Organisation internationale de la Francophonie explained

Native Name:La Francophonie
Linking Name:La Francophonie
Text Symbol Type:Motto
Text Symbol:"Égalité, complémentarité, solidarité"
("Equality, complementarity, solidarity"),[1]
alluding to France's motto
National Anthem:Ode to Joy
Membership:56 member states
3 associate members
16 observers
Admin Center Type:Headquarters
Admin Center:Paris, France
Languages Type:Official languages
Languages:French
Area Km2:28,223,184
Area Sq Mi:10,897,032.263
Population Estimate:~ 970,000,000
Population Estimate Year:2005
Population Density Km2:34.36
Population Density Sq Mi:89.02
Leader Title1:Executive Secretary
Leader Name1: Abdou Diouf
(since 2003)
Leader Title2:General Secretary of the parliamentary assembly of the APF
Leader Name2: Jacques Legendre
Established Event1:Conference of Niamey
Established Date1:20 March 1970
Official Website:francophonie.org

Francophonie is an international organization of politics and governments with French as the mother or customary language, where a significant proportion of people are francophones (French speakers), or where there is a notable affiliation with the French language or culture.

Formally known as the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) or the International Organization of the Francophonie,[2] the organization comprises 56 member states and governments, 3 associate members, and 16 observers. The term francophonie (with a lower case 'f') also refers to the global community of French-speaking peoples,[3] comprising a network of private and public organizations promoting special ties among all Francophones.[4] In a majority of member states, French is not the predominant native language. The prerequisite for admission to the Francophonie is not the degree of French usage in the member countries, but a prevalent presence of French culture and language in the member country's identity, usually stemming from France's colonial ambitions with other nations in its history.

French geographer Onésime Reclus, brother of Élisée Reclus, coined the word Francophonie in 1880 to refer to the community of people and countries using the French language. Francophonie was then coined a second time by Léopold Sédar Senghor, founder of the Négritude movement, in the review Esprit in 1962, who assimilated it into Humanism.[5] [6]

The modern organization was created in 1970. Its motto is égalité, complémentarité, solidarité ("equality, complementarity, and solidarity"),[1] alluding to France's motto. Started as a small club of northern French-speaking countries, the Francophonie has since evolved into a global organization whose numerous branches cooperate with its member states in the fields of culture, science, economy, justice, and peace.

History

The Convention which created the Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation (Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique) was signed on March 20, 1970 by the representatives of the 21 states and governments under the influence of African Heads of State, Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal, Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, Hamani Diori of Niger and Prince Norodom Sihanouk.

The missions of this new intergovernmental organization, based on the sharing of the French language, are the promotion of the cultures of its members and the intensification of the cultural and technical cooperation between them, as well as the solidarity and the connection between them through dialogue.

The Francophonie project ceaselessly evolved since the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation, it became the intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie (Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie) in 1998 to remind its intergovernmental status. Finally in 2005, the adoption of a new Charter of the Francophonie (la Charte de la Francophonie) gives the name to the Agency of international Organization of the Francophonie (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie).[7]

Structure

For the official structure, see the flow chart given on the OIF website: http://www.francophonie.org/Organigramme-de-la-Francophonie.html

Executive Secretariat (Secretaries-General)

Abdou Diouf, the former president of the Republic of Senegal, is the Secretary General of the Francophonie since January 1, 2003. He was reelected on September 29, 2006, for a second mandate during the Summit of the Francophonie of Bucharest, and elected again in 2010 at the Summit of the Francophonie of Montreux for another mandate running until December 31, 2013.

