An ICANN Board resolution in 2000 directed Staff to establish a system of geographical regions to ensure regional diversity in the composition of the ICANN Board by assigning countries to geographic regions on the basis of the United Nations Statistics Division's current classifications. The system was subsequently expanded in various ways to apply to various ICANN community structures, including the GNSO, ALAC and ccNSO.
The ICANN Bylaws currently define five geographic regions as Africa, North America, Latin America/Caribbean, Asia/Australia/Pacific and Europe -- and also expand the concept that "persons from an area that is not a country should be grouped together with the country of citizenship for that area" so that the area or territory itself was similarly allocated to the region of the "mother country."
Over time, various community members have developed concerns about the ICANN Geographic Regions and related representational issues. Last year, the ccNSO Council passed a resolution recommending that the ICANN Board appoint a community-wide working group to further study and review the issues related to the definition of the ICANN Geographic Regions, to consult with all stakeholders and submit proposals to the Board to resolve the issues relating to the current definition of the ICANN Geographic Regions.
The ICANN Board determined at its 2 November 2007 meeting in Los Angeles that because any change to ICANN Geographic Regions could have widespread effect in ICANN, the views of other Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees should be sought by the Board. The Board asked the ICANN community, including the GNSO, ccNSO, ASO, GAC, and ALAC, to provide the ICANN Staff with input on the ccNSO Council's resolution relating to ICANN's Geographic Regions.