21 January 2009
Deputy Secretary-General
DSG/SM/437/Rev. 1*

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie, in New York, 21 January:

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today to United Nations Headquarters and I am delighted that the bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie has decided to hold its meeting here.

The efforts of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie to promote peace, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, multilingualism and cultural diversity, particularly in the French-speaking world, are of great interest to our universal organization, the United Nations.

As you know, one of the purposes of the United Nations is to promote interaction between peoples.  It is a genuine forum for dialogue, discussions and ideas.  In the same spirit, your Assembly contributes through its discussions and recommendations to our collective efforts to build a better world.

Our organizations share common core values rooted in the principles of diversity, dialogue and multilingualism.  We also share basic goals such as the prevention and settlement of conflicts and the promotion of democracy and development.  We must continue to strengthen our cooperation.

We took steps in that direction over the past year.  In April, the United Nations attended a major meeting convened by the Francophonie in Paris on strengthening international partnerships in the areas of early warning and conflict prevention.  And in December, the United Nations and the Francophonie jointly organized a symposium in Bamako on democratic and peaceful political transitions in Africa.

We have also been cooperating in the area of human rights, further to the memorandum of understanding signed in September 2007 by your Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  The memorandum emphasizes the key role that can be played by parliamentarians in raising awareness for the ratification and implementation of human rights conventions.

Our organizations are also working to strengthen the capacity of States, not only to submit their national reports to human rights treaty bodies, but also to follow up on the recommendations of those bodies so as to bring national legislation in line with international standards.

I am pleased to say that the Francophonie is also a good partner of the United Nations in efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  As you know, the eighth Goal calls for a global partnership for development focusing on fair trade, debt cancellation and official development assistance.  I urge you to continue doing your part to develop this partnership in the French-speaking world.

At a time when many Francophone countries are grappling with devastating conflicts that could erase the gains made towards the Millennium Development Goals, I am encouraged that one of the main topics of your meeting today will be political crises in the French-speaking world.

Your organization has been actively involved in international efforts to resolve the political crisis on the island of Anjouan in the Comoros.  You have supported peacebuilding efforts in Burundi, the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau.  You are also engaged in efforts to restore constitutional order in Guinea and Mauritania.

I commend this work, which focuses rightly on strengthening the rule of law, promoting the holding of transparent and credible elections, supporting national reconciliation and consolidating peace.

The United Nations Democracy Fund, for its part, is working with your Organization to promote democracy worldwide through projects designed to consolidate and strengthen democratic institutions and facilitate democratic governance.  The Fund is currently supporting efforts to foster democracy in 90 countries, including Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger.

As elected representatives of the peoples of the French-speaking world, you have a key role to play as a bridge between Governments and citizens, and between the local and global. I encourage you to play this role across our broad agenda, from democracy and human rights to peace and the Millennium Development Goals.

I thank you for your visit and congratulate you on your leadership as we look forward to strengthening our partnership.

As we enter a new year, I wish you every success in your noble endeavour.

Thank you.

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*     Reissued to include text translated from French.

For information media • not an official record