by Fahd A. Batayneh — Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator, Middle East
The Task Force on Arabic Script IDNs (TF-AIDN) has been in full swing working to fulfill its scope and work plan. When the TF-AIDN was formed, the scope of the work included:
- Arabic Script Label Generation Ruleset (LGR) for the Root Zone
- Second level LGRs for the Arabic script
- Arabic script Internationalized Registration Data Protocol and Practice
- Universal acceptability of Arabic script IDNs and variants
- Technical challenges around registration of Arabic IDNs and variants
- Operational software for Arabic script IDN registry and registrar operations
- DNS security matters specifically related to Arabic IDNs and variants
- Technical training material around Arabic script IDNs
With 4 months passing since the formation of the task force, where do things stand at?
Membership of the Task Force
Since its formation, the task force has on-boarded two new members that have expertise in the Arabic language and the Urdu language. As we speak, the TF-AIDN has 21 members from 11 countries that have expertise in 9 Arabic Script languages as well as many other African languages that use the Arabic Script.
Arabic Script General Panel (AS-GP) Document
A sub-group from within the TF-AIDN was formed back in November 2013 to draft an initial version of a General Panel Document for the Arabic Script (AS-GP). This document is part of the Root Zone LGR Project that will feed into an Integration Panel document consisting of many other scripts. One interesting fact about the AS-GP document is that the Arabic Script community is the first community to have formed a Task Force to look into this document, and was the first to submit the outcomes of its work officially to ICANN on January 13, 2014.
The TF-AIDN kindly asks community members to provide comments and feedback on the Proposal for Generation Panel for Arabic Script Label Generation Ruleset for the Root Zone [PDF, 1.17 MB] by February 12, 2014. Comments should be addressed to ArabicGP@icann.org. The recipients of these comments are members of the TF-AIDN as listed in the Proposal. A public archive of exchanges taking place on this mailing list is available at http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/arabicgp/.
Logistics for the 1st TF-AIDN Face-to-Face Meeting
Another sub-group from within the TF-AIDN was formed in January 2014 to draft a summarized plan for the first F2F meeting scheduled to take place in Singapore during March 20-22. Since 11 of the 21 members of the TF-AIDN are new to the ICANN Process, members of the task force who are ICANN veterans felt that Singapore would be an ideal location for members to meet and learn more on ICANN. This not only will assist the task force in pushing its work forward during the 3-day meeting, but will also fulfill another mandate of the Middle East Strategy in the form of having new faces from the region included in the ICANN process.
Some funds have been set aside to assist some members of the TF-AIDN in attending the 3-day F2F meeting as well as the ICANN week. A set of criteria’s have been developed in cooperation with some MESWG members to choose successful funded travelers. A call has been circulated to the TF-AIDN mailing list, and the call is open until February 7. Successful candidates are expected to attend the 3-day TF-AIDN F2F meeting, all meetings related to IDNs, the fellowship morning sessions (for those who have not attended an ICANN meeting in more than 3 years), as well as other proposed closed meetings with relevant experts.
Work on “Principles for Code Points”
Another sub-group from within the TF-AIDN was formed in January 2014 to draft a document explaining the Principles for Code Points for the Arabic Script. The sub-group is currently brainstorming this topic intensely, and held a very productive teleconference call.
In the coming days, the sub-group is expected to draft an initial document after which it will be circulated to the TF-AIDN for further discussions and feedback. This document will be one of the core pieces of the Arab Script Root Zone LGR puzzle.
The Middle East Strategy Working Group (MESWG) is an ad-hoc group of Internet experts from the region the strategy covers; i.e. the 22 Arab States, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (collectively defined as “The Region”). The working group consists of 21 experts from 11 countries of the region. ICANN has coordinated the formation of the working group, and provides all the necessary support to drive its mandate. ICANN’s strategic goals for its engagement in the region are to:
- Foster two-way engagement between ICANN and the broader Internet community in the region;
- Build strong and competitive domain name industry in the region; and
- Promote multi-stakeholder Internet governance mechanisms in the region.
These goals are divided into three strategic focus areas, namely: DNS Security and Stability, Domain Name Industry, and Internet Governance Ecosystem.
More on the MESWG can be found on the dedicated Wiki online at https://community.icann.org/display/MES/Middle+East+Working+Group.