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Why Language Matters for the Millennium Development Goals


For the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be effective, all people need to be included. Language is the key to inclusion and at the center of human activity, self-expression and identity. This publication recognizes the importance that people place on their own language in achieving the MDG Goals. It showcases how language fosters participation in development with lasting results. 

Convinced that language is a vital tool for the achievement of the MDGs, hundreds of educators, development workers, linguists, government workers and civil society delegates gathered at a conference in Bangkok in 2010. Participants reported on the many ways in which language makes a difference to people’s lives across Asia and beyond and affirmed the significant role of languages in tackling poverty, gender inequality, HIV and AIDS, and maternal and child health. This publication gathers good practice, success stories and lessons learned in promoting language as primary participatory tool for development.


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Why Language Matters for the Millennium Development Goals
Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok, 2012, 45 p.

ISBN 978-92-9223-386-0 (Print version)
ISBN 978-92-9223-387-7 (Electronic version)