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Accountability and transparency – the way forward

In March, ICANN released a report by the One World Trust (OWT) into ICANN that came up with 39 recommendations to further improve standards of accountability and transparency within the organisation. That report is also being used as input into the development of management operating principles that will be released for comment at the upcoming meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the end of this month.

We have produced a webpage that goes through each of those recommendations and says precisely what ICANN’s is doing about each, from those being implemented now, to those that have been referred to the Nominating Committee and Board reviews which will take place this year, or to the GNSO Improvements Working Group, for further consideration.

A month ago today, ICANN issued a request for comment on its performance in the area of transparency and accountability to obtain feedback from the community about measures introduced so far. These include: improved Board meeting reporting, the annual report, the introduction of the ICANN blog, correspondence posting, website improvements, the employment of a General manager Public participation and the public participation site. Feedback of this kind on the measures being initiated will be sought regularly and is useful in guiding ICANN management in understanding the value of new measures and the performance of the organisation.

Out of that process, attention was drawn to the OECD’s best practices for conducting consultations, which ICANN will adopt for the development of the operating principles and future consultations. At the upcoming San Juan meeting an initial discussion will be held on the draft principles and that will commence the process of consultation as outlined by the OECD principles.

ICANN will actively – not passively – seek comments, by identifying organisations and requesting comment, and the drafts will be translated. A summary of responses will be published and focussed questions will be asked to make it clear where input would be especially valuable. Responses will be summarised and posted on this blog for discussion. A final summary that public debate had on the result will be published along with themes that come from the discussion.

Any comments, suggestions or queries, please post them below.

Comments

    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."