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Monday, March 09, 2009

ICANN’s board review: Working Group announces comment deadline

Internet enthusiasts have until April 17, 2009 to make comments on the interim report on review of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board of directors as announced by the review Working Group.

ITRealms Online recalls that following the appointment of Messrs Boston Consulting Group/Colin Carter & Associates to perform the external review of ICANN directors and subsequent publication of the independent reviewers’ report as well as the feedbacks received from the community during a public comment period, the board review Working Group (WG) issued an Interim Report for consultation with the community, which was equally presented at the just concluded ICANN meeting in Mexico City, last weekend.

The Interim Report also refer to as the WG’s “initial thinking” on the questions under review has begun to accept public comments till April 17, in order to allow for further inputs from the Internet community before finalization of a board review WG intends to report to the Structural Improvements Committee and the Board.

A summary of key points marked down for discussion include that WG recognized the complexity of the issues associated with Recommendation 1, which is on the “Reduce the size of the Board”.

According to the interim report made available to ITRealms Online, WG sees value in the arguments to reduce the size of the board, but has no firm views on how this might be made to work in the ICANN context, thus, WG seeks the views of the community on this issue.

Also, WG believes that the board is already moving in the direction suggested in Recommendation 2 “Move to fewer, but longer Board meetings.” While the Board has already addressed the ideas contained in Recommendation 3, which centered on “Consolidating the Board Committees” through it’s restructure of committees at the end of 2008.

On the content in Recommendation 4, WG noted that “Broadening the skills of the Board” is already being addressed through the work of the Board Governance Committee.
Even as the issues contained in Recommendation 5; “Make Board membership more sustainable” was described as complex, and in particular the WG seeks the views of the community on a number of aspects related to Board remuneration and the timing of the seating of Board members.

WG on the other hand, supported the initiatives suggested in Recommendation 6 “Build high performance culture at the Board level” in addition to supporting the initiatives suggested in Recommendation 7, dealing with “Strengthening the strategic focus of the Board” as well as WG backed suggestion to “Clarify the Board’s accountabilities” made in recommendation 8.

Noteworthy is that as part of ICANN’s commitment to accountability, transparency and continuous improvement, the ICANN Bylaws require the periodic review of ‘each of the Supporting Organization, its Council, Advisory Committee (other than the Governmental Advisory Committee), and the Nominating Committee.’

As specified in Article IV, Section 4 of ICANN’s Bylaws, the “goal of the review, to be undertaken in pursuant to such criteria and standards as the Board shall direct, shall be to determine whether that organization has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, and if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness.

However, each review is conducted by external, independent reviewers selected following publication of a Request for Proposals (RFP) based on Terms of Reference (ToR) detailing the scope of the work and listing a set of questions to be answered.

The organizational review process includes the opportunity for public comment on the terms of reference of the review, its results and any proposed recommendation.

Although a review of the Board is not stipulated in the Bylaws, the Board of Directors decided that it would be appropriate to undertake such a review to identify ways that the performance of the Board might be further improved.

At the Paris meeting in June 2008, the Board adopted a resolution to adopt a Working Group (WG) model to facilitate this review process.

To undertake this task, the WG draws on the expertise of the following current and past Board members: Amadeu Abril, Roberto Gaetano (Chair), Steve Goldstein, Thomas Narten, Rajasekhar Ramaraj, Rita Rodin Johnston, and Jean-Jacques Subrenat.

The WG is being supported by Marco Lorenzoni (Director, Organizational Review) and Patrick Sharry, Independent Consultant.

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