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UN Conference: Sustainable Societies - Responsive Citizens (2)

posted Sep 24, 2011, 8:15 PM by NZEA web2   [ updated Oct 11, 2011, 9:16 PM by NZEA web1 ]

The amendments proposed by UEA have been incorporated into the definitive version of the declaration. Stefan Keller commented that he had never seen so many mentions of language rights in a UN document. The most notable change is:

“We call for the respect and inclusion of ethnic languages in the educational system, as these languages comprise the complexity of their respective environments, and to take into consideration the potential of a neutral international language that combines ease of learning and clarity with neutrality, and therefore can be seen as inherently sustainable”.

The report also includes a clause “Recognizing that biodiversity and linguistic diversity are inseparable and alarmed at the loss of traditional knowledge caused by the loss of linguistic diversity”.

The final text also calls on states to promote appropriate language policies which draw attention to the needs of the present and future generations. It mentions the importance of language policy for sustainable development, and the value of cultural, language and ethnic diversity. It encourages “the adoption of several other headline indicators of environmental, economic, social, cultural and linguistic sustainability to provide a measure of progress towards the green economy”.

Although the declaration does not represent the policy of the UN, it appears in the documentation of the UN and has value as moral support. The participants specifically direct it to “Rio + 20”, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.