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(Please click "Adopted" to download a copy of the Final Statement)

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Vote CloseDate of SubmissionStaff Contact and EmailStatement Number

IDN Variant Issues Project – Proposed Project Plan for Next Steps

13Y, 0N, 0A

Rinalia Abdul Rahim








Kurt Pritz


Comment/Reply Periods (*)

Important Information Links:

Comment Open:

20 February 2012

Comment Close:

18 March 2012  8 April 2012

Close Time (UTC):


Reply Open:

19 March 2012  9 April 2012

Reply Close:

8 April 2012  29 April 2012

Close Time (UTC):


Brief Overview


Originating Organization:

Stakeholder Relations


Top-Level Domains

Purpose (Brief):

To receive community feedback on the proposed project plan [PDF, 211 KB] for next steps of the IDN Variant Issues Project.

Current Status:

Phase II of IDN Variant Issues Project has been completed with the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB] following the public comment period. Project team has created a project proposed plan for next steps and seeks community feedback on this plan.

Next Steps:

This project plan will be discussed at the ICANN public meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012. Comments received in this forum as well as community feedback during the Costa Rica meeting will be incorporated into the final project plan.

Staff Contact:

Kurt Pritz


Detailed Information


Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

Public Comment: IDN Variant Issues Project -- Proposed Project Plan for Next Steps [PDF, 211 KB]
The IDN Variant Issues Project has been exploring the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone at the request of the ICANN board and the community.
The first two phases of the project have been completed with the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report on 17 February 2012 and the project is now entering its next phase. The IDN Variant Issues Project team has created a project plan for next steps and is now seeking community input on the proposed steps forward.
The proposed project plan will be discussed at the ICANN public meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012, to determine whether and how ICANN should proceed with regard to additional work on IDN variant TLDs. This public comment period makes the project plan available to the community for review and comment prior to the Costa Rica meeting.

Section II: Background

On 20 April 2011, ICANN announced the IDN Variant Issues Project to explore the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone. This project was initiated in response to a 2010 ICANN Board of Directors resolution.
Phase I involved the formation of six case study teams for the Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Greek and Latin scripts. These teams were comprised of community experts with support by ICANN and worked on identifying issues related to IDN variant TLDs for each particular script, resulting in the publication in October of six individual reports detailing their findings.
Phase II focused on integrating those six case study reports into the Integrated Issues Report. To complete this phase,ICANN formed a coordination team comprised of experts from each of the case study teams. The coordination team advised ICANN in completing the Integrated Issues Report, which summarizes and categorizes the various issues related to the identification and management of IDN variant TLDs.
On 23 December 2011, ICANN published for public comment the draft Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 1.06 MB]. Following the public comment period, ICANN published a Summary and Analysis of comments received and the final Integrated Issues Report.

Section III: Document and Resource Links

Section IV: Additional Information


(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.

Call for At-Large comments closing time: Wednesday 18 April 2012 @ 23:59 UTC
Statement to be submitted:  Friday 20 April 2012
ALAC Vote starts: Friday 20 April at 20:00 UTC and ends on 27 April @ 23:59 UTC
Vote reminder on: 25 April @ 0:00 UTC

Please note that the above timings have been gratefully extended to the ALAC/At-Large at the discretion of Dennis Jennings, Naela Sarras and the IDN Variants WG. These cannot be extended any further.

Proposed Draft by Rinalia Abdul Rahim / 11 April 2012 (following IDN-WG call and webinar)

Please click here to download a copy of the draft below in PDF format.

[Draft] ALAC Response to the VIP Proposed Project Plan for Next Steps

Acknowledgment of VIP Team Achievement

The ALAC congratulates the IDN VIP team upon the successful completion of the case study reports and the final integrated report.  We also wish to record our appreciation for the outreach efforts of the VIP Team aimed at enhancing the community’s understanding about the outcome of its work to date as well as the thinking/framework that guided its work and the processes entailed.

Significance of IDNs and Implications on Future Work of the VIP Team

The ALAC reiterates its continued recognition of the significance and importance of IDNs, including IDN TLDs in enhancing diversity and embracing multilingualism on the Internet.  We believe that every culture and every language is unique and that the implementation of IDN and IDN Variants would serve to make the Internet more inclusive and representative of the world that we live in. 

Given the importance of the work, the ALAC calls on the VIP Team to ensure that the conduct of its future work is accountable, transparent and does not duplicate work that has or is being done within or without the ICANN community.  Towards this end, we urge the VIP Team to continuously inform the community on its work and progress, and to draw synergies wherever possible by leveraging on the work and expertise of the wider Internet community.

