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Work Efforts

The GAC regularly considers a broad range of public policy issues impacting the DNS and other matters regarding the functions of ICANN. This work can result in consensus advice for the ICANN Board or public comment guidance to the ICANN community. This part of the website shares information related to those ongoing topics and activities.

Early Engagement Policy Document - IGO INGO

Policy Development Process (PDP) Update

Protection of Certain International Organization Names in all gTLDs

April 2017


There are two ongoing work tracks in relation to this PDP. First, on the Board-adopted PDP recommendations that were consistent with GAC advice, the Implementation Review Team that is working with ICANN staff is finalizing draft consensus policy language to be published for public comment in late April. Regarding the remaining PDP recommendations that are inconsistent with GAC advice and for which the Board has not yet taken action, representatives from the GAC and GNSO held a discussion at ICANN58, facilitated by former ICANN Board member Bruce Tonkin, to try to resolve the differences between the GAC and the GNSO on the topic of appropriate protections for certain Red Cross names and IGO acronyms. 


In November 2013, the GNSO Council unanimously adopted all the consensus recommendations from its PDP Working Group regarding protections at the top and second level in all gTLDs for the names and acronyms of certain International Government Organizations (IGOs) and International Non-Government Organizations (INGOs), including the Red Cross international movement and its national societies and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

On 30 April 2014 the Board adopted those of the GNSO’s recommendations that are not inconsistent with GAC advice received on the topic. For the Red Cross, the approved identifiers were “Red Cross”, “Red Crescent”, “Red Crystal” and “Red Lion and Sun”; for IGOs the approved identifiers were the full names of those IGOs on the list that had been provided by the GAC in March 2013. The Board requested additional time to consider the remaining inconsistent PDP recommendations, and resolved to facilitate dialogue between the GAC, GNSO and other affected parties to resolve the differences. An Implementation Review Team under the direction of the Global Domains Division was formed to implement those recommendations adopted by the Board.

In June 2014 the Board’s New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) requested that the GNSO Council consider amending its remaining policy recommendations with respect to the nature and duration of protection for IGO acronyms, the names and acronyms of the international Red Cross movement, and the names of 189 national Red Cross societies. The GNSO Council responded to the NGPC’s request in October seeking further clarification and in January 2015 received the NGPC’s reply advising that discussions remain ongoing. These Red Cross and IGO identifiers are currently protected on an interim basis via Board resolution. In 2014, a small group of IGO and GAC representatives began working with ICANN Board representatives on a proposal to reconcile the inconsistent GNSO policy recommendations and GAC advice, facilitated by ICANN staff.

The GNSO Council wrote to the Board on 31 May 2016 to follow up on certain discussions at ICANN55 in Marrakech. Following additional discussions at ICANN56 in Helsinki, the Board responded to the GNSO Council in October 2016 and forwarded the final IGO Small Group Proposal at the same time. At ICANN57 in Hyderabad, the Board proposed that the GAC and GNSO conduct a discussion, facilitated by former Board member Bruce Tonkin, to resolve the differences. An initial facilitated discussion on the topic of Red Cross protections took place in between GAC and GNSO representatives in late February 2017. At ICANN58 in March 2017, two further facilitated dialogues were held, one on the Red Cross names and acronyms and the other on IGO acronyms.

Following these facilitated sessions, the Board passed a resolution at ICANN58, requesting that the GNSO Council consider initiating the GNSO’s process for amending policy recommendations not yet adopted by the ICANN Board relating to a finite, limited list of Red Cross organizational names. The GNSO Council will be considering the Board’s request at its upcoming Council meeting on 20 April 2017. Discussions regarding next steps on IGO acronyms protection are expected to continue in parallel with and in consideration of the GNSO’s ongoing PDP Working Group deliberations on curative rights protections for IGOs and INGOs (see separate briefing paper for that status update).


The following is a summary of the most recent GAC advice on this topic.

In its Dublin Communique, the GAC had requested that the Board facilitate the timely completion of the work of the IGO Small Group in order to resolve the issue of IGO protections. The Marrakech Communiqué noted the GAC’s hope for resolution of the remaining differences between the GNSO and the GAC as to permanent protections for the Red Cross identifiers at issue. In its Helsinki Communique, the GAC requested that the Board continue to pursue discussions with the GAC and the GNSO, and to engage with the IGOs. The GAC’s Hyderabad Communique advised the Board: (1) to engage  with  all  parties  in  order  to facilitate, through a transparent and good faith dialogue,  the  resolution  of  outstanding  inconsistencies  between  GAC advice and GNSO recommendations with regard to the protection of IGO acronyms using the IGO Small Group Proposal as a starting point; and (2) to urgently request the GNSO to amend its policy recommendation concerning the Red Cross international movement and national society names, and to confirm their protections as permanent. In its Copenhagen Communique, the GAC acknowledged the facilitated discussions that had taken place and provided specific advice to the Board on proposed next steps for both Red Cross identifier and IGO acronyms protections.


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