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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

UNESCO,ICANN back multilingualism in cyberspace

The leadership of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and global coordinator of internet protocol, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) have entered a deal by signing a letter of intent to support multi-lingualism in cyberspace.

This deal was consummated between ICANN president, Mr. Rod Beckstrom and UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mr. Janis Karklins during the recently concluded 5th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Vilnius, Lithuania.

With this, UNESCO and ICANN agreed to work together to further strengthen multilingualism in cyberspace and facilitate the successful implementation of internationalized country code top-level domains (IDN ccTLDs).

The signing officials said, sets the tone for a common front and interest regarding the internationalization of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS).

“The Letter of Intent aims at the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement signed in December 2009. Both organizations agreed to collaborate in the development and internationalization of the Internet DNS and to undertake a variety of activities,” a press statement made available to ITRealms Online disclosed.

The major objective of this joint effort, UNESCO official, said, is to provide assistance to its Member States by creating a reference table of country names and abbreviations for countries whose official languages are based on Cyrillic script.
Other languages and scripts are expected to follow.

At the UNESCO Open Forum organized in the framework of IGF 2010, Rod Beckstrom, ICANN President said, “ICANN welcomes UNESCO’s plan to provide linguistic support to those who want to participate in the fast track process but need linguistic help in preparing their request.”

On the other hand, Karklins of UNESCO confirmed that his organisation with its mandate, is well placed to invite, encourage and assist its Member States to participate in the development of an IDN ccTLD country names cum abbreviations reference table.

“Both organizations recognize the importance of the Internet for building inclusive knowledge societies, and strengthening and promoting cultural diversity and multilingualism in cyberspace,” he said.

The exact scope of the project is yet to be defined, but the concrete joint activity would already facilitate the introduction of internationalized domain names at the top level, helping UNESCO Member States to prepare their IDN ccTLD applications.

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