Francophonie and multilingualism
We speak of the Francophonie with a minuscule “f” to refer to speakers of French and Francophonie with a capital “F” to show the institutional arrangements organizing relations between the Francophone states. France and its French-speaking partners have a major role to play in keeping alive the founding link between the States grouped together within this framework.
La francophonie refers to people who share French. The latest report of the Observatoire de la langue française, published in 2010, estimates that there are 220 million speakers on five continents.
The institutional Francophonie currently includes 77 states and governments that either have the French language as their official or co-official language.benefit from a francophone and francophile tradition that has kept alive the practice and learning of the French language. All these States and governments share common principles and objectives that have founded the construction of the multilateral Francophonie and guide its political action, including cultural diversity, peace, democratic governance, strengthening the rule of law and protecting the environment.
Since 1970 and the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT) – now the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) – Francophones can rely on an institutional mechanism dedicated to promoting the French language and cooperation relations between the various Member States and governments or observers.
Francophone cooperation is not only exercised through institutional action: there is a rich body of associations and non-governmental organizations. These include professional associations, writers' groups, networks of booksellers, academics, journalists, lawyers, NGOs and, of course, French teachers gathered in the International Federation of French Teachers (IFPF).
Because they have a political mandate to promote the French language in their respective territories, French language organizations and councils of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, France, Quebec (the OQLF, the CSLF and the Secretariat for Language Policy) and French-speaking Switzerland have joined a network of Francophone Organizations for Language Policy and Planning (OPAL), where the OIF has observer status.
Within this group, France maintains direct and privileged relations with Quebec, based on historical, cultural and economic ties. The community of views and interests between France and Quebec primarily concerns the French language, in so far as the use of French is similarly guaranteed by a body of legislative texts and promoted by proactive political action. The 2013/2014 biennum of the Permanent Commission for Franco-Quebec Cooperation has thus chosen as its axis of cooperation the strengthening of the use of French in the economy and work and the use of French in the digital world.
A World Forum on the French Language was created to reflect the economic, demographic and cultural vitality of Francophones: the last edition was held in Liège in July 2015.