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Interim Report of Geographic Regions Review Working Group

Open: 12 November 2010
Closed: 30 January 2011

Explanation/Background: Geographic diversity is a fundamental component of the ICANN organization. The ICANN Bylaws (Article VI Section 5) currently define five geographic regions as Africa, North America, Latin America/Caribbean, Asia/Australia/Pacific and Europe.

The ICANN Geographic Regions were originally created to ensure regional diversity in the composition of the ICANN Board and were subsequently expanded in various ways to apply to the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO).

Over time, community members have developed concerns about the implementation of the ICANN Geographic Regions and related representational issues. The ccNSO Council approved a resolution in 2007 recommending that the ICANN Board appoint a community-wide working group to further study and review the issues related to the definition of the ICANN Geographic Regions, to consult with all stakeholders and submit proposals to the Board to resolve the issues relating to the current definition of the ICANN Geographic Regions.

The rest of the community supported the concept of the working group and the Board authorized its formation at its December 2008 Meeting (see -

The Board approved the charter of the working group at its public meeting in June 2009 (see - Copies of the Charter, in all six UN languages, are set forth here:

This Interim Report document of the Working Group builds on the foundation of its Initial Report and assess the degree to which the uses of ICANN's Geographic Regions (as currently defined, or at all) continue to meet the requirements of the relevant stakeholders.

This document begins to focus on General Principles, Specific Considerations and some of the critical issues that it will address in its Final Report document. This document addresses three specific areas. It offers (1) a review of the underlying history, objectives and general principles of ICANN's Geographic Regions Framework; (2) it raises a number of fundamental strategic questions for further community consideration; and (3) it expands on a number of specific matters identified in the Initial Report that are likely to be addressed in the Final Report.

The community is invited to submit comments regarding the contents of this document by 30 January 2011 at the latest.

The Final Report that will include the working group's recommendations (if any) is currently scheduled to be published next year.

Staff Responsible: Robert Hoggarth

Deadline and How to Submit Comments:

The Staff is opening a public consultation forum, from 15 November 2010 through 30 January 2011, and invites community comments on the report.

Copies of the Interim Report in all six UN languages can be found at the following links:

Links to documents in each language will be posted as the document translations become available.

To submit comments: Comments on the Initial Report are welcome via email at This public forum will be open through 4 September 2009.

To view comments: An archive of all comments received will be publicly posted at

For a copy of the public announcement of this forum please see

Staff member responsible: Robert Hoggarth

Announcement | Comments | Summary/analysis of comments

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."