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Minutes – A Special Meeting of the PTI Board | 22 November 2021

A Special Meeting of the PTI Board of Directors was held on 22 November 2021 at 15:00 UTC.

The following Directors participated in all or part of the meeting: Lise Fuhr (Chair), Xavier Calvez, Kim Davies (PTI President), James Gannon and Jia-Rong Low.

PTI Secretary: Samantha Eisner (PTI Secretary).

The following Staff participated in all or part of the meeting:  Marilia Hirano (Director, IANA Strategic Programs), Aaron Jimenez (Board Operations Specialist (ICANN)); Becky Nash (PTI Treasurer) and Victoria Yang (Senior Planning Program Manager, Planning (ICANN)).

The PTI Chair called the meeting to order and introduced the agenda.

  1. Review of Public Comment Staff Report on PTI and IANA FY23 Operating Plan and Budget

    The PTI Treasurer presented the Board with an overview of the staff report process in relation to the PTI and IANA FY23 Operating Plan and Budget:

    • Staff prepares responses by theme and category of submitted comments;
    • Further clarify comments where necessary;
    • ICANN org teams prepare staff report responses by category and theme; and
    • Report is reviewed by IANA Functions, Planning, Executives, Communications and the Legal Teams.   

    Victoria Yang continued the presentation with a summary of the public comments received during the public comment period that was opened on 15 September 2021 to 25 October 2021. There were submissions from five community groups – the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), the Business Constituency (BC), the Generic Names Supporting Organization Council (GNSO Council), the Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) and the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG)).

    Victoria provided a description of the four themes emerging in the comments: document structure, planning assumptions, operating activities and financials. All received comments have been taken into consideration, and where appropriate and feasible, will be incorporated into the revised draft FY23 PTI Operating Plan & Budget (OP&B).

    ICANN org noted that less comments were received for the FY23 PTI OP&B, compared to FY21 and FY22 (but still slightly above average of the past five years).  Generally, the comments received were positive:

    • Structure:

    The comments received on the document structure were in support of the improvement of the plan's structure.  The planning team agrees with a suggestion to further align PTI's four-year strategy to the Operating Plan, and improvements will be incorporated in the revised plan.

    • Planning assumptions:

    The comments received on planning assumptions relate to how PTI plans to address the risk of not having enough staff to conduct its work and why the plan does not include a budget for potential new hires. The proposed response clarifies that if PTI requires additional headcount in FY23, resources will be prioritized using ICANN's centralized hiring process, as well as the availability of the contingency fund in the event of unplanned activity.

    The Board reviewed the comments and staff response on this section and agreed that the language should be revised to demonstrate that PTI has the ability to have adequate resources if it is deemed necessary by management.

    Comments also related to assumptions surrounding the return to face-to-face meetings and travel in FY23, including a suggestion for a phased plan. For budgeting purposes, ICANN org and PTI are assuming a return to face-to-face meeting and engagement at pre-pandemic levels.  However, the execution of face-to-face meetings and engagement will be phased; and ICANN org is work closely with the ICANN Board and the community on planning for a return to travel and meetings.

    • Operating activities:

    Some of the comments received on PTI's operating activities emphasized the importance of continuing to focus on service improvement. Other comments asked PTI to clarify IANA's role in the performance of the Naming and Numbering functions. There was also a comment on how PTI support activities were reflected in ICANN's GNSO's policy development process. 

    The planning team noted that the Draft FY23 PTI OP&B focuses on making incremental technical enhancements.  Also, in relation to IANA's involvement in policy development, the staff report clarifies the comment by citing the IANA Naming Functions Agreement that prohibits PTI staff to be involved in this work, and that is assigned to the Policy Development Support team within the ICANN org.

    In relation to the comment made regarding participation in ICANN's policy development process, James Gannon provided some clarification into the intent of the comment and made some suggestions as to how to refine the response to such comment.

    • Financials:

    The financially related comments focused mainly on the structure and format of the budgeted expenses, as well as recommendations and requests for incremental information. Commenters also questioned the personnel process and prioritization of new hires.  Staff proposed response noted that while additional headcount may be required in FY23, although those headcounts are not specifically allocated in the plans, PTI would have the ability to access additional headcount through ICANN's common process for approving and budgeting of new positions. Further, ICANN has a responsibility to make sure that PTI has sufficient resources to perform the IANA functions.

    Upon being briefed by ICANN org, the Board made some additional comments and observations on specific sections of the summary report, including:

    • The Chair commented that the new structure of the report makes it more reader friendly.
    • In some sections of the report, there are several sections which needs to be further clarified, as to whether reference is being made to the "ICANN Board" or the "PTI Board"; or "ICANN Org" or "PTI".
    • ICANN org to amend the staff report to include a link to the ICANN Board decision ion the Supplemental Fund for Implementation of Community Recommendations (SFICR) to enable readers to obtain more information on that topic and how funds allocated through the SFICR may be used to support PTI's activities as appropriate.
    • ICANN org to make further revisions to the Draft FY23 PTI OP&B, based on the comments and suggestions received from the Board.

    The Chair noted that the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) did not submit any comment during the public comment period. Thus, on behalf of the Board, the Chair agreed to reach out to the ccNSO to ascertain if it has any comment on the draft PTI and IANA OP&B.

    The PTI Treasurer concluded the presentation by providing an overview of the anticipated timelines and next steps. The public comment staff report is due to be published on 30 November 2021; and the next Board meeting is scheduled for 13 December 2021 to adopt the FY23 PTI OP&B.

    ICANN org will address the proposed revisions and comments from the Board, to be reflected in the staff report as well as the FY23 PTI OP&B.  ICANN org will circulate the revised staff report to the Board as soon as practicable, in time for the publication deadline of 30 November 2021.  ICANN org will then circulate the revised draft FY23 OP&B, incorporating the adjustments and language suggestions by the PTI Board, in advance of the Board meeting on 13 December 2021.

    The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."