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Implementing Policy at ICANN

ICANN coordinates the Internet's unique identifiers – domain names and IP addresses – across the world and defines policies for how these identifiers should run (learn more). Policies for generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are developed within the Generic Names Supporting Organization's (GNSO) Policy Development Processes (PDPs). Once the policy recommendations emerging from these PDPs are approved by the ICANN Board, ICANN's Global Domains Division (GDD) implements them according to guidelines established in the Consensus Policy Implementation Framework [PDF, 594 KB] (CPIF).

How is Policy Implemented?

The CPIF is a five-stage process designed to make implementations predictable and transparent. During each implementation project, GDD staff consults with the wider community by:

  1. Assembling a team of volunteer experts—an Implementation Review Team, or IRT—in the relevant subject matter to provide advice and support.
  2. Conducting public comment periods on proposed plans and methods.
Graphic of How are gTLD Policies Implemented?

Learn more. View the CPIF infographic:
English | العربية | Español | Français | Português | Pусский | 中文

Policy Effective Dates

Policies developed within the GNSO and implemented by GDD affect many companies and organizations in the domain name industry. ICANN has committed to simplifying implementation via the Policy Change Calendar Initiative [PDF, 166 KB], which aims to provide contracted parties with a consistent, predictable timetable for updating their operations to meet new policy requirements.

Since May 2015, GDD has worked to bundle the announcement and effective dates for related policies. Policies within a bundle are announced together, which triggers a window of at least six months for contracted parties to update their operations to ensure compliance with the new policies. Effective dates are the same for all policies in a bundle, which are noted in the announcement.

Learn more about the policy change calendar initiative [PDF, 166 KB].

Implementation Projects In Progress

Policy Development Processes

The following are GNSO PDPs that may result in consensus policy recommendations. If the ICANN board approves these recommendations, they will become implementation projects to be carried out by GDD staff:

Updated 20 October 2016

Resources

Contact Information

For questions or comments please contact: gdd-implementation@icann.org.

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."