[Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Action for WT5 Members - Definition of Geographic Terms

Jaap Akkerhuis jaap at NLnetLabs.nl
Fri Jan 12 16:07:16 UTC 2018

 Nick Wenban-Smith writes:

 > Thanks Japp for that reply. We appreciate your expertise to guide us in this area!
 > I was just taking the source of country names from the ISO website
 > "[ISO3166] does not define the names of countries - this information
 > comes from United Nations sources (Terminology Bulletin Country
 > Names and the Country and Region Codes for Statistical Use maintained
 > by the United Nations Statistics Divisions)".

This is some old text which does not reflect the current situation.
The Technology bulletin is not published anymore for quite some
time. It is replaced by an on line database [1].  This is the
principle source the 3166 MA uses for country names.

The Statistical Divisions also maintains a list [2], the principal
goal is to define codes for statistical use. It states that the names
used are "not necessarily to their official name as used in formal
documents" and that does "not imply the expression of any opinion
whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations
concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area
or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers
or boundaries".

So this reference is actually not that useful when talking
about country names.

 > Are these sources publicly available (e.g. to prospective
 > applicants for a new gTLD) or in practice is use of the 3166
 > standard as a short cut to the official names of countries recognised
 > by the UN the best we can do (realising its limitations and that
 > it won't always be in sync)?

See the links in the footnotes.

 > I can see that from a purist's point of view it is perhaps
 > inelegant, but is there a plausible alternative?

There is not really something compact as the ISO standard that I
know.  I suggest to take a look at the site for the United Nations
Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) [3]. There is a
collection of links to various information sources.



[1] Terminology database: <https://unterm.un.org/UNTERM/portal/welcome>
[2] Statistic division codes: <https://unstats.un.org/unsd/methodology/m49/>
[3] UNGEGN site: <https://unstats.un.org/unsd/geoinfo/UNGEGN/links.html>

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