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Proposed Interim Policy for Geographic Diversity on the ICANN Board of Directors

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The following draft policy on geographic representation of ICANN Directors is being posted for public comment in accordance with Bylaws Article III, section 3. This draft is NOT AUTHORITATIVE and should not be relied on by anyone.

This policy was posted for comment and discussion prior to ICANN's Berlin meetings in late May. The Board took no action on the proposed policy at Berlin, asking the Internet community for further input, including revisions and alternative approaches. Following public comment, the Board may adopt this policy, or a revised version of this policy, at its meeting in Santiago on August 26.

Proposed Interim Policy for Geographic Diversity on the ICANN Board of Directors

This proposed policy is intended to create a degree of geographic diversity on the ICANN Board in a manner that is (1) effective; (2) principled and fair; (3) practical and workable; and (4) easy to understand and explain. Rather than set a broad standard applicable to the Board as a whole, as does the current Bylaws provision, this policy will establish separate rules for the At-Large and Supporting Organization Directors and it will exempt the President/CEO position from a geographic diversity requirement.

1. Election of At-Large Directors

Of the 9 At-Large Directors, 5 will be elected directly by the residents of ICANN's 5 defined geographic regions. Each Regional At-Large Director will be elected by the residents of his/her region. Residency, rather than citizenship, is the better way to define eligible electors, because it requires only that residency match the voter's proffered mailing address, and does not require verification of citizenship.

The other 4 At-Large Directors will be elected globally by all eligible ICANN electors. The only geographic restriction on the Global At-Large Directors is a rule that no more than 2 come from the same region.

Candidates for the Board will run either as candidates in a particular region, or for the 4 global seats, but cannot run for both in the same election. In a given year, voters will be presented with a two part ballot: in Part A, they will cast a vote for Global At-Large Director(s); in Part B, they will cast a vote for a Regional At-Large Director, if the term of their Regional At-Large Director has expired.

2. Supporting Organization Directors

In its proposal for recognition, each Supporting Organization shall include nomination and election procedures for its members to be seated on the ICANN Board that ensure geographic diversity among its Directors while also meeting each SO's criteria for other skills, experience and background. Such procedures may not result in more than one Director being seated on the Board from an SO who is a resident of the same ICANN-defined geographic region, unless the SO finds that meeting this requirement will significantly hinder its ability to find qualified candidates for its Board seats and petitions the Board for an exception to the one Director per region limit.

3. Staggering of Director Terms

It is intended that, following the ICANN startup and transition period, approximately one-third of the seats on the Board will be filled with new or re-elected Directors in any given year. If the interim diversity policy proposed above is adopted, specific procedures for accomplishing the diversity and staggering requirements will be developed by staff and adopted by the Board.

4. Diversity Requirement for President and Chief Executive Officer

This policy exempts the position of President and Chief Executive Officer from a geographic diversity requirement. It is not desirable that recruiting of the best qualified candidate for President/CEO be subject to a geographic diversity requirement, nor is it desirable that the geographic residence of the President/CEO affect the nomination and election of other Directors through operation of the diversity policy.

5. Revision of the Interim Geographic Diversity Policy

The Board of Directors will review the diversity policy not less frequently than each annual election cycle to determine whether the diversity objectives are being realized.

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