The Arabic Internet Names Consortium (AINC), under the patronage of the Government of the Republic of Tunisia, H.E. Minister of Communication Technologies Mr. Ahmed Friaa & Dr Ferial Béji, President and Managing Director of The Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) are organizing the Fourth Arabic Internet Names Consortium (AINC) Meeting, the Second Arab ccTLD meeting and the Third Arabic Domain Name seminar.

AINC is an international organization drawing its membership and soliciting participation from ccTLD managers, organizations and individuals worldwide in an inclusive way. It is founded for the facilitation of the internationalization of the Internet for all Arabic speaking people of the world, allowing access without linguistic barriers at all levels.

The objective of AINC is to coordinate efforts to develop and deploy Arabic Domain Names system and applications. This non-commercial coordination includes providing users with the capability of using Arabic language and its standard character set to write domain names in Arabic and navigate the Internet. AINC’s main objective is to Arabize domain names, as the present domain names system (DNS) accepts only Latin letters URLs.

The United Nations has received a proposal on Internet Governance submitted by the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium’s Chairman Mr. Khaled Fattal during a three-day Global Forum at the UN headquarters in New York.

Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Kofi Annan concluded his welcoming speech by saying: “In your talks over the next two days, I urge you to keep in mind the paramount goal of helping people everywhere build free and decent lives. That is the real backbone of your deliberations. Whatever you do must contribute to the cause of human development”.

The proposal focused on how to multilingualize the Internet in order to bridge the digital divide as part of Internet and information society governance. The proposal was addressed to the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi A. Annan, and calls for a multilingual Internet with an action plan executable in 6 to 9 months.

It revolves around the fact that no governance of any sort can take place without the inclusion and participation of the local and regional communities of the world, whose native languages are not English. While the Internet is generally accessible to English speakers, many people are excluded from the cyber world as up to 80% of the world’s population is not familiar with English. Two options were suggested to achieve a multilingual Internet, either we teach English to the entire world, or we make the Internet accessible to these communities in their own native languages.

The proposal to the UN presented an action plan that advocates the Coordination Method that empowers local regions in the decision-making of what becomes authorized in Multilingual TLDs. This ensures the safety and integrity of the system. This is in contrast to the single authority mechanism commonly known in the English or ASCII Internet, which is currently run by ICANN.

“The single authority approach is incomplete and would be severely handicapped and challenged to succeed in a multilingual Internet structure if adopted,” said Fattal.

“This is why we propose the Coordination Approach that empowers the local communities to take charge and make decisions that affect their communities, while utilizing the developed technical and linguistic expertise already in place at MINC,” he added.

He pointed out that the proposal would show tangible results in a short period of time.