The importance of the economic dimension of La Francophonie and the consolidation of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) in the world's political and economic governance were addressed by State Secretary for Global Affairs with Romania's Foreign Ministry (MAE) Daniela Gitman at the 16th conference of the heads of state or governments of French-speaking countries, called the La Francophonie Summit.
In a press statement released on Sunday, MAE says November 26-27, Gitman headed the Romanian delegation to the event hosted by Antananarivo, Madagascar, that was preceded by a convention of the Standing Council of La Francophonie on November 22 and a ministerial conference of La Francophonie on November 22-23.
The summit debates focused on common growth and responsible development as conditions for stability in the world and the French-speaking world, ending with the approval of an Antananarivo Declaration and 13 resolutions concerning peace and stability; gender equality; the fight against violent extremism; advancing linguistic diversity; sustainable development.
On the side-lines of the summit, a cooperation protocol between OIF and the European Union was signed that concerns themes of shared interest, and a declaration of young Francophiles was adopted as well.
In her speech, Gitman underscored the importance of OIF strengthening its position in the world's economic and political governance by better capitalising on its assets and by also consolidating its partnerships with other prestigious international organisations, first of all with the United Nations, in the service of peace, democracy and sustainable development.
She also mentioned the importance of the economic dimension of La Francophonie that is directly linked to sustainable development, stability, democracy and peace, saying that 'Romania is attaching special importance to the development of economic Francophonie and its increased involvement in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.'
She also announced that a Francophonie economic forum for Central and Eastern Europe will be held in Bucharest in 2018 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Romania's accession to OIF as a full member.
MAE as quotes Gitman as having discussed preparations, jointly with OIF specialists, for a 3rd edition of the world forum of French-speaking women, to be hosted by Bucharest in 2017, a project that has won high commendations from other OIF member states. The event, which theme focuses on the part of women in economic development, was agreed upon during a visit to Bucharest in the spring of 2016 by OIF secretary general.
On the same occasion, the heads of state or government of the member states set the dates for the next OIF summit meetings: 2018 in Armenia and 2020 in Tunisia.
On the side-lines of the Antananarivo summit, Gitman met in a bilaterasl meeting Minister of Francophone Affairs of Canada's Ontario province Marie-France Lalonde; Ontario was awarded observer membership at the summit. Discussed at the meeting were the situation of Ontario's Romanian community, which is well integrated with the Canadian society, the need to boost economic cooperation in areas of shared interest (research, energy, new technologies), as well as mutual support inside OIF
Gitman also met Deputy Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Gilbert Houngbo, a former prime minister of Togo (2008-2012), to discuss cooperation inside international organisations and relaunching bilateral ties. The Togolese official briefed Gitman on the latest developments inside ILO.
She also met Moldova's Minister of Culture Monica Babuc to discuss bilateral cooperation in files of common interest, with emphasis on ongoing cultural projects, particularly inside UNESCO.
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