The preservation and promotion of multilingualism is a major challenge in a society characterized by the globalization of exchanges, the increase of international mobility, but also by the impoverishment of linguistic heritage.
Of the nearly 6,000 languages spoken in the world today, many are endangered and this phenomenon is accelerating year after year: according to UNESCO, 90% of languages are likely to disappear during this century. Multilingualism is therefore a matter of public interest, which implies the preservation of a universal heritage and the development of exchanges respectful of human diversity.
International organisations, which aim to regulate globalisation by providing a legal framework for activities affecting the whole world or large geographical areas, are primarily concerned with maintaining multilingualism within them. The importance of the issues for which they are responsible justifies the fact that representatives of States can express themselves in their own language.
This requirement is particularly apparent in the institutions of the European Union, where the temptation is strong to use a single and impoverished language of international communication (in the current context, English).
Policies for the promotion of multilingualism in Europe are also the responsibility of States, to which it is particularly incumbent to implement the objective set by the European Union for them to offer the teaching of two foreign languages in addition to the mother tongue. France is thus one of 21 countries in which the teaching of two foreign languages is compulsory for all pupils for at least one year during general education.
The international dissemination of Romance languages is also a lever for linguistic diversity. France is particularly committed to this, notably through the involvement of the DGLFLF in the panlatin terminology network Realiter which promotes the dissemination of terminological resources in Romance languages, and its support for the development of inter-understanding between parent languages, such as the Association for the Promotion of Inter-understanding of Languages.
Francophone action, because it proposes on the five continents a model of cooperation where French is in dialogue with local languages, is another vector for preserving linguistic diversity.
Finally, policies for developing citizens' multilingual skills, as indispensable as they are, must be complemented by translation policies, which allow balanced exchanges in an intercultural context.