ABU DHABI, 25th November 2020 (WAM) – The United Arab Emirates participated in the 37th session of the Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie. The conference was hosted by Tunisia but conducted by videoconference in accordance with safety guidelines under the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the second time the UAE has participated under its Associate Member status granted in 2018. The UAE delegation was led by Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Minister of State.
The Francophonie denotes the group of nations in which French is a first, official, or culturally significant language. The conference coincided with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of l’organisation internationale de la Francophonie, and the 20th anniversary of its Bamako Declaration on democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and conflict prevention.
This year the conference devoted its attention to the experiences and responses of member nations to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of the ‘La Francophonie avec Elles’ solidarity fund for women and families affected by COVID-19.
In his remarks to the session, Nusseibeh confirmed that the UAE takes pride in its membership of this prestigious organization and strives to strengthen its relations with the nations of the Francophone family.
He underlined how UAE shares with these nations a foundation of peace, justice, sustainable development, solidarity, cultural diversity, human rights, and the right to education. “These are values at the heart of the UAE’s centenary vision of 2071”, he said.
He explained how, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE showed the world that the principle of solidarity without discrimination is a moral foundation of UAE society and leadership, and fits within the humanitarian framework of peaceful cooperation between friendly nations.
Nusseibeh noted how the UAE was among the first nations to provide essential medical supplies internationally, donating more than 1,613 tonnes of equipment through 167 aid flights to more than 1.6 million health professionals. The UAE’s humanitarian assistance reached 120 countries, including those within the Francophonie, and helped improve healthcare outcomes and alleviate the pandemic’s social, economic, and financial impacts.
He reminded the session that, “The elimination of this pandemic requires strong will, dedicated teamwork, and awareness. We are certain l’organisation internationale de la Francophonie and its member nations play a pivotal role in addressing the challenges facing the whole world, and that we will all act in unity, to overcome this crisis”.
Looking to the future, he described how much the UAE and its leadership were looking forward to helping make 2021 an exceptional year by the magnitude of the Expo 2020 to be hosted in Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. He was proud also to confirm the participation of l’organisation international de la Francophonie in the Expo for the first time in its history.
“This participation will certainly contribute to supporting the organization and enhancing its presence on the international stage. I am honoured in this context to invite all member nations and their governments to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai, and to support participation through coordination with the Secretariat and the development of joint programs and events”.