The Secretary General of the Francophonie is elected during the Summit. He is the keystone of the institutional device and of the Francophonie and leads the organization. He is the spokesperson and the official representative internationally of the political actions of the Francophonie. The Secretary General is responsible for proposing priority areas for multilateral Francophonie actions. His job is to facilitate Francophone multilateral cooperation and to ensure that programs and activities of all operating agencies work in harmony. The Secretary General carries out his four-year mandate under the authority of the three main institutions of the Francophonie: the Summits, the Ministerial Conference and the Permanent Council.[8]

Summits

The Summit, the highest authority in the Francophonie, is held every two years and gathers the Heads of states and governments of all member countries of the International Organization of the Francophonie around themes of discussion. It is chaired by the Head of state and government of the host country, and this person assumes that responsibility until the next Summit. By enabling the Heads of state and government to hold a dialogue on all of the international issues of the day, the Summit serves to develop strategies and goals of the Francophonie so as to ensure the organization's influence on the world scene.[9]

Past Summits:

Next Summit:

Ministerial Conference

The Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie gathers the foreign or francophone affairs ministers of member states and governments every year to ensure the political continuity of the Summit. This conference ensures that the decisions made during the previous Summits are carried out and to plan the next Summit. It also recommends new members and observers to the Summit.[8]

Permanent Council

The Permanent Council of the Francophonie gathers the Ambassadors of the member countries, chaired by the General Secretary of the Francophonie and under the authority of the Ministerial Conference, its main task is to plan Summits. This conference also supervises the execution of the Summit decisions made by the ministerial conferences on a day-to-day basis, about the examination of the propositions of the budget distribution.[8]

Parliamentary Assembly

The objectives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie are to represent to the French-speaking authorities, the interests of the French-speaking communities, to promote the democracy, the rule of law and the respect of human rights. Furthermore, it follows the execution by the operators of the Francophonie of action plans elaborated by the Conference of the members using French as a common language. It also favours the cooperation and strengthens the solidarity within the French-speaking communities, mainly towards the parliaments of the South. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie is constituted by member sections representing 77 parliaments or interparliamentary organizations. The Secretary General is the French senator Jacques Legendre.[8]

Agency of the Francophonie

The Agency of the Francophonie is the main operator of the cultural, scientific, technical, economic and legal cooperation programs decided at the Summits. It is also the legal seat of the Secretary General and is used by him as an administrative support. The agency also contributes to the development of the French language and to the promotion of the diverse languages and cultures of its members, while encouraging mutual understanding between them and the Francophonie. For this reason, it is a place of exchange and dialogue.The Agency's headquarters are in Paris and it has three regional branches in Libreville, Gabon; Lomé, Togo; and Hanoi, Vietnam.[10]

Five Operating Agencies of the Francophonie

The International Organization of the Francophonie relies on four operating agencies to carry out its mandate – l’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), TV5Monde, l’Association Internationale des Maires Francophones (AIMF), l'Association des Fonctionnaires Francophones des Organisations Inrwenationales (AFFOI) and l’Université Senghor d’Alexandrie.[11]

Association of Francophone Universities (AUF)

Established in 1961 in Montreal, the Association of Francophone Universities (Official Website) gathers institutions of higher education and research among the Francophone countries of Africa, the Arab world, Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.Its mission is to contribute to the construction and consolidation of a scientific space in French. It supports the French language, cultural and linguistic diversity, law and democracy, and the environment and sustainable development. It also provides an important mobility program for the students, the researchers and the professors.[12]

Assembly of Francophone Civil Servants of International Organisations (AFFOI)

Established in 2008 in The Hague, the Assemblée des francophones fonctionnaires des organisations internationales (AFFOI) (Official Website) gathers international civil servants from all international organisations of the world - such as United Nations, the European Commission ot the African Union - and coming from the member countries of the Francophonie.Its mission is to support the French language and the linguistic diversity within International Organisations. Every year the association coordinates the day of French language within International Organisations(2010) .It also organizes seminaries to increase awareness about the importance of linguistic, cultural and conceptual diversity. The president is the French international civil servant Dominique Hoppe.

