Skip to main content

ICANN’s Role in the Internet Governance Ecosystem

Convene, Confer, Consult, Advise, Expire

Launched in mid October 2013, the Strategy Panel on ICANN’s Role in the Internet Governance Ecosystem  that I chair, operates under a maxim and axiom it crafted to illustrate its mission: Convene, confer, consult, advise, expire.

Tasked to inform the ICANN Strategic Planning process1, the Strategy Panel on ICANN’s Role in the Internet Governance Ecosystem has been entrusted with a clear set of deliverables on which it will provide strategic recommendations towards the end of this month:

  • Facilitate review of the assumptions, linkages and frameworks that underlie ICANN’s responsibilities in the current Internet ecosystem;
  • Seek insights on ways to maintain and enhance ICANN’s stewardship in an evolving ecosystem; and
  • Cultivate thought leadership on ways in which ICANN can serve a complex set of Internet constituencies.
  • Provide a set of guiding principles to ensure the successful evolution of ICANN’s transnational multistakeholder model in cooperation with national and international bodies;
  • Propose a roadmap for evolving and globalizing ICANN’s role in the Internet governance ecosystem in consultation with global players; and
  • In coordination with the many other global players and ICANN stakeholders, propose a framework for implementation of ICANN’s role, objectives and milestones in global Internet governance.

On 13 and 15 January 20142, the Panel walked interested community members through the preliminary conclusions it had reached and sought reactions to its preamble observations. The Panel opened its webinar sessions (archives can be found at: by rearticulating the mission it was entrusted with and providing historical ICANN assumptions. It reported its decision to adopt the World Summit on the Information Society definition of governance and clarified its working definition of stewardship. To appreciate the composition of the Internet ecosystem, the Panel explained that it chose to describe the Internet ecosystem as a layered structure, spelling out its characteristics, dynamics and subtleties by this means. The Panel shared its interpretation of ICANN’s involvement within the ecosystem arena and presented maps it developed to illustrate and conceptualize ICANN’s web of relationships and network of interests. The Panel submitted the set of draft principles it had reached to the interested community members for comment and invited them to identify milestones they deemed appropriate for the evolution of ICANN’s role in the Internet Governance ecosystem (roadmap). You may view the Panel’s preamble observations and graphics at:

Be part of the journey!

The Panel has developed questions to which it wishes to call your attention.

  1. What would you consider important elements for an Internet governance eco-system roadmap to develop ‘inter’ and ‘intra’-operative Internet Governance Policy? (goal being to reduce Internet governance tension and friction? 
  2. In the context of ICANN, what are important aspects of it’s evolution, including it’s globalization including it’s relationship with stakeholders, governments and the USG? 
  3. What components of a roadmap should be in place for ICANN’s relationships with other organizations, including those in the Internet eco-system? 
  4. Are there any specific areas of ICANN’s existing work could be done differently to better evolve it’s globalization and role in the Internet governance eco-system? 
  5. We are also very interested in hearing general comments from the community on areas that you think that we should be addressing in our report.

ICANN Strategy Panels serve as an integral part of a framework for cross-community dialogue. The Strategy Panel is eager to hear your unique perspective and reactions to its preamble observations and findings. Your feedback and contributions are key to the success of this project and will be carefully considered, as the Panel prepares to offer its strategic recommendations. You may share your feedback via two different avenues:

Strategy Panels’ strategic recommendations will be posted for public comment through April 2014 and will be discussed at the upcoming ICANN 49 meeting in Singapore (23-27 March 2014).

The Strategy Panels will serve as an integral part of a framework for cross-community dialogue on strategic matters. Designed to concentrate on critical strategic areas identified by the community, Board, and staff [PDF, 209 KB], the work of these panels will build on public input being generated to inform a new, overarching vision and five-year strategic plan. public comment. See

The webinar archives (transcript, recording, chat transcript and slides) may be found at:


    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."