UNESCO/IFAP International Expert Meeting on Improving Access to Multilingual Cyberspace

From 28 to 29 October 2014, in cooperation with the Government of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra (Russian Federation), the Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation for UNESCO and the Russian Committee of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP), UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division will organize a two-day international expert meeting on multilingualism in cyberspace.

This two-day event will bring together more than 50 leading experts from 26 countries representing all of UNESCO’s regions to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities for linguistic diversity in cyberspace.

The event will focus on supporting Member States to more effectively implement UNESCO’s Recommendation Concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace (2003), on advancing the recommendations adopted by the third IFAP International Conference, “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace”, held in Yakutsk, Russian Federation from 28 June to 3 July 2014, and also on developing a plan of action aimed at transforming UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger into a global platform for sharing languages resources and technological solutions, monitoring and promoting the world’s languages.

“Every nation’s mother tongue is the cultural code and basis of its moral values… so that is why we provide government support for the indigenous Northern languages”, indicated Ms Natalia Kimarova, Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Ugra in the Russian Federation. “Through UNESCO’s Atlas we will share our experiences such as those of the Yugra region where 80,000 local people have acquired computer literacy in their own languages through the Electronic Citizen programme”,

“Political, technological, social, cultural and economic challenges are threatening the survival of humanity’s linguistic heritage and their rich store of knowledge and wisdom. However, this international expert meeting is another strong demonstration of UNESCO’s and IFAP’s convening power and their role as catalysts in bringing together experts to address complex, urgent, global problems”, said  Ms Chafica Haddad, Chair of the Intergovernmental IFAP Council.

Mr Getachew Engida, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General is confident that “the event will contribute to implementing UNESCO’s Medium Term Strategy and to the realization of the objectives adopted by IFAP under its strategic priority on multilingualism. and support the future orientation of UNESCO’s and IFAP’s work in this area. This event is an important opportunity for us to advance our efforts in overcoming key challenges and obstacles faced by linguistic communities around the world”.

While recognizing the important contribution of research and the development of language technologies in overcoming threats to linguistic diversity, Ms Eleonora Mitrofanova, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, urges on that occasion experts and nations “not to lose sight of the role of languages as a principal way to promote mutual understanding, overcome marginalization and attain peaceful, sustainable development in our contemporary civilization”.

The two-day meeting will produce a plan of action aimed at extending global partnerships and translating the recommendations developed by the experts into concrete national and regional actions.

The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001. It provides a platform for international policy discussions, cooperation and the development of guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge. The Programme supports Member States to develop and implement national information policy and strategy frameworks.