[atrt2] Preliminary Staff Assessment/Response to ATRT2 Draft Recommendations

Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond ocl at gih.com
Sat Dec 7 00:29:33 UTC 2013

Dear Denise,

I am very pleased to see that there is significant alignment between
ATRT2 findings and draft recommendations, and work that is underway at
ICANN. However I am also very concerned that this translates to
recommendations from Staff to amend some ATRT2 recommendations into

As any organisation that is growing and evolving, ICANN needs to mature
from being a start-up where things are performed ad-hoc and according to
individual initiatives, into a more formal structure where common
processes depend on its procedures and by-laws (ICANN's DNA). The
implementation of ATRT2 recommendations, in my view, is key to improving
ICANN's own DNA and there needs to be goodwill for this transformation.

For example, and this is not the only example I could take, I find it
very hard to transform recommendations into observations, especially
when the requirement for some of these recommendations is clearly
mandated by the Affirmation of Commitments itself, such as the measures
for Board Performance.
(AoC - 9.1a)
/_9.1 Ensuring accountability, transparency and the interests of global
Internet users_//: //ICANN//commits to maintain and improve robust
mechanisms for public input, accountability, and transparency so as to
ensure that the outcomes of its decision-making will reflect the public
interest and be accountable to all stakeholders by: (a) //continually
assessing and improving ICANN Board of Directors (Board) governance
which shall include an ongoing evaluation of Board performance, the
Board selection process, the extent to which Board composition meets
ICANN's present and future needs, and the consideration of an appeal
mechanism for Board decisions; /

I have had to read this extract to the Board when it met with the ATRT2
in Buenos Aires and I am sorry to have to repeat the exercise here, but
this paragraph, in my understanding, makes it pretty clear that
assessing Board governance and Board performance is an integral part of
the AoC.
Unless Larry Strickling, a co-signatory of this document, tells me
otherwise, I am assuming that this section 9.1a is *not* optional.

Board members might be subjected to a 360 review but the Board as a
whole and the performance of the Board as a whole especially whether the
"Board decisions reflect the public interest" is not, to my knowledge,
currently being addressed. In a football Team you might have the world's
best players as individuals, but the performance of the Team itself
might be terrible. I therefore have to most vehemently object to not
implementing these recommendations or changing them to an observation,
for concern of ICANN not honouring its Commitments in the AoC.

This is just one example of the several recommendations I would object
to turning into observations, which, might I add, I am concerned might
all be completely ignored. I note the observations made about WHOIS-RT
as well as SSR-RT appear to be completely ignored by the community - and
ICANN would be shrouding itself into a false sense of security if it
thought that all is well because the ATRT2 report contains observations
rather than recommendations.

Jean de la Fontaine (inspired by Aesop's Fables) explained it well.

