The Prime Minister strengthens ties with the Francophonie at the Sommet de la Francophonie
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today concluded his participation in the 18th Summit of La Francophonie in Djerba, Tunisia, where he met with his counterparts from member countries and governments of La Francophonie to advance common priorities such as protecting the democracy and human rights and the defense and promotion of the French language. This brings 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 Economic Leaders’ Meeting ( APEC) and the 18th Summit of La Francophonie – to a loved one.
At the Sommet de la Francophonie, Prime Minister Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to remain a strong partner for the other members and governments of La Francophonie and to continue to support the institutions of La Francophonie. He announced:
- $20.8 million to the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) to continue implementing its mandate and programming in key areas, including inclusive governance and growth, promotion of the French language, democracy and human rights, education and economic cooperation for sustainable development;
- $2.4 million to the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie to continue to foster cooperation between Francophone universities, improve access to quality education for learners in the South, and support professional training and research; and
- $200,000 to allow TV5MONDEplus to continue to support, promote and broadcast 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 the Sahel, particularly in Mali and Burkina Faso, with an emphasis on supporting vulnerable populations, empowering women and girls, good governance and democratic resilience, and socio-economic development;
- $49.5 million to support the ACTION project, which aims to improve the economic, food and nutritional security of poor rural populations in Mali practicing local irrigation, particularly women and young people; and
- $1.5 million to support the mission and ongoing operations of the International Counterterrorism Academy, which supports African countries, including Francophone West Africa, in their counterterrorism efforts .
During the Summit, the Prime Minister reiterated Canada’s commitment to promoting democracy and human rights in the countries of La Francophonie and throughout the world. He announced that Canada is allocating $10 million to the new Democracy in La Francophonie initiative to provide rapid and flexible support to countries, as well as to the OIF, to meet new challenges and threats to democracy and human rights, including by improving the resilience of governments against disinformation. and empowering women to fight threats to their democratic rights.
On the sidelines of the Summit, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, hosted a meeting with the Member States and governments of the OIF on the situation in Haiti and the need to support the efforts of the Haitian authorities to restore order and meet Haitians’ immediate humanitarian needs. At the meeting, he announced:
- $8 million to meet the needs of crisis-affected populations, including those affected by displacement, recent violence, chronic food insecurity, and the cholera outbreak;
- $5 million to strengthen the capacity of Haitian authorities 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 for victims of gender-based violence, while strengthening access to justice, fighting impunity and supporting efforts to fight against corruption.
He and Minister Joly also announced that Canada is imposing new sanctions in response to the flagrant 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 of protecting and enabling the illegal activities of armed criminal gangs in Haiti, including through money laundering and other acts of corruption, effectively freezing all assets they may hold in Canada. We will continue to put pressure on those responsible for the violence and insecurity in Haiti and to defend respect for human rights, democracy and international peace. These sanctions are in addition to three additional sanctions announced on 19 November.
While in Djerba, Prime Minister Trudeau spoke out against the illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine by Russia, an observer member of La Francophonie, and reaffirmed Canada’s unwavering support for the government and people of Ukraine. He stressed the need for member countries and governments to reaffirm La Francophonie’s commitment to peace and democracy, and stressed the importance of working together in the face of Putin’s continued aggression and to counter Russian false narratives and disinformation.
Prior to the Francophonie Summit, Prime Minister Trudeau participated in the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 12-13, the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, November 15-16, and the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. November 17-18. During the meetings, he worked closely with Indo-Pacific and global partners to strengthen ties and make progress on common priorities including expanding trade and investment, growing the economy for the benefit of all and creating opportunities for people and businesses. in Canada and around the world. He announced significant additional funding to support Ukraine and stressed the importance of continuing to work together to advance democracy and human rights, protect the environment and fight climate change, and called on allies and international partners to continue to support Ukraine and to hold Russia accountable.
“Canada works actively with the International Organization of 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 French-speaking countries and create opportunities for our peoples.
- This is the third Francophonie Summit attended by Prime Minister Trudeau.
- La Francophonie is a group of 88 states and governments that share French as a common language and have common values. It represents 1 billion people, including 300 million French speakers, 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 the Niger, Mohamed Bazoum.
- On November 19, Minister Joly announced that Canada was sanctioning three Haitian political elites, imposing a trade ban on them and effectively freezing any assets they might have in Canada.
- In Djerba, OIF member states and governments adopted key documents, including the Djerba Declaration, the Declaration on the French language in the linguistics of La Francophonie, the Resolution on crisis situations, crisis resolution and consolidation of peace in the French-speaking world, the Regulations relating to the procedure for membership or modification of the status of a State or government with the OIF, and the Strategic Framework of La Francophonie 2023-2030.
- At the Summit, Canada promoted the value of studying in Canada and the Canadian International Development Scholarships 2030 program. Announced earlier this year, the $80 million program combines access to scholarships quality higher education, tailored professional training, as well as technical and professional training opportunities in Canada and in some developing countries. The program supports the empowerment of women in beneficiary countries so that they can become drivers of change. At least 75% of the funds will be allocated to member countries of La Francophonie, including Tunisia.
- This was the 18th Summit of La Francophonie, and the first to be held in four years.
- Canada is one of the founding countries and an active member of the institutional Francophonie, in which it has continued its strong and sustained commitment for more than 50 years.
- Canada is the second largest donor to the institutions of La Francophonie, with contributions totaling nearly $43 million in 2021-2022.
- Canada and Tunisia established diplomatic relations in 1957. The two countries maintain deep bilateral relations and dynamic and diversified trade relations. In 2020, the Tunisian diaspora in Canada represented nearly 35,000 people. Canada attracts between 2,000 and 3,000 Tunisian students each year.