French president and WHO director-general discuss global health agenda and Global Fund replenishment

French president Emmanuel Macron and director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus met in Paris on January 11, 2019 to discuss the global  health agenda. Macron announced the launch of a WHO office in Lyon to support urgent responses to health crises, which will feature a training center.

Macron noted the importance of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 Action Plan and highlighted France's support for the initiative. He also referred to the US$14 billion investment required for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria's replenishment, which will be held in Lyon on October 10, 2019.

Press release -Elysee (in French)


Two million people petition French government for action on climate change

1.9 million people have signed a petition in favor of suing the French government, accusing it of inaction on climate change, while four NGOs - Oxfam, Greenpeace, Notre Affaire à Tous, and Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme - have initiated legal proceedings alleging that France has not respected its climate change obligations. The filing gives the government two months to formulate a response, after which the organizations can choose to move forward with their lawsuit in a court.

The petition, supported by influential YouTubers, was signed one million people in less than 48 hours and should reach two million in the forthcoming days, an unprecedented record for an online petition in France.

Website - L'Affaire du siècle (in French) 

Website - Oxfam France (in French)


French G7 summit to focus on inequality

France is set to host the G7 Heads of State Summit in Biarritz from August 24-26, 2019, with a focus on inequality, notably gender inequality, and access to education and quality health services in developing countries. The summit will also aim to tackle environmental inequality by mobilizing additional funding for climate change, and through the One Planet Summit side event, which will identify concrete solutions for climate change, biodiversity, and marine conservation.
France’s G7 agenda will also cover fair trade, fiscal and development rules, and the taxation of digital companies, as well as the the reform of the World Trade Organization. The fight against terrorism and its funding, as well as how to harness the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence and digital technologies will also be discussed. A new organization, similar in role and scope to the IPCC on climate change, will be proposed to support ethical and responsible digital technologies. Meanwhile, a range of stakeholders will be invited to contribute to the discussions, including the C7 (NGOs), the W7 (women's rights organizations), the T7 (think tanks), the Y7 (youth groups), the L7 (trade unions), the B7 (private sector), and the S7 (academics).

A preliminary meeting will take place on January 22, 2019 at the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Paris, with a focus on adjusting the liberal economic model to better work with the challenges and opportunities of innovation, new technologies, inequalitym and corporate social responsibility. 

Website - Les Echos (in French) 


France announces its priorities as president of G7 in 2019

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian has offered details on the 2019 French presidency of the G7, which will culminate in the G7 Heads of State summit in Biarritz August 24-26. The central theme will be inequality, with a particular focus on pay, the fight against tax havens, social protection, education, gender equality, digital divide, climate change, global health, and environmental issues (biodiversity and protection of oceans). The French G7 presidency will also discuss peace and counter-terrorism, as well as promotion of fair trade and fiscal and development policies.

The G7 platform will be used to reinforce multilateralism through the inclusion of five international organizations and additional countries to the traditional G7 membership, such as South Korea, Australia, Mexico, India, and some African countries. Eight dates have been released for G7 ministerial meetings in 2019 on the following themes:

  • Foreign and Home Affairs (April 5-6)
  • Environmental Affairs (May 5-6)
  • Gender Equality (May 9-10)
  • Health (May 16-17)
  • Work and Employment (June 7)
  • Development and Education (July 4-5)
  • Finance (July 17-18)

Civil society will be included in the G7 preparation through separate preparatory meetings with NGOs (C7), youth (Y7), trade unions (C7), the private sector (B7), think tanks (T7), and scientific organizations (S7).

Website - French G7 presidency

News article - AFP (in French)

France releases new priorities of its human-rights strategy

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian announced new orientations of France's human-rights strategy, which will focus on:

  • Support to victims of religious and ethnic violence
  • Security of journalists
  • Protection of asylum seekers
  • Civic and political rights
  • Defense and protection of LGBT people
  • Promotion of international human-rights law and multilateralism
  • Defense of international criminal justice and universal abolition of the death penalty

Le Drian stated that France will defend those principles during the French presidency of the G7, at the UN Security Council in March 2019, and in the Council of Europe in May. 

Press release - French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (in French)


EU and France commit €1.3 billion for the Sahel

The EU and France increased their funding for the G5 Sahel anti-terror alliance to US$1.4 billion at a two-day summit in Mauritania. Concluding the summit, the EU said it would add US$138 million, for an EU total of US$885 million, while France announced an extra US$243 million, bringing total French funding to US$553 million for the program. Half of this sum is for projects already planned or underway, while the other half remains to be awarded.

The Sahel Alliance was launched in July 2017 by France, Germany, and the EU as a joint military force commanded by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Much of the EU money will come from the European Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which aims to reduce migration to the EU from the Sahel, Lake Chad, Horn of Africa, and North of Africa regions.

News article – Euractiv

EU France

French development agency releases report on how to tackle inequality

ID4D, the research platform of the French development agency (AFD) has released a report entitled 'The Fight Against Inequalities: a State of Emergency'. The report, which aims to feed into the G7 under France's leadership in 2019, gives the floor to different experts. The report notably addresses the way inequalities can be tackled through fiscal policies, social-protection schemes, education, and how climate change impacts the fight against inequalities.

Report - ID4D (in French and English)


French NGOs call President Macron to help fully fund the Global Fund

Ten French non-governmental organizations (NGOs) published an open editorial on the France Info website to call on French President Emmanuel Macron to mobilize his counterparts to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The NGOs who signed the editorial are Doctors of the World, Aides, Global Health Advocates, ONE, Sidaction, Equilibres & Populations, Coalition Plus, Solidarité Sida, Solthis, and Planning familial. The NGOs formally made their request on World AIDS Day on December 1, 2018, 300 days before the Global Fund replenishment France will host on October 10, 2019, in Lyon.

NGOs have also set up a petition on calling for an increase in funding for the three pandemics.

Editorial - France info website (in French) 


France announces multilateralism, SDGs among priorities for 2019 G20 year

The French ministry of foreign affairs has released its five priorities for the forthcoming group of 20 (G20) year, hosted by Japan. These priorities include:

  1. Pursue momentum and mobilize G20 countries around biodiversity and the Paris Climate Change Agreement
  2. Discuss a roadmap for World Trade Organization (WTO) reform and reject protectionism
  3. Fight terrorism and its funding, following the 2018 'No money for terror' conference organized in Paris
  4. Progress on achievement of SDGs with a special focus on girls' education and gender equality, including development financing and risk of debt distress
  5. Support the adoption of the 'Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace'

Press release - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in French)


French Secretary of State for Foreign and European Affairs calls for deeper Europe-Africa relations

French Secretary of State for Foreign and European Affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne published an open editorial in daily newspaper Le Parisien calling for a deepening of cooperation between Africa and Europe, which he referred to as "two interlinked continents".  According to Lemoyne, France has decided to increase its development budget (which had been decreasing since 2010) from 0.38% of Gross National Income (GNI) in 2016 up to 0.55% in 2022. It also decided to increase its contribution to the Global Partnership for Education by a tenfold, with the aim of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Lemoyne also said that sustainable cities will be the main theme of the Africa-France Summit that will take place in 2020. 

News article - Le Parisien (in French)