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Participants at a high-level event in Mexico City on indigenous languages issued a strategic roadmap for the Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032) prioritizing the empowerment indigenous language users, Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced on Saturday.

More than 500 participants from 50 countries, including government ministers, indigenous leaders, researchers, public and private partners, and other stakeholders and experts adopted the Los Pinos Declaration at the end of a two-day event – “Making a decade of action for indigenous languages”, which was organized by UNESCO and Mexico, said UNESCO in a press release.

Under the slogan “Nothing for us without us”, the declaration gives strategic recommendations for the Decade, with emphasis on indigenous peoples’ rights to freedom of expression, to an education in their mother tongue and to participation in public life using their languages.

With regard to participation in public life, the Declaration highlights the importance of enabling the use of indigenous languages in justice systems, the media, labour and health programmes. It also points to the potential of digital technologies in supporting the use and preservation of those languages.

The Declaration recognizes the importance of indigenous languages to social cohesion and inclusion, cultural rights, health and justice and highlights their relevance to sustainable development and the preservation of biodiversity as they maintain ancient and traditional knowledge that binds humanity with nature.

Current data indicates that at least 40 percent of the 7,000 languages used worldwide are at some level of endangerment. UNESCO is to make available more statistical data later this year in its Atlas of Languages, a database about practically all human languages. Enditem

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