A significant step was taken on 10 December 2009 towards greater linguistic diversity on the Internet when UNESCO signed an agreement with ICANN - the body that assigns online addresses to Internet users - to help put into operation the first multilingual domain names.
The cooperation agreement follows the recent decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to introduce IDNs, or Internationalized Domain Names, in non-Latin script. Until now, domain names in Internet addresses (for example .org, .com) were written using characters from the Latin alphabet exclusively. On November 16, in the first phase of the plan, ICANN began accepting requests from representatives of countries and territories around the world for new country codes in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts. Non-Latin script users will eventually have access to internet addresses completely in their own language.