IATI strongly recommends the use of the Unicode UTF-8 or UTF-16 character encodings to provide support for the widest range of languages. These encodings may be declared at the beginning of XML documents as follows:
<?xml version=”1.0” encoding=”UTF-8”?>
<?xml version=”1.0” encoding=”UTF-16”?>
The XML standard requires all conformant software to support both of these encodings, so the choice is up to the publisher. In most cases, UTF-8 should result in smaller documents even for non-alphabetic languages like Han Chinese, since much of an IATI document consists of XML markup, (alphabetic) codes, and numeric values.
IATI discourages the use of non-Unicode character encodings such as “BIG5” or “ISO-8859-1”, since these might not be supported by all XML processing software, and the Initiative’s goal is maximum transparency and portability.