United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

7th Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP)

On 24 and 25 July 2008, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, was represented by Deputy Director-General, Mr Márcio Barbosa, at the seventh Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP), which took place in Lisbon, Portugal.

This conference meets every two years and is the CPLP’s highest governing body.

Along with the President and Prime Minister of Portugal, who together hosted the Conference, the highest representatives from all eight CPLP Member States also attended the meeting. This included: the Presidents of Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste, together with the Prime Minister of Angola and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mozambique. Representatives from CPLP’s three observer States also attended the conference: the President of Equatorial Guinea, the Ambassador of Mauritius to Portugal, and Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. The special guests and speakers were: the Directors-General of UNESCO (represented by the Deputy Director-General) and FAO, the President of the Commission of the African Union, and Portugal’s former President, Mr Jorge Sampaio.

In his address at the opening session of the conference, Mr Barbosa underscored the strengthened relations between UNESCO and CPLP. “I am convinced that in choosing ‘The Portuguese language: A common heritage and a global future’ as the theme for this conference, which takes place in the year declared by the United Nations as the International year of Languages [2008], CPLP Member States express their conviction on the important role that languages can play in addressing the challenges humanity will face in decades to come.”

The Deputy Director-General underscored the growing cooperation between UNESCO and CPLP and detailed the activities UNESCO is developing to promote languages and multilingualism, notably the creation of a private fund designed to promote access to knowledge by translating UNESCO’s works into as many languages as possible. He referred to UNESCO’s education efforts in the African continent, one of the Organization’s priorities, where teaching of the Portuguese language is of particular importance. Mr Barbosa went on to reiterate the Organization’s role and competences in the field of culture and the possibilities for further cooperation with CPLP countries. “UNESCO is ready to serve CPLP countries as a catalyst for actions that contribute to the preservation of their rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage.”

In conclusion, he congratulated Mr Aníbal Cavaco Silva, President of Portugal, for the election of Portugal to the Presidency of the CPLP for the next two years.

On the margins of the Conference, the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO and the Executive Secretary of CPLP, Mr Luís Fonseca, held an assessment meeting in the context of the cooperation agreement between their Organizations. They analyzed in detail their joint activities from the past biennium (2006-2008), and signed a document attesting their satisfaction with the strengthened cooperation between UNESCO and CPLP.

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Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 100-2008 -  Publication Date: 30-07-2008

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