The Ibero-American Summits were born in Guadalajara and Madrid, where the founding summits were held in 1991 and 1992 respectively, in response to the political will of the 21 member countries (22, following the incorporation of Andorra) to formalise the historic link between Ibero-America and the Iberian peninsula through dialogue, cooperation and solidarity. Over the years this mechanism has become consolidated as one of the region's privileged spaces, with a positive agenda and specific effects for citizens through the Ibero-American cooperation programmes.
Spain promoted the initiative of holding the Ibero-American Summits a few years before it hosted the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, the Universal Exhibition in Seville and Madrid as the Cultural Capital of Europe. These events coincided with the 5th Centenary of the Discovery of America.
His Majesty, King Felipe VI, attends the 27th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Andorra in April 2021. Photo: EFE
The Summit of Heads of State and Government is the highest body of the Ibero-American Conference, which is based on the agreements reached during the meetings of Foreign Ministers, the Networks of National Co-ordinators and Co-operation Officers, and the sectoral ministerial meetings in the Ibero-American sphere. Since 2014, it has been held every two years and the Heads of State and Government of the 22 countries that make it up are invited to participate. Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Philippines, Morocco and Haiti have associate observer status. Education, health, culture, employment, integration and immigration have been on the agendas of all the Ibero-American summits, which have not forgotten political issues such as disarmament, terrorism, globalisation and the strengthening of democracies.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, together with Andrés Allamand on the day of his appointment as the new SEGIB during the Summit of Ibero-American Foreign Affairs Ministers, held in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) in November 2021.
Created in 2003, at the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Summit (Bolivia), the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB-Spanish acronym) began its work in 2005 at the Salamanca Summit (Spain). Since then it has programmed and coordinated the preparatory work for the summits and has served as a link between the 22 Governments that make up the Ibero-American Community of Nations.
Enrique Iglesias, the first Ibero-American Secretary General, held the post between 2005 and 2014. In February 2014, the Ibero-American Foreign Ministers appointed Rebeca Grynspan as Secretary General. Andres Allamand was elected new Secretary General in November, 2021. In addition to its headquarters in Madrid, the Ibero-American General Secretariat has three sub-regional offices in Ibero-American countries: in Mexico City, Montevideo and Lima.
The main objectives of the SEGIB are to strengthen the Ibero-American Community and ensure its international projection; to promote historical, cultural, social and economic links between Ibero-American countries; to support the preparation of the Ibero-American Summits of Heads of State and Government and fulfil the mandates adopted thereat; to implement South-South cooperation in the region in the priority areas of education, culture and social cohesion and promote the international projection of the Ibero-American Conference.
Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB)