Coordination of multilingualism


Multilingualism is recognized by the General Assembly as a core value of the Organization, entailing the active involvement and commitment of all stakeholders, including all United Nations Secretariat entities. Multilingualism mandates emphasize the responsibility of the Secretary-General in mainstreaming multilingualism throughout the Secretariat and in its activities. It is against this backdrop that the Secretary-General António Guterres has included multilingualism among his priorities. 



In its resolution 54/64 of 6 December 1999, the General Assembly invited the appointment of a senior Secretariat official to serve as coordinator of questions relating to multilingualism. Pursuant to the terms of reference of the Coordinator for Multilingualism (A/71/757, annex II), endorsed by the General Assembly, the Coordinator is expected to:

  • Act as the entry point for concerns and queries from Member States and Secretariat entities; 
  • Serve as a facilitator to attain a coordinated, consistent and coherent approach to multilingualism in the Secretariat;
  • Inspire all departments and offices by initiating and proposing innovative solutions to foster an organizational culture conducive to multilingualism.

The Coordinator's work is supported by a network of focal pointsPDF representing the Secretariat entities.

On 3 September 2019, the Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management, Movses Abelian, was appointed as Coordinator for Multilingualism. In addition to the Secretariat-wide responsibilities, the Coordinator also serves as the lead for multilingualism-related matters at the United Nations system level, with the support of the secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. Most member organizations of the Board have designated multilingualism focal points.