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Launching Work Stream 2 in Helsinki

It has been a momentous month for the ICANN community. On behalf of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability), we welcome the U.S. Government report that our recommendations meet their requirements. We are actively engaged in the prep work needed for a timely implementation of these new accountability mechanisms into ICANN’s ecosystem.

Looking ahead, our ongoing work to advance ICANN’s accountability is not complete. The CCWG-Accountability identified nine additional areas where community, staff and Board accountability can be improved. These target areas, recognized as Work Stream 2, are outlined in Recommendation #12 of the Work Stream 1 Report.

To launch Work Stream 2, the CCWG-Accountability will be holding a full-day face-to-face meeting in Helsinki on the Sunday before ICANN56 (26 June 2016). All Work Stream 2 topics will be covered during the session. The full agenda can be found here.

The topics that will be discussed are:

  • Additional transparency considerations
  • Diversity across ICANN
  • Clarifying the lines of accountability for ICANN staff
  • A work plan to enhance accountability of Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees
  • A Framework of Interpretation on respecting human rights within ICANN’s limited mission and scope
  • Expanding the list of jurisdictions identified in ICANN’s contracts, for purposes of resolving contractual disputes [1]
  • Role and function of the Ombudsman
  • Guidelines for good faith conduct in ICANN Board member removal discussions
  • Engagement process between a complainant and ICANN prior to an Independent Review Process

We encourage all members, participants and interested observers that are not attending ICANN56 to follow along with our discussions via our Adobe Room. In addition, we will be circulating notes on each of the topics to the publicly archived CCWG-Accountability mailing list to serve as the base of our discussions moving forward.

If you are interested in debating these Work Stream 2 topics and want to become a participant or observer of the CCWG-Accountability, please send an email to

For those of you who will be joining us in Helsinki, safe travels and we look forward to seeing you soon!

CCWG-Accountability co-Chairs,

Thomas Rickert, Leon Sanchez, Mathieu Weill

[1] The CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 1 Report has confirmed that ICANN is a California-based organization and acknowledged that jurisdiction is a multi-layered issue. As noted on page 8 of Annex 12 in the CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 1 Report, “The main issues that need to be investigated within Work Stream 2 relate to the influence that ICANN ́s existing jurisdiction may have on the actual operation of policies and accountability mechanisms. This refers primarily to the process for the settlement of disputes within ICANN, involving the choice of jurisdiction and of the applicable laws, but not necessarily the location where ICANN is incorporated.”


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    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."