H.M. King Juan Carlos, during his speech at the 1st Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Guadalajara (Mexico) on 18 January 1991. On the left, the then President of Mexico, Carlos Salinas de Gortari. PHOTO EFE
Ibero-American Summits
The Ibero-American Summits began back in 1991 in Guadalajara (Mexico) in the spirit of bringing together in one forum nations linked through a common cultural heritage of more than five centuries. The aim was to cooperate in political, economic and social processes. During its history, the summits have borne witness to the evolution, achievements, concerns and problems of the members of this community, of its consensuses and its dimensions.

The Ibero-American Summits began back in 1991 in Guadalajara (Mexico) in the spirit of bringing together in one forum nations linked through a common cultural heritage of more than five centuries. The aim was to cooperate in political, economic and social processes. During its history, the summits have borne witness to the evolution, achievements, concerns and problems of the members of this community, of its consensuses and its dimensions.

For the first time in the 20th Century, all the leaders of the 21 Ibero-American countries – including Spain and Portugal – which represented a total of 525 million people, met up in Guadalajara (Mexico) in 1991. This was the 1st Ibero-American Summit, born out of a spirit of unity and with a firm purpose of offering continuity to a forum where all the nations associated by a cultural heritage of more than five centuries, could move forward with their political, economic and social processes. The idea of holding Ibero-American summits was set up by Spain just a short time before our country hosted the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, EXPO was hosted by Seville and Madrid was designated as the European Capital of Culture. These events coincided with the 5th Centenary of the Discovery of America. The Summit of Heads of State and Government is the highest body of the Ibero-American Conference which is supported by the agreements reached during the meetings of the foreign affairs ministers, the Networks of National Coordinators and Heads of Cooperation, as well as by the sector ministerial meetings at an Ibero-American level. It meets once a year and the Heads of State and Government of the 22 countries that comprise this area, since accession by Andorra in 2004 meet up. Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Philippines, Morocco and Haiti all hold the status of associate observers.

The host country proposes a core issue to be tackled at the summit meetings and, upon its termination, these are agreed in a Political Declaration, as well as other special declarations and statements on specific issues. As organiser of a summit in its country, the Pro-Tempore Secretariat is entrusted with coordinating the activities, themes and the agenda, as well as the sector meetings at a ministerial level. The SEGIB, as the standing body offering institutional, technical and administrative support to the Ibero-American Conference, works closely with the Pro-Tempore Secretariat in preparing each summit.

Education, healthcare, culture, employment, integration and immigration have been on the agendas of all of the Ibero-American summits, which have also included such political issues as disarmament, terrorism, globalisation and strengthening democracies.

 
Veracruz Summit
At the 24th Summit, held in Veracruz (Mexico) on 8 and 9 December 2014, the renewal cycle of the Ibero-American Conference was concluded which had started at the Cadiz Summit and continued at the Panama Summit. This renewal process was closed off with the approval of the “Veracruz Resolution on the Ibero-American Conference”, which contained certain fundamental changes: the integration of the Ibero-American bodies through a Strategic Management Committee, the institutional decentralisation of the SEGIB through its regional offices and the definition of new priority areas of cooperation: culture, knowledge and social cohesion. In addition to the renewal process, the summit also particularly focused on issues related to its slogan of “Education, Innovation and Culture in a World in Transformation”. In Veracruz, the SEGIB was entrusted with various programmes to be run at a strictly academic level.

The Veracruz Declaration highlighted other agreements, such as the extension to the Literacy Plan 2007-2015, as well as the development of a work plan to facilitate the exchange of good practices among Member States on the issue of children’s education.
Among those attending were 18 Heads of State and Government.

Veracruz was the first summit attended by His Majesty, King Felipe VI. The high level of participation reflected the commitment of the Member States to continue boosting and enriching the new direction of the conference.

The next Ibero-American summit will take place on 28 and 29 October 2016 in Colombia, the country which holds the Pro-Tempore Secretariat. The slogan of the 25th Summit is “Youth, Entrepreneurship and Education”.

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