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Czech Government approves request to enter the short country name “Česko”/”Czechia” in UN databases

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic will request the United Nations to enter the foreign language forms of the short country name “Česko” in two UN country name databases – the UNTERM and UNGEGN, as decided by the Government of the Czech Republic at its meeting on 2nd May 2016. The country’s official political name “Česká republika” will remain unchanged. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will notify this request to the United Nations in the coming weeks.

The Czech form of the short country name (“Česko”) is currently listed in the international database of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names. However, the foreign language forms are not listed, although they were already standardized together with the Czech form and published in an official notice of the Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping and Cadastre in 1993. At the time of the publication, the Czech Language Institute confirmed that all these forms are linguistically correct.

The short country name is to be included in the UNTERM (United Nations Terminology Database) and UNGEGN (United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names) databases in the official languages of the United Nations (UN databases display country names in six official UN languages): Czechia (English), Tchéquie (French), Chequia (Spanish), Чехия (Russian), and the Arabic and Chinese forms. The short name does not replace the full formal name of the Czech Republic that will continue to be used on official occasions.

The above short names (e.g. “Czechia” in English) are simply the foreign language equivalents of the short geographic name “Česko”. It is up to each speaker or writer to decide whether to use the long form (“Česká republika”/”Czech Republic”) or the short one (“Česko”/”Czechia”). However, it is recommended to opt for the short form in situations where formal country names are not necessary (sports events, marketing, etc.).