18th Sommet De La Francophonie Discusses Shared Priorities – Democracy, Human Rights & French Language
Djerba, Tunisia: Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on Sunday concluded his participation in the 18th Sommet de la Francophonie, in Djerba, Tunisia, where he met with counterparts from Francophonie member countries and governments to make progress on shared priorities like protecting democracy and human rights and defending and promoting the French language.
This summit brought the Prime Minister’s trip to four international meetings – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, the G20 Summit, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, and the 18th Sommet de la Francophonie – to a close.
At the Sommet de la Francophonie, Prime Minister Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to remaining a strong partner for fellow Francophonie members and governments and continuing to support La Francophonie’s institutions. He announced:
- $20.8 million for the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) to continue implementing its mandate and programming in key areas, including inclusive governance and growth, the promotion of the French language, democracy and human rights, education, and economic cooperation for sustainable development;
- $2.4 million for the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie to continue promoting cooperation between Francophone academic institutions, improve access to quality education for learners in the South, and support professional training and research; and
- $200,000 to enable TV5MONDEplus to continue supporting, promoting, and disseminating French-language programming, including content produced in the South.
- To promote sustainable development while continuing to advance peace, security, and democracy in the French-speaking world, the Prime Minister announced that Canada is providing:
- approximately $65 million to support sustainable development projects in Sahel, particularly in Mali and Burkina Faso, with a focus on support to vulnerable populations, the empowerment of women and girls, good governance and democratic resilience, and socio-economic development;
- $49.5 million to support the ACTION project, which aims to improve economic, food, and nutritional security for Mali’s poor rural populations practising proximity irrigation, especially women and youth; and
- $1.5 million to support the ongoing mission and operations of the Académie internationale de lutte contre le terrorisme, which supports African countries, including francophone West Africa, in their counter-terrorism efforts.
At the Summit, the Prime Minister reiterated Canada’s commitment to promote democracy and human rights in Francophonie countries and around the world. He announced that Canada is providing $10 million for the new Democracy in La Francophonie initiative to provide fast and flexible support to countries, as well as the OIF, toward addressing emerging challenges and threats to democracy and human rights, including by improving government resilience against disinformation and empowering women
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, hosted a meeting with OIF member states and governments on the situation in Haiti and the need to support Haitian authorities’ efforts to restore order and respond to Haitians’ immediate humanitarian needs. At the meeting, he announced:
- $8 million to meet the needs of crisis-affected populations, including those impacted by displacement, the recent violence, chronic food insecurity, and the cholera epidemic;
- $5 million to strengthen Haitian authorities’ capacity to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate cases of corruption and economic crime, money laundering, and other offences; and
- $3.5 million to strengthen and improve access to legal aid support for victims of gender-based violence, while strengthening access to justice, countering impunity, and supporting efforts to combat corruption.
He and Minister Joly also announced that Canada is imposing further sanctions in response to the egregious conduct of Haitian political elites who provide illicit financial and operational support to armed gangs. These latest sanctions target a former Haitian president and two former Haitian prime ministers suspected to protect and enable the illegal activities of armed criminal gangs in Haiti, effectively freezing any assets they may hold in Canada.
While in Djerba, Prime Minister Trudeau spoke out against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, Observer Member of the Francophonie, and reaffirmed Canada’s steadfast support for the Ukrainian government and people. He stressed the need for member countries and governments to reaffirm La Francophonie’s commitment to peace and democracy, and underlined the importance of working together in the face of Putin’s ongoing aggression.
Before the Sommet de la Francophonie, Prime Minister Trudeau participated in the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from November 12 to 13, the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia from November 15 to 16, and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand from November 17 to 18. During the meetings, he worked closely with Indo-Pacific and global partners to strengthen ties and make progress on shared priorities.
PM Trudeau said: “Canada is working actively with the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie in its efforts to promote and protect the French language, cultural diversity, and important common values such as peace, democracy, and human rights. We will continue to work together to strengthen Canada’s already strong ties with other Francophone countries and create opportunities for our peoples.”
- This is the third Sommet de la Francophonie attended by Prime Minister Trudeau.
- La Francophonie is a group of 88 states and governments that share French as a common language and have values in common. It represents 1 billion people, including 300 million Francophones, on five continents.
- During the Summit, Prime Minister Trudeau also held bilateral meetings with the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, and the President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum.
- On November 19, Minister Joly announced that Canada is sanctioning three Haitian political elites, imposing a dealings prohibition on them and effectively freezing any assets they may hold in Canada.
- Canada promoted the value of studying in Canada and the Canadian International Development Scholarship 2030 program. Announced earlier this year, this $80 million program combines access to quality graduate scholarships, tailored professional training, as well as technical and professional training opportunities both in Canada and in select developing countries. The program supports the empowerment of women in recipient countries so they can become drivers of change. At least 75 per cent of the funding will be allocated to member countries of La Francophonie, including Tunisia.