UN Language Framework

The United Nations Language Framework is unique to the needs of our Organization, but also in line with the most recent research and other recognized frameworks for language learning.

The Framework will standardize how languages are learned, taught and assessed in the international context of the United Nations.

Other potential benefits may be a wider recognition of language skills and smoother transitions in career mobility and development.

The UN Language Framework ensures:

  • consistency across language standards (learning)
  • validity in language assessments (career development and language assessment)
  • equal treatment of languages (respect for diversity)

The four UN Levels of Language Competence acknowledge the different stages in knowing and using any of the six official languages three different domains: 

 Personal,  Public,  andUN-related, professional contexts

The UN Levels are defined by one overall descriptor and four specific descriptors for the skills areas:

  • Receptive activities: Listening, reading.
  • Production and interaction: Speaking, writing .

The development of language skills is at the core of career development for a multitalented, flexible workforce. The language programmes are gradually aligning their offering with the UN Language Framework. To this end, the UN Language Framework includes a Core Curriculum and, for each UN official language, a Language-specific Curriculum.

"At every level of language competence, UN staff members are expected to function as social agents in a variety of multilingual and multicultural contexts and, as such, use existing plurilingual and pluricultural competences to further develop their linguistic and cultural repertoire(s), and to facilitate and promote successful communication and cooperation throughout the Organization."