UNESCO celebrates the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

09.08.2018 -The Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay, in her commemorative message for International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, called for people to use the opportunity offered by this day to continue raising public awareness about the precarious situation of indigenous peoples, particularly in terms of migration, which is the Day’s theme for 2018.

In her message, Ms Azoulay stated that many indigenous peoples are still exposed to difficult situations, which are aggravated when faced with forced migrations, which are often the result of ecological disasters or social or political conflicts. She stressed that UNESCO works with indigenous peoples to help them deal with the challenges that affect them, in accordance with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Audrey Azoulay calls on the international community to mobilize and ensure full respect for indigenous people’s dignity, well-being and fundamental freedoms.

2019, International Year of Indigenous Languages

The website launched today by UNESCO detailing the actions to be held during this commemorative year contributes to raising awareness of the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages throughout the world. There are currently 6,000-7,000 languages in existence, although 97% of the world's population only speaks around 4% of them. The vast majority of minority languages are spoken mainly by indigenous peoples, and will continue to disappear at an alarming rate if measures are not taken to safeguard them. Without an adequate response to address this problem, the history, traditions and memories of the people who speak these languages will be lost, and linguistic diversity will be considerably reduced throughout the world.

The website contains information on how to commemorate this day and on the actions and measures to be taken by United Nations agencies, governments, indigenous peoples' organizations, civil society, academia, the public and private sectors, and other interested parties. In addition, this website includes a calendar of events, a space for members’ collaboration, access to resources in video, audio, image and text formats, and information on different forms of association and sponsorship benefits. Users can also learn about events in their respective regions, and find out how to take part, contribute and benefit from these activities.

Recent actions of the Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean on intercultural issues

In April 2017, OREALC/UNESCO Santiago presented a first study on Indigenous Knowledge and Practices in Education in Latin America (2017). An updated version of this document is being prepared and will include an expansion and deepening of the analysis on the inclusion of concepts and approaches of indigenous knowledge in the development and implementation of educational policies, this time with respect to Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. The results of this work were presented at the II International Workshop on Indigenous Knowledge in Latin America and the Caribbean in July 2018. This was a parallel event to the meeting of Education Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Cochabamba on the July 25 and 26. The document will be published towards the end of 2018.

As a result of the discussion that took place in this second workshop, and thanks to UNESCO's work on interculturality, proposals were drawn up and then presented to the Education Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean, within the context of the ministerial meeting. The proposal has a comprehensive and human-rights approach and is linked to the global objectives of the 2030 Agenda, focusing on respect for and appreciation of indigenous knowledge in education; its incorporation as a premise of interculturality in educational policies at all levels of education; advances in gender equity and inclusion of indigenous knowledge; and strengthening the commitment of states to promoting policies to revitalize and promote indigenous languages.

Furthermore, OREALC/UNESCO Santiago is preparing the ground for a meeting of UNESCO chairs who work on intercultural issues, and is mapping the university institutions that address these contents, among other efforts.

Back to top