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Statement at 21st Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

21st Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,

Item 5(f): Thematic dialogues International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022–2032





We align with the statement delivered earlier by Finland on behalf of the Nordic Countries - and please allow me some brief remarks in national capacity.


Language has always been of great significance to Icelandic society and currently, over 120 languages are spoken in the country. In recent years, institutions and academics have paid great attention to heritage language teaching and promoting bilingualism and plurilingualism. Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, in line with the SDGs, are high on the agenda of our educational institutions.


As a sign of the importance we attach to the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032; it has just been launched within Iceland with an international event on the 22nd of April. The leading promoter of the Decade in Iceland is the Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding; named after the first female democratically elected Head of State, who now serves as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for languages. During the IDIL there will be a focus on promoting in Iceland and the West Nordic region equality and diversity in thematic fields such as indigenous peoples and languages, linguistic rights as human rights, language revitalization and preservation.


Our aim is to contribute Icelandic knowledge and expertise on language documentation and preservation in the digital age; digital tools for language learning and revitalization; overcoming challenges small linguistic communities face; and the importance of translations and cultural production for language development, among others. With this, we hope to contribute to the general aim of The International Decade – to draw attention to the importance of linguistic diversity and the critical loss of indigenous languages.


Only through valuing and supporting the diversity and equality of cultures, languages and peoples, can we build diverse, informed, democratic, and sustainable societies.


Thank you.




*Written Statement submitted on 25 April 2022




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