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ICANN Montréal Meeting Topic: Review of ICANN's Geographic Regions

Posted: 5 June 2003


One of the core values underlying ICANN's structure and operations is support for broad and informed participation reflecting the geographic diversity of the Internet at all levels of policy development and decision-making. This support is implemented by numerous requirements for geographic diversity reflected in ICANN's bylaws, in the operating procedures of ICANN entities, and in its culture. These requirements are framed in terms of Geographic Regions, as provided in Article VI, Section 5 of the bylaws:


. . . As used in these Bylaws, each of the following is considered to be a "Geographic Region": EURrope; Asia/Australia/Pacific; Latin America/Caribbean islands; Africa; and North America. The specific countries included in each Geographic Region shall be determined by the Board, and this Section shall be reviewed by the Board from time to time (but at least every three years) to determine whether any change is appropriate, taking account of the evolution of the Internet.

At its July 2000 meeting in Yokohama, the ICANN Board adopted resolution 00.64 instructing the ICANN staff to assign countries to geographic regions on the basis of two documents of the United Nations Statistics Division, as revised through 16 February 2000.

Nearly three years have passed since the July 2000 review was completed. At its Montréal meeting, therefore, the ICANN Board will review the definition of ICANN's Geographic Regions. It is proposed that the basic definition of the Geographic Regions remain in effect, based on reference to the current versions of the United Nations Statistics Division documents.

Current Allocation Methodology

In advance of the July 2000 Yokohama meeting, ICANN posted a topic paper on "Definition of ICANN's Geographic Regions" and specifically requested the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to give its "views on the proper allocation of countries, territories, and distinct economies as recognized in international fora among the five geographic regions defined by the ICANN Bylaws."

The GAC recommended that ICANN make reference to existing international norms for regional distribution of countries. After this recommendation and comments made at the ICANN Public Forum on 15 July 2000, the Board discussed the appropriate means for allocating countries and territories to the ICANN Geographic Regions. In the discussion, the Board expressed concern about itself deciding how to allocate countries to Regions, but noted that it was necessary to do so and that it was best to refer to some independently prepared and authoritative list for this purpose. The ICANN staff proposed use of the February 2000 version of two lists prepared by the United Nations Statistics Division, and also recommended (based on GAC comment) that dependent territories be grouped together with the country of citizenship for the territory. Thus, a resident of New Caledonia (overseas territory of France located in the Pacific Ocean) would be grouped with EURrope rather than Asia/Australia/Pacific.

The Board adopted the following resolution:

Whereas, Article V, Sec. 6, of the ICANN Bylaws calls upon the Board to determine a specific allocation of countries among five general geographic regions (EURrope; Asia/Australia/Pacific; Latin America/Caribbean islands; Africa; North America); and

Whereas, this year's At Large membership elections will entail the selection of one Director from each of ICANN's five geographic regions; and

Whereas, the Governmental Advisory Committee, upon the ICANN staff's request for advice, recommended that "With regard to the definition of ICANN's Geographic Regions, ICANN should make reference to existing international norms for regional distribution of countries," it is

Resolved [00.64] that the staff is directed to assign countries to geographic regions on the basis of the United Nations Statistics Division's current classifications of "Countries or areas, codes and abbreviations," as revised 16 February 2000, and "Composition of macro geographic (continental) regions and component geographical regions," as revised 16 February 2000.

The above methodology – employing the lists prepared by the United Nations Statistics Division and recognizing the grouping of dependencies with their mother countries – was then implemented.

Proposal to Update Allocation

The allocation methodology adopted by the Board in July 2000 has worked without significant problems in the last three years. The 2002 ICANN reforms, which emphasized the importance of ensuring geographic and other types of diversity within ICANN, make the definition of the Geographic Regions relevant not only for the membership of the Board, but also for the GNSO Council and the ALAC. This important reliance on the Geographic Regions, without significant controversy, indicates that the basic methodology for allocating countries and territories to the five ICANN Geographic Regions is basically sound.

The United Nations Statistics Division last updated the relevant lists in March 2003. The most relevant list is "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings", which assigns countries and territories to various regions that are easily identified with the five ICANN Regions (EURrope; Asia/Australia/Pacific; Latin America/Caribbean islands; Africa; and North America) established in Article VI, Section 5 of ICANN's bylaws.

