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Unicode is standard which aims to correctly index most writing systems glyphs and ensure a shared and consistent representation and encoding of those. It is particularly important now as previous standards failed to cover use-cases where several scripts would be used in the same context. It would lead to characters being misrepresented or simply ignored. Unicode was build on top of those previous standards for inter-operability reasons.
It is important to make the distinction between Unicode as a standard and the various character encodings implementing the Unicode standard such as UTF-8, UTF-16, or UCS-2.