IGF 2022 WS #500 Role of Community to Achieve Universal Acceptance

Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (13:15 UTC) - Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (14:15 UTC)
Banquet Hall B

Organizer 1: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 4: Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 5: Technical Community, Eastern European Group
Organizer 6: Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 7: Technical Community, African Group

Speaker 1: Hadia Elminiawi, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Anil Kumar Jain, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Maria Kolesnikova, Technical Community, Eastern European Group
Speaker 4: Ajay Data, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Dessalegn Mequanint Yehuala, Technical Community, African Group


Round Table - Circle - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What is the role of the various stakeholders, including businesses, communities and governments, in achieving Universal Acceptance? 2. What are the training and capacity building requirements for addressing Universal Acceptance? 3. As Universal Acceptance requires a broad contribution, what mechanisms are needed for the sustainable growth of Universal Acceptance?

Connection with previous Messages:


17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: We have selected the following Sustainable Development Goals in connection with our theme. How these goals are tied to our theme is mentioned below: 4. Quality Education- 4.7: Universal Acceptance of domain names and email addresses enables to protect the diversity in cultures through supporting the native languages in the DNS. With UA being included in the academic curricula, new graduate develoıpers will be equipped to adopt UA in the internet enabled systems they develop. With UA, all users around the world will have an equal and meaningful internet experience with everyone, no matter what language they use. 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth-8.3-8.9-8.10: When Universal Acceptance is achieved, it will promote consumer choice, and provide broader access to end users. As a result it will improve competition. UA can only be achieved if all stakeholders collaborate. For instance, this includes governments to implement “development-oriented policies” that support UA in their procurement policies. Businesses and governments can expand the capacity of domestic financial and transportation institutions by enabling access to the internet users in their chosen domain name and email addresses in the local languages. This approach will support local culture and products, create new lines of business and encourage entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. Businesses that are UA-ready will be best positioned to reach growing global audiences and maximize revenue potential from the current Internet population, as well as the next billion users expected to come online. 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure - 9.1-9.b-9.c While Universal Acceptance (UA)enables value-added, multilingual and inclusive internet experience for all, it also gives businesses that support customers in this way a first-mover advantage and the potential to capture new increasing revenue streams. UA is the new competitive differentiator every developer should have in their skill set. It offers a $9.8+ billion opportunity to businesses, which is a conservative estimate. UA is essential for developers who want to be at the forefront of their industry and keep pace with the new, global Internet. 10. Reduced Inequalities -10.2-10.3-10.4 The majority of the world does not speak English as a first language or use American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) characters. They are currently excluded from experiencing the full benefits of the Internet simply because they’re unable to use a domain name or email address in their language and script of choice. Through Universal Acceptance (UA), all those who develop, provide or manage online websites and applications have the opportunity to enable users globally to experience the social and economic power of the Internet. Achieving UA ensures every person has the ability to navigate and communicate on the Internet using their chosen domain name and email address that best aligns with their interests, business, culture, language and script. There are important economic and social benefits of supporting multilingual Internet users in their ability to access and connect to ecommerce, local communities and governments, as well as to embrace and proliferate cultural traditions through language. 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions-16.10 There is one world, and one internet. Everyone on this globe has the right to access the internet in their local language. Achieving UA is only possible through policy making, development, training, and deployment in all countries. 17. Partnerships for the Goals-17.10-17.16-17.17-17.6-17.9 Today, many systems across the world, such as trading, national and domestic products are just a click away. While technically accessing the systems is possible, unfortunately not all the systems are UA ready and therefore not accessible by many who use New gTLDs, internationalized email addresses and domain names. We need partnership in connecting the systems as well as the people. Achieving UA requires joint efforts and cooperation of various stakeholders across the world, including, but not limited, to: - Technology enablers - Technology developers - Email software and service providers - Email and system administrators - Top-level domain registries and registrars - Academia - Government policymakers The international cooperation of these multi-stakeholders within the scope of sharing knowledge and expertise about IA will ensure the sustainable development of the Internet in all countries.


The main full topic is Role of Community to Achieve Universal Acceptance, a Prerequisite for Choice and Inclusion on the Multilingual Internet. Nelson Mandela said that: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” Meaningful access to the Internet is only possible if users globally can access it in their own languages and scripts. Only a third of the world's population uses the Latin script and an even smaller number uses only the letters a-z. Rest of the world's population reads and writes in other scripts, including Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Ethiopic, Thai and others. Universal Acceptance (UA) means that everyone globally should be able to access and communicate on the Internet using all valid domain names and email addresses in their languages. UA is necessary for the communities to be able to navigate online in a language they understand and trust. UA also provides choice to the end users to use domain names and email addresses which aligns with their interests, business, and culture (e.g., .网络, .photography, .africa, .tech, .ไทย, موريتانيا). With Universal Acceptance, the Internet can become meaningful, but this is only possible if all of us contribute. If one system is UA-ready, but the others are not, the machines connected to the internet cannot communicate with each other effectively. Universal Acceptance cannot be achieved by just one person or entity. To make the internet UA-ready, it requires efforts by all of us. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, indicated that a safe, inclusive, and equitable digital future is essential for progress and peace. The session will bring together different stakeholders from business, government, technology organizations, and language communities to discuss how the communities can work together to address the UA challenges to help the Internet achieve the vision provided in the UN roadmap for digital cooperation, launched on 11 June 2020, for a digitally interdependent world that “Connects, Respects and Protects” all people, in which digital means and tools do not reinforce inequalities. The session builds on discussions on adoption challenges and opportunities of UA discussed at Asia Pacific Regional IGF and the Africa Regional IGF sessions.

Expected Outcomes

Through the session the community will understand Universal Acceptance (UA) and the need for its adoption for providing inclusion and choice to internet users globally. We will demonstrate the challenges of UA, with the community checking the UA-readiness of their own email systems with the online tool by UASG (see https://uasg.tech/eai-check/). The session will also show that achieving UA is only possible through the joint efforts and cooperation of various stakeholders. Collaboration could be through training, adoption by the businesses, updating academic curricula, upgrading the technology, and by governments through the UA adoption as a prerequisite in their procurement policies. The session will help demonstrate and discuss how UA can help upgrade digital tools to address the current inequality of the Internet so that the Internet “Connects, Respects and Protects” all people using their own language, identity, culture and interests. The session will also aim to find mechanisms which can allow UA-readiness of the technology to grow sustainably across globally.

Hybrid Format: 1. Question: How will you facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees? Answer: With the help of the onsite Moderator and the online Moderator the session will be well coordinated using the Zoom room (or other tool provided by IGF2022 organizers). Also, inputs from both the onsite speakers and online speakers will be well planned so we could get engagements into the programme. Furthermore, the online Moderator will monitor the chat sessions and the questions sessions in the online platform to be used so we could get their inputs and answer all necessary questions from them. 2. Question: How will you design the session to ensure the best possible experience for online and onsite participants? Answer: Equal opportunity will be given to both online and onsite participants so we could take note of their inputs so they can feel engaged. 3. Question: Please note any complementary online tools/platforms you plan to use to increase participation and interaction during the session. Answer: We will use Google sheets to collect necessary information about participants both onsite and online who would want to be contacted later in order to become UA compliant. We will also do a quick online poll to see how many participants use domain names in local languages and also whether their email servers are UA compliant using the online UASG email checking tool.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.


Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

Summary and key takeaways:

UA requires a joint effort by multiple stakeholders. UA-Day is a good opportunity to mobilize all of them together. Here are the main tasks that each stakeholder should do to adopt UA:

    • UA reforms are needed in governments, academia, the domain name industry and technology organizations in collaboration with the language communities.
    • Open source communities, developers should update their products, systems by deploying UA-ready tools and UA-ready code samples. UA should be a part of all developers’ skill set.
    • Academia should include UA in their research, study and curriculum for subjects like software engineering, computer science and informatics. To support hands-on experience, workshops or hackathons should be organized. (Hackathon case study)
    • As governments in Africa are accelerating the roll out of the new generations of digital assets, to support the digitalization of many services, there is a need for UA courses in education for sustainability.
    • End users should demand more UA-ready systems, and report bugs about non-UA ready systems and applications (report issues at https://uasg.tech/global-support-center/).
    • IDNs should be considered a public good to promote digital economic and social inclusion.
    • Awareness is needed to promote the use of domain names and email addresses in local languages by end users.
    • ICANN and IGF should keep UA in the top five priorities to discuss and implement.
    • Local communities should be encouraged to create UA Local Initiatives in their regions and join the UA Ambassador Program to spread UA awareness to all relevant stakeholders.
    • Local communities need to mobilize their services and work to develop label generation rules for their local languages in order to have them in the Domain Name System.

