During the 42nd General Conference session held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, on November 20, 2023, a significant decision was made: Bahasa Indonesia has attained the status of an official language within the UNESCO General Conference. This milestone was marked by the unanimous adoption of Resolution 42 C/28. This recognition elevates Bahasa Indonesia to the esteemed position of the tenth official language acknowledged within the UNESCO General Conference.
It joins the ranks of the six official United Nations languages (English, Arabic, Mandarin, French, Spanish, Russian), as well as Hindi, Italian, and Portuguese. Ambassador Mohamad Oemar, the Permanent Delegate of Indonesia to UNESCO, spearheaded the proposal, emphasizing the historical significance of Bahasa Indonesia as a unifying force since the pre-independence era, notably traced back to the Youth Pledge (Sumpah Pemuda) of 1928. Bahasa Indonesia, spoken by over 275 million people, has transcended borders, serving as a binding force among Indonesia's diverse ethnicities.
It holds a prominent place in the curricula of 52 countries globally, with an estimated 150,000 foreign speakers. Ambassador Oemar highlighted Indonesia's active global leadership, citing pivotal moments like the Asian-African Conference in Bandung in 1955, which laid the foundation for the Non-Aligned Movement. Emphasizing Indonesia's commitment to global contributions, Ambassador Oemar referenced its chairmanship roles in the G20 forum in 2022 and ASEAN in 2023.
Additionally, he stressed the importance of promoting Bahasa Indonesia as part of Indonesia's global efforts to foster interconnectivity among nations, strengthen collaboration with UNESCO, and advance international cultural development. He concluded by affirming that recognizing Bahasa Indonesia as an official language of the UNESCO General Conference would foster peace, harmony, and the attainment of sustainable development goals, both nationally and globally.
The Indonesian government's initiative aligns with Article 44, Paragraph (1) of Law Number 24 of 2009, which mandates the enhancement of Bahasa Indonesia's international role. This proposal signifies a deliberate effort to secure official language status for Bahasa Indonesia within an international institution, building on the Indonesian government's establishment of Indonesian language-speaking communities across 52 nations.