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ICANN Welcomes WSIS Tunis Declaration | Support for multi-stakeholder model ensures stability and integrity of DNS for over one billion Internet users

Tunis, November 18, 2005: ICANN has welcomed the Tunis Declaration adopted during the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in relation to the Internet’s ongoing technical coordination. The decision by the WSIS to recognize ICANN’s existing multi-stakeholder model ensures that the stability and integrity of the Internet’s naming and addressing system will be preserved.

Commenting on the conclusion of the Summit, Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN said: “the outcome means that more than a billion Internet users can have confidence in the ongoing stability and security of the Internet’s core infrastructure and workings.

“We are pleased that our efforts for continued globalization of ICANN and its mandate is identified as important in the outcome and we welcome the acknowledgement that the Internet operations remain independent of day to day politics and political influence.”

Broad stakeholder participation is the key to ICANN’s effectiveness as an international technical coordination body, as is the ongoing improvement and evolution of the organization’s mechanisms and processes. The WSIS process has highlighted the important role that governments have to play in public policy issues related to the Internet and as an evolving body, ICANN welcomes discussion related to the development of the existing mechanism for governmental participation.

ICANN looks forward to dialogue during its upcoming international meeting to be held in Vancouver, where among the topics of discussion will be how the role of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) could be improved within the existing multi-stakeholder mechanism, and what measures need to be taken to make our cooperation more effective, including ensuring the participation of developing countries.

About ICANN

ICANN is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."