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Accountability and Transparency

ICANN has a proven commitment to accountability and transparency in all of its practices. Indeed, ICANN considers these principles to be fundamental safeguards in ensuring that its international, bottom-up and multistakeholder operating model remains effective.

The mechanisms through which ICANN achieves accountability and transparency are built into every level of its organization and are mandated in its new Bylaws.

Status of Reviews - For information about future, current and completed reviews, please visit Organizational Reviews and Specific Reviews sections.

Post IANA Transition - Following the transition of the IANA stewardship functions and the termination of the Affirmation of Commitments on 1 October 2016, ICANN has adopted new Bylaws that strengthen the Internet community’s accountability mechanisms vis-à-vis ICANN.  These new enhanced community powers are enshrined in ICANN’s new Bylaws.  Additional information on these new accountability mechanisms and how these were developed are available here.

Please note: all reviews that started prior to 1 October 2016 were/are conducted under the Affirmation of Commitments (AoC). With the coming into force of the Transition, the AoC ceases to be in effect, and under the new Bylaws, the Reviews formally known as "AoC Reviews" are now referred to as "Specific Reviews". Unless stated otherwise, all review-related information on this site is derived from the new Bylaws.

Examples of ICANN’s Accountability and Transparency Practices

ICANN's commitment to fulfilling – and exceeding – these obligations is demonstrated in numerous ways throughout our organization. Here are some notable examples:

Type of ActivityDescriptionRelated Links
Quarterly Stakeholder CallsProvide updates on the latest policy and implementation developments, ICANN’s operational achievements and financial standings.Most recent report from Stakeholder Calls
Open Participation in ICANN Activities

ICANN's Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) publicly post detailed information about their activities and deliberations, along with clear instructions on how one can participate.

Participation Opportunities
Public CommentOpen public comment provides information on the issues ICANN stakeholders currently have posted for public comment, with opportunity for all stakeholders to provide input and feedback. Operational consultation offers another vital element of ICANN's accountability and transparency in the opportunity for operational consultation and feedback on various ICANN topics.Open Public Comments

Operational Consultations
Language Services

While ICANN’s working language is English, multilingualism is essential for a global multistakeholder organization. In order to facilitate access to ICANN and broad participation in its work, it is the policy of ICANN to provide language services (including translation and interpretation) in the six United Nations languages and additional languages where appropriate, while taking into account budget constraints.

ICANN's Policy and Procedures on Language Services
Implementation of Review Recommendations

Once the Board accepts recommendations resulting from Specific Reviews and Organizational Reviews, the implementation of these recommendations is publicly tracked with periodic status reports posted.​

Links and information about Board-approved Review recommendations and implementation progress are available on detailed review pages.
Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the ICANN BoardOversight of the Bylaws-mandated Organizational ReviewsOrganizational Effectiveness Committee
Project Portfolio Management System

Provides visibility into ICANN's workload, progress and status of ongoing projects.

Project Portfolio Management System

ICANN's work is guided by the Strategic Plan and Five-Year Operating Plan which were developed by the community with the ICANN Organization, and organized in a hierarchy of Objectives, Goals, Portfolios, and Projects.
Accountability Indicators

Dashboard efforts continue to evolve. The ICANN Accountability Indicators shows how the organization is progressing on its five objectives and sixteen goals per our strategic and operating plans.

ICANN Accountability Indicators
ICANN's Anonymous Hotline Policy and Procedures

In response to a recommendation from the second Accountability and Transparency Review, NAVEX Global conducted a review of ICANN’s Anonymous Hotline Policy and Procedures, identified gaps and provided recommendations for possible improvements to enhance the Anonymous Hotline to a best practice reporting mechanism.

ICANN has made various modifications to the Anonymous Hotline Policy and Procedures, as applicable and appropriate, to meet the recommendations and modifications proposed by the reviewer.  ICANN is currently in its final states of further updating and modifying the Anonymous Hotline Policy and Procedures to address the remaining recommendations.

Practices & Recommendations: External Stakeholder Use of an Organizational Ethics & Compliance Hotline

ICANN Hotline Policy Review Report

Recommendation 9 Executive Summary

ICANN Publication Practices

ICANN and its constituent bodies operate to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner and consistent with procedures designed to ensure fairness. In furtherance of this transparency value, ICANN's general publication practices are intended to ensure that information contained in documents concerning ICANN's operational activities, and within ICANN's possession, custody, or control, is made available to the public unless there is a compelling reason for redaction or non-disclosure. There are exceptions to this general practice and, if redaction is required or there are grounds for non-disclosure, the smallest amount of material necessary will be redacted or withheld. A summary of the standards and the basis for which materials may be redacted or withheld from publication is available here.

Implementation of AoC Review Recommendations

Implementation of all current/future Specific Review recommendations accepted by the Board is publicly tracked and periodic status reports posted.  Historic information from the AoC Reviews (the pre-Transition term for Specific Reviews) can also be found here.

Implementation of Board-Approved Recommendations

Click on the name of the Review in the chart to access the latest status update on the progress of implementation of recommendations

Review # of recommendations
ATRT1 27
ATRT2 12
ATRT3 Review launched January 2017
CCT Review launched October 2015
RDS (formerly WHOIS) Review launched October 2016
SSR 28
SSR2 Review launched June 2016
Total 83
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."