The Swiss foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, opened a ministerial conference of the French-speaking communities (OIF) in Montreux on Wednesday.
The two-day conference precedes the OIF summit to be held in the Lake Geneva town from October 22 to 24.
The foreign ministers of the OIF member countries meet every year in order to maintain political continuity between the summits, which are held every two years.
Calmy-Rey told the French news agency, AFP, that the summit would be able to influence some of the main issues facing the world today, which will later be discussed at the meetings of the G8 and G20 countries to be chaired by France.
She mentioned food security and climate change and the promotion of linguistic plurality as subjects on the agenda.
"It is very important in today’s globalised world, not to have just one standard, just one way of thinking and one way of speaking,” she said.
It is the first time that Switzerland has hosted the summit, which will be attended by 70 countries, of which about 40 will be represented by heads of state and government, including the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
swissinfo.ch and agencies