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Consultation Preview: Public Interest Commitments/Registry Voluntary Commitments

21 November 2023
By and

The ICANN Board directed the ICANN organization (org) to initiate a community consultation on Public Interest Commitments and Registry Voluntary Commitments (PICs/RVCs). To complete the consultation expeditiously and avoid impact on the timeline to open the next round of applications for new gTLDs, we are sharing the next steps, so the community knows what to expect.


The ICANN Board adopted a subset of the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process recommendations at ICANN78 in October 2023, as shown in the October 2023 Scorecard. These recommendations envision that applicants will be permitted—and in some cases, required—to enter into Registry Agreements containing public interest commitments with ICANN. In some cases, these commitments, whether they are PICs or RVCs, may implicate the contents within the applicants' proposed gTLDs.

PICs, specifically the mandatory PICs and safeguard PICs, are the product of Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Advice concerning new gTLDs from the 2012 round and are uniform across the relevant Registry Agreements. RVCs, which are comparable to the voluntary PICs from the 2012 round, may vary widely and permit applicants to respond to Public Comments, objections, GAC early warnings, GAC Advice, and other comments from the GAC.

The Board previously raised concerns about potential challenges related to ICANN's ability to enter into and enforce PICs/RVCs in accordance with its mission, due to limitations in the Bylaws Section 1.1. In adopting the aforementioned recommendations, the Board cited the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council's second Clarifying Statement to the effect that ICANN and the applicant both must agree that a proffered commitment is clear, detailed, mutually understood, and sufficiently objective and measurable so as to be enforceable, as a practicable matter and under ICANN Bylaws.

To this end, the Board directed ICANN org to facilitate a community consultation to ensure that the framework for implementing these recommendations is consistent with the ICANN Bylaws. Another purpose is to ensure that the ICANN Board, org, and community are aligned in how these recommendations can be implemented, considering the Board concerns and the need for these commitments to be enforceable under the ICANN Bylaws and as a practicable matter, as noted in the GNSO Council's second Clarifying Statement.

The community consultation is expected to inform the development of the Applicant Guidebook for the New gTLD Program: Next Round.

What To Expect

The consultation process will have three key components: 1) community review of and feedback on a proposed implementation framework; 2) a community webinar to provide an overview of the proposed framework and an opportunity for initial community questions; and 3) a plenary session on PICs/RVCs at ICANN79 in March 2024. The time frame is set out below.

Time Frame


On or before 05 December 2023

ICANN org to reach out to community groups, requesting that each group:

  1. Reviews and provides feedback on a framework document that proposes a path for implementing these commitments in the Next Round; and
  2. Submits written input to questions related to the framework document.

On 18 December 2023 19:00–20:00 UTC

Webinar on the PICs/RVCs community consultation.

On or before 23 February 2024

Community groups to submit written input to support an ICANN79 plenary session.


02–07 March 2024

Plenary session to review community input received and assess whether there is alignment on implementation approach.

On 31 March 2024

Final deadline for community groups to submit written input.

April 2024

ICANN org to produce a summary of the input received and propose next steps regarding implementation.

We are looking forward to working with the community throughout this consultation process.

Becky Burr and Alan Barrett, Co-Chairs, ICANN Board SubPro Caucus


Becky Burr

Becky Burr

ICANN Board Member
Alan Barrett

Alan Barrett

ICANN Board Member