Based on this list, and making adjustments to group territories with the countries of citizenship of their inhabitants, the following list of countries/territories, ISO 3166-1 codes, and ICANN regions would be as follows:


AF = Africa
AP = Asia/Australia/Pacific
AQ = Antarctica
EUR = Europe
LAC = Latin America/Caribbean islands
NA = North America

Alpha-2 Code Country or Territory Physical Region ICANN Region
ac Ascension Island AF* EUR
ad Andorra EUR EUR
ae United Arab Emirates AP AP
af Afghanistan AP AP
ag Antigua and Barbuda LAC LAC
ai Anguilla LAC EUR
al Albania EUR EUR
am Armenia AP AP
an Netherlands Antilles LAC EUR
ao Angola AF AF
aq Antarctica AQ* AP
ar Argentina LAC LAC
as American Samoa AP NA
at Austria EUR EUR
au Australia AP AP
aw Aruba LAC EUR
az Azerbaijan AP AP
ba Bosnia and Herzegovina EUR EUR
bb Barbados LAC LAC
bd Bangladesh AP AP
be Belgium EUR EUR
bf Burkina Faso AF AF
bg Bulgaria EUR EUR
bh Bahrain AP AP
bi Burundi AF AF
bj Benin AF AF
bm Bermuda NA EUR
bn Brunei Darussalam AP AP
bo Bolivia LAC LAC
br Brazil LAC LAC
bs Bahamas LAC LAC
bt Bhutan AP AP
bv Bouvet Island AF* EUR
bw Botswana AF AF
by Belarus EUR EUR
bz Belize LAC LAC
ca Canada NA NA
cc Cocos (Keeling) Islands AP* AP
cd Congo, The Democratic Republic of the AF AF
cf Central African Republic AF AF
cg Congo AF AF
ch Switzerland EUR EUR
ci Cote d'Ivoire AF AF
ck Cook Islands AP AP
cl Chile LAC LAC
cm Cameroon AF AF
cn China AP AP
co Colombia LAC LAC
cr Costa Rica LAC LAC
cu Cuba LAC LAC
cv Cape Verde AF AF
cx Christmas Island AP* AP
cy Cyprus AP AP
cz Czech Republic EUR EUR
de Germany EUR EUR
dj Djibouti AF AF
dk Denmark EUR EUR
dm Dominica LAC LAC
do Dominican Republic LAC LAC
dz Algeria AF AF
ec Ecuador LAC LAC
ee Estonia EUR EUR
eg Egypt AF AF
eh Western Sahara AF AF
er Eritrea AF AF
es Spain EUR EUR
et Ethiopia AF AF
fi Finland EUR EUR
fj Fiji AP AP
fk Falkland Islands (Malvinas) LAC EUR
fm Micronesia, Federated States of AP AP
fo Faroe Islands EUR EUR
fr France EUR EUR
ga Gabon AF AF
gd Grenada LAC LAC
ge Georgia AP AP
gf French Guiana LAC EUR
gg Guernsey EUR* EUR
gh Ghana AF AF
gi Gibraltar EUR EUR
gl Greenland NA EUR
gm Gambia AF AF
gn Guinea AF AF
gp Guadeloupe LAC EUR
gq Equatorial Guinea AF AF
gr Greece EUR EUR
gs South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands LAC EUR
gt Guatemala LAC LAC
gu Guam AP NA
gw Guinea-Bissau AF AF
gy Guyana LAC LAC
hk Hong Kong AP AP
hm Heard Island and McDonald Islands AP* AP
hn Honduras LAC LAC
hr Croatia EUR EUR
ht Haiti LAC LAC
hu Hungary EUR EUR
id Indonesia AP AP
ie Ireland EUR EUR
il Israel AP AP
im Isle of Man EUR EUR
in India AP AP
io British Indian Ocean Territory AP* EUR
iq Iraq AP AP
ir Iran, Islamic Republic of AP AP
is Iceland EUR EUR
it Italy EUR EUR
je Jersey EUR* EUR
jm Jamaica LAC LAC
jo Jordan AP AP
jp Japan AP AP
ke Kenya AF AF
kg Kyrgyzstan AP AP
kh Cambodia AP AP
ki Kiribati AP AP
km Comoros AF AF
kn Saint Kitts and Nevis LAC LAC
kp Korea, Democratic People's Republic of AP AP
kr Korea, Republic of AP AP
kw Kuwait AP AP
ky Cayman Islands LAC EUR
kz Kazakhstan AP AP
la Lao People's Democratic Republic AP AP
lb Lebanon AP AP
lc Saint Lucia LAC LAC
li Liechtenstein EUR EUR
lk Sri Lanka AP AP
lr Liberia AF AF
