposals contained in draft versions of the Operating Standards.

For example, the first draft of the document proposed a procedure to set the scope for review teams to which many commentators reacted negatively during the public comment. Similarly, the second public comment resulted in comments that proposed more detailed information regarding the roles and responsibilities of review teams and the review team leadership, as well as a more nuanced process for resolving conflicts among review team members. All of these inputs resulted in changes, resulting in a more simplified process for review teams to set their scope, a more detailed section on roles and responsibilities as well as a more detailed conflict resolution procedure. Therefore, the final document reflects community inputs.

What significant materials did the Board review?

The ICANN Board reviewed all relevant documents pertaining to the development of the Operating Standards, including draft documents and summaries of public comments. Board members also attended sessions during ICANN meetings and webinars.

Are there positive or negative community impacts?

This Board action is expected to have a positive impact on the community as the Operating Standards will support the work of the Specific Review teams and contribute to conduct of transparent, consistent, efficient, and predictable Specific Reviews.

Are there fiscal impacts or ramifications on ICANN (strategic plan, operating plan, budget); the community; and/or the public?

This Board action is anticipated to have no adverse fiscal impact. The adherence to Operating Standards is expected to contribute to streamlining the work of the community-led review teams and ICANN org's support and facilitation of their work.

Are there any security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS?

This Board action is not expected to have a direct effect on security, stability or resiliency issues relating to the DNS.

How is this action within ICANN's mission and what is the public interest served in this action?

The Board's action is consistent with ICANN's commitment pursuant to section 4 of the Bylaws to ensure ICANN's multistakeholder model remains transparent and accountable, as well as with Section 4.6 that calls for the development of Operating Standards through community consultation.

Is public comment required prior to Board action?

Draft versions of the Operating Standards were published twice for public comment (October 2017, December 2018); no additional public comment prior to Board action is required.