The 27th meeting of the Francophone Ministerial Conference was held on December 1 and 2 in Paris. The second-most-important agency of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the Ministerial Conference is made up of ministers of foreign affairs and ministers responsible for La Francophonie from the OIF member states and governments. Its mission is to ensure the implementation of decisions made at the previous Francophone Summit and prepare the next Summit. Québec was represented at this year’s meeting by Michel Robitaille, Premier Charest’s personal envoy to the OIF.
The OIF is the only multilateral organization of which Québec is a full member. It gives Québec an opportunity to voice its positions, defend its interests and promote its culture and identity in discussions with leaders and representatives of more than a third of the United Nations member states. The OIF currently has 56 full members (states and governments) and 19 observer states. Almost all of these full members and observer states were represented at the meeting in Paris.
Premier Charest’s personal envoy hailed the progress toward democracy in Tunisia and Egypt in the wake of the “Arab Spring, ” underlined Québec’s commitment to Haiti, a high-priority country for francophone solidarity, and reiterated the importance that Québec places on promoting the French language around the world. On the latter topic, Michel Robitaille told the ministers and dignitaries in attendance that “the place and impact of French in the world’s new language balance are inseparable from the presence of French in various spheres of the social, cultural, political and economic in our respective states.”
The Ministerial Conference was also an opportunity for Switzerland, which hosted the Francophone Summit in Montreux, to pass the torch to the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which will host the next Summit from October 12 to 14, 2012, in Kinshasa. The DRC government announced that the theme of the 14th Summit of countries with French in common will be “La Francophonie: environmental and economic issues in the face of global governance.”
Québec’s participation in the work and governance of the OIF is a political lever that allows it to influence a number of international issues.
Québec’s participation in the work of the OIF
International Organisation of La Francophonie