Latin America will have its own institute to preserve the languages ​​of indigenous peoples: what is IIALI?

This Friday took place in Bolivia the launch of the Ibero-American Institute of Indigenous Languages ​​(IIALI), an initiative that aims raise awareness of the situation of mother tongues and cultural and linguistic rights of these cities.

This is an action coordinated by the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI), the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC) . ), and which has its origins in the meeting of Ibero-American heads of state and government at the last summit held in Andorra in 2021.

The Institute was created to “to promote the transmission, use, learning and revitalization of Indigenous languages; provide technical assistance in the formulation and implementation of linguistic and cultural policies for indigenous peoples; as well as to facilitate informed decision-making on the use and vitality of Indigenous languages”.

As detailed at the event by the Bolivian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rogelio Mayta, La Paz will be the permanent seat of the institution, while Bolivia will have the presidency pro tempore for two years. It was defined as such by the Intergovernmental Council of this institute, based on the fact that its technical secretariat is FILAC, based in the Andean capital.

Regarding its functioning, representatives of Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico will be full members of the Council, and will be able to intervene in the debates invited by Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Peru and of Paraguay, in the teleconference variant.

During the act, Foreign Minister Maytas underlined: “Little by little, we have made it clear to the world that we cannot be colonized or tied to ways of life that violently transform forests, rivers and mountains. In this process, where we had to fight to send each other respecting our ways of naming is also important”.

“Bolivia, continued the Minister of Foreign Affairs, like many countries represented here, has begun to understand that cultural diversity is the key to the political and social life of our continent. Understanding all our differences, to which 33 peoples contribute with their habits and customs for the exercise of daily life, has been the key to changing the destiny of our nation. Slowly, by learning to listen to the other, a new vision was built to govern us, to build the Constitution that governs us today, and build, almost from scratch, a country in which, being the majority, we were not heard”.

The event coincides with the start, in 2022, of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages ​​to enhance their richness and preservation, declared last year by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ).

In his speech, the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI), Andrés Delich, said: “Now begins a very important decade with the defense of indigenous languages ​​to ensure their survivalwhich implies an effort and a commitment of States, and international cooperation”.

In a statement released by OEI, they said the institute adopts, among others, the principles of ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Declaration of Los Pinos-Chapoltepek, approved at the high-level event organized by UNESCO and the Government of Mexico in 2020 under the slogan “Nothing without us”, which recognizes the importance of Indigenous languages ​​for cohesion and social inclusion, cultural rights, health and justice.

In August 2019, during the closing of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, affirmed that each month two Aboriginal languages ​​disappear out of the 6,700 who talk to each other in the world. And he warned of the loss that the disappearance of each language means.

According to UNESCO, of the nearly 6,700 indigenous languages ​​spoken around the world, more than 40% are at risk of disappearing.