A while back we debated about “what the Kosovo ccTld will be” so here is an explanation of how country code top level domains (ccTlds) are awarded in general.
ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) do not decide who gets what country code extension nor do they delegate country code extensions. Country codes are delegated according to the ISO 3166-1 standard upon formal recognition by the United Nations.
When a new country is formed and formally recognized by the United Nations a new two letter country code is added to the ISO 3166-1 standard. The list of two letter country codes currently existing in the ISO 3166-1 standard can be seen here.
Only once a country has been assigned its two letter country code per the ISO 3166-1 standard do ICANN and IANA undertake the task of making sure the country code in the DNS root zone matches the corresponding ISO country code. Similarly, when a country ceases to exist, ICANN and IANA make sure the country code is retired from the DNS root zone.
From the formal “Procedure for Establishing ccTLDs” text at IANA.org:
“The IANA is not in the business of deciding what is and what is not a country, nor what code letters are appropriate for a particular country. Instead, the IANA employs a neutral list of two-letter codes maintained by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency. The IANA’s policy is to create new ccTLDs only when they are listed on the ISO 3166-1 list. For a recent case in which this policy was applied, see the IANA Report on Request for Delegation of the .ps Top-Level Domain.”
As can be seen from above, by following the formal procedures outlined, ICANN and IANA remain neutral by relying on decisions made by the United Nations – a world recognized and impartial decision body.
So, when can folks expect country code top level domain names for Kosovo, Transnistria, Abkhazia and other territories? Only once the territories are formally recognized as countries by the United Nations.