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Review of the At-Large Advisory Committee | Independent Review

Independent reviewer, Westlake Consulting, has submitted a *draft* final report for review and comment. Westlake will present the draft report at a workshop on Monday, 23 June, at the Paris ICANN meeting, and it also has been posted for public comment. The BGC ALAC Review Working Group will discuss the draft report at a workshop on Wednesday, 25 June, at the Paris ICANN meeting. This draft report has not been reviewed by the ICANN Board or the Board Governance Committee. It is being shared for public information prior to it being finalised by Westlake. The final report will be submitted to the Board after the ICANN Paris meeting. Opportunity for public comment on the final report also will be provided.

Westlake Consulting Limited (WCL) was selected by ICANN's Board of Directors to conduct the independent review of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and related structures. WCL's review team is gathering information from many different sources, including a series of in-person discussions and briefings at the ICANN meeting in New Delhi, and electronic and phone interviews with a range of people who have an interest, directly or indirectly, in At-Large. Their activities are driven by the Review objectives:

  • [To determine] whether the ALAC has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure; and,
  • If so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness.

WCL has invited individuals or organisations, who wish to contribute observations or information about any aspect of the role, structure or operation of the ALAC, to email their comments to, no later than 18 April 2008.

More information about Westlake Consulting Limited can be found at <>.

Board Governance Committee’s ALAC Review Working Group

The Board Governance Committee (BGC) selected the following individuals to serve on the BGC’s ALAC Review Working Group (WG): Harald Alvestrand, Karl Auerbach, Vittorio Bertola, Tricia Drakes (Chair), Thomas Narten, Nii Quaynor and Jean-Jacques Subrenat.

As with the working groups the BGC formed for the GNSO Review and the Nominating Committee Review, the ALAC Review WG has been formed to help ensure that the evaluator's final report (independent review) contains the data and information needed to conduct the work of the BGC and the WG, and (primarily) to advise the BGC on whether any change is needed for At-Large. The WG will consider the Independent Reviewer’s final report, Board input, and comments from stakeholders and the public, and will:

  • Advise the BGC whether, in general, the ALAC has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure; and
  • If so, consult broadly and advise the BGC whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness -- and recommend to the BGC a comprehensive proposal to improve the involvement of the individual Internet user community in ICANN.


In accordance with Article XI, Section 2 of ICANN’s Bylaws, the role of the At-Large Advisory Committee ("ALAC") is to consider and provide advice on the activities of ICANN insofar as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users. The ALAC provides important contributions to ICANN’s work on such matters as how internationalised domain names (“IDNs”) are implemented, and how additional new top-level domains (i.e. .info, .name, .museum, etc.) are introduced -- to name just two issues. ALAC has also been a leading voice for ICANN stakeholders on Internet governance and issues related to WSIS, and helps raise awareness of key Internet resource issues that affect ICT development.

The ALAC consists of (i) two members selected by each of the Regional At-Large Organizations ("RALOs") (which are described in paragraph 4(g)); and (ii) five members selected by the Nominating Committee. The Chair of the ALAC is elected by the members of the ALAC pursuant to procedures adopted by the Committee. The ALAC appoints one non-voting liaison to the ICANN Board of Directors.

The ALAC is also responsible, working in conjunction with the RALOs, for coordinating the following activities:

  • Keeping the community of individual Internet users informed about the significant news from ICANN;
  • Distributing (through posting or otherwise) an updated agenda, news about ICANN, and information about items in the ICANN policy-development process;
  • Promoting outreach activities in the community of individual Internet users;
  • Developing and maintaining on-going information and education programs, regarding ICANN and its work;
  • Establishing an outreach strategy about ICANN issues in each RALO's Region;
  • Making public, and analyzing, ICANN's proposed policies and its decisions and their (potential) regional impact and (potential) effect on individuals in the region;
  • Offering Internet-based mechanisms that enable discussions among members of At-Large structures; and
  • Establishing mechanisms and processes that enable two-way communication between members of At-Large Structures and those involved in ICANN decision-making, so interested individuals can share their views on pending ICANN issues.

For more information about the At-Large structures and process, see  


Independent evaluator, Westlake Consulting (Westlake), submitted a draft final report for public discussion at the ICANN Paris meeting. The BGC's ALAC Review Working Group (ALAC review WG) reviewed the draft and it has been posted for public comment.


Next Steps

Westlake Consulting will present its report in a public workshop on Monday, 23 June 2008, at the Paris meeting. The ALAC review WG will have a subsequent workshop on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 in Paris to discuss the report and next steps.

Last updated: 8 April 2008

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."