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How Can We Improve for ICANN 58?

Donna Austin

Hyderabad set a new record in terms of attendance with a total of 3,141 participants registered and 1,400 attendees identified as 'locals' from the region. It was also, theoretically at least, one of the longest ICANN meetings with seven days baked into the schedule. Unfortunately, the development of the schedule itself was the source of much community criticism throughout the meeting, resulting in a chunk of time devoted to the topic during the second Public Forum. Much of the disquiet was related to the opaque nature in which the schedule was developed without adequate consultation with the community.

ICANN recently published a survey to respond to community concerns with the intent that planning for ICANN 58, to be held in Copenhagen in March 2017, will be done early and openly. We, as a community, must remember that our participation is critical to the success of the schedule and the overall meeting. In that context I would ask that before we start haggling over slots on the schedule and time with the Board etc., that we do so with the following in mind: how do we create a schedule that allows we, the community, to make the most effective use of our collective time while supporting ICANN's mission?

For the last two years, the ICANN community has been absorbed by the IANA Transition. Now that most of that work is behind us, let's work together with the same dedication to develop a schedule for Copenhagen that allows us to progress substantive work efforts that have been languishing on the back-burner.

During a joint session of the Registry and Registrar Stakeholder Groups (RySG and RrSG) there was an excellent discussion on finding ways to get more substantive work done during ICANN meetings. It was recognised that even though Hyderabad was a longer meeting, it seemed much less productive than the shorter, policy-focused meeting held earlier in the year in Helsinki. From a RySG and RrSG perspective, the substantive work that relates to ICANN's core business or mission is the GNSO policy development and subsequent implementation efforts. Unfortunately, despite the longer meeting format, minimal time was allocated on the schedule for face-to-face meetings of the four main policy development efforts currently being undertaken in the GNSO.

The GNSO Council also had a good discussion with the Board and separately with the GAC about providing opportunities during ICANN meetings for PDP Working Groups and the GAC to have formal moderated exchanges on topics of mutual interest. Providing an opportunity for these exchanges could go a long way to minimising the risk of the Board receiving GAC advice that is inconsistent with PDP WG recommendations approved by the GNSO Council and having to find a solution.

I appreciate that my view is largely GNSO centric, so it would also be beneficial to know what other substantive work efforts the ccNSO, ALAC and the GAC and others are focussed on so that we might better understand priorities and allocate time accordingly.

The cost of bringing together the ICANN community three times a year in different locations across the globe is not insignificant to ICANN or to those that attend. It would be great if we could collectively become more efficient with our precious time once we've made the commitment to attend another ICANN meeting.

By Donna Austin, Policy & Industry Affairs Manager at Neustar
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New gTLDs Jean Guillon  –  Nov 21, 2016 11:44 PM PDT

A section dedicated to reporting on new gTLDs would be of high interest. The world does not really pay much attention to auto-congratulations such as what could be read in the Hyderabad résumé (more than 50% of it).

Helsinki a Model, Hyberabad a Warning Edward Morris  –  Nov 27, 2016 3:28 AM PDT

It was recognised that even though Hyderabad was a longer meeting, it seemed much less productive than the shorter, policy-focused meeting held earlier in the year in Helsinki.

It seemed that way because it was.

Do we need programming like High Interest Topics? Personally, I have a higher interest in my family and would rather be with them. The IGF, not ICANN, is the place for HIT's, with rare exceptions.

Do we need opening ceremonies? Do we need institutionalised cocktail receptions? Should trade associations be given rooms to meet in and spots on the schedule?  My answer to all of these posits is 'no'.

ICANN Meetings should be for work, not for ceremony. This is a corporation, not a University or alumni association. We managed, at best to do 3 days of work in a 7 day meeting. Let's dump the ceremony, dump the extraneous stuff, focus on ICANN and start making these meetings more working sessions than conventions.

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