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

Denise Michel denise.michel at icann.org
Sun Dec 8 20:00:26 UTC 2013

Dear Olivier,

Thank you for your email.  I hope that you’ve had a chance to review my
response to Alan’s points, clarifying the reason for staffs' suggestion
that several of the recommendations be characterized as observations. We
understand there are different viewpoints on this. Staff would be remiss
not to offer this approach for ATRT2's consideration. Staff has
acknowledged the importance of these findings and is making a commitment to
provide ongoing reporting and progress updates, including milestones and
deliverables to inform the community.  Staff suggestions were rooted in a
desire to leverage formal structures where common practices and procedures
for project management, monitoring and reporting are already embedded in
the operations of ICANN (especially given the alignment between ATRT2
findings and the work already underway at ICANN).

In the spirit of goodwill and shared purpose, staff is eager to engage with
the ATRT2 members on several points raised in the draft recommendations
where further dialogue would be useful in ensuring that the final
recommendations will be implementable and useful in achieving the desired
objective. You referenced the AoC commitment on assessing and improving
Board governance, in particular, and staff has flagged draft
recommendations in this area for discussion due to questions and/or
implementability concerns.

Larisa has prepared another chart highlighting recommendations where such
interaction would be useful -- listing a lead ATRT2 member facilitator and
lead staff to help ensure conference calls/interactions occur next week.
She will send it to the list and stands ready to help support these
interactions and accommodate ATRT2 member schedules.

Again, thank you for volunteering your time and expertise to this important



Denise Michel
VP Strategic Initiatives
denise.michel at icann.org

On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 4:29 PM, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl at gih.com>wrote:

>  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 observations.
> 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.
> http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue209/cigale.html
> Warm regards,
> Olivier
> 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
> 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, PhDhttp://www.gih.com/ocl.html
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