Major event organized by UNESCO for the promotion of indigenous languages in Paraguay

On 3 July 2018, the International Seminar "Empowerment of speakers of the local language, communities and nations" was opened in Asunción, Paraguay. The opening session was attended by high-level representatives of the national and regional authorities, and UNESCO representative, who jointly acknowledged the importance of languages for creating truly inclusive societies for all citizens.

During the three-day event, the participants in the Seminar presented the achievements and potential of the comprehensive language policies for sustainable development and urged all relevant stakeholders to take necessary measures for the integration of indigenous languages into the broad frameworks of policies and strategies in the countries of the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.
Taking advantage of the results of the International Conference on Multilingualism in Cyberspace, organized in November 2015 by UNESCO in San José, Costa Rica, the regional gathering in Paraguay provided an open space for elaboration of a set of concrete recommendations for the regional partners’ involvement in the organization of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and development of the UNESCO World Atlas of Languages.

The set of recommendations calling upon for a joint regional effort include:

  • Establishment of National Committees for the celebration of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
  • Establishment of Regional Monitoring and Cooperation Mechanisms.
  • Establishment of a budget to safeguard and strengthen indigenous languages.
  • Promote strategies to strengthen interculturality that contribute to combat linguistic and cultural discrimination.
  • Strengthening of indigenous languages presence on the cyberspace.
  • Holding sub-regional meetings and regional consultations for the elaboration of a strategic document concerning the promotion, access and support of indigenous languages in the LAC region; and,
  • Declaration of the International Decade on Indigenous Languages 2020-2030.

The International Seminar was organized by the Government of Paraguay and the Knowledge Societies Division of UNESCO, in close collaboration with the intergovernmental Information for All  Programme (IFAP), national and regional language harmonization and documentation organizations, research and higher education institutions, civil society, particularly organizations of indigenous peoples in Paraguay and Latin America and Caribbean, as well as with the support of the Permanent Delegation and the National Commission of Paraguay for UNESCO.