If You’re Attending ICANN69, ICANN Ombuds Wants “Mutual Respect”

Attendees at the upcoming virtual ICANN69 meeting (Community Days, 13-15 October | Plenary Week, 19–22 October) have been requested by the ICANN Ombuds Herb Waye to observe the Expected Standards of Behaviour and the Community Anti-Harassment Policy.

In a post on the ICANN blog, Waye writes “ICANN’s Expected Standards of Behavior govern all aspects of interaction between and among all participants in ICANN’s policy processes, meetings, and activities. The Expected Standards of Behaviour extend to all visual, written, and verbal communications. All participants are entitled to expect that everyone will speak and act with professional courtesy, consider cultural differences, and behave with mutual respect at all times.”

“Meeting sessions may be led by ICANN Board members, ICANN organisation (org) staff, or leaders of ICANN’s Supporting Organisations, Advisory Committees, and their constituent stakeholder structures, work parties, and working groups. These session leaders are committed to observing and enforcing the Expected Standards of Behaviour. This is why, for every meeting session, participants are reminded of these standards as well as the need to abide by them.”

All public sessions for ICANN69 will have a Zoom Meeting virtual room link posted in the schedule. The meeting schedule is launched in two phases: Prep Week schedule posted on 14 September 2020, and Community Days & Plenary sessions posted on 28 September 2020.

“In addition to the Expected Standards of Behaviour, the Community Anti-Harassment Policy emphasises, encourages, and promotes the spirit of mutual respect within the ICANN community.”

Waye is aware it can get a bit heated at times, writing “it is not always easy to maintain one’s composure or remember that, in our global community, what may pass for humour in one venue may be offensive in another. This can happen in a virtual setting or a face-to-face interaction. From time to time, community members have appropriately turned to the ICANN Office of the Ombudsman for guidance relating to specific incidents that may be considered harassment or a violation of the Expected Standards of Behaviour.

Waye’s role, and that of Adjunct Ombuds, Barbara Curwin, as described in the ICANN Bylaws, “functions as an informal dispute resolution office for the ICANN community and ensures that members of the ICANN community are treated fairly. As an objective advocate for fairness, the Office of the Ombudsman is available to provide guidance, facilitation, and investigation, depending on the severity of the circumstance.”

So what happens if you believe another ICANN meeting participant’s behaviour or material falls short of the Expected Standards of Behaviour? Waye writes they “encourage you to bring the matter to the attention of the session chair, ICANN org staff, or the Office of the Ombudsman. If you believe you have experienced or observed an incident of harassment, there is a process and procedure available to report and resolve a claim. Complaints to the Ombuds are completely confidential.”

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