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GNSO Review Frequently Asked Questions have now been translated into all UN Languages!

Background Information

The Public Comment: Draft Report: Review of the Generic Names Supporting Organization closed on 31 July 2015. For information on the Draft Report, watch a short YouTube video and read a short Report Summary on any or all of the 36 recommendations. The Final Report was published on 15 September 2015 (along with a correction).


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") is seeking a provider engaged Westlake Governance Limited to conduct an independent review of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), as mandated by ICANN's Bylaws.

As part of ICANN's ongoing commitment to its evolution and improvement, Article IV – Section 4.4(a) of ICANN's Bylaws contains provisions for "periodic review of the performance and operation of each Supporting Organization, each Supporting Organization Council, each Advisory Committee (other than the Governmental Advisory Committee), and the Nominating Committee."

These periodic reviews present ICANN structures with opportunities for continuous improvement through consistent application of compliance review principles to objectively measure performance relative to specific and quantifiable criteria developed by ICANN based on the unique nature of its structures. The resulting implementation of improvements and the systematic means of measuring performance and validating effectiveness of implementation are of utmost importance to the ongoing legitimacy of ICANN.

The GNSO is the policy-making body responsible for generic Top-Level Domains, such as .COM, .NET, and .ORG. Its members include representatives from generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) registries, gTLDregistrars gTLD registrars, intellectual property interest, Internet service providers, businesses and non-commercial interests. The GNSO strives to keep gTLDs operating in a fair, orderly fashion across one global Internet, while promoting innovation and competition.

Key Milestones

Given the significant increases in the number and nature of the generic Top Level Domains resulting from the recent launch of the New gTLD Program, the upcoming review of the GNSO is of critical importance to theICANN community. ICANN is planning to start the review on 1 July 2014, with an anticipated duration of 6 months. The primary schedule is as follows:



RFP published

21 April 2014

Briefing with GNSO (webinar)

7 May

GNSO to identify GNSO Review Working Party

19 May

Refine examination criteria


Implement 360 assessment


Board appointment of independent reviewer

26 June

Start of review work

1 July

Summary results from 360 Assessment


Draft Report 1

30 September

Clarification and rebuttal from GNSO


Draft Report 2

31 October

Public comment period

November – January 2015

Final Report

January 2015

Preparation of Implementation Plan

January – February

Implement Recommendations

1 March 2015 – February 2016


For additional information on the GNSO Review, see the revised Timeline and Key Links below.

GNSO Review Timeline:

nameGNSO Timeline (March 2016).pdf

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