UN: 2019 declared International Year of Indigenous Languages


The year 2019 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019).


The year will be officially launched at a special eventة on January 28ة at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the lead organization coordinating the yearlong celebration.

In this aspect, this initiative aims at raising awareness on a particular topic related to languages and the means to strengthen and reinforce the many standard-setting tools adopted by the international community which include specific provisions to promote and protect languages.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2016 adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The UNESCO launched a website in August 2018, to help raise the awareness on the IY2019 and on the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages around the world.

Endangered languages

According to UN’s cultural agency, there are some 6,000-7,000 languages in the world today. About 97% of the world’s population speaks only 4 % of these languages, while only 3 % of the world speak 96% of all remaining languages.

A great majority of these languages, spoken mainly by indigenous peoples, will continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

Indigenous figures in brief:

– 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









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