dotcities - the city top-level domain's interest group


Preparation to become an accredited Interest Group (so-called Constituency) at ICANN


In June 2008, the Board of Directors endorsed a series of recommendations on how to improve the GNSO's structures and operations. One of the significant drivers of those recommendations was an interest in maximizing participation in the GNSO and its policy development processes. Among the various recommendations endorsed by the Board was that ICANN take steps to clarify and promote the option to self-form new constituencies.

"To help the Council reach its full potential, ICANN should ensure that this body is inclusive and representative of the broad interests found among the GNSO constituencies and other stakeholders, while limiting its size to enhance its effectiveness and promote efficiency. Balancing all of these factors, and cognizant of the limitations of the current structure pointed out by the LSE report, we recommend a reorganized Council that has the potential to be more representative, agile and collegial. Our recommendation is to structure the Council on the basis of four broad stakeholder groups to represent better the wide variety of groups and individuals that compose the ICANN community."

The current ICANN Bylaws provide that any group of individuals or entities may petition the Board for recognition as a new or separate constituency, in accordance with Section 5(4) of Article X. Such a petition must explain (1) why "the addition of such a Constituency will improve the ability of the GNSO to carry out its policy-development responsibilities" and (2) why "the proposed new Constituency would adequately represent, on a global basis, the stakeholders it seeks to represent." Notwithstanding those Bylaw provisions, it has been many years since the organization has had formal requests for a new constituency. Since the Board action last June, however, the ICANN Staff has received inquiries from several interested parties about how to form a new GNSO constituency and the first took place a little over three months ago when the proposed new CyberSafety Constituency submitted its formal petition and Charter documents (23 February 2009). Since then, formal petition s have also been filed by the proposed Consumers Constituency (10 April 2009) and the proposed IDNgTLD Constituency (18 April 2009).

The ICANN bylaws do not provide specific procedural guidance for how interested parties should submit the petitions contemplated in Article X.

Mindful that explicit steps, formats, and/or processes for expansion would take some time for the community to develop in the implementation of the improvements recommendations, the Board directed ICANN Staff to provide the community with some initial guidance, a structure and a specific procedural path for potential new constituencies to follow. At its 1 October 2008 meeting, the Board acknowledged Staff's development of a "Notice of Intent" document for potential new constituencies and directed Staff to develop a formal petition and charter template to assist new constituency applicants in satisfying the formative criteria (consistent with the ICANN Bylaws) to facilitate the Board's evaluation of petitions to form new constituencies.

The process subsequently developed by the Staff required interested groups to first submit a Notice of Intent to Form a New Constituency (NOIF). The proponents of the City TLD Constituency completed that step on 15 February 2009. The second step of the process is development of a New Constituency Petition and Charter, which the proponents of the City TLD Constituency completed on 1 June 2009.

Relevant Board Resolution, Bylaws and Constituency Submissions:

The Process From Here

At the end of this Public Comment Forum period, the ICANN Staff will provide a summary/analysis of the comments submitted regarding the CTLD Constituency petition and charter. That summary/analysis will be shared with the community and the Board. The Board will ultimately make the decision on whether to authorize the new constituency. It should be noted that the GNSO Improvements Report approved by the Board in June 2008 has additional guidelines and recommendations for the ongoing practices and processes of GNSO constituencies. It is expected that this work will be ongoing as part of the GNSO Improvements implementation efforts.

Based on this process the city top-level domain initiatives of Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, New York and Paris have decided to file a request to the ICABB Board to become accepted as a constituency. The request is based on the following documents:

Mission of the City Top-Level Domain Constituency

  • To represent the views and interests of those who are operating or planning to operate a top-level domain which is based on a string that is associated with a city community.

  • To be an advocate of city top-level domain stakeholders and their interests in ICANN processes, incorporating governments and authorities, businesses, organizations, individuals and the general public interest of cities.

  • To promote international cooperation, networking, and knowledge sharing among members and related stakeholders and with ICANN.

  • To ensure that ICANN policies are consistent with the city’s vital interest and of a stable, secure and reliable Internet.

Rationale for the City Top-Level Domain Constituency

  • cityTLDs are a reasonable expansion of the DNS, since city identity is one of the oldest, strongest and most popular ways that people identify themselves.

  • Top-level domains for cities are an important part of the evolution of the domain name system (DNS) and need to be represented in the ICANN’s governance structure.

  • Cities are global drivers of innovation and progress, centers of social, economic and political power, and are projected to contain two-thirds of the world’s population by 2030.

  • cityTLD registries will have the support and operate within the influence of cities; as well as the support (or non objection) of their national government.

  • cityTLDs not only offer the plain domain name registration but also have a higher-order responsibility in the allocation and structure of the city and the cities’ namespace.

  • cityTLD registries will reflect the needs of city residents and organizations and the CTLDC will enable its member registries to represent these needs within the GNSO and ICANN structures thereby representing city interests on the Internet’s top-level.

ICANN Board Resolution on the application for the City Top-Level Domain Constituency

"cityTLDs are a reasonable expansion of the DNS, since city identity is one of the oldest, strongest and most popular ways that people identify themselves. The Board appreciates the work done by proponents of the City TLD Constituency; however, that petition is not approved on the basis that the Registries SG will be organized as a grouping of individually contracted Registries rather than as a grouping of Constituencies; as such, each City will be eligible to join the RySG once it signs a formal ICANN contract as a registry operator. In the interim, the proposed RySG Charter provides for “observer” status for any City TLD proponent interested in becoming an ICANN gTLD Registry."


The documents are also published at


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