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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 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. The ccNSO made policy recommendations on the introduction of Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) ccTLDs.

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 ccTLD managers responsible for managing an ISO 3166 country-code top-level domain, 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]


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.[8] 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.[9]

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 Working Party (RWP), at ICANN 64 and ICANN 65, and the Public Comment proceedings.[10]

Review Findings

Issue Recommendation 1 Recommendation 2 Recommendation 3
Continuing purpose Generate materials that articulate the value of theccNSO 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 outdate 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[11]

More Information

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