Why Indigenous Languages?

knowledge

Unique systems of knowledge and understanding of the world.

peace

Sustainable development, investment, peace building and reconciliation

rights

Fundamental human rights and freedoms for indigenous peoples

inclusion

Social inclusiveness, literacy, poverty reduction and international cooperation

diversity

Cultural values, diversity and heritage

7

thousand

Languages
spoken
worldwide

370

million

Indigenous
people
in the world

90

countries

With
indigenous
communities

5

thousand

Different
indigenous
cultures

2680

languages

In danger

About IY 2019

Languages play an important role in the daily lives of all people.

It is through language that we communicate with the world, define our identity, express our history and culture, learn, defend our human rights and participate in all aspects of society, to name but a few. Through language, people preserve their community’s history, customs and traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression.  They also use it to construct their future.

Language is pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, good governance, peace building, reconciliation, and sustainable development.

IY2019 will promote indigenous languages in these five key areas

1. Increasing understanding, reconciliation and international cooperation.

2. Creation of favourable conditions for knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good practices with regards to indigenous languages.

3. Integration of indigenous languages into standard setting.

4. Empowerment through capacity building.

5. Growth and development through elaboration of new knowledge.

Join Us

in celebrating 2019 as year of the Indigenous Languages

Main Objectives

Focus global attention on

  • the critical risks confronting indigenous languages
  • their significance for sustainable development, reconciliation, good governance and peacebuilding

Target steps that will

  • improve quality of life
  • enhance international cooperation
  • strengthen intercultural dialogue
  • reaffirm cultural and linguistic continuity

Increase the capacity

of all stakeholders to take measures that will support, access and promote indigenous languages in accordance with the legitimate rights of the people who speak them

Get Involved

We hope actions taken during IY2019 will generate as much interest and positive change as possible for indigenous languages and those who speak them. 

It is with this in mind that we invite you to get involved in making the year a success. The survival and robustness of indigenous languages plays a vital role in the sustainable development of the communities that speak them.

As such, events taking place during IY2019 should take into account the three main themes of the year which encompass both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Organizers

Main Facilitator

With support

In collaboration

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Partners

UN partners

Governmental partners

Social – Civil society partners

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a major milestone.
But it will not succeed without the support of people everywhere.