ICANN 57 Hyderabad: Everyone gets back to work

ICANN's first meeting since the IANA transition was held in Hyderabad between 3 and 9 November 2016. Naturally, the subject of transition did crop up from time to time.

There was a celebratory gathering and leading members of the community were praised for their efforts. In a more practical vein, various presentations and discussions were held regarding the form to be taken by new bodies, such as the PTI (the new IANA entity), the Customer Standing Committee (which will monitor the performance of the PTI for the domain-name stakeholders) and the Empowered Community (the body in which all stakeholders are represented, and which has the power to dismiss ICANN's Board on the community's behalf).

Back to work

In many fields, it was time to return to all the issues that had been pushed to the background somewhat while everyone was working on the transition.There was further evaluation of numerous aspects of the most recent gTLD round. For example, a presentation was made setting out the findings of the research into the effect of the new gTLDs on the stability of the root, undertaken by TNO, NLnet Labs and SIDN Labs. The next round was also discussed, although no one yet knows when a further round might take place or what form it might take. One notable decision made by the ICANN Board was that, from next year, two-letter domain names will be permitted under gTLDs. Many of the governments in the GAC were fiercely opposed to the move, which will make it possible to register country codes under gTLDs, potentially against the wishes of the countries concerned. So, for example, you could have .nl.amsterdam. SIDN has never regarded two-letter domain names as a problem, however.Within the ccNSO, it finally looks as if it will be possible to develop a mechanism for appealing against decisions made by IANA (strictly speaking now the PTI). Suppose that, for whatever reason, the PTI decided to transfer the delegation of .nl from SIDN to another party. As things stand, neither SIDN nor any other stakeholder, such as the Dutch government, could formally appeal against that decision. To address the situation, a PDP (Policy Development Process) is now being prepared. PDPs are very rare within the ccNSO, and the process is likely to be a lengthy one. It is nevertheless an important issue for the .nl domain and we will be actively involved in the process. 

Very long meeting

Hyderabad was the first 'C meeting' in the new schedule that ICANN introduced this year. The longest meeting on the calendar, its formal proceedings lasted for no less than seven days, starting on a Thursday and ending on a Wednesday.My initial impression is that the new format has little added value. While some gatherings and workgroups were scheduled for the days before the official meeting began, there was ultimately very little on the programme for the last day and a half. In addition, various 'high-level topics' were added to the programme. Although the principle of certain subjects being discussed more widely is sound, the approach didn't work well in practice. Hopefully next year's meeting will be better in that respect.

More info

A much more detailed account of proceedings at ICANN 57 is provided in the report published on the website of Centr, the association of country-code domain registries in Europe.



Maarten Simon

Legal & Policy Advisor

+31 26 352 55 00


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