[locale] ISO 3166 extensions/reserves and usage in locales

From: Philippe Verdy (verdy_p@wanadoo.fr)
Date: Sun Apr 25 2004 - 10:27:45 EDT

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: [locale] ISO 3166 extensions/reserves and usage in locales"

    (I don't know how to post to the CLDR list, so sorry if this question goes to
    the wrong place, this message may be forwarded there)

    ISO 3166 has made some privisions for codes reserved as they are already in use
    by ITU and/or WIPU, even if they are not strictly "assigned". These code do
    exist as there are legitimate needs for use within the area of what we call
    "locales", even though they are not strictly countries or semi-autonomous
    regions and territories, justified by the fact they they are separated from
    their mainland and thus need some separate technical solutions to cover them.

    Here I think about the following codes, used outside of strict ISO 3166

    * [EA] Ceuta and Mellila, two dependencies of Spain [ES] on the Mediterranean
    coast of Morroco [MA]. Their special status do not make them autonomous regions
    like other regions of Spain, and they can't still be considered as part of
    Morocco, as the local population considers itself as Spanish and not Moroccan,
    and mostly speak Spanish. The two cities have a status comparable to Gibraltar
    [GI], a dependency of Great Britain (GB].

    * [IC] Canary Islands, a plain "Autonomous Region" of Spain [ES] (with a status
    similar to other regions of Spain since the adoption of the new post-Franco
    constitution which gives some local governance with the right to legalize
    another language than Castillan Spanish.) The Canary Islands speaks both
    Castillan and one of the four main regional variants of Catalan spoken in Spain.
    This code is used in ITU, but would find also applications to make a distinction
    between the continental forms of Catalan [ca] spoken in Spain [ES] or France
    [FR]. There's probably another code in ISO 3166-2 for this region of Spain. But
    all references I found about it was with [IC] rather than [ES-IC] or something
    else in [ES-*].

    * [AC] Ascension Island, a dependancy of Saint Helena [SH], itself an island
    dependancy in Atlantic Ocean of Britain (GB] both located West of Africa.
    However the Ascension Island is far enough from Saint Helena that the ITU needs
    a separate code for it. May be there's a [SH-AC] subcode in ISO3166-2.

    * [DG] Diego Garcia, an island which is part of the British Territories in the
    Indian Ocean [IO], with a joint military presence of [GB] and [US] with an
    important air-naval force. The special administrative status of this island make
    it inappropriate within [IO], and some databases will need a separate code for

    * [CE] the "Council of Europe", or CoE (no confusion here with the "European
    Council" which is one governing institution of the European Union [EU], grouping
    the ministries of the full EU member countries, today 15, 25 countries in a few
    days on May 1st). In addition to the 15 existing EU members and the new 10 EU
    members, the CoE includeds these 19 + 1 countries, by order of membership:
    - Norway [NO], (in EFTA too)
    - Turkey* [TR],
    - Iceland [IS],
    - Switzerland [CH], (in EFTA too)
    - Liechtenstein [LI], (in EFTA too)
    - San Marino [SM], (in EFTA too)
    - Bulgaria* [BG],
    - Romania* [RO],
    - Andorra [AD],
    - Albania [AL],
    - Moldova [MD],
    - Macedonia (the Former Yugoslav Rep. of) [MK],
    - Ukrainia [UA],
    - Russia [RU],
    - Croatia [HR],
    - Georgia [GE],
    - Armenia [AM],
    - Azerbaijan [AZ],
    - Serbia-Montenegro [YU, CS?],
    - plus Monaco [MC] which is in discussion since several years for a later
    membership to the CoE.
    (* those counties marked with a * are also candidate for the next round of E.U.
    The only few remaining European countries that are not members of the Council of
    Europe are:
    - Belarus [BY]
    - the Holy See (State of the City of Vatican) [VC]
    - ... (sorry, I may have forgotten a few of them)
    The code [CE] is used in many juridic databases related to the European
    legislation. I have been told that membership to the European Union required
    first to become a member of the CoE (I'm not sure of that, even though every of
    15+10 EU member countries comply to this rule, which gives competence to the
    European Court of Justice in La Hayes, where the EU and EFTA are both
    represented too).

    Localization is often driven by language identification, but not only. Official
    status of countries and territories also have its importance (currencies,
    import/export controls on products, services and technologies, tax, and even the
    time format or definition of timezones and daylight rules...). It's hard to put
    all these distinctions into a language code, and a locale is effectively a set
    of conventions (which goes even further than what the POSIX locales allow to set
    with a single environment variable like LANG or LC_ALL).

    My question is then: if Unicode will concentrate to provide a "stable" reference
    for localized data, based on historic RFC 3066 and ISO 3166 and ISO 639, what
    will become these reserved codes? And what about other international
    organizations (notably the United Nations [UN] when it administrates or
    regulates regions like Kosovo in Serbia [YU -> CS?], or the Antarctic
    territories, or historically the Neutral Zone in Cyprus.

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