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Commonwealth, La Francophonie Secretaries-General to meet Canada's PM Harper over G-20 agenda

The Secretaries-General of the Commonwealth and La Francophonie will visit Canada on 9 June 2010 to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper at his invitation. The high level meeting will discuss ways of ensuring that the concerns of those countries that are not attending the forthcoming G-8 and G-20 summits, especially small states and developing states, are taken into account.

Both Secretaries-General are concerned about the impact of global problems and challenges on small and vulnerable states. The talks are expected to focus on financing for development, tackling the debt burden of small states, climate change, maternal and infant mortality, and women’s entrepreneurship. At the heart of the discussions will be efforts to propose practical initiatives to assist small states and and other vulnerable states in these areas.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Sharma welcomed Prime Minister Harper’s initiative to consult widely ahead of Canada’s hosting of the G8 and G20 summits. “Global leadership requires a global perspective where all views are brought to the table even if seats at the table are restricted. Canada’s approach of listening to those who would otherwise be voiceless and unheard is warmly welcome.”

Mr Sharma continued that the G-8 and G-20 need to see themselves as “trustees” of the majority of countries which will not be present at the summits.

90 percent of the world’s GDP will be represented at the G-20 Summit but 90 percent of the world’s governments and countries will be absent.” He added: “The G-20 needs to see itself as the Trustee of the world’s interests.”

On his part, Secretary-General Diouf said: “G-20 cannot act in the name of the general interest if it only focuses on his members. A new global commitment is necessary if we want to face these challenges to the benefit of all. Organisations such as la Francophonie and the Commonwealth can contribute effectively to the discussion and to the development of innovative solutions. I am grateful to Prime Minister Harper for this unprecedented initiative and I want to reiterate the full commitment of the Commonwealth and the Francophonie on these essential issues.”

Both Secretaries-General will also meet with a number of Canadian Ministers and senior officials during their one-day visit to Ottawa.

Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie groups 56 French-speaking countries and 14 observers. The Commonwealth is an association of 54 member countries. Some 11 countries are members of both organisations. They are: Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Seychelles and Vanuatu.

For media enquiries:

Commonwealth Secretariat:

Manoah Esipisu, Deputy Spokesperson

Tel: +44 7894 462 021

E-mail: m.esipisu@commonwealth.int

Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie:

Julie Tilman, Press Attache to the Secretary-General

Tel: +33.1.44.11.12.68

E-mail: julie.tilman@francophonie.org

Cathy Price Administrative Assistant Communications & Public Affairs Division   Commonwealth Secretariat Marlborough House Pall Mall London SW1Y 5HX United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 20 7747 6386    Fax: Direct +44 (0) 20 7004 3771  General: +44 (0) 20 7839 9081 Web: www.thecommonwealth.org Did You Know? The Commonwealth assists countries with international trade, debt, finance, and economic and legal advice.

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