GA: UNPFII - Nordic Statement

Nordic statement in the meeting on the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032, 17 April 2023.

The Statement was delivered by Norway on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

Thank you,

I’m pleased to make this statement on behalf of Denmark with Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and my own country, Norway.

First, I would like to take the opportunity to thank UNESCO for their efforts to organize the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.

An international decade can be used to encourage the international society to make a long-lasting commitment to save and strengthen indigenous peoples’ languages. When planning and carrying out the decade it is important to have transparent and inclusive processes. Meaningful participation by Indigenous Peoples both nationally and internationally is crucial. At the same time, the states' involvement and active participation is essential.

I wish to acknowledge the important role of the Global Task Force for the Decade, and in particular the indigenous people’s representatives.  Their recommendation to establish national task forces is in our view highly relevant. Implementation has already started in some Nordic countries and we encourage other member states to follow up as well.

Our goal must be that the Indigenous Peoples’ languages shall be alive and in active use in all domains alongside the majority language. To succeed in this, we must as far as possible make it easy to use the languages.

Therefore, modern language technology is an important element. From our experience in the Nordic countries with the Sami langauges and Kalaallisut – the Greenlandic Inuit language. the accessibility of these languages in digital media is often lacking. It is positive that in recent years steps have been taken towards developing language tools for the Sami languages and kalaallisut.  But the work is not complete. It is still difficult to integrate indigenous languages into the most used digital platforms and programs. Unfortunately, it seems to get harder and harder. The big tech companies won’t allow our indigenous language technologies inside their own systems.

The issue of accessibility to indigenous languages in digital media is important in international work. We would like to emphasize the importance of this issue being raised during the Decade.

The Nordic countries have agreed to encourage larger actors in digital communication and information to increase their awareness of the Sami, Kalaallisut  and other indigenous languages and their accessibility in the digital world.

I hope we can inspire each other and join forces to ensure Indigenous Peoples' rights to preserve, revitalize and promote their languages.  

Thank you for your attention.