A significant step has been taken with the publishing of the “Los Pinos Declaration [Chapoltepek] – Making a Decade of Action for Indigenous Languages”. The Declaration is the Outcome Document of the high-level closing event of the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL2019) and is now available online in English, French and Spanish.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on indigenous communities, and has highlighted once again the importance of linguistic diversity, including in times of crisis,” emphasized UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mr Moez Chakchouk, during the online event organized by the UNESCO Office in Mexico on 15 July 2020 to launch the release of the Los Pinos Declaration. Underscoring the significance of the document, he added: “There is an urgent need to draw attention to the critical loss of indigenous languages; to preserve, revitalize and promote them; and to take steps both at the national and international levels”.
Lauding the content of the declaration, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the indigenous peoples, Ms Yalitza Aparicio, expressed: “I wish with all my heart that the Declaration of Los Pinos ‘Building a Decade of Actions for Indigenous Languages’, obtains fruitful results and that we realize that the world must be united, not only by obligation, but by empathy, and that it is essential form alliances and take inclusive actions to stop the progressive disappearance faced by the 6,700 indigenous languages in the world, since 2,680 (40%) of the languages are in imminent danger of disappearing. It is in our hands to prevent this tragedy”.
The Secretary of Culture of Mexico, Ms Alejandra Frausto Guerrero, also emphasized the importance of a long-term commitment to the cause of indigenous languages: “As a Nation, we know that one year – although the International Year of Indigenous Languages was very worthy – is not enough to build substantive public policies in the face of the threat posed by the unification of a single culture or the predominance of a single culture over the others. The drive ant intention of being on the forefront of this effort to seek to seek this declaration, to make propose a decade is because we believe that in 10 years that seed can be sown, multiple seeds much deeper.”
The Los Pinos Declaration [Chapoltepek] comes out of the high-level closing event which was organized by UNESCO and the Government of Mexico, in cooperation with regional, national and international partners, on 27 and 28 February 2020 at the Los Pinos palace within the Chapoltepek Forest, Mexico City, Mexico.
The Los Pinos Outcome Document presents the key lessons learnt from the activities during IYIL2019. It includes milestones for developing the future Global Action Plan for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2019.
It sets out the key guiding principles for the International Decade, including the centrality of indigenous peoples with the slogan ‘Nothing for us without us’. The Declaration asserts this principle in decision-making, consultation, planning and implementation processes. This centrality, according to the Declaration, also applies to the compliance with international norms and standards protecting indigenous peoples, and to coordination across the UN-system.
The document also highlights expected impact and outcomes of the International Decade, such as the need for the full spectrum of human rights and fundamental freedoms that deal with language vitality and sustainability issues, greater engagement, inclusion and empowerment of indigenous language users.
The objectives of the International Decade are also outlined according to a timeframe that seeks to culminate in the mainstreaming of indigenous languages, linguistic diversity and multilingualism-related aspects into global sustainable development frameworks.
In order to ensure that indigenous language users are recognized in economic, political, social and cultural spheres, the Declaration identifies strategic directions for enhancing:
- Inclusive and equitable education and learning environments for the promotion of indigenous languages;
- Indigenous languages in justice and public services;
- Indigenous languages, climate change and biodiversity;
- Digital empowerment, language technology and indigenous media;
- Indigenous languages for better health, social cohesion and humanitarian response;
- Safeguarding cultural and linguistic heritage: indigenous languages as vehicle of living heritage;
- Creating equal employment opportunities in indigenous languages and for indigenous language;
- Indigenous languages for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The release of the Los Pinos Declaration marks a critical step towards building the Global Action Plan for the International Decade. It creates a platform for joint, targeted and long-term actions in promoting indigenous languages worldwide, and draws from the lessons learnt and good practices of the IYIL2019.
UNESCO, as lead UN agency of the IYIL2019, will be coordinating the implementation of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, including its preparatory phase 2020 – 2021, in cooperation with other UN agencies and a wide range of stakeholders.