Board Keeps ICANN Strategic Plan in Force and Unchanged

Designed to shape ICANN’s priorities, the Five-Year Strategic Plan establishes a vision and a set of objectives and goals in service of ICANN’s mission. Every year, new trends or shifts in existing trends have the potential to impact our plans. The pandemic has significantly impacted not just the ICANN ecosystem, but much of our world. That said, our overall strategic vision remains the same. Acting on a recommendation from the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee, the ICANN Board has resolved to keep the Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025 in force and unchanged at this time. You can read the full resolution here.

While the pandemic has not changed ICANN’s strategic objectives over the five-year horizon, it has produced some opportunities for adjustments to the Five-Year Operating and Financial Plan, specifically in how and when objectives are addressed. 

The ICANN strategic planning process relies on trends identification and analysis to ensure that the strategic plan is continuously up-to-date and relevant to carry out ICANN’s mission. ICANN org actively solicits input during “strategic outlook sessions” from the community, Board, and others on key trends anticipated to impact ICANN in the coming years. This broad consultation process helps ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to provide their input to identify the trends that they see affecting ICANN’s mission and work.

Between November 2019 and March 2020, ICANN convened 21 strategic outlook sessions with 398 participants from the community and the org. Feedback received during those sessions was collected and analyzed as strategic outlook trends, risks, opportunities, and potential impacts on ICANN were assessed. The analysis and conclusions from those sessions have been compiled in the 2020 Strategic Outlook Trends Report, which can be found here. Considering the expansion of the COVID-19 crisis into a pandemic after March 2020, ICANN specifically evaluated the potential need to affect its current strategic plan. The Board’s Strategic Planning Committee considered the data and analysis from this process when producing its recommendation for the full Board. 

The Board is grateful to the community for actively participating in this process. We invite you to use the opportunity to make your voice heard in the Public Comment process for the Draft FY22-26 Operating & Financial Plan and Draft FY22 Operating Plan & Budget. Your participation strengthens our planning process and enables ICANN to meet new and evolving challenges and opportunities in service of its mission.

Preparations are underway for the next round of trend sessions to begin in early 2021, and we will share an update when more details are available. 
Domain Name SystemInternationalized 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.”

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