Country Classification

This guide will help you find, name, and otherwise play with polities on NBN.

Working with Countries

Within NBN, there are three second-level entities you are likely to search for:

  • Internationally recognized sovereign states
  • Dependent and specially administered territories
  • States with limited diplomatic recognition

Internationally Recognized Sovereign States

Country coding in NBN follows the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 standard. Sovereign states with a 3166-1 code should be referenced as two-letter sub-directories within the appropriate continental directory. (See this page for guidance on continent coding.)

Dependent and specially administrated territories

Many overseas territories have an associated ISO 3166-1 code. For example, the overseas department of Martinique is designated MQ. It is acceptable to create second-level entries for such regions. Other (typically small) dependencies, such as Akrotiri and Dhekelia, will lack a 3166-1 code. In this case, Akrotiri’s entry would be placed subordinate to the GB entry, and should not be directly included in any continental listings.

States with Limited Diplomatic Recognition

Some areas, such as the region of Taiwan and surrounding islands, lack full diplomatic recognition but do carry ISO 3166-1 codes. It is permissible to instantiate listings to such places off of the continental indices. Regions lacking both an ISO 3166-1 code and broad-based international recognition, such as the self-proclaimed state of Transnistria, should be approached with caution. Subject to future revision, such listings should be marked appropriately and placed subordinate to the jurisdictional authority recognized by the United Nations over the disputed region. (In the case of Transnistria, within Moldova’s listing.)

Advisory Note

Without prejudice to positions on status, and in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence, the Republic of Kosovo may be represented with the widely-implemented provisional ISO 3166-1 code XK.

Naming Conventions

Territorial names are standardized to the most recent publication from the United Nations Group of
Experts on Geographical Names
(UNGEGN), currently E/CONF.101/25. Toponymy is a politicized endeavour, and no standard selected will satisfy all parties. Please adhere to the best available copies of UN guideance when making changes to the repository with respect to place names.

Clarity and distinctiveness are core values of NBN. To that end, consistent use of place names makes a difference. While not a strict requirement (as it is when making modifications to the repository), it is best practice to use UNGEGN-designated place names or ISO codes whenever one comments, assists others, or otherwise interacts with the project. Adherence to a standard promotes peace, heightens the precision with which contributors can interact with one another, and preserves deliberative energy for questions more central to the project.

A Final Notice

The delegation of countries or areas to specific groupings is for coherence, convenience, and consistency. On the part of both NBN and its contributors, it implies neither any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories, nor any statement or endorsement to any extent and of any kind as to territorial sovereignty. While conversations regarding toponyms and status are important, this venue is most emphatically not a theatre for such wars of attrition. One is free to open an issue here, but it behooves one to be mindful of the fact that this is both not the United Nations, and not a forum for exsanguination over the United Nations.

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Page instantiated: 27 March 2017.
Date of last revision: 19 February 2019.