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Welcome 2021 from the ICANN Asia Pacific Office

Happy New Year! As we look ahead into the new year, I would like to take the opportunity to say that I am proud to be part of the Internet community, working with you through what has been a most challenging 2020.

As we are not out of the woods yet with regard to the global pandemic, much of our work will still be conducted virtually for the time being. However, I remain optimistic and look forward to the day when we can see each other in person.

The Asia Pacific Regional Plan FY21-25, which was developed in consultation with the APAC community in 2020, will continue to guide our focus areas in the year ahead. Despite the travel and work-from-home limitations, we are making headway in a number of areas. I will share some highlights and examples.

As a technical organization, we continue to contribute to strengthening the security of the Domain Name System (DNS) and DNS Root Server system and hope to identify more opportunities to work with you. We are seeing interest from the APAC community in key technical projects, such as Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) and Identifier Technologies Health Indicators (ITHI). Collaborating with India's Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), we recently conducted an advanced DNS training course for the technical community in India, and are exploring making this a regular program in the APAC region.

The APAC Space network has continued to grow, and we have noted interest to leverage our community network in a couple of areas. The first is to grow an informed community network to better understand Root Server System matters, where APAC community members could tap on the knowledge and experience of APAC community members who are currently participating in the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) and the Root Server System Governance Working Group (RSS-GWG). The second is to develop a regional mentorship program, working towards APAC community members learning first hand from APAC ICANN veterans in the participation of ICANN's policy development. We hope that these efforts will contribute to ICANN's multistakeholder model of governance.

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Universal Acceptance (UA) are critical issues for the APAC community, as they form part of the infrastructure that serves the needs of the global Internet user base. Among others, we recently teamed up with the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD) to provide a series of trainings on the technical aspects of UA and serve as a forum to discuss how to effectively address UA issues in the region. If you know of opportunities to further raise awareness in the region, or to develop the capacity of software and email service providers to adopt IDNs and UA, please reach out to us.

One can only imagine what life would be like if we had to go through the pandemic without the Internet. This also highlights the importance of your work in the ICANN community, as we continue to evolve the unique identifiers system that will allow the Internet to continue benefiting mankind, and to overcome whatever challenges might come our way.

May good health and happiness be with you in 2021!


    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"""" is not an IDN."