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Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO)

The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) is a policy-development body which is responsible for developing and recommending to the ICANN Board substantive policies relating to generic top-level domains (gTLDs).  For more information on the GNSO, click here.

GNSO Organizational Review

The goal of the review, to be undertaken pursuant to such criteria and standards as the Board shall direct, shall be to determine (i) whether that organization, council or committee has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, (ii) if so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness and (iii) whether that organization, council or committee is accountable to its constituencies, stakeholder groups, organizations and other stakeholders.

These periodic reviews shall be conducted no less frequently than every five years, based on feasibility as determined by the Board. Each five-year cycle will be computed from the moment of the reception by the Board of the final report of the relevant review Working Group.

The first GNSO Review commenced in 2008 and concluded in 2012.  The second GNSO Review commenced in 2014 and implementation of the recommendations in the independent reviewer’s report is expected to conclude in 2018.

The graphic below illustrates phases and status of each review - a  indicates that all activities within a given phase have been completed.  The chart that follows the graphic provides further details of key activities and milestones within each phase – you can view these details by clicking on each of the phases in the graphic.  The table also contains links to relevant documents.


GNSO2 (2014-2015)
PhaseActivityDescriptionStart DateDocuments
Plan ReviewAppointment of review team membersAppointment of review team members1 Jan 2014
Terms of ReferenceDocument outlining the scope of work adopted by the Board1 Jan 2014
RFP for Independent EvaluatorIndependent Expert Request for Proposals announcement23 Apr 2014
Conduct ReviewSelection of Independent ConsultantAnnouncement of selection of independent consultant23 Jun 2014
Draft Report of Independent ConsultantWestlake Governance published its Draft Report1 Jun 2015
Public comment on Independent Consultant’s Draft ReportPublic comment on recommendations on Westlake Governance’s Draft Report1 Jun 2015
Final Report of Westlake Governance Final Report of Independent Examiner, Westlake Governance, on GNSO Review (translations of Executive Summary available)15 Sep 2015
Final Report CorrectionFinal Report Correction to Recommendation 1 issued by Westlake Governance 5 Oct 2015
GNSO Council actionGNSO Council adopts GNSO Review Recommendations Feasibility and Prioritization14 Apr 2016
OEC accepts Final ReportOEC agreed to make the recommendation to the Board to accept the Final Report of the independent examiner and to adopt the recommendations as recommended by the GNSO Review Working Party, including the modification of the GNSO Council.15 May 2016
Board receipt and action on the Final ReportBoard receipt and action on the Final Report25 Jun 2016
Plan ImplementationGNSO Council actionGNSO Council adopts draft Charter for Implementation Working Group11 Jul 2016
Call for VolunteersCall for Volunteers: GNSO Review Working Group responsible for developing an implementation plan27 Jul 2016
Implement ImprovementsImplementation Plan Accepted (to be completed)Implementation plan accepted by the Board (plan/estimated date)25 Dec 2016
Latest details of implementation (to be completed)Information available on the community wiki (plan/estimated date)30 Apr 2016

The graphic below illustrates phases and status of each review - a  indicates that all activities within a given phase have been completed.  The chart that follows the graphic provides further details of key activities and milestones within each phase – you can view these details by clicking on each of the phases in the graphic.  The table also contains links to relevant documents.

GNSO1 (2008-2012)
PhaseActivityDescriptionStart DateDocuments
Plan ReviewTeam FormedBoard Governance Committee Working Group (BGC WG) instantiated by ICANN Board30 Mar 2007
Historical documentsHistorical documents22 Jun 2015
Conduct ReviewAssemble Prior ReviewsPatrick Sharry Review (Report sans Appendices)22 Dec 2004
Assemble Prior ReviewsAppendix 1: Terms of Reference \n Appendix 2: List of Interviewees \n Appendix 3: GNSO Self-Review22 Dec 2004
Assemble Prior ReviewsAppendix 4: GNSO Council Voting Record22 Dec 2004
Assemble Prior ReviewsAppendix 5: Sharry Recommendations22 Dec 2004
Assemble Prior ReviewsLondon School of Economics (LSE) Review of the GNSO1 Sep 2006
Assemble Prior ReviewsPublic Comment Summary & Analysis1 Jan 2007
Working DocumentDRAFT Working Document of BGC WG on GNSO Improvements18 Jun 2007
Public Forum AnnouncementCommunity Comments Invited at Public Forum on 25 June 2007 San Juan19 Jun 2007
Public Forum AnnouncementTranscript25 Jun 2007
Public Forum AnnouncementSummary of Public Forum1 Jul 2007
Draft ReportDRAFT Report (2007) of the BGC WG15 Oct 2007
WorkshopSummary (DRAFT) of BGC Workshop on GNSO Improvements19 Oct 2007
WorkshopTranscript15 Oct 2007
Public CommentGNSO Improvements Report (2007 DRAFT) Community Feedback19 Oct 2007
Public CommentStaff Summary & Analysis26 Feb 2008
Final ReportFINAL Report of the BGC WG8 Feb 2008
Board ActionBoard Resolution accepting “GNSO Improvements Report” of the BGC WG15 Feb 2008
Public CommentGNSO Improvements Report (2008 FINAL) Community Feedback25 Feb 2008
Public CommentStaff Summary & Analysis7 May 2008
Plan ImplementationTeam FormedGNSO Improvement Planning Team (IPT)1 Mar 2008
Planning DocumentsGNSO Improvements Top Level Plan (DRAFT 1)22 May 2008
Planning DocumentsGNSO Improvements Top Level Plan (DRAFT 2)21 Jun 2008
Board ActionBoard Resolution forming Working Group on GNSO Council Restructuring (WG-GCR)26 Jun 2008
Final ReportWG-GCR Recommendations to ICANN Board25 Jul 2008
Board ActionBoard Resolution requesting implementation issues and analysis by 31 August 200828 Jun 2008
Board ActionBoard Discussion and Resolution concerning GNSO Restructuring28 Aug 2008
Board ActionBoard Discussion and Resolution concerning GNSO Restructuring: Four Phase Implementation Plan1 Oct 2008
Planning DocumentGNSO Improvements Implementation Plan (FINAL)16 Oct 2008
Draft Restructuring PlanGNSO Council Restructuring Implementation/Transition Efforts5 Dec 2008
Board ActionGNSO Improvements Plan Approved by the ICANN Board (Updated)23 Jan 2009
Implement ImprovementsSteering Committees FormedICANN Meeting (Cairo): Overview Presentation of GNSO Improvements3 Nov 2008
Work Teams FormedICANN Meeting (Mexico City)9 Mar 2009
GNSO Review archived materialsArchived materials from the GNSO Improvements Implementation Program1 Jan 2008
AccomplishmentsStaff Report of GNSO Improvements Accomplishments submitted to ICANN Board23 Jun 2012
Board ActionBoard Resolution: GNSO Improvements Implementation Program Wrap-Up23 Jun 2012
Standard Operating ProceduresProceduresGNSO Operating Procedures & Appendices3 Nov 2008

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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."