Mark your calendar. 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
The 55th meeting of the 3rd Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, saw the adoption of the resolution on “Rights of indigenous peoples”. Among others, the resolution stresses the urgent need to preserve, promote and revitalize endangered languages, and further proclaims 1 January 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages, inviting UNESCO to “serve as the lead agency for the Year.”
The text which is co-authored by the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Ecuador, and cosponsored by over 50 Member States, draws the attention to the critical loss of indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages at the national and international levels. It further encourages Member States to work towards achieving the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the light of the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and decides to convene a high-level event to mark the tenth anniversary in 2017.
The Resolution also reaffirms the importance of the empowerment and capacity building of indigenous women and youth, including their full and effective participation in decision-making processes in matters that affect them directly, including policies, programmes and resources, in particular in the areas of health, education, employment and the transmission of traditional knowledge, languages and practices. Additional emphasis has been put on international cooperation to support national and regional efforts to maintain and strengthen the distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions of indigenous peoples, encouraging Member States to give due consideration to all the rights of indigenous peoples in fulfilling the commitments undertaken in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in the elaboration of national programmes.
A system-wide action plan has been welcomed to ensure a coherent approach to achieving the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, encouraging the funds, programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations system, resident coordinators and United Nations country teams to implement this plan in full alignment with national development needs and priorities.