CcNSO Policy Development Process - IDN Strings

CcNSO Policy Development Process - IDN Strings
Status: In Progress
Issue Areas: Internationalized ccTLDs
Date Established: May 21, 2020
Charter: WG Charter
Workspace: Community Wiki

The ccNSO Policy Development Process - (de-) selection of IDN ccTLD Strings (PDP-IDN) working group's goal is to report on and recommend a policy process for the "retirement" (de-selection) of IDN strings associated with country code top-level domains, and to establish a policy for management of variant TLD strings in non-ASCII character sets.[1] ccPDP4 defines the criteria, process, and procedures for (de)selecting IDN ccTLD strings to eventually replace the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process. This PDP has three subgroups: variant management, confusing similarity review, and de-selection.[2]


The IDN Fast Track process was developed to enable ccTLD managers to apply for internationalized versions of their country TLD using non-ASCII character sets. The program launched in 2009.[3] In 2013, the ccNSO delivered a final report regarding a policy development process on IDNs.[4][5] ICANN and the ccNSO both agreed to continue to monitor and evolve the Fast Track program with the mutual understanding that an updated ccNSO policy development process would eventually ensue.[6]

In September 2019, the ccNSO Council notified the ICANN Board that they intended to launch the new policy development process for IDN ccTLD strings, and requested that no further evolution of the Fast Track process be implemented.[3] Via letter back to the Council, the Board acknowledged confirmed this request in October 2019.[7] In the spring of 2020, the ccNSO launched PDP-IDN and sent out a call for members.[8] [9]


The working group charter describes two central issues to be addressed:

  1. The management of variant IDN strings; and
  2. De-selection procedures (comparable to retirement of normal ccTLDs).[10]

Variants of TLD strings are possible within certain character sets such as Arabic or Han. The ICANN Board, in the interests of the stability of the DNS, has issued guidance regarding how and when variant strings will be accepted.[11]

De-selection of IDN strings would, in theory, occur in similar circumstances as the retirement of ASCII two-letter ccTLDs; either because of the removal of a specific country code from the ISO 3166-1 list, or alterations to a country code not currently on the ISO-3166-1 list (i.e. an exceptionally reserved code such as UK).[10]