The UASG will announce the date for UA Day soon, which will be a day to celebrate UA milestones and progress, as well as to raise awareness among stakeholders at both the local and global levels. The community is encouraged to participate. There will be a page on www.uasg.tech with more information.


Key Takeaways in Detail

Question to Ajay Data, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group: What role can business and governments play in achieving UA? Answer: It’s an important question because government makes policy, and businesses are supposed to execute those policies and support the government in achieving solutions. For example, in Rajasthan in India, the government worked with local technology firms to provide 70 million people with Hindi email addresses. Business and government must work together to make an impact when it comes to bringing the next billion people online.

Comment from Raymond Selorm Mamattah, E-Governance and Internet Governance Foundation for Africa (EGIGFA): It’s worth noting that in India, all government entities will be UA-ready within the next 18 months.

Question to Hadia Elminiawi, Civil Society, African Group: What role does academia play in achieving UA? Answer: Raising awareness of UA and the need for UA-related skills is important. The academic community must enhance their training and coursework to instill the need for supporting UA in their students to make the Internet more inclusive and teach them how to implement this multilingual computing technology. Academia needs to highlight the socio-economic implications on communities and how policy and governance can impact UA adoption.

Same question to Dessalegn Mequanint Yehuala, Technical Community, African Group: Academia has social responsibilities – UA is the one critical element missing in the localization of the Internet in the truest sense. Gave a description of the various UASG working groups, which academics can contribute to. Educational institutions can also tailor their curriculum toward UA so they can produce students with UA orientation, particularly engineering students.

Question to Maria Kolesnikova, Coordination Center for TLD RU: What role does the domain name industry play in achieving UA? Answer: It’s good news that ICANN and APTLD have developed guidelines for registries like ours. We can’t achieve UA by ourselves. We have launched a special project for developers and system administrators – documentation standards and manuals around how to set up UA-ready systems. We provide training, webinars and even hackathons to engage the technical community.

Question to Satish Babu, ISOC-TRV: What role does the technical community play in achieving UA? Answer: The global population has just crossed 8 billion, and Internet users around 4 billion. We have a long way to go toward bringing everyone online. How do we persuade the technical community to prioritize UA? The technical challenges are non-trivial, and we need a concerted effort from them as well as the language communities. ICANN and the UASG have developed a number of resources to help check UA compliance and become UA-ready.

Question to Hadia Elminiawi, Civil Society, African Group: How can we grow UA adoption in a sustainable way? Answer: UA is a target that is relevant to all countries and can be achieved through a common approach. We need coordinated efforts and policies to ensure that systems work with the common infrastructure of the Internet. Digital transformation also helps accelerate adoption.

Same question to Anil Kumar Jain, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group: To make UA more sustainable, we need an integrated approach – starting with the government and services that impact citizens directly. Next, all players – the technical community, businesses, academia, etc. -- should agree that UA is a priority. Another thing is capacity-building. When you make the whole ecosystem UA-ready, then all the players should understand how to use those systems effectively.

Question: As UA requires a broad contribution, what mechanisms are needed to increase UA acceptance, taking into consideration our global UA Day that we’ll be celebrating?

Answer: UA affects all of us, and we all benefit from it. We need to reach a critical mass of support in systems, services and applications. UA Day is a way to get the global community talking about UA. Just as we celebrate IGF, UA Day is a way to celebrate UA. It’s a chance for, once a year, all the stakeholders to come together and create synergy.

Question to Dessalegn Mequanint Yehuala, Technical Community, African Group: How can we ensure UA is globally successful? Answer: Again, the role of academia is really important. Educating the next generation of developers, programmers and technology enablers on UA helps future-proof their careers and ensures that they are equipped to help build a truly global, inclusive Internet for all.