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Reviews are an important accountability tool required by the ICANN Bylaws and are critical to maintaining a healthy multistakeholder model.   They serve as checks and balances and help ICANN evolve to meet the emerging needs. Reviews assess how certain aspects of the ICANN ecosystem are performing, including how ICANN fulfills various commitments and remains accountable. There are two review types:

  • Specific Reviews are conducted by community-led review teams which assess ICANN's performance in reaching its commitments.
  • Organizational Reviews are conducted by independent examiners to assess the effectiveness of ICANN’s supporting organizations and advisory committees. 


Over the course of several review cycles, ICANN has identified problems inherent to the reviews process that are preventing reviews from effectively fulfilling their purpose. Learn more here

Improving Specific Reviews provides an important opportunity to improve the effectiveness of the resources of the community, Board, and org. For context, the resources required to support the last four Specific Reviews cost $3.4 million USD and required 10,000 hours of community member time and 20,000 hours of ICANN org support. This does not include the work and time needed to prepare for the review or the assessment and implementation of the 125 recommendations that are eventually approved. 


To address these challenges, ICANN org chartered the Lifecycle of Reviews Project to identify, develop, and implement impactful improvements to the review process. The Lifecycle of Reviews Project proposes improvements to ICANN’s Specific Reviews process, aiming to enhance accountability and ICANN's ability to fulfill its mission. The aspiration of the Lifecycle of Reviews Project is to create a new and improved future state of reviews where duration of reviews takes less than 12 months, time for Board action on review recommendations is less than 6 months, and 100% of review recommendations are improved by the Board. To ensure that there is alignment across the ICANN ecosystem, ICANN org will facilitate a discussion with the community and Board to further develop improvements.



  • Compilation and Analysis: Compiled compiled the problems and proposed improvements articulated by community, Board and ICANN org over the past 5+ years. Analyzed and organized this information into targeted improvements.
  • Project Launch and Thought Paper: The project was officially launched on 4 October 2023, alongside the release of the first Lifecycle of Reviews Thought Paper. Updates on the project were also presented during Prep Week for ICANN78 and ICANN79.
  • Community Engagement: The project team has engaged extensively with the community, the Board, and ICANN org to gather input and feedback. Proposed improvements have continued to evolve based on these discussions.

Next Steps

Looking ahead, the LOR Project will focus on engaging stakeholders to further develop and refine the proposed improvements to the Specific Review process. Key activities include:

  • A second Thought Paper to be published which focuses on achieving community alignment on specific operational problems with Specific Reviews and proposing procedural improvements. 
  • Engagements with the community will be held to facilitate high-level discussions on existing challenges and proposed procedural improvements.Interested community members are encouraged to contact to schedule a briefing for their community group.
  • The culmination of these efforts will be a draft revision of the Operating Standards for Specific Reviews, which is slated for publication for Public Comment in the fourth quarter of 2024. These Operating Standards are crucial guidelines mandated by the Bylaws, ensuring that Specific Reviews are conducted transparently, consistently, efficiently, and predictably.

Stay Engaged

We invite you to stay engaged with the LOR Project as we work together to enhance the Specific Review process. Your feedback and input are essential to ensuring that the improvements we develop are impactful and beneficial for the entire ICANN community. Interested community members are encouraged to contact to schedule briefings for their community group.

For more information and to get involved, please continue to visit this page and/or contact