M. Abdou Diouf, Secrétaire général de l'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), 29 novembre 2004 - 2004/11/29
This press release by Abdou Diouf was made public at the end of the 10th Summit of La Francophonie. In it, he maintains that La Francophonie is not only about the protection of the French language, but it is through La Francophonie, through its protection and promotion, its commitment to support linguistic diversity, and beyond that, cultural diversity and the dialogue of cultures. In fact, he states, "As a laboratory for cultural diversity due to its mission and geographic and economic composition, and strengthened by its own particular experience in working for development, La Francophonie has structured and reinforced its actions to promote cultural diversity. These actions have enabled advances in creating an international regulatory framework promoting the development of cultural policies and the growth of cultural industries. They have helped deepen international reflection on the dialogue of cultures." In this regard, Diouf stresses, cultural diversity has become a major political issue for pluralism, democracy and liberty. "We do not want a uniform world. We want a united world that is rich in its differences. A world in which the dialogue of cultures is a reality. If cultural goods and services were subjected to the laws of the market without any safeguards, then cultural diversity and, at the same time, linguistic diversity would be threatened." Moreover, guaranteeing cultural diversity to promote the dialogue of civilizations has been one of the major focuses of action on the part of the OIF and its operators since the strong movement during the Beruit Summit of 2002 to draft and approve the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity of December 2, 2001, and to pursue the process of adopting this regulatory legal instrument between now and 2005.
However, for Diouf, adopting this convention will not be sufficient if it is not backed up with voluntary policies by countries and local communities to support creators and encourage the emergence or reinforcement of strong cultural industries, to implement sustainable national cultural policies. He states that La Francophonie also has a concrete role to play in this sector, which includes organizing solidarity-building opportunities among creators, facilitating access to financing for artists, and encouraging the promotion and distribution of artistic and cultural works. The goal of cultural diversity has led La Francophonie to develop a partnership with other linguistic regions, particularly the Organization of Iberian Americans, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and the Latin Union. Diouf also stresses that it was out of concern for cultural diversity that La Francophonie developed contacts with representatives of civil society, unions, and non-governmental organizations, particularly through the International Network on Cultural Diversity (INCD).
However, he warns that these efforts will not be sufficient to further the cause of peace in the francophone community and around the world if they are not supported by fundamental action in education and development. In the sector of sustainable development and solidarity, as in the educational sector, he states, states play a vital role. "Without a structured state or an efficient and honest administration, if there is a lack of trust between public decision-makers and investors, development is not possible. The francophone community must be a place of increased solidarity between rich and poor states." He stresses that the development for which La Francophonie is mobilizing its forces, "is, of course, sustainable development, which is respectful of the planet Earth, careful to avoid wasting natural resources and endangering the lives of generations to come. Facilitating exchanges among states, giving francophone countries in the a stronger voice in international negotiations that concern them, organizing meetings and promoting solidarity within the francophone community on these essential issues are most certainly among the tasks our organization must devote even more attention and effort to in the future. La Francophonie is not opposed to the globalization currently underway, which has many positive aspects. However, it would like an organized globalization. A globalization tempered by the spirit of solidarity, with rules it intends to help establish." ( Available in French)