Public Comment

Public Comment is a vital part of our multistakeholder model. It provides a mechanism for stakeholders to have their opinions and recommendations formally and publicly documented. It is an opportunity for the ICANN community to effect change and improve policies and operations.

closed ccNSO Proposed Policy on the Retirement of ccTLDs

RequestersICANN Board


ICANN org received four (4) submissions. Three (3) community groups and one (1) from an individual, and consisting of 14 topics. The comments are categorized into two categories: general observations and specific issues. This Public Comment summary report includes ICANN org staff summary of the comments and observations on the topic in relation to earlier comments received and repsonses.

All received comments, along with this summary, will be transmitted to the ICANN Board for its consideration.

What We Received Input On

The ccNSO has submitted its proposed policy on the retirement of ccTLDs to the ICANN Board.  Your input is sought on the proposed policy. The full Retirement Policy as proposed by the ccNSO is included in Annex A of the Board Report (Sections 1-5, Final Paper of the Retirement Working Group). For ease of understanding, a summary is presented below:

  1. Objective of the Policy. The Policy should provide clear and predictable guidance and document a process that is orderly and reasonable up and to, but excluding, the removal of a ccTLD from the Root Zone, which the ccNSO considers to be out of scope.
  2. Applicability of the Policy. This Policy applies to all entries in the Root Zone database which are identified as ccTLDs and are subject to a Retirement Triggering Event, which are defined as:
    • The deletion of the Alpha-2 Code Element from the ISO 3166-1 Standard by the ISO 3166-1 Maintenance Agency (“ISO 3166/MA”).
    • For 2 letter Latin ccTLDs which do not correspond to an ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 Code Element The ISO 3166-1 MA making a change (other than making it an ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 Code Element) to any of these.
    • For IDN ccTLDs – The Triggering Event will be identified in the Policy on the (de)selection of IDN ccTLD strings, which was initiated on 21 May 2020.
  3. Retirement Process Expectations. There is a good faith obligation to ensure an orderly shutdown of the retiring ccTLD which takes into consideration the interests of its registrants and the stability and security of the DNS.
  4. Notice of Removal and Standard Duration Removal Process. The Manager of the ccTLD should be notified (Notice of Removal) that the ccTLD shall be removed from the Root Zone five years from the date of the notice.
  5. Extension of Removal Process. If the Manager wishes to request an extension of the Default five years removal process, it must be requested.
  6. Retirement Plan. To request an extension beyond the five years standard duration of the process, the manager must produce a Retirement Plan which is acceptable to the IANA Functions Operator (IFO).
  7. Granting Extension. Granting an extension to the Default Retirement Date is at the discretion of the IFO and shall not be unreasonably withheld.
  8. Oversight. This Policy is directed at ICANN. This Policy will not change or amend the role of the ICANN Board with respect to individual cases.
  9. Review. Two situations have been identified that could be subject to a review under the review mechanism which is still under development.
  10. Out of the scope. The Retiring Triggering Events are out of scope and therefore not subject to the policy (i.e., an event as identified triggers the start of the retirement process). The removal of a ccTLD from the Root Zone is considered to be out of scope of the policy as well.

In addition to the proposed policy included in the Board Report it contains the contextual material which is provided to assist (future) interpretation of the policy: 

  • Stress tests and the results of stress testing (Board Report, Annex A Final Paper: section 6 and Annex A of Final Paper).
  • Overview of the terminology used in the context of the Retirement of ccTLDs (Board Report Annex A, Final Paper of the WG, Annex B) either derived from the context of the IANA Naming Function (Table 1) or derived from the ISO3166 standard (Table2).
  • Community Comments on Interim Paper and the Retirement Working Group responses (Board Report Annex A, Final Paper of the WG Annex C Final Paper)

Proposals For Your Input
Board Report – Proposed Policy on the Retirement of ccTLDs


In December 2015, the ccNSO Council discussed the launch of a ccNSO Policy Development Processes to address the lack of policy with respect to Retirement of ccTLDs and to introduce a Review Mechanism on issues pertaining to the delegation, transfer, revocation and retirement of ccTLDs.

After requesting an Issue Report the ccNSO Council decided to initiate the third ccNSO policy development process (ccPDP3) with the initial focus on developing a policy for retirement of ccTLDs (Part 1), and only after the substantive work on that topic would have been concluded, focus on the development of policy recommendations for a review mechanism pertaining to decisions on delegation, transfer, revocation and retirement of ccTLDs (Part 2).

The ccNSO Working Group on Retirement of Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) concluded its work in February 2021 and its Final Paper was included in the Initial Report of the ccPDP3. Although the Initial Report should be published after both Part 1 and Part 2 are completed, it was suggested that each part under ccPDP3 should follow its own course.

The Initial Report on the Retirement of ccTLDs was published for Public Comment in April 2021.

On 4 June 2021, the ccNSO Council decided to separate the policy development efforts on the retirement of ccTLDs from the review mechanism.

The recommended Retirement Policy as contained in the Final Report was submitted first to the ccNSO Council. The ccNSO Council adopted the proposed policy on 17 June 2021 and the proposed policy was, as required under Annex B of the Bylaws, subsequently submitted to the members of ccNSO for their consideration and to seek their support adoption. The ccNSO membership supported the ccNSO Council recommendation: Out of 172 members, 100 voted (58%), of which 94 were in favor and 6 members did not support the ccNSO Council recommendation. The ccNSO Council approved the Board Report on 16 September 2021, which was then submitted to the ICANN Board on 28 September 2021.