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22.12.2009

Director-General of UNESCO welcomed introducing Multilingual Domain Names System in the Internet

A significant step was taken towards greater linguistic diversity on the Internet. UNESCO signed an agreement with ICANN - the body that assigns online addresses to internet users - to promote using the first multilingual domain names.

The cooperation agreement follows the recent decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to introduce IDNs, or Internationalized Domain Names, in non-Latin script.

Until now, domain names in internet addresses (e.g., .org, .com) were written using characters from the Latin alphabet exclusively. On November 16, in the first phase of the plan, ICANN began accepting requests from representatives of countries and territories around the world for new country codes in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts. Non-Latin script users will eventually have access to internet addresses completely in their own language.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, welcomed ICANN’s move to introduce IDNs. “This is a development that UNESCO has long been advocating. The internet must be linguistically diverse so that all language groups can harness its unique potential,” she said. “Through this new agreement, UNESCO and ICANN will work together to bring more people into the information network.”

Nowadays over half of the internet users around the world don’t use English language as their native language. Using IDNs enables the Internet to become global and accessible for everyone.

The UNESCO-ICANN agreement covers a variety of cooperation areas so that the new development can benefit as many language groups as possible. UNESCO will notably call upon its network of linguistic experts to help in the process; inform Member States about the new IDNs; encourage involvement of other relevant United Nations agencies; and establish working groups to help developing and least-developed countries participate fully.

Information from www.unesco.ru and www.unesco.org

 
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