Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

Module 3 – New Policy Development Process

Last Updated:

View full PDF version

Executive Summary


  • The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) uses the GNSO policy development process (GNSO PDP; see Annex A of the ICANN Bylaws) when developing recommendations for "consensus policies" pertaining to generic top-level domains (gTLDs) for consideration by the ICANN Board.
  • The GNSO PDP Manual (see Annex 2 of the GNSO Operating Procedures) contains guidance that supplements the GNSO PDP.
  • It is recommended that GNSO Council members and anyone interested in participating in the GNSO PDP read the GNSO Policy Development Process and Policy Development Process Manual in their entirety.
  • Following, in this Executive Summary, are the sequential steps that are among the most important in the completion of the GNSO PDP.

Request for an Issue Report

  • This request may come from the ICANN Board, a member of the GNSO Council or an ICANN Advisory Committee (AC); it should contain a description of the issue raised for consideration in a GNSO PDP and the problems the issue causes.

Preparation of the Issue Report

  • Staff prepares a Preliminary Issue Report that includes a description of the issue, the ICANN General Counsel's opinion regarding scope, and Staff's opinion on whether a PDP should be commenced on the topic.
  • The Preliminary Issue Report is posted for an ICANN public comment period.
  •  Staff considers the comments received to produce a Final Issue Report.
  • A Final Issue Report is delivered to the Council for its consideration.

Formal Initiation of the PDP by the GNSO Council

  • For issue report requests made by the ICANN Board, the GNSO Council initiates the PDP after the delivery of the Final Issue Report. No formal Council vote is needed.
  • For all other issue report requests, initiation of the PDP requires a Council vote.

Development and Approval of the PDP Charter

  • After initiating a PDP, the Council forms a group to draft the PDP Charter for the PDP Working Group (WG).  
  • The Council approves the proposed PDP Charter.

Formation and Activities of the PDP WG

  • Upon approval of the PDP Charter, the Council forms the PDP WG.
  • The PDP WG deliberates and develops its recommendations based on input from the GNSO's Stakeholder Groups and Constituencies; and the broader ICANN community.

Preparation of the PDP WG's Initial Report

  • The PDP WG prepares an Initial Report containing, among other elements, its PDP Recommendations.
  • This Initial Report is posted for public comment.

Preparation of the PDP WG's Final Report

  • The PDP WG's Final Report describes the WG's final PDP Recommendations, which take into account the public comments received.
  • A public comment period is not required for completion of the Final Report but is recommended if the Final Report substantially differs from the Initial Report.

Consideration and Approval by the Council of the PDP Recommendations

  • The Council votes to approve the WG's PDP Recommendations in accordance with the voting threshold guidelines described in the ICANN Bylaws. The GNSO Council may refer any PDP Recommendation about which it has concerns or suggestions back to the PDP WG for further work.

Preparation of a Recommendations Report

  • If the GNSO Council approves the PDP Recommendations, a Recommendations Report (Board Report) is prepared and reviewed by the GNSO Council for the ICANN Board.

Consideration and Adoption by the Board of the PDP Recommendations

  • Board votes on whether to adopt the PDP Recommendations approved by the Council.
  • If the Board does not adopt the PDP Recommendations, the GNSO Council may commence a specific process to affirm or modify the recommendations and submit a Supplemental Recommendation report to the Board.