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Document C02/46-E

12 April 2002

Original: English

GENEVA        2002 SESSION      (22 APRIL - 3 MAY)



(PL 2.8)

Report by the Secretary General

1     Subject:



2     Purpose

To report on ITU activities related to management of Internet domain names and addresses.



Ref. doc.





3     Background

Resolution 102 (Minneapolis, 1998): Management of Internet domain names and addresses. Activities reported previously to Council in, inter alia, documents C99/51, C00/27, C00/27B, and C01/EP/8




PP Res. 102





4     Recommendation

The Council is invited to consider this report and to take any appropriate measures.









5     Implications

The discussed activities are undertaken using existing resources.










Management of Internet Domain Names and Addresses

1.         Introduction

1.1       Since the adoption of Resolution 102 (Minneapolis, 1998) on Management of Internet domain names and addresses, relevant activities were reported previously to Council in documents C99/51, C00/27, C00/27B and C01/EP/8. ITU’s recent activities related to management of Internet names and addresses, as well as emerging developments in this area, are discussed below.

2.         ENUM

2.1       ENUM[i] continues to merit close attention by ITU Member States. In particular, its potential impact on national regulatory and legislative frameworks vis-à-vis an increasingly converged telecommunications and Internet/IP environment warrants careful consideration.

2.2       ENUM takes numbers from the international public telecommunication numbering plan (ITU-T Recommendation E.164[ii]) and incorporates them into the DNS for the purpose of identifying and finding network resources; this includes the possibility of assignment of E.164 resources to IP-based devices. The development of a stable international framework for ENUM deployment will require the assignment of authority over elements of the E.164 number space when mapped into the DNS, as well as the assignment of ongoing management to one or more responsible authorities in each ITU Member State. Work in ITU-T Study Group 2 (SG2) continues to progress based on the explicit assumption that the existing role and sovereignty of Member States with respect to the allocation and management of their country code numbering resources, including the potential provisioning of those resources in the DNS, will be respected. A draft ITU-T Recommendation (provisionally entitled E.A-ENUM) is under preparation and will be further discussed at the next SG2 meeting in May 2002.

2.3       ITU Member States are considering the appropriate infrastructure, responsibility, delegation and authority for the ENUM “root zone”: the location in the DNS where E.164 country code entries would be assigned. While considerable discussion has taken place, no final decision has yet been made and this could have an impact on the interim designation of the domain “” as well as its administration.

2.4       The TSB recently hosted a tutorial workshop on ENUM in February 2002, principally to assist participants from developing countries. As a supporting activity, the Strategy and Policy Unit and TSB have jointly prepared a tutorial paper on ENUM[iii], which may be of interest to Administrations considering the provisioning of their E.164 resources in the DNS.

3.         ITU and WIPO Joint Symposium on Multilingual Domain Names

3.1       In December 2001, the ITU and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in association with the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium[iv] (MINC), organized a Joint Symposium on Multilingual Domain Names[v]. Day one of the Symposium was led by ITU and dealt with technology and policy issues. Day two was led by WIPO and dealt with intellectual property and dispute resolution issues. ITU and WIPO both provided briefing papers[vi].

3.2       The deployment of multilingual domain names raises a number of complex issues. These include, inter alia, technical and interoperability issues, administrative arrangements for multilingual domains and top level domains, competition policy and market access, intellectual property and dispute resolution, as well as the cultural and social issues inherently associated with languages.

3.3       The Symposium brought together some 200 participants drawn from the Internet and legal communities, as well as policy-makers and government representatives. The objective was to raise further understanding of the subject matter as well as offer an opportunity to share views on possible approaches. The two-day Symposium took the form of presentations, made available on the Symposium’s web site[vii] as well as round table discussions by experts. Considering the interest in this topic, additional follow-up activities could be envisaged.

