|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Calling on French Speaking Countries to Support United Nations Work on Climate
Change, Development, Secretary-General Hails Cooperation with La Francophonie
(Delayed in transmission.)
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Thirteenth Summit of the International Organization of la Francophonie, 22 to 24 October, delivered by Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations:
It gives me great pleasure to greet all the participants in the thirteenth Summit of the International Organization of La Fancophonie. I thank the Government of Switzerland for hosting this important meeting, further demonstrating its firm commitment to multilateral action.
Over the years, the International Organization of la Francophonie and the United Nations have built and maintained a strong partnership in many fields.
We strive to preserve and reinforce multilingualism. French is not only the medium of communication for some 220 million people worldwide, it is also an official language of the United Nations and an integral part of the multilateral process.
We work together in several countries that require our continued support. The Francophonie’s emphasis on dialogue and reconciliation has been instrumental in overcoming challenges in many conflict and post-conflict contexts, in protecting human rights, in promoting good governance and democratization, and in supporting electoral processes.
We greatly appreciate the contribution of Francophone countries to peacekeeping operations. Our two organizations rallied to support the people of Haiti following the earthquake in January. We are grateful to the 15 Francophone States whose police and military personnel perform remarkable work in Haiti. We need more French-speaking troops and police — men and women — in Haiti and in Africa, and we look to International Organization of la Francophonie member States for further contributions.
I welcome the focus of the present Summit on development. We must transform the promises made at last month’s Millennium Development Goals Summit into real progress with smart investments in decent work, women’s and children’s health, smallholder agriculture, infrastructure and green energy. The report presented at the Summit by La Francophonie on progress achieved in Francophone countries provides valuable lessons.
We also need your strong support on climate change. At the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, we must capture progress on those issues where there is consensus, and agree on how to move forward on issues that are still unresolved. Most immediately, finance is crucial for building trust and spurring action.
This past August, the United Nations launched the International Year of Youth, under the theme “dialogue and mutual understanding”. As 60 per cent of the world’s Francophone populations are younger than 30 years old, this observance should have special significance for your membership. Let us, together, find ways to involve youth more deeply in our work.
Finally, I commend the commitment of la Francophonie to gender equality. We must also do more to end the appalling violence to which so many women are subjected. Women’s empowerment is essential for unlocking progress towards all the Millennium Development Goals. It is also a fundamental question of human rights.
Let me reiterate the strong commitment of the United Nations to working closely with la Francophonie across this broad agenda of common concern. Please accept my best wishes for the success of your deliberations.
* *** *For information media • not an official record