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Call for Public Comment on the Middle East and Adjoining Countries’ (MEAC) 2016-2019 Strategy

Today, ICANN’s Middle East and Adjoining Countries Strategy Working Group (MEAC-SWG) announced a call for public comment on the draft MEAC 2016-2019 strategy. Consisting of 48 members and 2 observers, the MEAC-SWG was formed in June 2016 to develop ICANN’s regional engagement strategy. In developing the strategy, the MEAC-SWG followed the ICANN 2016-2020 strategic plan laid down in the ICANN bylaws, addressing the plan’s five strategic objectives below in the region.

  • Evolve and further globalize ICANN;
  • Support a healthy, stable, and resilient unique identifier ecosystem;
  • Advance organizational, technological and operational excellence;
  • Promote ICANN’s role and multistakeholder approach;
  • Develop and implement a global public interest framework bounded by ICANN’s mission.

The overall strategic objective is to “attract more active and engaged participants from the region to contribute to ICANN's policy development processes and to acquire leading roles within the ICANN community”. The strategy has identified three main focus areas:

  • Support a Secure, Stable and Resilient DNS Infrastructure in the MEAC Region
  • Promote a Healthy and Competitive Domain Name Marketplace in the MEAC Region
  • Clarify ICANN's Role in an Evolving Internet Ecosystem through Engaging with the MEAC Community

The draft MEAC 2016-2019 strategy can be found here [PDF, 1 MB]. Comments are due by Friday 18 November at 23.59 UTC. Comments should be submitted via email to


In late 2012, ICANN consulted Internet community members in the Middle East on the need for a strategy that defines ICANN’s engagement in the region. In early 2013, 22 community members from across the region came together to develop this new strategy. The group was called the Middle East Strategy Working Group (MESWG). The strategy document went through a public comment period before it was finalized and ready to be implemented. In implementing the strategy, the MESWG suggested developing implementation plans on an annual basis, in close collaboration with ICANN staff.

While the three-year mandate of the Middle East strategy concluded on 30 June 2016, ICANN staff, along with the MESWG, rolled-up their sleeves early on to evaluate the strategy and, at the same time, seek input from the regional Internet community on the need of continuing the strategy for another three years.

After public consultation at ICANN55 in Marrakech (5-10 March 2016) and productive discussions over the MEAC ICANN mailing list, the community suggested the establishment of a Charter Drafting Group (CDG) that would define the work methods of the new MEAC-SWG. The CDG worked from mid-April until mid-May of 2016, and published their work.

In mid-May 2016, a public call was announced, seeking members and observers to join a new MEAC-SWG. 50 community members responded to that call, with 48 joining as members and two as observers.

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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"""" is not an IDN."