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[ih] NIC, InterNIC, and Modelling Administration

On 2/18/11, Jaap Akkerhuis <jaap at nlnetlabs.nl> wrote:
>     Just out of curiosity could some explain how the UN got involved
>     with ISO 3316?
>     The connection is not obvious to me.
> In short, the connection is defined in ISO 3166 itself. For new
> country, the Statistical Bureau of the UN in New York asks for it
> when they need it for statistical purposes. The ISO 3166 Maintenance
> Agency then allocates a two and three alpha code according to the
> rules in ISO 3166.

Sorry for not getting back to this before now.  A little history may
be helpful.

In some respects, the UN was there first, with the Statistical Bureau
(which has had several names) registering official country names for
UN member states and assigning the three-digit codes.  There may have
been UN-assigned alphabetic codes at one stage too -- I don't remember
if indeed I ever knew.  The "member states" restriction caused a
problem, because there were lots of territories, protectorates,
non-member states, and other "entities" out there that were important
for coding for some purpose, with commerce, shipping, and postal
activities being high on the list.  So ISO (TC46) developed 3166 with
a reciprocal agreement with the UN Statistical Bureau: the UN could
assign a name and numeric code and then ask/tell the 3166 folks to put
the entity in the database and assign the alpha codes as Jaap
indicates.  Or the 3166 Registration Authority (early) / Maintenance
Agency (later) could accept an application from an entity, using
criteria specified in the Standard, put English and French names into
the database, assign the alpha codes, ask the UN whether it wanted to
assign a numeric code, and put the code into the database when it got
it back.

In the middle of the last decade, after an incident involving what
3166/MA considered an abusive use of the Standard with a high
likelihood of more to come (sadly, the abuse came from the direction
of ICANN), and noticing that the number of new territories,
protectorates, and other non-country entities not recognized by the UN
and not already registered was declining to near-zero, 3166/MA adopted
a policy that was intended to make registration directly with them
(rather than via the UN) nearly impossible.    There has been a
subsequent update to the Standard itself that tuned the policy a bit
but didn't change its nature -- it would take a really exceptional
circumstance for a new entity to register in the 3166 database without
going through the UN.  And that brought the situation to that which
Jaap describes in his note.