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 four UN Levels are defined by one overall and four specific descriptors:

  • 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."


Get to know the UN Language Framework:

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