[council] Final Report by the Geographic Regions Review WG for Consideration by the ICANN Community

Jonathan Robinson jrobinson at afilias.info
Thu Dec 5 15:41:20 UTC 2013



In the forthcoming GNSO Council meeting, we have an item on the Geographic
Regions Review WG Final Report.  


The chair of the WG has made it clear that he would like some formal
acknowledgement that we have seen the report, even if we offer no comment.  

As chair of the Council therefore, I feel we have to provide a formal
response, ideally with some substance.


It seems to me that we have two options:


1.    A single GNSO Council response which:

a.     acknowledges and thanks the group and 

b.    to the extent that it is possible, synthesises input from GNSO SGs &

2.    A single GNSO Council response which:

a.     acknowledges and thanks the group and 

b.    Indicates that specific GNSO groups will provide additional specific


We have discussed this in the Registries SG and the RySG will formulate some
input which will work with 1b or 2b above, depending on what the Council
decides is best.


I have prepared a short summary of information on the Geographic Regions
Review WG which you may find helpful.  It is included it below.


Any feedback on this item and the way forward will be helpful.







The Geographic Regions Review Working Group, a community-wide working group
established by the Board, has nearly completed its work developing
recommendations to the ICANN Board for the continued use of theICANN
Geographic Regions Framework. The Working Group has produced those
recommendations in a Final Report document that is being shared today with
the community.

According to the Working Group Charter, each community Supporting
Organization and Advisory Committee that contributed members to the Working
Group will now have the opportunity to formally review and comment on this
document before it is submitted to the ICANN Board. The Working Group will
host a workshop during the upcoming ICANN Public Meeting in Durban, South
Africa and briefings will be made available to the leadership of all
Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SOs and ACs) as needed.


The link below is for the English language version of the Geographic Regions
Review WG final report.




Executive Summary


1.    In this Final Report, the Geographic Regions Review Working Group
(hereinafter the "Working Group") reviews its efforts and makes a number of
recommendations to the ICANN Board for modifications to the application of
the ICANN Geographic Regions Framework.

2.    The Working Group was formed by the Board to (1) identify the
different purposes for which ICANN's Geographic Regions are used; (2)
determine whether the uses of ICANN's Geographic Regions (as currently
defined, or at all) continue to meet the requirements of the relevant
stakeholders; and (3) submit proposals for community and Board consideration
relating to the current and future uses and definition of the ICANN
Geographic Regions.

3.    The Working Group finds that the ICANN principle of geographic
diversity remains important and relevant to ICANN's mission. Over the course
of its deliberations, the Working Group has (1) reviewed the underlying
history, objectives and general principles of ICANN"s Geographic Regions
Framework, (2) identified the various applications and functions to which
the regions framework has been applied by existing structures and the ICANN
staff; and (3) engaged the community in an extensive collaborative dialogue
about issues and potential solutions to maintain and potentially expand the
value of the geographic regions framework for the entire community.

4.    In 2000, the ICANN Board directed Staff to assign countries and
territories to geographic regions on the basis of the United Nations
Statistics Division's existing classifications. However, the working Group
has found that in mapping the UN Statistics' categorization into ICANN's
pre-defined Regions, the Staff apparently deviated significantly from the UN

5.    Despite these deviations from the Board's original objective, the
Working Group concludes that over the past decade, ICANN has largely applied
geographic diversity principles consistent with the organization's diversity

6.    The Working Group attempted to identify an alternative consistent or
standard geographic categorization model with international recognition that
would better meet ICANN's requirements. Unfortunately, no such model has
been found.

7.    The Working Group concludes that wholesale modifications to the
original geographic regions framework is not merited, and recommends that
ICANN adopt its own Geographic Regions Framework based upon the current
assignment of countries to regions. This new framework system should govern
the make-up of the ICANN Board. However, to provide flexibility to
individual communities and structures within ICANN, it is recommended that
for the time being they be permitted to:

a.    follow the same framework as the Board, or

b.    develop their own mechanisms (with Board oversight) for ensuring
geographic diversity within their own organizations.

8.    The Working Group recommends that the Board should direct Staff to
prepare and maintain ICANN's own unique organizational table that clearly
shows the allocation of countries and territories (as defined by ISO 3166)
to its existing five Geographic Regions.1 The initial allocation should
reflect the status quo of the current assignments. However, Staff should
also develop and implement a process to permit stakeholder communities in
countries or territories to pursue, if they wish, re-assignment to a
geographic region that they consider to be more appropriate for their

9.    Just as the Internet has evolved technically, structurally and
geographically over the past decade, ICANN should manage its own evolution
to ensure opportunities and make potential allowances for cultural and
language diversity. In that context, the Working Group recommends that ICANN
seek ways to recognize and accommodate Special Interest Groups to promote
the interests and unique attributes of stakeholder communities that may not
clearly fit into the formal top down regional structures. These "bottom-up"
groupings would be complementary to the formal regional framework, and would
not replace it. They would not form any part of ICANN's decision-making
structure but would be free to lobby for the support of elected

10.  Finally, the Working Group recommends that the Board maintain oversight
over the existing geographic regions framework at all levels within the
ICANN organization and review the effectiveness of its application at
regular five-year intervals.

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