Skip to main content

ICANN Strategic Plan

Current ICANN Strategic Plan

ICANN is currently operating under the ICANN Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025.

Please find links to the Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025 in six languages below:

The current Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025 was adopted by the ICANN Board on 23 June 2019, and went into effect on 01 July 2020.

On 26 October 2023, after considering the FY25 strategic trends assessment, the ICANN Board resolved to keep the Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025 in force and unchanged.

Introduction to Strategic Planning

The purpose of strategic planning is to set out the long-term strategic objectives for the organization, reflecting the ICANN mission and vision.

Strategic planning is a fundamental part of ICANN's governance, mandated by the organization's Bylaws.

Strategic planning is a core element of ICANN's three-fold planning process cycle, namely the Strategic Plan, 5-year Operating Plan, and the Annual Plan and Budget process. Strategic planning helps answer two very important questions: where are we now? And where do we want to be?

Community engagement

Once the strategic planning process is completed, the next step is to develop ICANN's 5-Year Operating Plan, and Annual Plan and Budget process. These plans answer the questions: how will we get there and who will do what? They help ICANN fulfill its mission and vision by putting the objectives of the strategic plan into action. The cycle ends with ongoing achievement and progress reporting to help us answer the final question: how are we doing?

ICANN's Strategic Planning Process

The strategic planning process can be broken down into two components:

  1. Annual trends identification, Analysis, and Impact Assessment for ICANN (Strategic Outlook Program, held every year but replaced by the Environmental Scan during the year when developing the next 5-Year Strategic Plan).
    • The community, Board, and ICANN organization participate in trend identification sessions to engage in a discussion on emerging trends that could affect ICANN. The trend identification process repeats annually to help inform ICANN's strategy in an ever-changing environment.
    • The ICANN Board assesses the impact of priority trends and shares a proposal with the ICANN community for consultation. After receiving community input, the Board defines objectives and goals that will serve as a foundation for the strategic plan.
  2. 5-Year Strategic Plan (drafted every five years, unless significant new trend or significant shift in existing trend require amendments to the current 5-year strategic plan)
    • The Board oversees the drafting of the 5-year Strategic Plan. The ICANN community provides feedback and input on the draft strategic plan via the Public Comment process.
    • The ICANN organization revises the draft strategic plan based on community input and the ICANN Board then finalizes and adopts the new strategic plan.
    • The strategic plan will not go into effect until after the Empowered Community considers whether it will reject the plan. If the strategic plan is rejected, ICANN will consider the reasons for that rejection and propose a revised plan. Learn more about the Empowered Community process here [PD, 188 KB].

Annual Strategic Outlook Program

Step 1 is Trend Identification. It includes raw data collected on trends, risks, opportunities, and votes for top priorities. It also includes data processing. The trend identification step runs from February to April. ICANN org holds trend identification sessions with org, board and community. Step 2 of the program is Trend Analysis. Trend analysis includes new trends or notable shifts in trends and their impacts for ICANN and identifying top priorities. This step occurs from May through July. As part of the trend analysis the org does quantitive and qualitative analysis, as well as verification with publicly available info and knowledge. This step is supported by org strategic outlook network liaisons, ICANN executives, and Board oversight by the board Strategic Planning Committee (SPC). Step 3 is the Trend Impact Assessment. This includes Strategic and tactical recommendations. This step occurs from August to October. In this step the org evaluates the materiality and immediacy of impacts. The org then provides recommendations to the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC). The SPC then evaluates the information and provides its recommendations to the board.

Every year, new trends or shifts in existing trends impacting the Operating Plans (five-year or annual), and/or budget, will be factored into the annual iteration of those plans as appropriate. This is called the Strategic Outlook Program. Significant shifts could result in appropriate adjustments to the strategic plan, following the strategic planning process described above. Or should trends be less significant but still relevant for appropriate adjustments to the 5-Year Operating Plan, those adjustments will be made through the relevant process. It is essential to have broad participation across the ICANN ecosystem to monitor evolution or shifts and adjust our strategy proactively. Community Trend Session Data, a Trend Impact Assessment, and a Strategic Outlook Trend Report are published annually to create transparency and maintain periodic review.

View the Strategic Outlook Trends Data for FY2021-2025 Strategic Plan

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."