The 17 Sustainable Development Goals approved by the United Nations General Assembly for the period 2015-2030 replace the eight Millennium Development Goals that covered the period 2000-2015. They aim to engage not only governments, but “all people, everywhere,” at all levels of civil society. Carrying them out will require active, two-way, democratic communication, in a multiplicity of languages. Furthermore, several of the Goals imply direct attention to issues of language. Study and research on language in relation to economic and social development is a well-established field. What does this field have to contribute to the realization of the SDGs? What linguistic obstacles stand in the way of their successful realization?
Over one hundred academics, diplomats, NGO representatives and UN officials attended the gathering, which examined the linguistic implications of the SDGs, set by the United Nations General Assembly as the basis for the UN’s development agenda for the period 2015-2030. The recently published summary presents some of the conclusions of the symposium. It emphasizes that language and language differences tend to get taken for granted by planners, who overlook their importance in determining effective outcomes.
Visit the Language and the UN website to learn more and to read the summary report.
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