UN sustainable development goals translated into North Saami

The United Nations sustainable development goals poster translated into North Saami. (United Nations Association of Norway)
The United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) have now been translated into the North Saami language, the most widely spoken Indigenous language of Arctic Europe.

“An important principle of the SDGs is that no one should be left behind,” the United Nations Association of Norway said in a news release on Friday. “That is why there should be as many translations of the SDGs as possible. By making the SDGs available in more languages, the number of people who will take part in this global effort will increase.”

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were established by the UN in 2015 to guide international development. They cover everything from clean water and gender equality to responsible consumption and climate action. The Agenda for Sustainable Development pledge is to implement the goals and eradicate hunger and poverty by 2030.

Reaching out to young people

The United Nations Association of Norway had the SDGs translated with financial help from the Norwegian UNESCO-commission. They say making the goals available to youth in their own language was an important motor for the project.

“It is especially important to reach children and youth with knowledge on the SDGs because this work is so important to their future,” said Anne Cathrine da Silva, the general secretary of the United Nations Association of Norway.

“Now Sami youth will also be able to join in on the discussions and help find solutions to the challenges in their own language.”

Saami-language SDGs launched in Tromso

The Saami are an Arctic Indigenous group. There’s no census just for Saami but most sources estimate their population at between 100,000 to 150,000. Their traditional homeland spans the Arctic regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia’s western Arctic.

There are numerous Saami languages and dialects spoken across the four countries. North Saami is the most widely spoken one with approximately 25,000 speakers spread between Finland, Norway and Sweden.

The North Saami version of the SDGs was launched on Friday at city hall in Tromso, an Arctic Norwegian city.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Inuktitut language education terminology developed for Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Budget cuts threaten international Sámi language cooperation, Yle News

Norway: Walt Disney Animation Studios to release Saami-language version of “Frozen 2”, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Calls for more Indigenous protection in Sweden on Sami national day, Radio Sweden

United States: Indigenous leaders at UN meeting push for decade dedicated to language revitalization, CBC News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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