International Francophonie

La Francophonie


Canada is a member of La Francophonie (only available in French), an organisation made up of 63 States and governments using French as a common language.

Aware of the importance of the French language at home and determined to contribute to its influence internationally, Canada was one of the first countries to promote La Francophonie by actively participating in the establishment and development of its many institutions. Canada's participation in this forum enables a true sharing of the benefits Canadians derive from linguistic duality and pluralism. La Francophonie also offers a window on the world and opportunities to exert influence on the world scene.

Management of the International Francophonie file is the responsibility of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). Canadian Heritage and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) also play a critical role by supporting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to ensure Canada's active co-operation in La Francophonie.

Mandate of the International Francophonie

The International Francophonie unit is the centre of expertise for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in areas under the jurisdiction of Canadian Heritage: sport and youth, the cultural component of the International Francophonie (cultural diversity, digital content, audiovisual, linguistic diversity, etc.). As such, it acts as a liaison to promote the Department's expertise and positions within La Francophonie and keeps the Department informed on the latest developments and opportunities in La Francophonie. In addition, it also coordinates Team Canada's participation at the Games of La Francophonie.

Key Initiatives

Conference of Youth and Sport Ministers from countries sharing the use of French language (CONFEJES) (only available in French)

As a sector expert for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the International Francophonie unit acts as a liaison with the International Sport Directorate at Canadian Heritage and works with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Its priorities are anti‑doping in sport, the inclusion of young women and persons with disabilities inCONFEJESprogramming, and sport as a tool for development.

International Committee of the Games of La Francophonie

The International Committee of the Games of La Francophonie (only available in French) organizes and ensures the sustainability of the Games of La Francophonie. It has the status of a subsidiary body of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) (only available in French). The International Francophonie unit also participates in the development of Canada's positions.

Games of La Francophonie

The International Francophonie unit is responsible for organizing and managing the participation of Team Canada at the Games. It acts as a liaison with Sport Canada and the Arts Development and Programs. The V Games of La Francophonie were held in Niamey, Niger, from December 7 to 17, 2005. The VI Games will be held in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2009.

Cultural component of the International Francophonie

In the cultural sphere, the International Francophonie unit works with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to promote the Department's positions on a number of issues within its mandate. In order to do so, it acts as a liaison with various sectors of the Department and national and international agencies throughout the international Francophonie. It fosters the participation of Canadian experts (portfolio agencies, civil society) in various forums organized by La Francophonie. It helps strengthen Canada's position in the programming of the Organisation de la Francophonie (OIF) (only available in French) to ensure that culture plays an appropriate role.

DiverCiné

DiverCiné: A World View of la Francophonie is a film festival organized jointly by the Embassy of France in Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage in the wake of the International Day of La Francophonie.

This festival is a unique opportunity for Canadians to discover the works of filmmakers from various countries of La Francophonie, which have limited screening in Canada.

Structure of the Institutions of La Francophonie

The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) (only available in French) is an institution based on the sharing of a common language and values. It guides actions in the fields of international policy and multilateral cooperation. The Secretary General, Abdou Diouf, (only available in French) is responsible for implementing international policy and facilitating and coordinating the policy of cooperation within the Francophonie.

The Conference of Heads of State and Governments using French as a common language, referred to as the "Summit" (only available in French) brings together the heads of States and governments that are members of the OIF. These Summits address the major international issues of the day and set the priorities and strategic objectives of La Francophonie. The Summit is chaired by the head of State or government of the host country, who assumes that responsibility for a two-year period. The last Summit took place in Bucharest, Romania, on September 28 and 29, 2006.

During the 21st Session of the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie, the Ministers responsible for Culture adopted a new Charter of La Francophonie. The Charter creates a stronger intergovernmental organization headed-up by the Secretary General and simplifies and streamlines the structures and operations of the institutions of La Francophonie.

The Secretary General also regularly chairs a cooperation council responsible for fostering coordinated action between the OIF and the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (only available in French), TV5 Monde (only available in French), the Association internationale des Maires francophones (only available in French) and the Université Senghor d'Alexandrie (only available in French).

The OIF is also supported by a consultative assembly, the Assemblée des parlementaires de la Francophonie (only available in French) and by the work and recommendations of the two Standing Ministerial Conferences: the Conference of Education Ministers (CONFEMEN) (only available in French), and the Conference of Youth and Sport Ministers from countries sharing the French-language (CONFEJES)(only available in French), as well as Sectoral Conferences of Ministers.

The four objectives of multilateral cooperation are:

  • promoting the French language and cultural and linguistic diversity;
  • promoting peace, democracy and human rights;
  • supporting education, training, higher education and research; and
  • developing cooperation to ensure sustainable development and solidarity.