TV5Monde, the French-speaking international television

TV5Monde (Official Website) is the first international French language television network available in many countries. On television, as on the Internet, the progress of the audience of TV5Monde is spectacular. TV5 is one of the three largest television networks in the world and is considered one of the greatest accomplishments of the Francophonie. It provides the widest access to unique audiovisual programs in French and contributes to the development of the language and the French-speaking cultures. It spreads the French languages spoken in the world with all their accents. It is widely spread beyond the French speakers public of origin: the majority of its reception and part of its audience are constituted by viewers for whom French is not the mother tongue. Thanks to the subtitles in various languages, it offers glances on the Francophonie to the non-French speakers. It is translated into 12 languages.[13]

The International Association of the French-speaking Mayors

The International Association of the French-speaking Mayors (Official Website) was created in Quebec City in 1979 on the initiative of Jean Pelletier and Jacques Chirac, then the respective mayors of Quebec City and Paris. It's an operating agency for urban development gathering 48 countries or governments. The goal is to establish close cooperation in all areas of municipal activities. Its missions are to strengthen the local democracy, building municipal capacities, and to support the populations. The association pursues its actions in the domains of health, culture, youth and education, the urban development, training, and municipal infrastructures.[14]

The Senghor University of Alexandria

See main article: Université Senghor. The project of creation of a French-speaking university in the service of the African development was presented and adopted following the Dakar Summit in 1989. The Senghor University (Official Website) is a private postgraduate institution that trains managers and high-level trainers in areas that are a priority for development in Francophone Africa. It directs the capacities of the managers and trainers to the action and the exercise of responsibilities in certain domains for the development: the project management, the financial institutions, the environment, the nutrition-health and of the cultural heritage. The Senghor University organizes regularly seminaries to help its students and of the public specialized in the domains of its action, by collaborating with the other operators and the institutions of the Francophonie.[15]

Missions

The International Organization of the Francophonie leads political actions and multilateral cooperation according to the missions drawn by the Summits of the Francophonie. The Summits gather the Heads of states and governments of the member countries of the International Organization of the Francophonie where they discuss international politics, world economy, French-speaking cooperation, human rights, education, culture and democracy. Actions of the International Organization of the Francophonie are scheduled over a period of four years and funded by contributions from its members.[16]

The Charte de la Francophonie defines the role and missions of the organization. The current charter was adopted in Antananarivo, on November 23, 2005. The summit held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 26–27 November 2004 saw the adoption of a strategic framework for the period 2004-2014.

The four missions drawn by the Summit of the Francophonie are:

  1. Promoting French language and cultural and linguistic diversity.
  2. Promoting peace, democracy and human rights.
  3. Supporting education, training, higher education and scientific research.
  4. Expand cooperation for sustainable development.[16]

French language, cultural and linguistic diversity

The primary mission of the organization is the promotion of the French language as an international language and the promotion of worldwide cultural and linguistic diversity in the era of economic globalisation. In this regard, countries that are members of the Francophonie have contributed largely to the adoption by the UNESCO of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (October 20, 2005).

At the national level, there is the problem of promoting the French language within the context of its co-existence with other partner or international languages in most member countries, especially in Africa. Maintaining the relative importance of the status of French is an imperative that requires solidarity and the pooling of means and resources among countries committed to the French language within their respective societies.

The Francophonie has been a pioneer in terms of the recognition of cultural diversity and dialogue of cultures. It must find ways of confronting the trend towards uniformity that accompanies globalization and fostering the preservation and development of cultural diversity.[17]

Peace, democracy and human rights

Similar to the Commonwealth of Nations, the Francophonie has as its stated aims the promotion of democracy and human rights. Following the November 3rd 2000 Déclaration de Bamako,[18] the Francophonie has given itself the financial means to attain a number of set objectives in that regard.

The Francophonie intends to contribute significantly to promoting peace, democracy and support for the rule of law and human rights by focusing on prevention. Political stability and full rights for all, the subject of the Bamako declaration, are considered key to sustainable development.

