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Summary and Analysis of FY2009 Draft Travel Approach

  • To: "travel-support-draft@xxxxxxxxx" <travel-support-draft@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Summary and Analysis of FY2009 Draft Travel Approach
  • From: Doug Brent <doug.brent@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 07:50:48 -0700

Summary and analysis of public comments for:
ICANN Travel Support Approach
Public Forum Comment period ended: 20 June 08
Summary published:  10 July 08

Recognizing that the organization has more resources than in the past, ICANN
conducted a public workshop in New Delhi during February 2008 to discuss how
the maturing organization should support future constituent travel in a well
considered, documented, and transparent way. After the New Delhi workshop, a
public forum was opened from 3 March 2008 until 24 April 2008 to collect
community comments generally on who should receive ICANN travel support and
at what levels that support would be appropriate.  ICANN staff subsequently
generated a Draft Travel Support Procedure on 22 May 2008 and invited
further public comments.

A total of 17 comments from 14 separate parties were submitted to ICANN
since the expiration of the first public forum in April.  Two comments were
received during May before the 22 May draft document was created and two
more were submitted during the ICANN meeting in Paris. All those comments
are included in this summary/analysis.  Of the 17 comments received, 12 were
received from nine individuals and five were submitted on behalf of ICANN
stakeholder or constituent groups.
The comments addressed many of the same themes that were discussed in the
first public comment round. The comments generally involved four major
areas; GNSO Councilor/SO support, Nominating Committee (NomCom) members and
appointee support, ICANN meeting/travel logistics and fundamental fairness.

GNSO Councilor/SO Support:

Seven commenters addressed travel support for the GNSO or other supporting
organizations or advisory committees. The NCUC, BC and IPC advocate travel
support for all GNSO Councilors.  The ALAC says such support should extend
to all members of by-law recognized organizations within ICANN.

The RC said the majority of its members oppose any funding for GNSO Council
members. To the extent travel support is made available to SO¹s, RC says
that support should be based, in part, on the level of contribution to
ICANN's budget. To the extent that travel support is provided to the GNSO,
the RC says that funds should be allocated to each constituency and each
constituency should have the authority to allocate that support among its
members and representatives for travel or other constituency needs. The BC
supports such an allocation in years where the budget is tight.

DY says that the existing draft proposal leaves no funds available for
non-Councilors to travel to ICANN meetings and that result ignores the GNSO
Improvements concept of expanding the pool of available working group
leaders and participants.

The BC said an SO allocation system should not be necessary because ICANN
should fund out-of-pocket expenses for all its volunteers in policymaking
for whatever physical meetings are necessary. The BC says it is ³nonsensical
and divisive² to fund only half the GNSO, particularly when the GNSO travel
budget, as proposed, reflects such a small percentage of the total ICANN

The BC is also concerned that the neither the SO Chair nor a committee be
put in the position of applying any travel fund allocation policy.  The
Chair would be subject to charges of favoritism and the committee efforts
could only lead to protracted arguments that would take time and resources
away from productive policy discussions.

NomCom Support:

Six commenters (five of whom are present NomCom appointees or have previous
NomCom experience) expressed opinions about the level of support for NomCom
members and appointees.  Three commenters (AD, AG and OC) were concerned
that in failing to describe the current travel support policy for ICANN
meetings, the draft document suggests that NomCom appointee support was
being reduced.  As a result of that perception, five of the comments (AD,
AG, OC, AP and RD) were compelled to express that travel support of NomCom
appointees should continue at current levels or ICANN would risk facing
significant challenges in recruiting future NomCom appointees. AG expressed
concern that while they were unlikely to completely deny funding to NomCom
appointees, SO¹s could choose to grant only partial funding which would have
a similarly deleterious effects on NomCom recruiting.

AD said that any new travel procedure must continue to cover NomCom
appointees on the same basis as it covers Board members or ICANN would risk
rendering the policy making process more like that of an insider¹s club.

GS said NomCom appointees and NomCom members should not receive preferential
travel treatment and should be governed by the rules of their respective
supporting organizations.

ICANN Meeting/Travel Logistics:

ALAC and AP said that more advance planning for ICANN meetings, announcing
the meeting locations earlier or simple making the travel agency service
available earlier in the process would help reduce costs to ICANN travelers
by allowing them to book their travel earlier. The BC advocates the use of
lower-cost limited exchange tickets to manage costs.

The IPC and ALAC made several suggestions including holding meetings in more
affordable cities or simply locating meetings where cheaper hotel options
could be made available to meeting attendees. The IPC and BC suggested fewer
ICANN meetings a year (3 to 2) would reduce annual travel expenses.

Both RC and ALAC noted that improved remote access capabilities at ICANN
meetings would allow some stakeholders to participate remotely thereby
avoiding some travel expenses altogether.

Fundamental Fairness and Transparency:

Continuing a theme from the first comment period, several commenters made
comments about fundamental fairness in the application of any future travel
policy. Commenters mentioned that theme in two particular contexts ­
fairness between different stakeholders and fairness between volunteers and
ICANN staff.

AG fears that unless the draft proposal has more specificity there will be
instances where people in similar positions are treated differently and
suggests that the policy needs to be more transparent.  AD compared the
respective support for Board members, NomCom appointees and SO volunteers
and noted that the SO volunteers¹ work should not be valued as less than the
contribution made by Board members.

AD said that if ICANN cannot afford business travel for all travelers, then
it should not offer it to anyone. GS and AP both made comments about the
travel agent service provided by ICANN and suggested that allowing travelers
to have some flexibility in making arrangements at their own expense could
make the experience more pleasant and reduce potential feelings of

Comments from AD, OC and GS all touched on the fairness concept in the
context of staff travel.  GS positively noted the recent decision to change
staff travel to economy airfares.

KS said the primary concern with respect to the travel policy must be
transparency.  He laid out a comprehensive concept to pool all travel funds
and have them managed by a Travel Support Committee that would evaluate
requests for funding based on need. Under KS¹s approach, ICANN would publish
all information on any travel support approved by the committee.

Next Steps:

After receiving and analyzing comments on this draft, it will be updated if
needed, and final results reviewed with the ICANN Board.


Contributors are in order of first appearance:
Intellectual Property Constituency/by Steve Metalitz and Cyril Chua (IPC)
ALAC by Cheryl Langdon-Orr
Avri Doria (2) (AD)
Andrew Mancey (AM)
Gerge Sadowsky (GS)
Olga Cavalli (OC)
Danny Younger (DY)
Ken Stubbs (KS)
Alan Greenberg (3) (AG)
Adam Peake (AP)
Registrar Constituency by Clarke D. Walton (RC)
Non Commercial Users Constituency by Robin Gross (NCUC)
Rafik Dammak (RD)
Commercial and Business Users Constituency by Philip Sheppard (BC)

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