Warm regards,


On 06/12/2013 18:52, Alan Greenberg wrote:
> I am somewhat overwhelmed by the magnitude and overall tone of these
> comments. Just a few comments to start:
> - Given the magnitude and the overall negative tone (negative in the
> sense of "don't issue this Rec.")to many of the comments, I find it
> had to understand why this assessment is coming at this time and not a
> lot earlier, given that the current time-table is to have the report
> all wrapped up in about two weeks.
> - Although I understand the attractiveness of a small number of
> focused recommendations, in my mind, there has been a clear message
> from the community that this is not (solely) what we need now).
> - I am particularly disturbed by the suggestion that we withdraw a
> large number of recommendations on the grounds that work is already
> started in similar area. Replacing these recommendations with
> observations provides none of the tracking and accountability to
> actually follow-through that a recommendation does. If work is already
> underway and likely to succeed, then these are easy wins as
> recommendations and will not entail significant additional staff
> effort. On the other hand, if the work that is currently going on is
> insufficient or does not achieve the desired results, the
> recommendations are warranted. From a personal point of view on the
> Cross-community collaboration recommendations, this is too important
> an issue from the perspective of ICANN credibility to rely on the
> current discussions all bearing fruit.
> Alan
> At 05/12/2013 09:21 PM, Denise Michel wrote:
>> Dear ATRT2 Members,
>> Staff appreciates the opportunity to engage with the Review Team in
>> our ongoing information sharing and discussions focused on our mutual
>> goal -- a Final Report that makes a significant and valuable
>> contribution to ICANN's accountability and transparency by offering
>> recommendations that are necessary, feasible and implementable.
>> Having reviewed and considered the Draft ATRT2 Report and
>> Recommendations, staff from numerous departments have prepared the
>> attached document as initial feedback and to support further
>> interactions with ATRT2.  Staff welcomes the opportunity for
>> follow-up discussions within the next few days, recognizing the
>> compressed timeline under which the ATRT2 is working. Larisa and
>> Charla have already arranged conference calls on some topics and look
>> forward to supporting additional calls and email inquiries.
>> Staff is pleased to observe that there is a _significant alignment_
>> between ATRT2 findings and draft recommendations, and work that is
>> underway at ICANN. This alignment represents a positive development
>> in the evolution of the AoC Reviews and staff suggests that it be
>> noted in the ATRT2's observations, and that ongoing work be factored
>> into future reviews. For recommendations where work is already
>> underway, staff proposes, for the ATRT2's consideration, that such
>> recommendations be replaced with observations acknowledging the work
>> currently being performed. ICANN commits to providing public status
>> reports, milestones and deliverables to keep the community informed
>> about this work. Such reporting is well aligned with the concept of
>> an annual Accountability Report, requested by the ATRT2.  Annual
>> Accountability Reporting also is anticipated to be an important
>> vehicle for communicating ICANN's continuous improvement efforts in
>> accountability and the implementation of the Accountability Framework
>> for measuring ICANN's progress through benchmarks and metrics, which
>> will be informed by the work of One World Trust. In addition, at the
>> beginning of the ATRT2 process, Fadi had expressed his enthusiasm for
>> the work of the ATRT2 along with his overarching request that the
>> work of the Review Team would result in a small number of focused,
>> high impact recommendations that staff, Board and the community could
>> implement.
>> Based on experience to date, we know that the large number of ATRT2
>> potential recommendations and sub-recommendations would require a
>> significant amount of resources from staff, Board and community -- 
>> public consultations, tracking, reporting, and ultimately assessment
>> by the subsequent Review Team (for recommendations that address work
>> underway; for new recommendations resources also will be required to
>> develop and execute implementation plans).  In considering staff
>> proposals to replace certain recommendations with observations, the
>> Review Team may wish to consider several factors, such as the concern
>> about "review fatigue," challenges faced by the Review Team in
>> getting substantive feedback from a diverse cross-section of the
>> ICANN community, as well as requests for simplification of
>> information to make it more accessible to a wider audience, not just
>> those with deep knowledge and experience at ICANN.
>> We hope you find staff's initial input on each of the draft
>> recommendations and sub-recommendations useful and staff welcomes the
>> opportunity to elaborate. Again, we would like to acknowledge the
>> value of ATRT2's work and its importance to the legitimacy of ICANN. 
>> We also wish to thank all the members of the ATRT2 for their
>> dedication and hard work.  Staff is committed to supporting and
>> assisting the work of the Review Team during these final few weeks of
>> your work.
>> Regards,
>> Denise
>> Denise Michel
>> VP Strategic Initiatives
>> denise.michel at icann.org <mailto:denise.michel at icann.org>
>> Content-Type: application/pdf; name=" Prelim Staff Assessment of &
>> Response"
>>  to ATRT2 Draft Recommendations - 5 Dec 2013.pdf";
>> x-mac-creator=4D535744;
>>          x-mac-type=50444620
>> Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="Prelim Staff Assessment of &"
>>  Response to ATRT2 Draft Recommendations - 5 Dec 2013.pdf"
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Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond, PhD

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