Language is one of the defining features of our species; yet when it comes to international and local development discourse, language is often left on the periphery
Sustainable development is increasingly viewed from not only an economic perspective, but also from social and environmental ones.
Long-lasting progress requires all three dimensions to work together, and only then can all human beings fulfil their potential with both dignity and equality. Language and communication are crucial enabling factors helping societies grow, collaborate and become more inclusive.
In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Two years on, this 12th Language and Development Conference provided a timely opportunity for the role of language to be explored in achieving these new, ambitious and universal goals.
The 12th Language and Development Conference 2017 explored the role of language in supporting, not hindering, sustainable development initiatives through inclusive education, economic growth and societies that are also more just and peaceful.
We explored three of the Sustainable Development Goals through the following sub-themes:
- Multilingualism for Quality, Equitable and Inclusive Education
- Language, Skills and Sustainable Economic Growth
- Communication, Peace and Justice
The conference explored the role of language in a range of interlinking aspects of development. It will do so by focussing on three specific goals:
- SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning;
- SDG 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all;
- SDG 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.