Forms for new UN M49 region code

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Apr 3 18:36:37 CEST 2017

The UN Statistics Division has made some changes recently to their
standard for coding countries and world regions, which is one of the
core standards for the Language Subtag Registry.

First, they are now styling the standard "M49" instead of the former,
semi-official "M.49".

Second, they are presenting code values less than 100 without leading
zeros. For example, Albania is now 8 instead of 008, and Belgium is 56
instead of 056. These will continue to be zero-padded for the Registry,
as seen below.

Third, they have introduced a sharp new website with sortable tables and
downloadable code lists in multiple formats. No more scraping the HTML

Fourth, there is no longer any mention of code 3 (003) for North
America, which was previously mentioned only in a footnote to one of the
web pages. I'm currently checking with UNSD to find the status of this

Finally, and most importantly for BCP 47, they have introduced a new
sub-region code, 202 for "Sub-Saharan Africa." This new code encompasses
all of the existing sub-region codes for Africa except 015 for Northern
Africa, creating a three-level hierarchy within M49 for Africa.

Below are the proposed record and registration form to add the new
region subtag. Please send comments by Monday, April 17 AoE.


File-Date: 2017-xx-xx
Type: region
Subtag: 202
Description: Sub-Saharan Africa
Added: 2017-xx-xx



1. Name of requester: Doug Ewell
2. E-mail address of requester: doug at

3. Record Requested:

Type: region
Subtag: 202
Description: Sub-Saharan Africa

4. Intended meaning of the subtag:

5. Reference to published description of the language (book or article):

6. Any other relevant information:

This registration tracks a change made to the United Nations Statistics
Division M49 standard in 2017, adding the code element '202' for
Sub-Saharan Africa. This designation encompasses the existing regions
Western Africa (011), Eastern Africa (014), Middle Africa (017), and
Southern Africa (018).

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, US |

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