In a press release dated December 13, 2007, the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) announced it had attended the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions as an observer. The meeting was organized by the UNESCO Secretariat in Ottawa, Canada, and was held December 10 to 13, 2007.
The press release starts by noting that the meeting came only days after the second discussion seminar, held in Brussels by the OIF and the French Community of Belgium in collaboration with the European Commission on November 29. The theme was “International cooperation to promote a dynamic and durable cultural sector in the developing world.” The first seminar was organized by La Francophonie on May 2 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. It addressed “the establishment of Convention organs” in preparation for the First Conference of Parties to the Convention.
OIF then stresses its strong involvement over many years and declares its intention to continue efforts to ensure that the Convention is ratified by as many states as possible and is quickly implemented. The press release adds that most francophone countries—39 Member States—have already submitted their ratification instruments to UNESCO.
According to OIF, the actions most likely to promote Convention implementation are those that provide aid for cultural industry clusters and for domestic cultural policy development. To help in this regard, various programs seek to strengthen the capacities of public operators (ministries, parapublic organizations) and professional organizations. The press release adds that OIF is also working on the promotion of linguistic diversity and the use of information and communication technology.
The OIF press release concludes by stating that “ La Francophonie is renowned for its expertise and vast experience in cultural cooperation with and support for developing countries. As a veritable laboratory of cultural diversity, the organization plays a major role in ensuring that developing nations are not left behind by globalization.”