Historical Resolution Tracking Feature » GNSO Review

Important note: The explanatory text provided through this database (including the summary, implementation actions, identification of related resolutions, and additional information) is an interpretation or an explanation that has no official authority and does not represent the purpose behind the Board actions, nor does any explanations or interpretations modify or override the Resolutions themselves. Resolutions can only be modified through further act of the ICANN Board.

GNSO Review

Resolution of the ICANN Board
2014 GNSO Review

Board postpones GNSO Review to commence in 2014 and directs the SIC to commence preparations for this Review as soon as feasible.

ICANN Structures
Meeting Date: 
Sat, 28 Sep 2013
Resolution Number: 
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, under ICANN’s Bylaws the next review of the GNSO was due to commence in 2013.

Whereas, the SIC solicited and considered public comments on whether the review should be postponed and a new schedule for the review be established within the next six months.

Whereas, it is important that the review of the GNSO take into account the outcomes of ICANN’s strategic planning efforts and the Accountability and Transparency Review Team 2’s work, which can only be achieved through the initiation of a GNSO review in 2014.

Resolved (2013.09.28.09), that the Board directs the SIC to schedule the review of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), which is mandated by ICANN Bylaws Article IV, Section 4, to commence in 2014, and that preparations for this Review commence as soon as feasible.

Rationale for Resolution: 

The ICANN Bylaws require that structures within ICANN are reviewed on a regular basis as part of ICANN’s continued accountability. To that end, the first organizational review of the GNSO was initiated in 2006.  As part of that review, a report by LSE Public Policy Group and Enterprise LSE, an independent reviewer engaged to conduct that review, was published in September 2006 and the Report of the Board Governance Committee GNSO Review Working Group on GNSO Improvements was issued on 3 February 2008. In accordance with ICANN Bylaws Article IV, Section 4, the next review would commence five years after the issuance of the final report, which would require the review to commence in the early part of 2013. The Structural Improvements Committee (SIC) recommended to the Board that ICANN would benefit from delaying the initiation of this new GNSO review in order to factor in valuable inputs from the ICANN’s Strategic Planning Process and the ongoing work of the second Accountability and Transparency Review Team convened under the Affirmation of Commitments (ATRT 2). Public comment period was initiated on 15 July 2013 to gather input to inform the SIC action on the Potential Postponement of the GNSO Review. Community response to the Public Comment yielded eight responses and seven responders indicated that the GNSO review should not be postponed. The reasons cited included:

{C}·      The expansion of the TLD space has increased the number and variety of stakeholders participating in GNSO policy making and a review needs to take place on schedule to examine whether the current model meets the needs of a new generation of stakeholders.

{C}·      GNSO Structure is unlikely to accommodate the anticipated new stream of stakeholders resulting from the expansion of the TLD space. The GNSO Review will be an important vehicle for considering and addressing this issue. The unbalance that is already occurring needs to be addressed by the GNSO Review.

{C}·      The prior review took many years to implement. Responders stressed the need to minimize the length of the GNSO Review process in general, to provide a more efficient, responsive and effective review of the GNSO for the entire ICANN community.

{C}·      The work being undertaken by the ATRT 2 in assessing the policy development process or the Strategic Planning process will not address the stated issues in any substantive way.

The participants in the public comment process included the Brand Registry Group, Google, Internet Service Provider and Connectivity Providers Constituency, Not-for Profit Operational Constituency, Non Commercial Stakeholder Group, Intellectual Property Constituency, Business Constituency, and ARI Registry Services.

The proposed approach is intended to be responsive to the community’s feedback urging no further delay, while also establishing a timeline for commencing a review that is suitable for the complexity of work and importance of careful planning, including considerations of the methodology of the review and community involvement in the process. Recognizing the importance of a thorough and well-organized review that takes into consideration relevant inputs from current work underway, as well as the diverse opinions of the community, the SIC balanced these considerations with the feedback from the community.

To fulfill the Board’s obligation under the Bylaws to “cause a periodic review of the performance and operation of each Supporting Organization, each Supporting Organization Council,” the SIC recommends that the planning for the next review of the GNSO begin in earnest in preparation for the Review, which will commence as soon as feasible in 2014.

The goal of the structural review is “to determine (i) whether that organization has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, and (ii) if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness.”  Given the changing environment, the increased number of participating stakeholders and their diversity and the lessons gleaned from the last review of the GNSO, the SIC considers the planning of the review to be of paramount importance in order to ensure that the recommendations for improvement are useful and implementable. The SIC will develop and implement a review schedule that takes into consideration the sense of urgency articulated within public comments, while ensuring that ample time is allocated to the planning effort. The additional time allotted to community consultations will ensure that the community has ample time to consider and provide input on how the second GNSO Review should be conducted, thus enhancing ICANN’s accountability and transparency.

No impact is expected on the security or stability of the DNS. There will be fiscal and resource impacts associated with the GNSO Review when it is initiated.  These resources and costs will be anticipated and allotted for within ICANN’s budget for the relevant fiscal year(s) within which the review is commenced and completed.


This is an Organizational Administrative Function for which public comment was solicited.