“We must recognise and nurture this power, in order to leave no one behind, to craft a more just and sustainable future for all,” said Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO.
Bokova made the remarks on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, which is themed: “Quality Education, Language(s) of Instruction and Learning Outcomes.”
She said: “This underlines the importance of mother languages for quality education and linguistic diversity, to take forward the new 2030 agenda for sustainable development.”
In Sustainable Development Goal 4, the 2030 agenda focuses on quality education and lifelong learning for all to enable every woman and man to acquire skills, knowledge and values to become everything they wish as well as participate fully in their societies. “This is especially important for girls and women, as well as minorities, indigenous peoples and rural populations.
This is reflected in UNESCO’s Education 2030 Framework for Action, a road-map to implementing the 2030 Agenda, encouraging full respect for the use of mother languages in teaching and learning, and the promotion and preservation of linguistic diversity,” the UNESCO official said in a statement.
Multilingualism is essential to driving these objectives forward and it is vital for success across the 2030 Agenda, regarding growth, employment and health, as well as sustainable consumption and production, and Climate Change.
UNESCO brings the same focus to advancing linguistic diversity on the Internet, through support to relevant local content as well as media and information literacy.
“Through the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) programme, UNESCO is highlighting the importance of mother and local languages as channels for safeguarding and sharing indigenous cultures and knowledge, which are vast reservoirs of wisdom,” she observed.