President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo expressed pride as Bahasa Indonesia is officially acknowledged for use in the UNESCO General Assembly. The decision was made during the 42nd General Assembly of UNESCO in Paris, France, on November 20, 2023.
The official designation aligns with the implementation of Article 44, Paragraph 1 of Law Number 24 of 2009 concerning the National Flag, Language, State Symbol, and Anthem, which mandates the Government to progressively, systematically, and sustainably enhance the function of Bahasa Indonesia as an international language.
“It has been officially decided by acclamation to recognize Bahasa Indonesia as an official language that can be used in the General Assembly of the Institution,” wrote Jokowi on November 21, 2023.
“This recognition is a source of pride for the entire Indonesian nation,” he added.
The decision was made by the United Nations Specialized Agency for Education, Science, and Culture through a resolution titled ‘Recognition of Bahasa Indonesia as an Official Language of The General Conference of UNESCO.’
As a result, Bahasa Indonesia becomes the 10th language recognized as an official language in the UNESCO General Conference, alongside six other official languages such as English, Arabic, Mandarin, French, Spanish, and Russian, as well as Hindi, Italian, and Portuguese.
“With this designation, Bahasa Indonesia can be used as the language of the session, and documents of the UNESCO General Assembly can also be translated into Bahasa Indonesia,” stated Jokowi.
Endang Aminudin, the Head of the Language Development and Coaching Agency or the Language Agency of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology (Kemendikbudristek), mentioned that following this recognition, Indonesia has certain obligations as outlined by the UNESCO Constitution. This includes translating specific documents into Bahasa Indonesia and providing Indonesian language translators during the General Assembly with UNESCO standards.
In UNESCO’s document regarding the recognition of Bahasa Indonesia, it is mentioned that this step does not have financial implications for the organization.
“The Government of the Republic of Indonesia is fully committed to bearing all costs related to the translation of UNESCO’s Constitution, decisions of the General Conference, especially those related to the Constitution and legal status of UNESCO, as well as other important documents,” the document stated.
On the other hand, the official recognition of Bahasa Indonesia is also seen as applicable to future UNESCO meetings.