27.04.2018 - New York Office

UNESCO presents proposed Action Plan for the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages


“Indigenous Languages matter for social, economic, political development, peaceful co-existence and reconciliation with our societies. UNESCO will be assisting with the International Year of Indigenous Languages; however it can only be achieved by working together with you”

On 16 April 2018, UNESCO participated in the 17th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). During the second plenary session, Ms. Irmgarda Kasinskaite, Programme Specialist at UNESCO, outlined and presented on the Action Plan for the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, which will be led and organized by UNESCO. The Action Plan serves as the guiding document for joint efforts to promote indigenous languages around the world in 2019.

In her statement, Ms. Kasinskaite talked about how the International Year aims to draw attention to the critical loss of indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote them, as well as to the necessity to take further urgent steps at national and international levels. The freedom to express themselves in their own language and to allow free exchange of knowledge are core components of human rights. Ms. Kasinskaite highlighted that UNESCO “always considers cultural diversity and multilinguism to have a key role in fostering pluralistic, equitable, open and inclusive knowledge societies.”


The Action Plan acts as the ground document of the implementation plan for UNGA resolutions, and contributes to put the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Issues into effect. In addition to outlining the core principles of the Action Plan, Ms. Kasinskaite also encouraged Member States and organizations to get involved through multi-stakeholder participation, namely by getting involved in the steering committee or ad-hoc groups.

The steering committee comprises one Member State representing each region; leaders and representatives of indigenous peoples, interested Member States, expert colleagues, the special rapporteur of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UNESCO and UNDESA. Special ad-hoc groups will also provide advice to specific aspects of the Action Plan, and allow all other interested parties to be involved.

Aside from the plenary session, there was also a reception held during the evening that was co-organized by FILAC and UNDESA, and co-sponsored by UNESCO. The event was a celebration of the upcoming IY2019, and included cultural performances with indigenous music and artists. On behalf of UNESCO, Ms. Kasinskaite thanked those who have supported UNESCO’s efforts in planning the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and once again emphasized the importance of indigenous knowledge and languages to sustainable development. She welcomed the participation and collaboration with colleagues present at the reception, and stressed the importance of partnerships to create more inclusive and knowledgeable societies.

For more information or to get involved with the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, kindly contact: indigenouspeoples@unesco.org 

<- Back to: Dynamic Content Single View
Back to top