Help Us Shape The Internet's Future

Reviews/Improvements Background


  • ICANN’s ongoing commitment to its own evolution and improvement has been incorporated into its Bylaws. In particular, the Article IV, Section 4 of the Bylaws require the periodic review of relevant ICANN organizations and committees including each of the Supporting Organizations (SOs), each of the Advisory Committees (ACs), and the Nominating Committee.
  • review of At-Large, focusing on the Regional At-Large Organizations and the At-Large Structures, is currently underway. This Review evaluates the organizational effectiveness of the At-Large Community and how well it has fulfilled its mission of acting for the interests of end users worldwide within ICANN. Inputs from end users are essential.
  • End users have a critical role in holding ICANN accountable. Their expertise, knowledge and experience are needed in various review processes.
  • Specifically, end users are directly impacted by the Organizational Review of the At-Large Community. Recommendations developed from this Review, once implemented, will likely bring about improvements to the At-Large Community, impacting on the representation, participation, and influence of end users in ICANN.

What are reviews and improvements?

An organizational review provides a review of overall functioning for a defined part or the whole of an organization and examines all aspects that are relevant to the needed performance improvement including systems, processes and people related issues.

Many high performing not-for-profit organizations engage an objective third party - with the required expertise - to conduct an organization review. This involves a rigorous evaluation of how effectively resources are being applied to serve an organization’s vision, mission, and strategic priorities as expressed in their strategic plan.

What are Reviews at ICANN?

A) Organizational Reviews

ICANN’s ongoing commitment to its own evolution and improvement has been incorporated into its Bylaws. In particular, the Article IV, Section 4 of the Bylaws requires the periodic review of relevant ICANN organizations and committees including each of the Supporting Organizations (SOs), each of the Advisory Committees(ACs), and the Nominating Committee. The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) is excluded from this periodic review requirement and instead shall provide its own review mechanisms. Additionally, although not required by ICANN Bylaws or other agreements, in the interest of greater accountability and transparency, ICANN has opted to perform reviews of the Nominating Committee (NomCom), Board of Directors, and the Technical Liaison Group (TLG).

While ICANN’s Board is ultimately responsible for initiating these reviews and for establishing the criteria and standards under which they shall occur, the reviews are performed by an entity independent of the organization or committee under review. The purpose of these reviews is twofold. The reviews are meant to determine (i) whether that organization has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, and if so (ii) whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness.

The organizational reviews follow a five-year cycle. Thus, each organization is scheduled to be reviewed every five years. On 28 July 2015, the Board adopted the following schedule for the conduct of upcoming Bylaws mandated Organizational Reviews on or about the following dates: the second At-Large Review—April 2016; the second review of the Nominating Committee—February 2017; the second review of the Root Server System Advisory Committee – April 2017; and the second review of Security & Stability Advisory Committee—June 2017

For detailed information on the review process please click here.

B) Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) Reviews

The Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) is the 2009 Agreement between ICANN and the United States Department of Commerce. The Affirmation of Commitments calls for periodic assessment by community review teams of ICANN's progress toward the four key objectives described below.

  1. Ensuring accountability, transparency and the interests of global Internet users
  2. Enforcing its existing policy relating to WHOIS, subject to applicable laws
  3. Preserving security, stability and resiliency of the Domain Name System (DNS)
  4. Promoting competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice

While the performance of each of these reviews demonstrates the commitment to ensuring accountability and transparency, the reviews each have a specific focus. For more information on AoC Reviews to date, please click here.

Why Reviews and Improvements matter to you?

ICANN committed to have periodic reviews of relevant ICANN organizations through its Bylaws. The idea is to ensure ongoing evolution and improvement. Considering the critical position of ICANN as a follower of the multi-stakeholder model organizational reviews and improvements at ICANN are significant tools for the sake of this model where end users are important elements of the bottom-up policy making & advice process.

Another reason these reviews and improvements matter to end users is the expected contribution from the community to such processes. Volunteers from the community are essential for the reviews to succeed. ICANN will publish an announcement (Call for volunteers) when a Review Team is being formed and urges interested community members willing to work on the initiative to join and contribute. In addition to the possibility of joining workgroups for AoC reviews through their relevant ICANN organization (At-Large in this case) end users are also asked to provide their input through public comments in the process of both AoC reviews and organizational reviews.