2019: International Year of Indigenous Languages

Date d': 
Mercredi, 06 Février 2019

Worldwide | Office of Human Resources (OHR) 

Did you know that there are almost 7,000 languages in the world today – and about 40% of them are endangered? Most of the languages at risk of disappearance are spoken by indigenous peoples.

The languages spoken by 97% of the world’s population account for 4% of the world’s languages. The remaining 96% of the world’s languages is spoken by only 3% of the world’s population. The absence of adequate measures to address this issue could become a direct threat to languages in lesser use.

A depletion in the number of the world’s languages would considerably reduce the cultural diversity of the world and lead to an irreparable loss of the traditional knowledge and vital ecological wisdom, often embedded in indigenous languages.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages to preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages and improve the lives of those who speak them. 

It will contribute to achieving the objectives set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An event to mark the occasion took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 28 January. It was co-organized by UNESCO, UNDESA, and the members of the Steering Committee for the International Year. In New York, the President of the General Assembly convened a high-level event on 1 February.

To protect all languages and to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism, join the campaign on indigenous languages!

Fill out this short questionnaire online to participate and for the chance to be featured in a future story.

For more information, please visit the International Year of Indigenous Languages website.