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ICANN’s “Hallway” Agenda

On Monday, June 21, ICANN convenes in Brussels, hosting its “Welcome Ceremony” for attendees. In advance of the session, the agenda for the Board meeting on Friday, June 25 has been released.

As is the fashion, it lists significant issues without being too specific or tipping the Board’s hand. It also allows for matters that arise organically during the week of the meeting to (possibly) be heard.

Here is the published main agenda for the meeting:

  • Further Review of ICM’s Request for XXX Sponsored Top Level Domain
  • From the Board Governance & Compensation Committees—Consideration of Posting of Bylaw Changes relating to Chair Remuneration for Public Comment
    • From the Finance Committee
    • Adoption of FY11 Budget
  • New gTLD Budget for discussion
  • New gTLDs Update Arising from Discussions in Brussels
  • Issues Arising from the Brussels Meeting
  • Any Other Business

Since attending my first ICANN meeting in Rome, it is clear that the printed agenda may guide the Board meeting, but it doesn’t often capture the issues that surface in the hallways, between (and during) the scheduled sessions. It is in the hallways that attendees have the chance to propose, oppose, provoke and align. It is in the hallways that true “bottom-up consensus” forms.
Think about the meetings you’ve attended and how the conversations reflected a view of ICANN and the Internet different from the one being presented on stage.

With this in mind, I asked a few “fellow ICANN travelers” for their pre-meeting thoughts on what the hallway agenda might be in Brussels. Here are three possibilities that emerged:

  1. Will the U.S. government be satisfied with the work of the Accountability & Transparency Review Team? (Recall that the deal that earned ICANN its independence required commitments to coordinating the DNS of a single, interoperable Internet, remaining a U.S.-based, non-profit organization and to “operate as a multi-stakeholder, private sector led organization with input from the public…”)
  2. Will ICANN accept the findings of the Independent Review Panel or will additional hurdles be placed in the path of a .XXX registry? (Recall that the application was made in 2004, approved in 2005 but has been “under review” ever since.)
  3. Will new gTLDs ever get off the ground? (Price caps, trademark protection, vertical integration of registries and registrars and the effect of the program on ICANN’s budget are the shiny ornaments hanging from this tree.)

What do you think the hallway agenda will include? Perhaps we can get a jump on it by surfacing ideas in advance of the meeting.

In the end, though, what marks the hallway agenda from the public agenda is a greater sense of clarity. The smart people from government, non-profits, academia and business who attend to ICANN’s business would benefit from more “yes” and “no,” less “soon” and “maybe.”

By John Berard, Founder, Credible Context & CEO, Vox Populi Registry

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Great minds think alike... Graham Chynoweth  –  Jun 15, 2010 1:16 PM


Great to see your post, and most interestingly, where it differed from my own on the same topic.  Good point on the .xxx issue, that will certainly be a matter of debate.


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