GENEVA, Switzerland – World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) today signed an agreement that gives political and legal anchoring to the cooperation between these two organizations.
The agreement was signed at the WHO headquarters by Louise Mushikiwabo, secretary-general of La Francophonie, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general.
It builds on the memorandum of understanding signed by the two organizations in April 2021, setting out the main areas of joint action, including the WHO Academy, advancing universal health coverage, primary health care and malaria control.
This agreement now allows the OIF and WHO to participate mutually in the governing bodies of the two organizations, according to the rules specific to each.
“This agreement is the next step in strengthening the already-close relationship between our two organizations,” said Dr Tedros. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of global solidarity and international collaboration. The Francophonie’s commitment to peace, democracy and human rights makes it an ideal partner for WHO.”
Mushikiwabo said: “This agreement will allow the OIF to contribute with WHO on the development of social protections and universal access to public health services for all in the French-speaking world.
Referring to the COVID-19 crisis, she added: “We will only be safe from this pandemic when all countries of the world have vaccinated their populations.”
During the agreement signing ceremony, Mushikiwabo and Dr Tedros repeated their call for ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and other tools needed to fight the pandemic.
Ambassadors of francophone countries unanimously welcomed the agreement and strongly supported multilateral initiatives led by WHO and the OIF to scale up access to vaccines in their countries.