4.         Protection of the Names of Intergovernmental Organizations in the DNS

4.1       The protection of the names of intergovernmental organizations remains an issue of concern, with a number of cases of bad faith registrations of the names of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)[viii] in the DNS. The final report[ix] of the WIPO Second Internet Domain Names Process[x], published in September 2001, examined this issue and recommended that “States, as the constituents of IGOs, should work towards the establishment of an administrative dispute-resolution procedure … where an IGO could bring a complaint that a domain name was the same or confusingly similar to the name or acronym of the IGO, that it has been registered without legal justification and that it is likely to create a misleading association...”. This recommendation is the subject of current analysis by WIPO’s Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT)[xi].

5.         Management of Country Code Top Level Domains

5.1       The ITU has received an increasing number of enquiries and requests for assistance concerning the delegations as well as recommended practices for country code top level domains (ccTLDs). While there are many ITU Member States that, through government agencies, act as ccTLD administrators or recognize (informally or formally) private ccTLD administrators, there are some Member States, mostly developing countries, that have had prolonged disagreements with the current delegation and management of their ccTLD. In some cases, these ccTLDs are operated by private entities outside the relevant country or jurisdiction.

5.2       As all entities registered in the DNS underneath a ccTLD (e.g., banks, schools, government agencies) are dependent upon the correct and secure management of the related ccTLD, administrations may consider this to be an element of national critical infrastructure. Threats of litigation against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) may have discouraged efforts to formally recognize the sovereignty of administrations over their corresponding ccTLDs. Finally, because the US Government maintains an oversight role of certain ICANN functions, including the approval of TLD changes in the DNS root, all ccTLD management changes must be approved by the US Department of Commerce[xii].

6.         ICANN

6.1       Considerable debate continues surrounding the appropriate management and evolution of the Internet’s naming and addressing system, particularly over the structure, functioning and funding of ICANN, a non-profit corporation established under the laws of the State of California, in the United States[xiii]. ICANN operates under the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US Department of Commerce[xiv].


6.2       The ITU-T has continued its participation in the ICANN Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO)[xv].  As part of this work, ITU-T SG2 was requested to take a position on the question of alternative DNS roots and the statement of SG2 can be found on the PSO web site[xvi]. TSB staff and the SG2 Chairman have prepared background briefing material for SG2, in preparation for potential future requests for comment on this issue[xvii]. In addition, during the 2001-2002 time frame, the ITU‑T provided the Secretariat for the PSO.

Governmental Advisory Committee

6.3       The Strategy and Policy Unit has also continued to participate in ICANN Government Advisory Committee (GAC) meetings. The agenda, minutes, chairperson's report, and media communiqués for the GAC meetings held since Council 2001 are available on the GAC Secretariat web site[xviii]. Recently, the Australian administration announced that it would cease funding the GAC Secretariat functions.

Management of .int Top Level Domain

6.4       As reported last year, no progress has been made with ICANN on the transfer of management of the .int TLD to the ITU, intended for intergovernmental organizations. In addition, during the last year, the ITU has received a number of complaints from organizations in the United Nations system concerning the policies related to management of the .int domain.

ICANN Reform and Future

6.5       In February 2002, the president of ICANN, M. Stuart Lynn, published an extensive report and detailed proposal entitled  President's Report: ICANN – The Case for Reform”[xix] where he outlined his view that “ICANN needs reform: deep, meaningful, structural reform…. If ICANN is to succeed, this reform must replace ICANN's unstable institutional foundations with an effective public-private partnership, rooted in the private sector but with the active backing and participation of national governments.” He further states: “The process of relocating functions from the US Government to ICANN is stalled” and “ICANN will, in my opinion, either be reformed or irrelevant within the next several months.”

6.6       Member States should be aware that a great deal of uncertainty surrounds the future of ICANN, its structure, functioning and funding and whether it can, even with the proposed reforms, act as an effective regulator of Internet naming and addressing. With a key component of the Lynn proposal role calling for “significant additional participation and backing from national governments” (including funding), there have been comments suggesting that ITU play an increased role, especially in areas where there is already overlap with ITU’s technical standardization activities related to IP-based networks or analogous activities (e.g., stewardship of the ITU-T E.164 numbering plan). A discussion paper on possible future scenarios is under preparation by the TSB and will become available after 18 April 2002 on the ITU-T website[xx] and will be submitted to the ICANN consultation process. Any further actions taken will be subject to additional consultations with ITU Members.



