Evaluating ICANN’s Relationship with Internet Governance Forums

National, Regional, Subregional, and Youth Internet Governance Forums (NRIs) have emerged organically around the world. Similar to our recent evaluation of the Schools on Internet Governance, the ICANN organization (org) has conducted a review of NRIs around the world and identified a set of good practices to guide our future support of these initiatives.

More than 120 countries and regions have established some form of Internet Governance Forum (IGF) process or initiative. Most follow the IGF principles, particularly as bottom-up, neutral, and multistakeholder platforms for discussion of Internet governance (IG) issues.

ICANN has been a long-time participant in and supporter of the global IGF, not only financially, but as a reference organization for topics such as the multistakeholder model and management of the Internet’s critical resources. Historically, ICANN has had a seat on the IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Committee (MAG). The org has been deeply involved in high-level discussions about the IGF, including those around the direction and future of the IGF.

ICANN’s participation at the NRIs has been and will continue to be significant. ICANN org has served as a co-organizer, member of program committees, and sponsor, as well as participating. In fact, some ICANN Fellows and NextGen participants are quite active in the different NRI processes and Youth IGFs.

ICANN supports NRIs for a variety of reasons, including outreach and engagement; explaining complex ICANN-related topics; developing capacity; and ensuring discussions around Internet governance contribute to maintaining a secure, interoperable, and stable Internet.

We will engage with our current NRI partners to share our thinking about how we can align our participation in individual initiatives that share our core objectives. We also plan to simplify how new NRI organizers can engage with us in the future.

We will share updates with the community as this effort progresses.
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””icann.org”” is not an IDN.”

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