Skip to main content

Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN’s Multistakeholder Model Moves into Implementation

Each day, the ICANN community comes together to develop policies that will ultimately impact how the world interacts with the Internet through its system of unique identifiers. At the heart of this important work is the ICANN multistakeholder model – a bottom-up system of governance where every stakeholder, no matter their background or experience, has an opportunity to have their voice heard and shape policy.

Last year, the ICANN Board initiated a project aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model – one of the strategic objectives outlined in ICANN's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2021-2025. This effort is critical to ensuring that the multistakeholder model is able to evolve and meet the ever-changing needs of ICANN's global community.

Following the launch of the project, the Board began soliciting input from the community, as part of larger discussions regarding the draft ICANN Operating and Financial Plan for FY 2021-2025. The discussion, facilitated by Brian Cute, Chair of the first and second Accountability and Transparency Review Teams (ATRT), identified six priority topics that the community believes to be hampering the effective and efficient functioning of ICANN's multistakeholder model, such as the prioritization of work and efficient use of resources.

In June, the Board posted its paper, "Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN's Multistakeholder Model – Next Steps," for Public Comment. The paper lays out a comprehensive plan for continuous improvement of the multistakeholder model. Following the close of the Public Comment period in August, the Board worked to incorporate the community's input into an updated version of the paper, which is available here.

With the paper now finalized, this project is moving into the 'implementation planning' phase. The plan will be converted into a set of proposed actions with resource allocation and will be scheduled for implementation according to the agreed-upon level of priority. ICANN organization's new Implementation Operations team is leading this planning work. This is a complex project that will continue to require meaningful contributions and constant collaboration from the community, organization, and Board to plan and carry out the implementation of this project. The work will be complementary to existing efforts to evolve ICANN's multistakeholder model, such as the Generic Names Supporting Organization's (GNSO) Policy Development Process (PDP) 3.0 and ATRT3. It will also address gaps and issues identified by the community as hampering the efficiency and effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model. This proposed work should not significantly add to the community's workload.

ICANN org and the Board understand the criticality of this effort as well as the complexities involved in implementing the work areas identified. We'll continue to work with the community to carry out the activities needed to achieve the intended objectives.

I want to thank everyone who participated and provided their thoughts and feedback during this process. ICANN's ability to perform its Mission and Bylaws-mandated responsibilities depends on our ability to work together to reach decisions. I'm confident that this paper provides us with a clear direction to improve the multistakeholder model in the public interest. We are committed to ensuring its continued success in pursuing ICANN's mission of delivering a secure and stable unique identifier system to the world's Internet.

For more information about this process, I invite you to visit this page. And, as always, I look forward to hearing from you in the 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"""" is not an IDN."