In a landmark announcement, UNESCO proudly declares the elevation of Bahasa Indonesia to the distinguished status of an official language. This historic decision was formalized during the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday, November 20, 2023, at the organization’s headquarters in Paris, France.
Ambassador Mohamad Oemar, representing the Republic of Indonesia to France, Andorra, and Monaco, expressed his elation at this recognition, marking Bahasa Indonesia as the tenth language officially acknowledged by the UNESCO General Conference.
He affirmed, as quoted from Antara, “Bahasa Indonesia has been a unifying force for the nation since the pre-independence era, especially through the Youth Pledge in 1928, so it can connect diverse ethnicities in Indonesia.”
The formal acknowledgment of Bahasa Indonesia as an official language was sealed through the unanimous adoption of Resolution 42 C/28 during the 42nd UNESCO General Conference plenary session.
Oemar provided insights into the global influence of the Indonesian language, noting its more than 275 million speakers worldwide. Its international impact is evident in the incorporation of Indonesian language curricula into the educational systems of 52 countries.
He stated, “Indonesia’s active leadership at the global level began with the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung in 1955, which laid the foundation for the formation of the non-aligned group of countries.”
Tracing Indonesia’s active global leadership back to the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung in 1955, Oemar highlighted the country’s consistent positive contributions to the international community. He reaffirmed Indonesia’s commitment to maintaining this leadership role, citing recent engagements such as chairing the G20 forum in 2022 and the ASEAN forum in 2023.
Going beyond the immediate implications, Oemar underscored the far-reaching impact of this recognition. He believes that designating Bahasa Indonesia as the official language of the UNESCO General Conference will not only foster peace and harmony but also contribute significantly to achieving global sustainable development goals.
He stated, “The recognition of Indonesian as the official language of the UNESCO General Conference will have a positive impact on peace, harmony, and the achievement of sustainable development goals not only at the national level but also globally.”
This significant decision aligns with the Indonesian government’s proactive stance in proposing Bahasa Indonesia as the official language of the UNESCO General Conference. This initiative, rooted in Article 44, paragraph (1) of Law Number 24 of 2009, reflects the government’s commitment to gradually, systematically, and sustainably enhance the status of the Indonesian language as an international language.
In essence, this de jure endeavor solidifies Bahasa Indonesia’s official language status on the international stage, complementing the de facto initiatives undertaken by the Indonesian government in establishing communities of Indonesian language speakers in 52 countries.