13 January 2021
UNESCO to Launch Arabic WAL

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is planning to create an Arabic version of its World Atlas of Languages (WAL), as part of its initiative for developing a new WAL.
The new WAL will serve as a detailed record of languages and will become the world’s most extensive repository of linguistic diversity, capturing, inter alia, the diversity of languages, their types, structure and affiliation, state and status, users and usage. It will be based on a multidimensional approach and allow demonstration of linguistic diversity in a multi-layered manner, taking advantage of recent technological and scientific progresses.
The new WAL will contribute to the safeguarding of the world’s diverse linguistic, cultural and documentary heritage, to be provided in multiple languages, particularly for the Arabic language speaking world and Arab States of UNESCO. The WAL will also provide access to reliable data on language situations around the world for the informed policy and decision making, and strengthen international cooperation, knowledge sharing and partnerships among a range of public governmental, academia and community level organizations and individuals.
The initiative is taking place in an effort to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism, particularly in the context of the promotion and implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace (2003). The new Arabic WAL will serve as an input to celebrate World Arabic Language Day, to sensitize a wide range of stakeholders about the importance of data on languages.
UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, science and culture. The Organization has 193 Member States and 11 associate members, as well as partners in the nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and private sector. Headquartered in Paris, France, UNESCO has 53 regional field offices and 199 national commissions that facilitate its global mandate.
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