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A Policy Development Process (PDP) is a set of practices used in the creation or change of policies related to ICANN and its constituencies. PDP refers to the steps an organization takes to fulfill its objectives, generate its guidelines, and structure its actions.

All policy recommendations are formed and refined by ICANN's Supporting Organizations (SOs) and influenced by ICANN's Advisory Committees (ACs).

ICANN Body Policymaking

Every SO has its own PDP.


Main article: GNSO PDP
The GNSO is responsible for developing and recommending gTLD policies to the ICANN Board. The PDP for the GNSO is outlined in Annex A of the ICANN Bylaws. Under certain circumstances, the GNSO can initiate an Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP).


Main article: ccNSO PDP
The ccNSO develops policies on ccTLDs. The PDP of the ccNSO is outlined in Annex B of the ICANN Bylaws.


Main article: ASO PDP
The role of the ASO in ICANN policymaking, outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding, concerns the operation, assignment, and management of IP addresses. The ASO compiles and reviews policies that have already undergone the regional PDP within each of the five RIRs, after which it passes the unified, ratified version of the original policy to the ICANN Board.

Every AC has its own policy advice development process (PADP).


Main article: GAC PADP
The GAC advises the ICANN Board on issues related to governments, especially when ICANN's policies intersect with laws or international agreements.


Main article: ALAC PADP
The ALAC considers the interests of individual Internet users and develops advice that it shares through the Public Comment Proceedings.


Main article: SSAC PADP
The SSAC, which is invite-only, generates advisories through which it provides guidance to the ICANN Board on the security and integrity of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems.


Main article: RSSAC PADP
The RSSAC generates advisories through which it guides the ICANN community and Board on the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Internet's Root Server System.

ICANN Policy Development Support Staff

ICANN strives to develop policy by means of consensus because the organization believes it offers the best way to attract support and generate compliance throughout the entire global Internet community.[1] Toward this end, ICANN provides a 32-person Policy Development Support Team from around the world to assist and shepherd policy and advice development.[2]

Work Products

PDP Updates are one-page documents prepared by ICANN staff to inform the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and other interested parties about potential opportunities to engage in and contribute to on-going GNSO PDP efforts. They are published on a regular basis and translations of these can be found on the GAC website. To prepare the community for Public Meetings, the Policy Development Support Staff make presentations, which they share a week or two before each meeting.[3]

Working Groups

Every ICANN body relies on Working Groups or Work Parties to propose or develop policies or advice. Working groups consist of volunteer members, who can act as individuals or representatives of an organization. They play a key role in the ratification of policies by engaging in dialogue and seek consensus among their members. Working groups can encounter various problems, such as

  • Too few members within a working group can slow PDP;
  • Too many members within a working group can make a consensus more difficult to reach due to differences in opinion and delays in the PDP; and
  • A lack of experience and knowledge can complicate the PDP.