UNESCO Intersectoral Platform: Languages and multilingualism

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UNESCO Intersectoral Platform: <b>Languages and multilingualism</b>
  • © UNESCO/Maro Haas

As a highly interdisciplinary domain, languages and multilingualism are strategic in regard to the essential challenges facing humankind. They lie at the very core of UNESCO’s mission and objectives. Linguistic factors are essential for (a) developing effective citizenship empowerment and ability to participate in social and public life; (b) achieving EFA goals and knowledge transmission adapted to the culture, environment and needs of the learners; (c) the promotion of multilingualism, namely in creative industries; (d) the actual enjoyment of fundamental human rights, including the right to education, self-expression, benefiting from scientific progress and participation in cultural life. At the global level, UNESCO will advocate, support and monitor actions to promote the principles enshrined in or derived from the Organization’s normative tools related to languages and multilingualism. At the local level, UNESCO will support the elaboration of coherent regional and national language policies and of measures aimed at a wider use of as many languages as possible in families and communities and in all domains of public life.

The platform will involve all five Major Programmes (I, II, III, IV and V) and will build on the intersectoral mid-term strategy elaborated by an intersectoral task force, set up in 2006. It draws on input from all Major Programmes as follows: MP I – contribution to national language policies and strategies, through multilingual education and the introduction of mother tongue in formal and non-formal education systems and literacy programmes; MP II: recognition of languages as vehicles for transmission of local and indigenous knowledge on issues related to natural resource management and sustainable development; MP III: enhancement of the human rights-based approach to issues related to languages and multilingualism, migrations, in particular in urban contexts and the roles of languages and translation in intercultural dialogue; MP IV: promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity and intercultural dialogue; preservation of endangered languages; and promotion of multilingualism, especially in creative industries; MP V: promoting pluralism and cultural diversity in the media and international information networks through the development of multilingual diverse content and policy advice for the inclusion of new languages in the cyberspace/digital world.

Expected results at the end of the biennium

  • Local and endangered languages integrated into national linguistic policies;
  • Multilingualism promoted in Member States through capacity-building for multilingual education in the context of lifelong learning;
  • Vernacular languages promoted as vehicles for an enhanced transmission of local and indigenous knowledge;
  • Multilingualism in cyberspace enhanced and cultural diversity and pluralism fostered through local language media;
  • Observatory on multilingualism established providing information on and analysis of policies, strategies, good practices and research related to languages and multi-lingualism.

Indicative allocations from the following MPs: MP I $100,000; MP II $50,000; MP III $30.000;
MP IV $220,000; and MP V $210,000.

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