ITU and ICANN Reform

1. Summary

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)[1] performs a number of tasks critical for the good functioning of the Internet.  Recently, ICANN's President has stated that ICANN is not able to perform its mission, primarily because it requires greater government support.  As a consequence, ICANN's President has called for reform, and ICANN has invited comments on reform proposals.

The International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) has a long and successful history of performing, as a government-industry partnership, functions which are very similar to those performed by ICANN.  It has worked closely with ICANN in recent years.  For these reasons, it appears that ITU can contribute to the ICANN reform process.

It is not suggested that ICANN's functions should be transferred to ITU.  It is suggested that ITU could increase its cooperation with ICANN in order to help ICANN to overcome some of its current difficulties.

2. ICANN's situation

ICANN is a not-for-profit corporation established under the laws of the State of California, in the United States of America (USA).  It operates under the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US Department of Commerce[2].  ICANN currently performs a number of critical tasks related to the management of Internet names and addresses.  In particular, ICANN makes recommendations to the US Department of Commerce regarding the creation of top-level domain names (such as ".com", ".ch"), and the delegation of actual operations for any particular top-level domain to any particular operating entity (for example, ".com" is delegated to VeriSign, Inc.)[3].  The tasks performed by ICANN are widely acknowledged to be critical for the good functioning of IP-based networks and IP-based services (which include the networks often referred to as "the Internet").

ICANN's operating budget[4] for 2001-2002 is approximately US$ 5 million for a staff of 21 full-time equivalents.

3. ICANN's problems

There has long been discussion of the implications of the increasing international character of IP-based networks, and the increasing importance to national economies of IP-based services, particularly with respect to the fact that ICANN is a California company supervised by the government of the USA.  Some have argued that the legal character of ICANN and lack of formal control by other governments could lead to problems.

Some of these concerns have now been echoed by Mr. Stuart Lynn, President of ICANN.  In February 2002, Mr. Lynn, published an extensive report and detailed proposal entitled “President's Report: ICANN – The Case for Reform”[5] in which he stated: "the original concept of a purely private sector body, based on consensus and consent, has been shown to be impractical" and "experience has shown that the influence, authority, and close cooperation of governments is essential to accomplish ICANN's mission ".  Mr. Lynn goes on to state that ICANN's current mechanisms for consulting governments are not adequate.

According to Mr. Lynn:

1.      ICANN as currently constituted is not able to fulfill its mission, largely because of inadequate government support and inadequate funding;

2.      much greater, and more formal, involvement by governments is required if ICANN is to fulfill its mission;

3.      ICANN's budget should be in the order of US$ 25 million per year, and governments should provide part of that budget.

According to Mr. Lynn, there has been a revenue shortfall of about US$ 0.5 million each year, which has been covered by not hiring up to authorized levels, leading to understaffing.  Furthermore, according to Mr. Lynn, ICANN currently has inadequate backup for key individuals.  As a result, Mr. Lynn states that funding should be increased by a factor of 3 to 5.

Among other specific problems identified by Mr. Lynn, we highlight:

4.      ICANN has been too slow to address and resolve issues;

5.      ICANN lacks clear, stable, and accepted processes and procedures for guiding its work;

6.      ICANN has not yet created the industry-government partnership it needs to fulfill its mission.

4. ITU's position

Guided by ITU PP-98 Resolution 102 "Management of Internet domain names and addresses" and Resolution 101 "Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks", ITU already cooperates with ICANN in several ways.  ITU is a founding member of ICANN's Protocol Support Organization (PSO)[6], a technical advisory body.  ITU is a member of ICANN's Government Advisory Council (GAC)[7].  An expert proposed by ITU-T sits on the ICANN Board, and the Director of TSB is a member of an ICANN independent review panel nominating committee.

There is a lingering negative perception of ITU-T's past.  But the situation today is very different from what it was three years ago.  Working methods have been streamlined, decision-making is faster, and online tools are used intensively.  Membership has increased, in particular among Sector Members.

ITU-T has a proven track record of efficiently and effectively performing, for non-IP-based network technologies, functions which are similar to ICANN's key functions[8], which are "administrative and policy management of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems", and of performing those functions in accordance with the desired core values, which are "openness and broad participation."

