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Improving Institutional Confidence: The Way Forward

"Improving Institutional Confidence: The Way Forward" [PDF, 112K], is published today for community review and follows from the work of the President's Strategy Committee (PSC). It is a staff evaluation of possible implementation steps from the PSC proposals.

This preliminary evaluation is being published on 1 June 2009 at the same time it is submitted to the Board to allow the global Internet community to consider and reflect on these documents, and to facilitate discussions during ICANN's next public meeting in Sydney, 21-26 June 2009.

These documents are being published at the same time they are submitted to the Board to allow the global Internet community to consider and reflect on these documents, and to facilitate discussions during ICANN's next public meeting in Sydney, 21-26 June 2009. The Board has not yet considered these proposals nor do these proposals represent the views of the Board. Further future steps emanating from Board consideration may also involve formal public consultation.

The staff evaluation recommends the following board action and approvals:

  • Possible changes to ICANN's bylaws to establish a new and newly constituted Independent Review Tribunal with powers to review the exercise of decision-making powers of the ICANN Board under three general rubrics of fairness, fidelity and rationality.
  • Continue conversations with authorities in jurisdictions such as Belgium and Switzerland, but report back with a detailed analysis of risks and benefits to the Board and community of any additional of legal presence to inform future consultations with the community.
  • Accepting the PSC recommendation that ICANN maintain its headquarters in the United States, specifically in Marina del Rey, California. 
  • Consider means to work with ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and the ICANN community on a fully consultative process to publicly review the GAC's role within ICANN. This review process might focus on coordination and consultation between the GAC and other supporting organizations and advisory committees of ICANN. 

The report includes three further appendices:

  • Appendix A, "Improving Institutional Confidence: Implementation Report” - summary of the President's Strategy Committee recommendations presented at the Mexico City meeting in March 2009, the community feedback received to those recommendations, and the staff implementation recommendations for each.
  • Appendix B, Proposal to Establish a Special ICANN Community Vote Requesting a Board Re-Examination of a Board Decision
  • Appendix C, Proposal to Establish an Independent Review Tribunal


At its meeting on 6 March 2009, the Board thanked the PSC for its work and undertook to review the report. The Board posted the report for 60 days' public comment, and directed staff to evaluate implementation of the proposals and report its findings to the Board. The Board-directed public comment period concluded on 11 May 2009, and the comments are available here:

Full documentation and background information regarding the Improving Institutional Confidence consultations to date can be found at

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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"""" is not an IDN."