Experts on standardizing place names wrap up meeting at UN

29 April 2004

A United Nations expert group on standardizing the way place names are spelt and pronounced, both locally and by the world at-large, wrapped up its latest session today at UN Headquarters in New York.

With harmonized place names becoming an essential element of international communication, nearly 200 experts met for the past eight days during the 22nd session of the UN Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN).

One initiative to emerge from this year’s session was the formation by African countries of a Task Team, headed by representatives from Ghana, Algeria and South Africa, to rally support for the establishment of domestic names committees and accelerate the standardization of geographical names on the continent.

A German proposal seeking to combine national data stocks of officially approved geographical names from each of the European Union member countries into a European geographical names network, to be called EuroGeoNames, was also announced.

UNGEGN first convened in 1960 to encourage the consistent use of place names through international collaboration, the wider use of nationally authorized names and the development of guidelines, digital place name databases and training programmes.

Its next session is scheduled to take place in 2006 in Vienna.


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