ICANN achieves its mission through implementation of policies approved by its Board of Directors. These policies start out as recommendations formed and refined by the global ICANN community through its Supporting Organizations and influenced by Advisory Committees.
Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SOs and ACs)
The SOs and ACs are comprised of volunteers from over 130 countries and territories. In a bottom-up, open and transparent process, members of any SO and AC as well as the ICANN Board may raise an issue they believe requires policy development. The relevant Supporting Organization considers decisions or recommendations by Working Groups (see below) before forwarding them to the ICANN Board of Directors. The Board has ultimate authority to approve or reject policy recommendations.
More information about individual SO or AC communities can be found at these links:
Volunteer policy development Working Groups form around an issue and consider it from all angles, making decisions by consensus wherever possible. Many of these Working Groups are open to everyone in ICANN’s volunteer community. There are regular ‘newcomer sessions’ in the form of online webinars that provide an ideal starting point for first-time volunteers that would like to participate in policy development. Typically, Working Group discussions are recorded and transcribed so that the public has full access to discussions and debates. Once finalized, major documents and executive summaries are typically translated into the six United Nations languages.
Written public comments are sought at several stages in the policy development process. The opportunity to comment is intended to provide interested community members with a means to share their views on policy proposals, and to ensure that policy recommendations reflect the concerns and perspectives of the broader Internet community. Learn more about community public comment opportunities that are currently open for input at the ICANN Public Comment Page.
ICANN Public Meetings
Public Meetings take place three times a year. These gatherings of the ICANN community provide an excellent opportunity to participate in policy development.
Prior to every ICANN meeting, ICANN staff host preview webinars about upcoming high interest topics and issues that the community will face at the next public meeting.
Throughout the public meeting there are sessions, workshops and forums where community members can voice opinions, ask questions and otherwise engage in discussions on topics that interest them. In addition to valuable in-person opportunities, ICANN offers extensive remote participation capabilities for community members who are not able to travel to the public meeting in-person.
Every ICANN Public Meeting features a nearly half-day open forum for community members to express their views on topics that concern them in front of the whole community.
More To Come
The ICANN Board and staff are constantly looking to identify new and improved forms of community interaction to make the organization’s core policy development functions operate fairly and efficiently - while ensuring that the ICANN organization and all its policy development efforts remain transparent and accountable to the entire community.