ls Lesotho AF AF
lt Lithuania EUR EUR
lu Luxembourg EUR EUR
lv Latvia EUR EUR
ly Libyan Arab Jamahiriya AF AF
ma Morocco AF AF
mc Monaco EUR EUR
md Moldova, Republic of EUR EUR
mg Madagascar AF AF
mh Marshall Islands AP AP
mk Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of EUR EUR
ml Mali AF AF
mm Myanmar AP AP
mn Mongolia AP AP
mo Macao AP AP
mp Northern Mariana Islands AP NA
mq Martinique LAC EUR
mr Mauritania AF AF
ms Montserrat LAC EUR
mt Malta EUR EUR
mu Mauritius AF AF
mv Maldives AP AP
mw Malawi AF AF
mx Mexico LAC LAC
my Malaysia AP AP
mz Mozambique AF AF
na Namibia AF AF
nc New Caledonia AP EUR
ne Niger AF AF
nf Norfolk Island AP AP
ng Nigeria AF AF
ni Nicaragua LAC LAC
nl Netherlands EUR EUR
no Norway EUR EUR
np Nepal AP AP
nr Nauru AP AP
nu Niue AP AP
nz New Zealand AP AP
om Oman AP AP
pa Panama LAC LAC
pe Peru LAC LAC
pf French Polynesia AP EUR
pg Papua New Guinea AP AP
ph Philippines AP AP
pk Pakistan AP AP
pl Poland EUR EUR
pm Saint Pierre and Miquelon NA EUR
pn Pitcairn AP EUR
pr Puerto Rico LAC NA
ps Palestinian Territories AP AP
pt Portugal EUR EUR
pw Palau AP AP
py Paraguay LAC LAC
qa Qatar AP AP
re REURnion AF EUR
ro Romania EUR EUR
ru Russian Federation EUR EUR
rw Rwanda AF AF
sa Saudi Arabia AP AP
sb Solomon Islands AP AP
sc Seychelles AF AF
sd Sudan AF AF
se Sweden EUR EUR
sg Singapore AP AP
sh Saint Helena AF EUR
si Slovenia EUR EUR
sj Svalbard and Jan Mayen EUR EUR
sk Slovakia EUR EUR
sl Sierra Leone AF AF
sm San Marino EUR EUR
sn Senegal AF AF
so Somalia AF AF
sr Suriname LAC LAC
st Sao Tome and Principe AF AF
sv El Salvador LAC LAC
sy Syrian Arab Republic AP AP
sz Swaziland AF AF
tc Turks and Caicos Islands LAC EUR
td Chad AF AF
tf French Southern Territories AP* EUR
tg Togo AF AF
th Thailand AP AP
tj Tajikistan AP AP
tk Tokelau AP AP
tl Timor-Leste AP AP
tm Turkmenistan AP AP
tn Tunisia AF AF
to Tonga AP AP
tr Turkey AP AP
tt Trinidad and Tobago LAC LAC
tv Tuvalu AP AP
tw Taiwan AP* AP
tz Tanzania, United Republic of AF AF
ua Ukraine EUR EUR
ug Uganda AF AF
uk (gb) United Kingdom EUR EUR
um United States Minor Outlying Islands AP* NA
us United States NA NA
uy Uruguay LAC LAC
uz Uzbekistan AP AP
va Holy See (Vatican City State) EUR EUR
vc Saint Vincent and the Grenadines LAC LAC
ve Venezuela LAC LAC
vg Virgin Islands, British LAC EUR
vi Virgin Islands, U.S. LAC NA
vn Viet Nam AP AP
vu Vanuatu AP AP
wf Wallis And Futuna AP EUR
ws Samoa AP AP
ye Yemen AP AP
yt Mayotte AF EUR
yu Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) EUR EUR
za South Africa AF AF
zm Zambia AF AF
zw Zimbabwe AF AF


* Not on UNSD list; assigned to Physical Region based on other reasons.

Totals within ICANN Region:

Africa - 54
Asia/Australia/Pacific - 73
EURrope - 75
Latin America/Caribbean islands - 33
North America - 8
Total - 243

Public Comments Invited

Comments areinvited on the above proposal to update the allocation of countries and territories to the ICANN Geographic Regions. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to <> (Forum closed 18 August 2003) on or before 20 June 2003. In-person comments may be made at the ICANN Public Forum on 25 June 2003 in Montréal.

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