Among many tasks, the ITU-T performs world-wide administration, and acts as the forum for policy management, of a number of naming and address allocation systems that are essential for the good functioning of critical infrastructures, including the physical-layer infrastructure of the Internet itself.  We can cite such well-known examples as the E.164 numbering resource and the E.212 mobile numbering resource.

It is widely acknowledged that the ITU-T performs its tasks to the general satisfaction of industry, governments, and the public at large, using processes that are open, transparent, and ensure accountability to all stakeholders.

Governments are well used to the ITU-T processes and procedures and know how to work within them.  Governments of 189 countries, industrialized as well as developing, participate in the ITU-T's work.  The presence in ITU-T of developing country governments broadens participation to people in those countries who would not otherwise have been represented.

Furthermore, ITU-T is an effective public-private partnership, rooted in the public sector but with the active backing and participation of industry players.  Currently ITU-T has over 450 industry members.  In the ITU-T, industry and governments work together, to achieve common goals for the public benefit.  ITU is unique in this partnership between governments and industry for information and communication technologies (ICT).

5. Proposals

ITU-T can assist ICANN to ensure world-wide representation of both the public and the private sectors directly and indirectly related to Internet names, numbers, and addresses by:

1.      Working with ICANN to take care of issues of concern to governments, in particular to ensure that the sovereign rights and national interests of all Member States are served, including private sector interests as appropriate.

2.      Participating as appropriate in policy councils, the Technical Advisory Committee, and the Government Advisory Committee, if such bodies are created in a reformed ICANN;

3.      Working with ICANN to identify areas where certain functions could be performed in cooperation, for example:

3.1.   ccTLD management;

3.2.   management of the ".arpa" domain;

3.3.   management of the ".int" domain;

3.4.   governmental input in developing and administering global address policies for IP address and AS number allocation;

4.      Working with ICANN to define an internationally agreed restatement and description of the boundaries for ICANN’s policy-making activities, if any, while respecting the sovereign rights of governments. For example, consideration could be given to developing an ITU-T Recommendation with this goal.

5.      The Director of TSB would be willing to discuss these matters further with ICANN management, and in particular to explore options for new measures and arrangements.

The benefits of increased cooperation between ICANN and ITU-T would be that ICANN could rely on ITU-T for government support, at no additional cost to ICANN, or to ITU, as well as to governments, for what concerns the cost of additional government support for ICANN.  Some of the cost increases proposed by Mr. Lynn are not related to increased government support and those cost increases, if approved, would have to be funded by other methods.

6. Conclusions

It would appear that the ITU-T can bring to ICANN, at no additional cost to governments, the increased government participation that ICANN's management has called for as necessary.  In addition, ITU-T can increase private sector participation in ICANN's work, through its Sector Members who include all major operators and manufactuers of IP-based technologies.  Furthermore, ITU-T's stable, well-known, and proven processes and procedures can be used to speed up ICANN's work (which, according to Mr. Lynn, has been unacceptably slow to date, due to ineffective processes and procedures).

A cooperation between ITU-T and ICANN would allow all the different communities around the world that use, provide, operate, and design the Internet to address efficiently and effectively, in a constructive and productive manner, the various issues which have to date proven difficult to resolve within ICANN's existing structure.

In short, it would appear appropriate if ITU-T could explore new ways, in addition to the current arrangements and cooperation with ICANN, for the benefit of ICANN, to tackle new challenges in cooperation with ICANN.

It is not proposed that ITU-T should take over ICANN's functions.  Furthermore, it is not proposed that the ITU should become involved in all of ICANN's activities.

To conclude, we propose to enter into discussions with ICANN to explore the best ways for ITU to help ICANN to overcome its current difficulties.


[i] See for an overview of ENUM and ITU activities.

[ii] ITU-T Recommendation E.164 titled “The International Public Telecommunications Numbering Plan” specifies the format and types of use of public telephone numbers.

[viii] A particularly egregious case is described at

[xii] Cooperative Agreement No. NCR-9218742, Amendment 11,



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