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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.

GAC Universal Acceptance and Internationalized Domain Names Working Group (UA-IDN WG)

Status: Active
Date Formed: 03 Nov 2019

This web page is being developed to provide a single information source for interested GAC participants (as well as UA-IDN WG members) to learn about the topics of Universal Acceptance and Internationalized Domain Names and to follow the efforts of the GAC, ICANN and the Universal Acceptance Steering Group on issues involving the topics of importance to governments. The page can be referenced for basic introductory information and web links to further information about UA and IDNs.  This page also provides information about working group members and web links to documents produced by the working group. 


For further information about these matters or any organizational questions about the working group, please reach out to GAC Support Staff at gac-staff@icann.org


Universal Acceptance (UA) - What is It? 


Universal Acceptance (UA) is the concept that all domain names should be treated equally. UA ensures that all domain names and email addresses can be used by all Internet-enabled applications, devices and systems and is essential for the continued expansion of the Internet as it provides a gateway to the next billion Internet users. UA enables the private sector, government and societies to better serve their communities through the use of an increasing number of new domains, including non-Latin based, language-specific domain names (IDNs) in Arabic, Chinese and many other scripts. 


Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) - What are they?  


Internationalized Domain names (IDNs) enable people around the world to use domain names in local languages and scripts. IDNs are formed using characters from different scripts, such as Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic or Devanagari. These are encoded by the Unicode standard and used as allowed by relevant IDN protocols


The ICANN organization (ICANN org) instituted the IDN Program to assist in the development and promotion of a multilingual Internet using IDNs. The program is primarily focused on the planning and implementation of IDN top-level domains (TLDs), including IDN country code TLDs and generic TLDs. The IDN Program also supports projects geared towards effective use of IDNs at the second-level of the Domain Name System, as guided by the community. 


ICANN org maintains its own web page that provides information regarding the IDN program at - https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/idn-2012-02-25-en 


The Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) - What is It? 


Founded in 2015, the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) is a consortium of companies (including Afilias, Apple, GoDaddy, Google, ICANN, Microsoft, Verisign and many others) that works to raise awareness of UA and help organizations ensure their systems are UA-ready and able to accept all domain names and all email addresses. The support and engagement of these participating organizations, notably ICANN, has made the UASG’s work possible. 


The role of governments in UA is recognized in the UASG Charter where it is recognized that UA activities must be considered a multi-sector effort. The charter provides that “outputs may range from technical guidance and tools to support developers and service providers in addressing UA-related issues, to messaging and campaigns around why Universal Acceptance should be treated as a priority for businesses, governments, civil society, and other stakeholders” (emphasis added). 


In December 2018 it was announced that the ICANN Board had made improving and promoting UA and Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) implementation one of its five strategic priorities for FY21-FY25. Specifically, the ICANN strategic plan notes: “The rapid evolution of new technologies requires ICANN to be responsive to these changes and ensure that the unique identifiers system evolves and continues to serve the global Internet user base.” To help achieve this objective, ICANN org added UA to the responsibilities of its Board IDN/UA Working Group. 


The UASG maintains a separate web site for information and updates on UA issues at – https://uasg.tech/

Please find a list of UASG document links and resources below for your reference.





GAC Universal Acceptance/Internationalized Domain Name Working Group (UA-IDN WG) - Basics 


At the ICANN66 Public Meeting in Montreal, the GAC formally established a Universal Acceptance and IDN Working Group (the “UA-IDN WG”) to help the committee track, consider and address matters and topics relevant to governments in those areas. 



The decision was the result of several previous discussions among GAC members and with members of the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) about the importance of these matters to governments. Interested group members met briefly in Montreal to establish some initial collaborative connections with the UASG.


UA-IDN WG Work:  The initial work of the UA-IDN WG between the GAC’s ICANN66 Montreal meeting and the GAC’s ICANN67 meeting in Cancun, Mexico focused on the development of the working group Terms of Reference (TOR) and an initial annual work plan for the working group that can be reviewed and endorsed by the full GAC membership. A copy of the original Terms of Reference for the Working Group can be found in the documentation section below. 


The GAC Leadership looks to the working group to provide perspectives, information and expertise on UA and IDN matters when they arise in various contexts. For example, the GAC Leadership has consulted with the Working Group from time to time seeking feedback on ICANN Public Comment Opportunities. 

Members of the Working Group have also interacted with the UASG - serving as a communication and liaison resource for that group. 




Meeting and Records
GAC Universal Acceptance and IDN Working Group Call - 22 July 2020
Closed Meeting
GAC Universal Acceptance and Internationalized Domain Names Working Group (UA-IDN WG) Call - 6 May 2020
Closed Meeting
Initial Universal Acceptance and IDN Working Group Call
Closed Meeting
Davit Sahakyan Armenia 
Albert Toneyan Armenia
Kristina Hakobyan Armenia
Jamie McPherson Australia
Veronica Deutrom Australia
Pg Alias Bin Pg Dato Paduka Haji Hidup Brunei Darussalam
Polo Fabián Iñiguez Matute Ecuador
Velimira Nemiguentcheva-Grau European Commission
Esteve Sanz European Commission
Vincent Gouillart France
Athanasios Paliatsos Greece
Hossein Mirzapour Islamic Republic of Iran
Zeina Bou Harb Lebanon
Mahen Soobron Mauritius
Marco Hogewoning The Netherlands
Kester Gordon New Zealand
Hamza Salami  Nigeria 
Saif Al Ghafri Oman 
Aisha Al Mamari Oman
Raza Ahmed Sukhera  Pakistan 
Viorel Vulturescu Romania 
Cristiana Flutur Romania 
Lenka Žuborová Slovakia
Ivan Liška Slovakia
Tarik Merghani Sudan
Lucas Prêtre Switzerland
Wajdi Garali Tunisia
Rosalind KennyBirch United Kingdom
Marek Blachut United Kingdom
Jaisha Wray United States of America
Susan Chalmers United States of America
Beatriz Rodriguez Uruguay
Minh Cuong Hoang Viet Nam
Nguyen Hong Thang Viet Nam
Anh Tu Hoang Viet Nam
Minh Thang Nguyen Viet Nam
Minh Hang Hoang Viet Nam
Alisi Tuqa Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Marielza Oliveira United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Filter Documents
Title Date Type
Date: 25 May 2021
25 May 2021   1621947540000
Date: 22 Sep 2020
Type: Report
22 Sep 2020 Report 1600762320000
Date: 01 Aug 2020
Type: Terms of Reference
01 Aug 2020 Terms of Reference 1596281040000
Date: 27 Jan 2020
Type: Newcomer Material
27 Jan 2020 Newcomer Material 1580138340000