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Call for Expressions of Interest for Independent Experts to Review ICANN's Accountability Mechanisms

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is seeking expressions of interest to serve on a committee of independent experts to review ICANN's Accountability Mechanisms.


ICANN has three established mechanisms for review of ICANN decisions and actions: the Independent Review Process (IRP); Reconsideration; and the ICANN Ombudsman. Each of these mechanisms has remained essentially unchanged since 2002.

The Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT), organized under the Affirmation of Commitments, recommended that ICANN convene a group of experts to review ICANN's accountability mechanisms, including:

  • a broad, comprehensive assessment of the accountability and transparency of the existing mechanisms and their inter-relation, if any;
  • determining whether reducing costs, issuing timelier decisions, and covering a wider spectrum of issues would improve Board accountability.

The ATRT also suggested that the group of experts review additional proposed mechanisms suggested in 2009 by ICANN's President's Strategy Committee. Finally, the ATRT called for a review of the standards for bringing a Request for Reconsideration.

In accordance with the Board's resolution on 21 April 2011, ICANN's Board Governance Committee (BGC) has been tasked with addressing the implementation of these recommendations, including performing research regarding the composition of a committee or group of experts, reviewing the President's Strategy Committee work in relation to revising the Accountability Mechanisms, and developing a list of qualifications for service on the committee of experts. On 24 June 2011, the Board accepted these recommendations and directed their implementation.

Based on the nature of the review mechanisms, as well as the separate ATRT recommendations relating to the Ombudsman's office and its interaction with the Board, it is understood that this group of independent experts shall focus on a review of the Reconsideration process and the Independent Review process.

A brief description of the two mechanisms follows.

Request for Reconsideration

Article IV, Section 2 of the ICANN Bylaws establishes the Reconsideration Process, through which any person or entity may request for the Board to reconsider certain actions. The requester must be materially affected: (1) by any ICANN staff action or inaction that the requester believes contradicts established ICANN policies; or (2) by actions or inactions of the Board that the requester believes has been taken without consideration of material information. The Board Governance Committee (BGC) is designated to receive and consider requests for Reconsideration, and the Board then considers the BGC's recommendation. Documents considered in the Reconsideration process are made publicly available.

For more information about ICANN's reconsideration process, please visit and

A suggested Reconsideration Request form, an explanatory timeline for the Reconsideration Process and Reconsideration Request documents are available here.

Independent Review

In addition to the other mechanisms, ICANN has also established, pursuant to Article IV, Section 3 of the Bylaws, a separate process for independent third-party review of Board actions alleged by an affected party to be inconsistent with ICANN's Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws.  The Bylaws provide that requests for independent review will be referred to an Independent Review Panel ("IRP"). ICANN has designated the International Centre for Dispute Resolution to operate the independent review process, and the independent review process is conducted under ICDR's International Arbitration rules as modified by supplemental rules for the independent review process, available here.

There have only been two IRPs initiated. Documents relating to both IRPs can be found here.

Answers to recurring questions regarding the IRP are located here. More information on the IRP is available here.

Proposed Qualifications

The BGC has approved of the following suggested factors for consideration and evaluation of Expressions of Interest to serve as a group of independent experts:

  1. Independent from ICANN (i.e., not an ICANN employee; not a regular participant in ICANN's processes; not a member of any ICANN Sponsoring Organization or Advisory Committee; not affiliated with any registrar or registry holding a contract with ICANN).
  2. Significant expertise in some or all of the following (or similar) areas:
    1. Not-for-profit organization governance
    2. Corporate governance
    3. Administrative rule-making and review
    4. Multi-stakeholder organizations
    5. International tribunals
    6. International alternative dispute resolution
    7. Legal requirements for designated 501(c)3 organization or similar legislative provisions covering the operation of non profit organizations.
  3. Demonstrated recognition of expert knowledge through high-level positions, peer group recognition, and/or history of publications/presentations on relevant topics.
  4. Ability to work collaboratively with other selected members of the group.

Diversity in geographic representation as well as diversity of experience will be considered in completing composition of the group.

Time Commitment

It is anticipated that the group will endeavor to provide ICANN with initial recommendations for consideration within three months of being formed. The work involved will include review and understanding the existing accountability mechanisms, conducting research and interviews as deemed necessary, and developing proposed recommendations for the ICANN Board's consideration.

Fees to be determined based on proposals.


It is anticipated that the Group of Independent Experts will be formed by 30 June 2012.

Expressions of Interest

Expressions of Interest, which will be maintained as confidential, should be sent to no later than 10 April 2012.

A list of potential subjects for consideration by the expert group is available here [PDF, 49 KB] for further information.

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."