In his first reports to the UN General Assembly in New York in October 2017 and the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2018 (A/HRC/37/66), the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Dr Fernand de Varennes, presented education and the language of minorities as one of the four thematic priorities of his mandate. In November 2018, during the 11th Session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva, the Special Rapporteur confirmed that this topic would be the focus of the 12th session of the Forum in 2019.

In addition, at the same 11th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues in November 2018, the Special Rapporteur announced that three regional forums would be organised in 2019 to make the Forum on Minority Issues more accessible and responsive to regional contexts and realities. The main aim of these regional forums is to provide regional insights for the formulation of a number of practical recommendation and guidelines for the future elaboration of a technical handbook focusing on education in, and teaching of, minority languages. The discussions and recommendations of these regional forums will also feed in the work of the main Forum held in Geneva, in November each year.