Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), Ouagadougou, le 12 septembre 2005 – 2005/09/12
At the invitation of Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), representatives of the 63 international nongovernmental organizations and other international civil society organizations accredited by OIF met in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on September 12 and 13, 2005. They were there to attend the 5th Francophone Conference of INGOs and to play a more active role in the Francophonie’s efforts to promote democracy, cultural diversity, education, and sustainable development. Mr. Diouf took advantage of the occasion to affirm the organization’s vision of a pluralistic world in which differences are expressed through constructive dialog and the competencies of all are mobilized to their full advantage. However, he stressed that the Francophonie “cannot achieve this goal alone. On the contrary, it must draw on all the representative and credible actors of civil society that you speak for.” Mr. Diouf pointed out that one of his organization’s main ambitions is to strengthen dialog and cooperation mechanisms between INGOs, NGOs, and other civil society organizations in the areas of democracy, human rights, and cultural diversity. In the development field, Mr. Diouf hopes to build partnerships to facilitate access to international financing, infrastructure, and microfinance.
On the specific issue of cultural diversity, Mr. Diouf described the key role civil society can play, in partnership with the Francophonie, to meet the challenges of tomorrow and defend the ideals and values it promotes on the international scene. “Starting in 2001, the Francophonie initiated efforts to mobilize the francophone states and step up cooperation at the UNESCO level with the various civil society organizations involved in cultural diversity. These initiatives in connection with the draft international Convention due for completion in October have been extremely productive. The struggle to uphold cultural diversity is at the very core of our concerns, because cultural pluralism is a cornerstone of peace, and one of the ways to control globalization.” [05-27]