The Francophonie has chosen to provide its member countries with access to the expertise of its extensive intergovernmental, institutional, academic and non-governmental network with a view to building national capacities, resolving conflict and providing support for ending crises.[19]

In recent years, some participating governments, notably the governments of Quebec and Canada, pushed for the adoption of a Charter in order for the organization to sanction member States that are known to have poor records when it comes to the protection of human rights and the practice of democracy. Such a measure was debated at least twice but was never approved.

Supporting education, training, higher education and research

The International Organization of the Francophonie aims at connecting the various peoples using French as a common language through their knowledge. Education, like access to autonomy and information for all, begins with all children having access to a full primary education free of gender inequality. It involves an integrated approach of teaching and training from primary to secondary school that will lead to employment. Education policies must also give French an integral place alongside the partner languages. Last, the research potential of French-language academic streams must be promoted.[19]

Cooperation for sustainable development

The Francophonie is committed to working towards sustainable development by supporting the improvement of economic governance, capacity building, cooperation and the search for common positions in major international negotiations.It's necessary to manage durably the natural resources, particularly the energy and the water, and politics are established to make sure of the conservation of these resources with effective anti-poverty campaigns.[20]

Members

See also: Member states of the International Organization of the Francophonie.

The official list of member states is available at the Francophonie website.

Mauritania's membership was suspended on August 26, 2008, pending democratic elections, after a military coup d'état.[21]

Asking India to join

The organization has proposed that India should join the group as a member. Due to the French colonial rule in the Indian territory of Pondicherry, India has a connection to the organization. It has been argued that India's membership would add a major emerging power to the organization while giving India membership of a wide-ranging multi-lateral forum. The proposal is currently under review by the Indian government.[22]

Map of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie

See also

External links

Notes and References

  1. http://www.iepf.org/docs/depang.pdf Brochure: L’Institut de l’énergie et de l’environnement de la Francophonie
  2. http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/maps/reference/international/francophonie Atlas of Canada: The Francophonie
  3. http://www.rfi.fr/lffr/articles/075/article_642.asp FRANCOPHONIE 18 March 2006
  4. "Francophonie" The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation of Canada, 2008. Accessed 22 January 2009.
  5. [Radio France International]
  6. http://www.rfi.fr/Fichiers/MFI/CultureSociete/1703.asp La France à l’heure de la francophonie culturelle « Saisir du français pour l’imprégner de sa singularité ! »
  7. http://sites.radiofrance.fr/franceinter/ev/fiche.php?ev_id=1212 Journée mondiale de la Francophonie
  8. http://www.international.gc.ca/franco/institutions.aspx Structure and institutions of La Francophonie
  9. http://www.moyak.com/papers/history-francophonie.html La Francophonie: History, Structure, Organization, and Philosophical Underpinnings
  10. http://organisation-internationale-de-la-francophonie.co.tv/ Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
  11. Book: Valantin, Christian. La Francophonie dans le Monde 2006-2007. 2007. Nathan.
  12. Book: Valantin, Christian. La Francophonie dans le Monde 2006-2007. 2007. Nathan. Accessed 05 May 2011.
  13. Book: La Francophonie dans le Monde. 2005. Larousse.
  14. Web site: Operating agencies. Accessed 05 May 2011.
  15. Web site: Senghor University. Accessed 05 May 2011.
  16. Web site: La voix de la diversité. Accessed 05 May 2011.
  17. Web site: Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Accessed 05 May 2011.
  18. http://www.droitshumains.org/Francophonie/Bama_declar.htm Déclaration de Bamako
  19. Web site: Programming of the International Organization of la Francophonie. Accessed 05 May 2011.
  20. Web site: La voix de la diversité. Accessed 05 May 2011.
  21. http://www.rfi.fr/actufr/articles/104/article_71669.asp "L’OIF suspend la Mauritanie"
  22. http://www.planetd.org/2007/04/09/easter-readings-a-francophone-view-on-india/