Agenda for the AC/SO joint meeting in Sydney

by Kieren McCarthy on June 5, 2009

Starting in Cairo in November 2008, the chairs of the different supporting organizations (SOs) and advisory committees (ACs) have held a joint meeting.

The idea was to find a formula for open communication that was more than a repeat of existing open microphone sessions. The chairs also wanted to create a forum that could break through the silos of discussion and communication in which ACs and SOs often operate. And, lastly, they wanted the opportunity to discuss topics of mutual interest and importance, and to have those topics suggested by ACSO members.

Click here to jump to the meeting agenda

Each time, feedback has been taken from the community and the session adjusted to reflect that. For Sydney, the decision has been taken to reduce the time taken on Monday to just one session of 90 minutes and to concentrate on a single topic (albeit with multiple arms).

The colored cards used by the audience to express agreement, disagreement and either neutrality or uncertainty are back by popular demand, and a whiteboard will be introduced so that the discussions that take place can be captured and something tangible produced as a result of the conversation.

The ACs and SOs will again be represented by anywhere between one and four representatives and the session will be moderated again by Patrick Sharry. More details on the precise format will be run through at the start of the session.

For the dedicated ACSO session webpage, please visit:


The ACSO session will have as its focus the following topic:

Institutional Improvements

The roles and responsibilities of ACs, SOs, Policy Staff and Board in ICANN’s processes: current situation and possible evolutions

This topic will be explored within the current context of where ICANN is an organization, particularly: current practices and their contribution to transparency and accountability; ongoing independent reviews of the ACs and SOs and the subsequent reorganizations; the Improving Institutional Confidence (IIC) consultation that followed the midterm review of ICANN’s Joint Project Agreement (JPA) with the US government; and the current review of the JPA that is underway.

The Chairs of each of the ACs and SOs would like to note that discussing the current systems in place does NOT imply any implicit criticism of either the community or the staff. The aim of the discussion it to identify areas of improvement.

Instead, the Sydney meeting provides a unique opportunity to take at look at some of the practical aspects of ICANN’s continuing internal effort to improve institution confidence.

Current community topics that the conversation is expected to touch upon include:

  • The ongoing independent reviews of the different parts of the ICANN model
  • The Improving Institutional Confidence consultation and recommendations
  • The conclusion of the Joint Project Agreement with the US government in September

Specific questions that will be explored include:

1. Roles and responsibilities of the ACs, SOs and Policy staff:

a. What should these roles be? 
b. What is the right balance between volunteer activity and policy staff activity?
c. Is the current balance correct or should it be altered?
d. Does the current balance lead to volunteer exhaustion?
e. Would shifting the balance diminish the degree of private bottom-up policy making?

2. Policy staff as Board intermediary:

a. Should all communications between the SOs be moderated by Policy staff?
b. Should there be direct communication between the Councils and the Board?

3. Board communication with Advisory Committees:

a. Should all ACs have the same rights in terms of recommendations and response by the Board to their issues?

4. Transparency of communications:

a. Should staff communications to the Board be confidential? 
b. Should communications regarding AC or SO activities be confidential?
c. Which other communications need to remain confidential?
d. What would be the effect of making most communications between staff and the Board open to community review?

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