Affirmation of Commitments

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The 2009 Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) is a foundational mission document and set of commitments between the United States Department of Commerce and ICANN.[1] It is the basis for the drafting and adoption of Article 4.6 of the ICANN Bylaws, which establishes specific reviews for each commitment within the Affirmation of Commitments.[2][3] Article 4.6 was adopted and incorporated into the bylaws in October 2016.[4]

The agreement was designed to provide ICANN the flexibility to grow and evolve along with developments and technological evolution of the Internet, but hold ICANN to the tenets of its core mission of administering and coordinating the DNS. Section 9 of the Affirmation of Commitments specifies the following commitments "together with ongoing commitment reviews:"

  1. Ensuring accountability, transparency and the interests of global Internet users;
  2. Preserving security, stability and resiliency;
  3. Promoting competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice; and
  4. Enforcing its existing policy relating to WHOIS, subject to applicable laws.[1]

The specific reviews contained in Article 4.6 of the ICANN Bylaws directly address the review and improvement of adherence to these four commitments.[2] Article 4.6 was drafted by a team from the Cross Community Working Group on Accountability (CCWG-Accountability). Their goal was to find a way to solve for one of the stress tests generated during the work of the CCWG-Accountability - if ICANN were to abandon its agreement with the U.S. Government, what measures could be put in place to ensure that they would remain accountable to the public good? In response, the team incorporated the specific commitments of the AoC into a proposed Section 4.6 of the bylaws.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Affirmation of Commitments, September 30, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 ICANN Bylaws, Article 4.6
  3. See also Article 1.2 of the ICANN Bylaws
  4. [ Archive - Bylaws as adopted October 1, 2016
  5. ICANN 60 Archive - Transcript, Cross Community Session on Operating Standards for Reviews, October 30, 2017; page 12-13 (Steve DelBianco)