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Public Comment: Geographic Regions Initial Report

31 July 2009

The Initial Report of the community-wide working group reviewing ICANN's Geographic Regions is now available for public comment. All members of the ICANN community are now invited to review that document (http://www.icann.org/en/topics/geographic-regions/initial-report-geo-regions-review-wg-31jul09-en.pdf [PDF, 100K]) and share comments and observations with the community through 4 September 2009.


Geographic diversity is a fundamental component of the ICANN organization. The ICANN Bylaws (Article VI Section 5) currently define five geographic regions as Africa, North America, Latin America/Caribbean, Asia/Australia/Pacific and Europe.

The ICANN Geographic Regions were originally created to ensure regional diversity in the composition of the ICANN Board and were subsequently expanded in various ways to apply to the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO). An ICANN Board resolution in 2000 directed Staff to assign countries to geographic regions on the basis of the United Nations Statistics Division's current classifications, and introduced the concept of "citizenship" in relation to the definition of ICANN Geographic Regions.

Over time, the ccNSO has developed concerns about the implementation of the ICANN Geographic Regions and related representational issues. The ccNSO Council approved a resolution in 2007 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 Board determined at its meeting in Los Angeles on 2 November 2007, that because any potential 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, the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), GAC, and ALAC, to provide the ICANN Staff with input on the ccNSO Council's resolution relating to ICANN's Geographic Regions - including the proposal to appoint a community-wide working group to review the structure of ICANN's present Geographic Regions and related issues, as suggested by the ccNSO.

The community supported the concept of the working group and the Board authorized its formation at its December 2008 Meeting (see - http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-07nov08.htm#_Toc87682556).


 The Board approved the Charter of the working group at its public meeting in Sydney Australia (see - http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-26jun09.htm#1.2). Copies of the Charter, in all six UN languages, are posted in the Public Comment Forum Box (see - http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-200909.html#geo-regions-review).

The Charter authorized by the Board outlines a three-part process in which the working group first prepares an Initial Report outlining the current applications of ICANN's geographic regions in various ICANN structures and processes and confirming the issues to be addressed by the working group during its deliberations. That Initial Report is the document being posted today.

According to the Charter, the Initial Report will be followed by an "Intermediate Report", currently scheduled to be drafted and prepared by the October 2009 Seoul ICANN meeting. A third "Final Report" that will include the working group's recommendations (if any) is currently scheduled to be published early next year.

Relevant Board Resolution, Bylaws and Background Documents:

The Process From Here:

At the end of this public comment forum period, the ICANN Staff will provide a summary/analysis of the comments submitted regarding the proposed charter document. That summary/analysis will be shared with the community and the Working Group. The Working Group will review the community input on the Initial Report to guide its deliberations and future work on the Intermediate Report and Final Report documents.

Deadline and How to Submit Comments:

The Staff is opening a 35-day public consultation forum, from 31 July 2009 through 4 September 2009, and invites community comments on this topic.

The formal Public Comment Forum Box is located here: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-200909.html#geo-regions-review

To submit comments: geo-regions-review@icann.org

To view comments: http://forum.icann.org/lists/geo-regions-review/

Staff Responsible: Robert Hoggarth