Summits of La Francophonie

The idea of holding a Summit meeting of La Francophonie Heads of State and Government took shape long before the first meeting was held in Paris in 1986 under the auspices of France. President Léopold Senghor of Senegal was among the first Summit promoters in the early 1960s. The idea was then taken up by presidents Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, Ould Daddah of Mauritania and Hamani Diori of Niger, as well as Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.

Montreux XIII Summit 2010 Logo

The Summit, the highest authority in La Francophonie, is held every two years. It is chaired by the Head of State or Government of the host country, who assumes that responsibility until the next Summit.

By enabling the Heads of State and Government to hold a dialogue on all of the international issues of the day, the Summit serves to define the policies and goals of La Francophonie so as to ensure the organization's influence on the world scene.

Symbol of the Summits

Symbol of the Summits

The symbol of the Summits of La Francophonie was developed for the second Summit, which took place in Quebec City, September 2-4, 1987. It became the distinctive logo of the Summits of Heads of State and Government Using French as a Common Language.

This symbol is a synergy of lines and colours creating a veritable surge of modern, uplifting movement.

The visual progression of its components gives dynamic expression to the concepts of Association and Universality represented through the circular shape.

The visual structure of the five bands overlapping one another in an orderly fashion conveys in spectacular fashion the concepts of Mutual Aid and Harmonious Collaboration.

The five distinct colours, representing the different colours of the flags of the states and governments participating in the Quebec City Summit, add an international dimension to the symbol and suggest the five continents that are home to the various partners of La Francophonie.

Use of the logo is reserved for the Summits themselves and their official events, or for one-time activities or events that are directly linked to the Summits.

History of the Summits

Paris Summit - February 17-19, 1986

Forty-one countries and governments were represented at the first summit, which took place at the Palace of Versailles. The conference marked a new departure for the organization, an effort to establish ongoing consultations on major issues of the day. It also provided an opportunity to affirm the role of the French language as a modern tool for progress and intercultural dialogue. Finally, it sought to convey Francophone solidarity through concrete programs with broad appeal.

Quebec City Summit - September 2-4, 1987

During the Quebec City Summit, more progress was made in the areas of cooperation and the strengthening of solidarity among the countries and governments that participated in the Paris Summit. La Francophonie's priority areas were confirmed as agriculture, energy, scientific and technological development, language, communication and culture. The Institute of Energy and Environment of La Francophonie, which is based in Quebec City, and the Francophone Business Forum, a non-governmental organization of French-speaking business people, were created at the Quebec City Summit.

Dakar Summit - May 24-26, 1989

The Dakar Summit strengthened the organization by reaching into new areas of activity, including education and training, the environment, and legal and judicial cooperation. It confirmed the role of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT) as the principal operating agency and key instrument of La Francophonie as a multilateral organization. It was at Dakar that Senghor University in Alexandria, Egypt was created.

Chaillot Summit - November 19-21, 1991

According to François Mitterrand, then president of France and the host of the Chaillot Summit, this conference marked both the coming of age and an expansion of La Francophonie. Nearly 50 countries and governments from five continents were represented. At this summit, the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie and the Permanent Council of La Francophonie were created, and the role of the ACCT as the secretariat of all of the organization's institutions was confirmed.

Mauritius Summit - October 16-18, 1993

At Mauritius, the participants decided that the each summit would be known as a conference of Heads of State and Government of countries using French as a common language-a gesture meant to reaffirm their membership in the Francophone family while respecting each country's diversity. The summit participants also recognized the importance of economic issues, calling for increased cooperation among Francophone business communities.

Cotonou Summit - December 2-4, 1995

The Cotonou Summit led to a profound change in the institutions of La Francophonie. It was decided to appoint a Secretary General and to transform the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT) into the Intergovernmental Agency of La Francophonie (AIF), establishing the position of chief executive to manage it. It was also at Cotonou that the Heads of State and Government decided to concentrate the operating agencies' activities on the five major cooperation programs of La Francophonie: freedom, democracy and development; culture and communications; knowledge and progress; economics and development; and La Francophonie in the world. This summit also underscored the promotion of cultural diversity as more legitimate and necessary than ever, ascribing it a role in peacebuilding.

Hanoi Summit - November 14-17, 1997

The Hanoi Summit represented another important step in the development of La Francophonie institutions: the revised charter was implemented and the first secretary general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was appointed to make La Francophonie a more dynamic and active force in the international arena. Although the summit's main theme was economic cooperation, the Heads of State and Government also agreed to focus their efforts on peace and the prevention of conflict in member countries. In addition, they resolved to cooperate with the international community in protecting human rights.

