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Request for Proposal: Assessment of the ICANN Office of Ombudsman

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") is seeking a provider to conduct an independent assessment of the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman).

The Ombudsman serves an important function; it acts as an informal dispute resolution office for the ICANN community, who may wish to lodge a complaint about ICANN staff, board or problems in supporting organizations. The purpose of the office is to ensure that the members of the ICANN community have been treated fairly.

The objective of this RFP is to identify an independent assessor to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current Office of the Ombudsman charter and operations, including its unique role in the ICANN community, against relevant best practices and provide recommendations necessary to ensure that the Office of the Ombudsman has the tools, independence, and authority needed to be an effective voice for ICANN stakeholders.

The Review is scheduled to take place from 1 March 2017 through 15 April 2017.

For a complete overview of the RFP including the timeline, please see here [PDF, 589 KB].

Indications of interest are to be received by emailing OmbudsmanAssessment-RFP@icann.org. Proposals should be electronically submitted by 23:59 PST on 31 January 2017 using ICANN's sourcing tool, access to which may be requested via the same email address above.


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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."