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[council] Regarding improvements in Board processes

  • To: Council GNSO <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [council] Regarding improvements in Board processes
  • From: Bruce Tonkin <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 6 May 2012 18:05:40 +0000
  • Accept-language: en-US
  • List-id: council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Sender: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Thread-index: Ac0rstaZpeT/d5kORtWkUlF8TsFG8g==
  • Thread-topic: Regarding improvements in Board processes

Hello All,

I have been reading the various comments about the announcement on 30 April 
2012 that there will not be a public board meeting on Friday 29 June in Prague.

I thought I would set out various improvements being made in Board processes to 
set this in context.

(1) In the past, the Board has typically worked with staff until midnight, and 
in some cases 2am, on the Thursday before the public session to prepare 
resolutions for voting.    This is after a busy week listening to feedback from 
the community, and the end result is often Board resolutions that are poorly 
crafted and create problems in future.

(2) For Prague, the intent is that the Board will focus on listening to the 
community, and then give the community some idea of what future resolutions 
will be voted on in response to feedback.  A board meeting will then be held 
shortly after Prague to approve those resolutions.

(3) An example of this approach was on the topic of Conflicts of interest in 
Dakar in October 2011.   The Board listened to the community during the week, 
and then in the public session on conflicts Board members gave some feedback to 
the community on specific measures that would be taken with respect to new 
gTLDs.   After careful review by the legal team, and review by Board members, 
the Board held a meeting on 8 Dec 2011 - where a resolution was passed on 
managing conflicts for new gTLDs, along with other resolutions that resulted 
from the discussions in Dakar.

(4)  The Board has also been working to ensure that most resolutions at the 
Board level are relatively routine.   This means that bodies like the GNSO have 
already reached consensus on a topic (e.g the recent work on the transfers 
policy), or staff have managed a public comment process on a topic - and there 
are no controversies associated with the matter.    For such routine 
resolutions - we either have a short teleconference or we take advantage of 
face-to-face time at a Board workshop to pass these resolutions.  For example, 
at the Board workshop just concluded in Amsterdam we had a short Board meeting 
to pass mostly consent resolutions.    It is likely that in Prague we will pass 
resolutions on routine matters in the Board workshop on the weekend of 23/24 
June - if there are matters submitted by staff for approval - and can report on 
them during the public meetings.   If there are controversies on a matter, the 
general approach would be to seek to return the matter to the relevant body or 
bodies to reach a stronger consensus.    Thus you will see fewer matters that 
are not on the consent agenda at Board meetings.

(5) Where there is a major policy vote, or where there are differing views on a 
major policy, the Board will continue to schedule such discussions for the 
public meetings.   Past examples of such matters include the .xxx decision and 
the approval of the new gTLD program in Singapore in June 2011.  

(6) With respect to transparency. the Board has been publishing rationales for 
each of its decisions - including those on the consent agenda.  There are also 
detailed minutes of meetings, where contributions from Board members made 
during a Board meeting are captured.
For example, from the minutes of the meeting on 8 Dec 2011 
(http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/minutes-08dec11-en.htm) there 
is a detailed record of the discussion on conflicts as well as on batching.

(7) We are still refining improvements and certainly welcome feedback from the 

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions or concerns, and 
certainly feel free to provide feedback to the Board in the Board/GNSO meeting 
in Prague.

Also be aware that I continue to read emails on this list, and I pass on 
examples of emails that raise concerns about Board processes to the Board list 
to keep the Board aware as well.

Bruce Tonkin

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