19.09.2011 - UNESCO

UNESCO and ICANN host expert working group meeting on Cyrillic script

UNESCO and ICANN Partnership Agreement signing ceremony at IGF 2010 in Vilnius - © UNESCO

UNESCO, in cooperation with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), hosts an expert group meeting on the Cyrillic script from 20 to 21 September 2011 at its Headquarters in Paris. This is one of the activities under the Partnership Agreement on internationalized domain names (IDNs) signed by ICANN and UNESCO. Six case studies on Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Greek and Latin scripts are being conducted to identify issues associated with the safe and beneficial delegation of IDN variant Top-Level Domains (TLDs).

The main objective of the IDN Variant Issues Project is to identify the issues that need to be solved to facilitate a good and safe user experience before the delegation of IDN Variant TLDs can proceed. The Project proposal states:

Managing the IDN variants is a complex and important subject, and the success of the Project is dependent on significant community expertise input and cooperation in doing the work. There is no universally agreed definition of a ‘variant’. One of the definitions indicates that a variant character can be identified with two or more different Unicode Code Points with graphic representations that may or may not be visually similar. IDN variant TLDs contain one or more characters that have such variants. (English example: ‘colour’ and ‘color’.)

The case study teams, working in the framework of this Project, address a range of technical, policy, linguistic and usability issues. The members of the teams are volunteers who have diverse set of skills necessary to cover the range of issues under each study. A case study team on the Cyrillic script was established in July 2011 and was working remotely on the Cyrillic script variant case since then. The meeting in Paris is the first face-to-face gathering of the team, who is expected to produce a report with recommendations for the forthcoming ICANN’s meeting (24-28 October 2011, Dakar, Senegal). It is also part of UNESCO’s activities aiming at the implementation of the Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace (2003).

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