Québec's International Policy
Québec's key international solidarity priorities: education and governance
Québec City, May 24, 2006 ─ Québec's Minister of International Relations, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, announced that future government initiatives will reflect two key international solidarity priorities: education and governance. “Priority action will be taken in areas in which Québec has recognized expertise and which contribute directly to the efforts and objectives of the international community,” said the Minister. “By focusing on knowledge transfers, Québec can provide more effective assistance, yielding more tangible long-term results.”
According to the Minister, Québec is not a major international aid donor. However, it does contribute directly to La Francophonie's solidarity initiatives while assisting a number of developing countries. “These efforts are a direct reflection of Québec's international role,” said Ms. Gagnon-Tremblay, adding that, for the very first time, solidarity initiatives will be one of the government's key international priorities. The Minister also emphasized that Québec is one of the few jurisdictions to have developed a structured international policy, with the government allocating some $30 million to solidarity initiatives each year.
In accordance with the government's new International Policy, priority action will be taken with members of La Francophonie, beginning with Haiti, Québec's Caribbean neighbour. In this regard, Québec's established Haitian community is well positioned to support and build on government efforts. Much of the aid will flow through La Francophonie's various institutions, in accordance with Québec's ongoing commitments within the worldwide community of French-speaking nations.
As regards direct aid, the government will continue to partner with Québec-based international cooperation organizations (ICOs), in recognition of their extensive development aid experience and in-depth knowledge of target countries. The government also plans to create an ICO consultation mechanism with a view to increasing the scope of Québec aid. Moreover, new cooperative initiatives will be undertaken with the Canadian International Development Agency to ensure that available funding is better tailored to Québec's areas of expertise. The government will also work more closely with the major multilateral financing institutions.
Québec's new International Policy sets out a range of measures aimed at reinforcing the government's education and governance priorities. Accordingly, the government will be increasing allocations to Québec cities providing aid to developing countries via the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF). In particular, support will be provided to foster the creation of bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in African countries, which are working to align their education systems with international standards, in parallel with European efforts. The government also intends to support reforms in the field of primary and secondary school management. Moreover, in accordance with international commitments under the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Convention on Biological Diversity, Québec's areas of expertise will be harnessed with a view to fostering the development of cultural industries and the implementation of biodiversity conservation tools and techniques in target countries.
In accordance with the new International Policy, the tuition remission scholarship program for students from developing countries will be thoroughly reviewed. In particular, the review will seek to increase enrolment at the master's and doctoral levels and to ensure that the programs offered by Québec universities are better geared to the needs of target countries. University administrations will work closely with the Government of Québec to define the scope of the new program.
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