24 October 2012, Geneva/Paris. UNITAR and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) agreed to create a community of practice on international trade negotiations in 2012/2013. The main objective of the community will be to support francophone delegates and officials, and to promote and disseminate francophone expertise in this area.

The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) is an international organization of countries which share the French language as well as a number of core values. The main goal of OIF is to contribute to improving standards of living in member countries by empowering citizens to take charge of their development. OIF also supports its member countries in the areas of policy formulation and consolidation, and is active in the areas of international politics and cooperation.

In this context, the overall objective of the community of practice on international trade negotiations will be to promote and disseminate francophone expertise and to support the networking of francophone trade practitioners. Therefore UNITAR and OIF will invite various international (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Development Programme, etc.) and regional institutions (Economic Community Of West African States, Economic Community Of Central African States, Monetary and Economic Community of Central Africa, West African Economic and Monetary Union, African Union, etc.) as well as academic networks to contribute to the community of practice. Among the activities and services offered to delegates and officials will be a digital library of reference materials, collaborative tools, and online discussions on priority issues related to the participation of francophone countries in the global economy.

This initiative inaugurates a new phase of the long-standing partnership between UNITAR and OIF. In the past five years alone, UNITAR and OIF trained over 750 francophone officials from the public and private sector on international trade issues through a series of instructor-led online courses.

For additional information about the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (in English) : http://www.francophonie.org/English.html