International Year of Indigenous Languagues

  “Safeguarding” means measures aimed at ensuring the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage.

Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (adopted on 17 October 2003 by the United Nations General Conference on Education, Science and Culture)

Language is one of the most important factors of ethnic identity; it plays a significant role in shaping national character, preserving and promoting cultural heritage. 

Today there are about 7000 languages worldwide. One language is disappearing on average every two weeks and, with it, part of human history and cultural heritage.  For many years the world community is devoting special attention to preservation of languages, acknowledging their vital role in education, promotion of the identity as well as spiritual and moral relationship between the generations.   

More than 190 nations live in the Russian Federation, of which 40 are indigenous minorities of the North, Siberia, and the Far East. Indigenous languages spoken by 4 percent of the world's population represent 96 per cent of linguistic diversity. 

With a view to supporting and promoting indigenous languages, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The main purpose of the activities taking place over the Year is to improve the public awareness about the condition of dying languages around the world, and to explain the link between language, social development, peaceful co-existence and conflict management. 

Today, it is increasingly challenging to maintain traditional lifestyle and preserve the ethnic and cultural identity. In addition to the efforts of the state, linguists and cultural figures, great contribution to heritage preservation is made by business. 

Respect for and promotion of human rights, taking vulnerable groups into account, is an indispensable part of Sakhalin Energy’s activities. The company operates on Sakhalin Island, where representatives of the four main ethnic groups live: the Nivkh, the Evenk, the Uilta, and the Nanai.  Sakhalin Energy set itself the objective of fostering capacity building and sustainable development of Sakhalin indigenous minorities as well as preserving the unique culture and languages.   

Since 2006, the key programme of the company in the field of relations with indigenous communities is the Sakhalin Indigenous Minorities Development Plan. The priority directions of the Plan are culture and education. Through these directions and other projects, the company supports the promotion of linguistic rights of indigenous peoples and contributes to preservation and development of native languages of Sakhalin indigenous minorities. 

For the International Year of Indigenous Languages, a plan of events was developed to be implemented in Russia throughout the Year. For the effective and improved awareness of these events and, as a result, popularization and promotion of the linguistic heritage of indigenous ethnic groups, the official website of the International Year of Indigenous Languages has been established under the aegis of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs and with the support and participation of Sakhalin Energy. 


Key Materials and Publications – 2019  

Corporate calendar “Nivkh New Year: from A to Z”
Language Preservation Brochure

Key events – 2019 

January – The opening ceremony of the International Year of Indigenous Languages in the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.