CCNSO logo.png
Industry: ccTLDs
Founded: 2003
Members: 165

The Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) is a body within ICANN created by and for ccTLD managers. It provides a forum for topical issues relating to ccTLDs from a global perspective.[1]


The ccNSO provides a platform for nurturing consensus, technical cooperation, skill-building, and facilitating the development and implementation of best practices for ccTLDs and their managers.

The ccNSO provides ccTLD managers a way to work together with other stakeholders and communities, such as the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) and the Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO).[2]

ccNSO Membership

Membership in the ccNSO is open to all managers of an ISO 3166 country-code top-level domain. The managers must apply, but there are no fees or costs incurred by becoming a ccNSO member.[3] A ccTLD registry operator's participation in the ccNSO is entirely voluntary. Likewise, they do not have to adopt nor are they bound by ICANN consensus policies; ccTLDs can operate without interference from ICANN.[4]

ccNSO Council

The ccNSO is overseen by its council, which is in charge of coordinating the functions of the larger group and managing its policy recommendations. The councilors lead many ccNSO discussions and aim to develop official community positions for their board recommendations. Between the three ICANN conferences, the council hosts meetings via conference calls.

There are three councilors per global region, and three councilors are chosen by ICANN's NomCom. A term on the Council lasts three years, and the election cycle is staggered so that each year there are a total of 18 councilors representing five regions. The three chosen by the NomCom represent a business perspective from outside the ccTLD community. All councilors are able to be re-appointed following the conclusion of their term.[5]


Current councilors include:[6]


Asia Pacific


Latin America

North America

Nominating Committee Appointees

The ccNSO also contributes one member to ICANN's NomCom, and this position is currently held by Annebeth Lange.[7]

ccNSO Policy Development Process

The ccNSO develops and recommends global policies to the ICANN Board for issues relating to ccTLDs. These processes are managed by the ccNSO Council and typically organized through Working Groups. One of the key issues on which the ccNSO has made policy recommendations was on the introduction of Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) ccTLDs. The process is as follows:

  1. The ccNSO Council, ICANN Board, a Regional ccTLD organization, an SO/AC, or 10 members of the ccNSO requests an Issue Report.
  2. The ccNSO Council appoints an issue manager, who determines whether the issue is within the scope of ccNSO, which is defined and limited in the ICANN Bylaws.
  3. If the issue falls within ccNSO's scope and the Council approves the Issue Report, a formal PDP begins, with the ccNSO Council giving public notice and opening a Public Comment period.
  4. The ccNSO Council appoints a Working Group to develop the policy and submit an Initial Report for the Public Comment Period.
  5. The WG reviews the comments and produces a Final Report, which it sends to the GAC for input.
  6. The ccNSO engages in a two-stage vote. First, the ccNSO Council deliberates over the Final Report. If the council approves, then it makes recommendations to ccNSO members. Second, the members vote and if they approve, the ccNSO submits the Final Report to the ICANN Board.
  7. The ICANN Board votes on the Final Report recommendations.[8]



One of the biggest complaints with the structuring of ICANN's DNSO came from ccTLD registry operators, who felt that the supporting organization was mainly concerned with gTLDs and that they needed their own separate organization. On October 29, 2002, the country code managers emphasized their dissatisfaction by withdrawing completely from the DNSO.[9] This action prompted and expedited the replacement of the DNSO with the GNSO, which was created in December 2002. Work began on creating the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) in September 2002, culminating in the creation of the ccNSO at ICANN 17 in June 2003.[10]

ccNSO Review

On August 29, 2019, Meridian Institute (MI) released the final report of its review of the ccNSO. The review asked whether 1) the ccNSO has a continuing purpose in ICANN; 2) structural or operational changes would improve the ICANN body's effectiveness; and 3) ccNSO is accountable to all stakeholders. To answer these questions, MI conducted 45 targeted stakeholder semi-structured interviews, administered an online survey resulting in 78 complete responses from 111 individuals, observed ICANN 63 and ICANN 64, and gathered feedback from the Review Work Party (RWP), at ICANN 64 and ICANN 65, and the Public Comment proceedings.[11]

Review Findings

Issue Recommendation 1 Recommendation 2 Recommendation 3
Continuing purpose Generate materials that articulate the value of the ccNSO to potential, new, and current members
More participation, diversity, and leadership needed in WG/Committees Amend Annex B of the Guidelines to say that the Call for nominations, Selection Process, and Selection Criteria shall employ a 1/3 quota system for individuals with < 3 years Make a roster of volunteers and their contact information Standardize the process for nominating/appointing WG Chairs
IANA Naming Function Review Team Bylaws should allow the 3 ccNSO seats to be geographically diverse and membership-neutral
CcNSO Council Limit the number of consecutive terms a Councilor can serve, with an option for a waiver if needed (the 2010 ccNSO Review included this recommendation, but it was not adopted then due to lack of feasibility across all regions)
CcNSO Meetings Programme Committee Small regional group discussions are needed, followed by small group topical discussions to encourage more participation ICANN should provide real-time scribing of ccNSO meetings
Onboarding Translate ccNSO course on the ICANN Learn portal into most common languages Streamline the mentorship program include newcomer resources on the website
Accountability Immediately update the website, which is the most outdated of all SO/ACs CcNSO Council should adhere to council practice guidelines Future Independent Examiners should have access to archived mailing lists and be able to join as an observer to the mailing lists[12]

Review Work Party Response

Recommendation Y/N RWP reason/action However...
Communications Materials N The pool of next-generation ccTLD managers is very limited; it is not worth the effort Will make an "outreach and engagement framework"
1/3 quota N Too limiting and members rely on their employers to be able to participate
Volunteer roster N Tried it before; didn't work
Standardize process for nominating/appointing WG chairs N Only an issue of perception; members know about the process
IANA Team N Already implemented
Limit consecutive council terms N Too hard to find other councilor candidates
More participation at ccNSO Meetings Programme Committee N Already offer virtual meetings
Real-Time scribing Y Will continue to ask for the service It is up to ICANN
Improve onboarding Y Will continue to ask for the service It is up to ICANN
Better mentorship program Y Will begin thinking about a framework
Newcomer resources Y Depends on improvement to website Difficult and not urgent
Update website Y Will send a letter to ICANN Board; top priority It is up to ICANN
Adhere to guidelines N Council already does; the agenda and decision list are published in time
IE access to mailing list Y Depends on information shared Only for verification purposes[13]

More Information

For more information on the ccNSO, visit the official website at