Historical Resolution Tracking Feature » Independent Review of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Plan of Recommendations

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.

Independent Review of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Plan of Recommendations

Resolution of the ICANN Board
Meeting Date: 
Fri, 3 Feb 2017
Resolution Number: 
2017.02.03.05 – 2017.02.03.09
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, ICANN Bylaws Article IV, Section 4.4 calls on the ICANN Board to "cause a periodic review of the performance and operation of each Supporting Organization, each Supporting Organization Council, each Advisory Committee (other than the Governmental Advisory Committee), and the Nominating Committee by an entity or entities independent of the organization under review. The goal of the review, to be undertaken pursuant to such criteria and standards as the Board shall direct, shall be 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."

Whereas, the independent examiner of the GNSO Review produced a Final Report [PDF, 727 KB], containing thirty-six (36) recommendations in September 2015.

Whereas, the Board adopted the Final Report and the GNSO Working Party's Feasibility and Prioritization Analysis of the GNSO Review Recommendations as adopted by the GNSO Council.

Whereas, the GNSO Council formed the GNSO Review Working Group and subsequently adopted the Working Group's Implementation Plan.

Resolved (2017.02.03.05), the Board acknowledges the GNSO Review Working Group's work and thanks them for producing a comprehensive Implementation Plan that was adopted by the GNSO Council.

Resolved (2017.02.03.06), the Board supports the phased approach laid out in the Implementation Plan and acknowledges that more details with regard to implementation details may be required for implementation Phases 2 and 3.

Resolved (2017.02.03.07), that the Board accepts the GNSO Review Implementation Plan.

Resolved (2017.02.03.08), that the Board directs the Review Working Group to provide updates to the OEC every six months. Those bi-annual updates shall identify implementation achievements and future implementation plans. It is during these updates that the GNSO Review Working Group shall provide more details on implementation progress, and measurability. The OEC may request interim briefings if deemed necessary.

Resolved (2017.02.03.09), that any budgetary implications of the GNSO review implementation shall be considered as part of the then-applicable annual budgeting processes.

Rationale for Resolution: 

To ensure ICANN's multistakeholder model remains transparent and accountable, and to improve its performance, ICANN organizes independent reviews of its supporting organizations and advisory committees as prescribed in Article IV Section 4.4 of the ICANN Bylaws. The second GNSO Review started in 2014 and the independent examiner presented its Final Report in September 2015.

The GNSO Review recommendations have the potential to advance ICANN's transparency and accountability objectives and have been considered carefully by the Board's Organizational Effectiveness Committee as well as by the full Board.

The Board resolution will have a positive impact on ICANN and especially the GNSO as it reinforces ICANN's and the GNSO's commitment to maintaining and improving its accountability, transparency and organizational effectiveness throughout the implementation process.

Due to the large number of recommendations that need to be implemented, the Board strongly supports the phased approach as laid out in the Implementation Plan (Exhibit A [PDF, 1.11 MB]). This will allow the community time to refine details as the implementation process proceeds– especially during Phases 2 and 3 (as laid out in Exhibit A [PDF, 1.11 MB]).

Some recommendations – especially those foreseen to be implemented in Phases 2 and 3 – may benefit from additional details regarding their exact implementation. Due to the difficulty to predict these issues months – or years – in advance, the Board supports the idea that the GNSO Review Working Group provides updates bi-annually to the OEC. It is during these updates that the GNSO can provide greater implementation details with regard to those recommendations that are going to be scheduled for the forthcoming six-month period following the respective OEC update. At that time, the GNSO would be in a better position to flag any significant variations from the original implementation plan and timing. The GNSO will present any budgetary implications resulting from of the implementation as part of the development of its annual budget.

Why is the Board addressing the issue?

This resolution moves the second review of the GNSO into the implementation phase. Following the assessment of the Implementation Plan and the feedback from the Board's Organizational Effectiveness Committee, the Board is now in a position to consider the Plan and instruct the GNSO to start the implementation process. This step is an important part of the Organizational Review processes' checks and balances, to ensure that the spirit of Board-approved recommendations will be addressed through the implementation plans, while being mindful of budgetary and timing constraints.

What is the proposal being considered?

The proposal the Board is considering is the adoption of the GNSO Review Implementation Plan, drafted by the GNSO Review Working Group, adopted by the GNSO Council, and considered and supported by the Organizational Effectiveness Committee.

What significant materials did the Board review?

The Board reviewed the GNSO Review Implementation Plan (Exhibit A [PDF, 1.11 MB]) as adopted by the GNSO Council, and took onboard the Organizational Effectiveness Committee's considerations.

Are there fiscal impacts or ramifications on ICANN (strategic plan, operating plan, or budget)?

The work to improve the effectiveness of the GNSO organization – by implementing the recommendations resulting from the Review, may require financial resources. However, no requirement for additional funds are expected to arise from implementation Phase 1. Phases 2 and 3 may require financial resources but those are difficult to gauge for the future. In this context, the Board asks the GNSO Council in its resolution to provide regular updates on the implementation – both on what has been accomplished and what is the plan for the immediate future. These updates shall take place no less often than every six months and shall contain additional budgetary details for those recommendations scheduled for immediate implementation. At that time, the GNSO would be in a better position to flag any significant variations from the original implementation plan in terms of resources and timing.

The GNSO did not foresee any budgetary implications from Phase 1. Although there may be budgetary implications for Phases 2 and 3, depending on the exact details of the implementation, those will be dealt with as part of ICANN's annual budgetary process.

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

This action is not expected to have a direct impact on the security, stability or resiliency of the DNS. Still, once the improvements are implemented, future activities of the GNSO, including policy-development will become more transparent and accountable, which in turn might indirectly impact the security, stability or resiliency of the DNS in a positive way.

Is public comment required prior to Board action?

The Draft Report of the independent examiner was posted for public comment. There is no public comment required prior to this Board action. The voice of the GNSO has been reflected throughout the review process – via the GNSO Review Working Party that performed the Feasibility and Prioritization Analysis; the GNSO Review Working Group that developed the implementation plan; and the GNSO Council that adopted the implementation plan.