Moncton Summit - September 3-5, 1999

New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province of Canada, was the host of the Eighth Francophone summit. To highlight the key contribution of young people to the future of La Francophonie and of the world in general, the summit's main theme was youth. Two secondary themes, the economy and new technology, were also discussed.

In Moncton, the Heads of State and Government also decided to hold three sectoral conferences in preparation for the next summit: a symposium assessing democratic practices, rights and freedoms in the French-speaking world, to be held in Bamako, Mali; a ministerial conference on culture, in Cotonou, Benin; and the first Women of La Francophonie conference, in Luxembourg.

Beirut Summit - October 18-20, 2002

The Beirut Summit, the first held in an Arab country, had as its theme the dialogue of cultures. Here La Francophonie made a policy shift by addressing issues related to the Middle East. The Heads of State and Government made a firm commitment to implementing the Bamako Declaration on democracy, good governance and human rights. The summit also indicated support for the principle of the adoption by UNESCO of an instrument on cultural diversity that entrenches the right of states and governments to maintain, establish and develop policies in support of culture and cultural diversity. Senegal's former President Abdou Diouf was elected Secretary General of La Francophonie and undertook to pursue the political and cooperative action started by his predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Ouagadougou Summit - November 26-27, 2004

The theme of the Ouagadougou Summit was "La Francophonie: a community that supports sustainable development." Here La Francophonie broadened its political role, notably by deciding to hold a ministerial conference on conflict prevention and human security in St. Boniface, Manitoba. At the initiative of Canada, this summit adopted the very first ten-year strategic framework for La Francophonie, which henceforth defines its four main missions: (i) promoting the French language and cultural and linguistic diversity, (ii) promoting peace, democracy and human rights, (iii) supporting education, training, higher education and research, and (iv) developing cooperation to ensure sustainable development and solidarity.

Of special note, the Ouagadougou Summit confirmed Canada as the choice to host the XIIth Summit in 2008, which will take place in Quebec City. In making this decision, La Francophonie wanted to be associated with the many events that will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city.

Bucharest Summit - September 28 to 29, 2006

The 11th Francophonie Summit produced the Bucharest Declaration, dealing with the theme of the Summit (information technologies in education) and international political questions. The Conference also passed five resolutions on: the global digital solidarity fund; dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; international migration and development; the positioning of a UN force in the Central African Republic; and climate change. With four new full-fledged members (Albania, Andorra, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece), two associate members (Cyprus and Ghana) and three observers (Mozambique, Serbia and Ukraine), membership in the International Organization of La Francophonie increased to 68 States and governments. On September 26 the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie approved a guide on the use of the French language in international organizations. The Secretary General of La Francophonie, Abdou Diouf, was re-elected by the heads of State and government to head up La Francophonie for a four-year term.

Quebec Summit - October 17 to 19, 2008

The 12th Francophonie Summit was chaired by the Prime Minister of Canada; Canada and Quebec served as co-hosts, in partnership with New Brunswick. The conference took place against a backdrop of financial crisis, food crisis, and conflicts in La Francophonie. The Summit formula was renewed with the designation of four issues instead of just one (democracy and the rule of law, the environment, economic governance, the French language) and round table discussions.

The heads of state and government adopted an ambitious declaration with concrete commitments with regard to the four Summit issues and the financial and food crises:

  • they recalled their responsibility to the French language and committed themselves to promoting its use in international organizations;

  • they agreed to work more vigorously to promote peace, democracy and human rights (i.e. to strive for a more vigorous implementation of the Bamako and St. Boniface declarations);K

  • they agreed to promote transparency, responsibility and good governance. Among other things, they encouraged broader support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR);

  • they noted that climate change was a serious challenge and agreed to develop their cooperation.

The discussions also made it possible to make progress on a number of priorities, notably in security, through a commitment by La Francophonie to increase its efforts to stabilize certain African countries and to strengthen the peacekeeping capacities of Francophone states. In terms of democratic governance, La Francophonie undertook to provide better protection for journalists. As for economic governance, the heads of state and government of La Francophonie agreed to support the holding of a world summit on the financial crisis and the reform of the international economic system.

The 55 states and governments and the 13 observer states of La Francophonie were represented at this Summit, which endorsed Armenia’s change of status (from observer state to associate member) and the membership of Latvia and Thailand as observer states. This brings the number of members of the OIF to 70. The Quebec City Summit was held in the absence of Mauritania, which was suspended from the OIF following the August 2008 coup d’état.