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ICANN and APTLD Join Efforts to Promote Universal Acceptance in the APAC Region

LOS ANGELES – 6 January 2021 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in partnership with the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD), today announced the creation of a collaborative Universal Acceptance (UA) training program for members of the Asia Pacific (APAC) community. The APAC Regional Universal Acceptance Training Program will provide a series of trainings on the technical aspects of UA and also serve as a forum to discuss how to effectively address UA issues in the region.

Universal Acceptance is key to achieving a digitally inclusive Internet by ensuring that all domain names and email addresses – regardless of script, language or character length – are accepted equally by all Internet-enabled applications, devices, and systems. This includes supporting all country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), new and long generic top-level domains (gTLDs), and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs).

The program is a joint effort between ICANN and APTLD designed to raise awareness of UA challenges in the APAC region, help build capacity to address those challenges, and assist ccTLDs and other stakeholders in developing and implementing robust IDN and UA-related systems and policies. The APTLD is the regional association for ccTLDs in the APAC region, which is home to over 3,200 languages written in a variety of scripts resulting in the greatest number of potential IDNs. APTLD membership currently includes 50 ccTLDs from the APAC region, and an additional 19 associate members made up of leading registries and registrars.

"In pursuit of its mission, APTLD always welcomes a collaborative approach as the most efficient tool to tackle industry challenges in the largest and most populated region on the planet," said Leonid Todorov, General Manager of APTLD. "For decades, ICANN and APTLD have partnered on a number of occasions and the time has now come to tackle the global challenge of UA and IDNs in a consistent and coherent way on equal footing."

"Building relationships and programs with forward-thinking organizations like the APTLD will strengthen our efforts to reach a more diverse Internet user base and help foster consumer choice and innovation through UA and the implementation of IDNs," said Sarmad Hussain, ICANN Sr. Director of IDN and UA Programs. "We look forward to working with the APAC community and launching similar efforts with other organizations committed to helping make UA a reality globally."

The new joint training program will consist of monthly webinars starting in January 2021. The online sessions, delivered by leading industry experts and practitioners, will address various UA and IDN-related topics each targeted at relevant regional audiences including policymakers, technical administrators, ccTLD managers, registrars and their resellers, and local regulators and businesses.

To view the training schedule and register for a session, click here.

APAC UA Training Program Schedule

Dates and times are tentative and subject to change.

Date (tentative) Session Audience Description
20 January 2021 Configuring for Email Address Internationalization (EAI) Technical (systems) A detailed training on how to configure email systems to support EAI.
7 April 2021 Programming for supporting Universal Acceptance Technical (programmers) A detailed training on how to design and develop applications and systems to support UA.
5 May 2021 Universal Acceptance: Its Impact and Next Steps ccTLD managers, local regulators, tech, and business A dialogue on how UA issues impact the APAC community, how best to address these issues, and highlight business opportunities by being UA-ready.

In addition to building partnerships like the one with APTLD, ICANN continues to support the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), which was organized by the community to help promote UA efforts around the world. For more information, click here.

The APAC Universal Acceptance Training Program is formulated under the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ICANN and APTLD. For more information, please contact sec@aptld.org or uaprogram@icann.org.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

About APTLD

APTLD (Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association) is an organisation for ccTLD (country-code top-level domain) registries in the Asia Pacific region. APTLD was originally established in 1998 and in 2003 legally established in Malaysia.

APTLD works as the forum of information exchange regarding technological and operational issues of domain name registries in the Asia Pacific region. Also, as an interface to other international Internet coordinating bodies, APTLD fosters and elevates participation of AP ccTLDs in these global fora, as well as acting in the best interest of APTLD members in the global Internet policy making process.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."