The ALAC is pleased with the VIP Team’s interest in engaging the wider Internet community, which the Team expressed during the ICANN meeting Costa Rica in March 2012.  In doing so, We request that the VIP Team maintain a high level of transparency and clarify the project basis for engaging consultants vs. community volunteers vs. ICANN staff.

Comments on the Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) Variant Issues Project (VIP) Proposed Project Plan


The approach taken by the VIP Team is a standardized, universal and comprehensive one, which has merit in that it takes into consideration aspects of fairness and security.  The approach hinges crucially upon the expectation that it is possible to develop a comprehensive code-point repertoire and label generation rule-set within a specific time-frame.  The VIP Team has been careful to clarify to the ALAC during a Webinar on 11 April 2012 that until the code-point repertoire and label-generation rule-set are complete, the implementation of any IDN Variant would not be considered regardless of the level of community readiness. 

The ALAC concern regarding the VIP Team’s approach is as follows:

1.     The standardized is contrary to the community consensus on appropriate approaches to the IDN Variant issues, which are highly diverse.  A standardized approach also discriminates against communities who consider themselves ready to implement IDN Variants.

2.     Assuming that it is possible to develop a comprehensive code-point repertoire and label generation rule-set within the period specified in the proposed project plan, the VIP Team will only be ready to work with communities who can demonstrate that they are ready to implement IDN Variants by the middle of Fiscal Year 2013. 

3.     The process, timing and criteria for communities to demonstrate their readiness to implement IDN variants are not addressed.  This set of information would serve as an invaluable guide for communities regardless of whether they are early entrants or late entrants to IDN Variant implementation.

The ALAC recommends the following:

1.     Adopt an inclusive multi-stakeholder bottom-up approach to code-point repertoire development that is consistent with the ICANN IDN Guidelines and relies on the community consensus in identifying and determining code-points by language/script or groups of languages/scripts.

2.     Develop a framework based on the findings of the integrated report that would serve as a checklist/guide for language communities to develop their IDN Variant TLD policy and or implementation plan.  Such a checklist would include aspects that include code-point repertoire, code-point overlap, label generation rule-set, types and states of variants, etc.

3.     Clarify the process, timing and criteria for engaging with communities who consider themselves ready to implement IDN Variants.  In addition engage the ICANN channels for reaching out to various language communities to raise their awareness of these considerations.


The ALAC would appreciate an elaboration on the financial basis of the proposed project.


The ALAC understands and appreciates that security risk considerations are paramount. The introduction of new technological advancement however, requires balancing risk considerations with benefits to be derived.  The demand for IDN Variants and the findings of the VIP case study reports indicate that the benefits of implementing IDN Variant TLDs out-weigh the risks.

Way Forward

Given that the technical community, including the IETF and the IAB, has iterated that the issue of IDN Variants cannot be solved with a technical solution based on current DNS standards, the ALAC agrees with the view that, in the immediate term, the implementation of IDN Variant TLDs should be focused on:

1.     The engagement of communities in developing code-point repertoire and label generation rule-set.

2.     The development of a process, time-line and criteria for working with communities who are ready to implement IDN Variants.

3.     The development of a framework that guides language communities in developing their IDN Variant policy and implementation plan.


Please click here to download a copy of the document below in PDF format.

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  1. Rinalia:

    This is one of the best statements that I have seen so far. Thank you for putting it together specially for such a complicated and technical issue. 

    I will definitively support it.


  2. I express high appreciation for Rinalia's draft ALAC response. Comments:

    -  "Standardized" vs. community approach: in an e-mail dated 11 April, Olivier mentioned that, in his understanding, the VIP Team had changed their approach, so that now "it appears that each variant type will be studied separately, along with its own timeline, rather than a one-size-fits-all scenario". As this is of interest to our communities, I suggest we include in Rinalia's draft something to the effect that "The ALAC notes with satisfaction that the VIP Team are now prepared to study each variant type separately, as called for by the ICANN community. The ALAC requests from the VIP Team further information regarding

    • the main variant types they have identified (languages, scripts)
    • the timeline envisaged for the deployment of IDNs for each of these variant types. 

    - "Way forward": this is typically a case where At-Large, thanks to their worldwide ramifications, could suggest solutions. Perhaps Rinalia's draft could be made to reflect this more forcefully: "It is suggested that the VIP Team consult the ALAC on 

    • defining policy, criteria and a provisional calendar enabling communities to implement IDN Variants,
    • setting up a framework allowing language communities to develop their IDN Variant policy and implementation plan, including code-point repertoire and label generation rule-set."
  3. Thank you, Jean Jacques for the valuable contribution, and to you, Eduardo, for your support.  The finalized version of the statement also incorporates the views/comments of Edmon Chung, Cheryl Langdon-Orr, Hong Xue and Oliver Crepin-Leblond.

    Best regards,