At the opening of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, OIF Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Abdou Diouf, stressed his support for the ties created between OIF and UNESCO regarding the diversity of cultural expressions. He spoke of the concrete measures OIF has taken towards ratification of the Convention and the role played by parliamentarians in this matter:
"At every meeting of the leaders of La Francophonie I call upon the 20% of our states and governments who have not yet done so to ratify the UNESCO convention. Furthermore, from now on, states and governments applying for membership in La Francophonie must have ratified or be in the process of ratifying this Convention. I have no intention of breaking with this rule and I call upon all of you, ladies and gentlemen, to encourage your states to adhere en masse to this vital international instrument."
Mr. Diouf reminded parliamentarians that APF had worked to support the creation and mass ratification of the Convention in response to national, international, and transnational issues. "Today," he added, "our member states and government are called upon to ensure the Convention is implemented effectively and in full."
In his closing remarks, Mr. Diouf stated that "member states must believe in the Convention for it to be truly effective. Their conviction will lead them to seriously contribute to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity. Last month, the Fund's financial resources totaled $3.5 million. I will make only one comparison: the budget for a major Hollywood production can reach up to $300 million!"
The text of Mr. Abdou Diouf's speech is available on the OIF website.
During his visit to Québec City, Secretary-General Diouf was made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec.