Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Equatorial Guinea Statement on UNESCO Decision to Delay the Award of the UNESCO-Obiang Mbasogo Prize

The Government of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) released the following statement today in response to the announcement by UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova on the decision to delay setting a date to award the UNESCO-Obiang Life Sciences Prize and to postpone the decision on the matter until the next meeting of the Executive Council in October.

"The Government of Equatorial Guinea expresses gratitude to the Director-General of UNESCO for the prudence shown in dealing with matters surrounding the UNESCO-Obiang Prize, which is intended to contribute significantly to science, research and the preservation of life worldwide. Further, we extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to the African community for its unwavering support of the prize.

"Although the UNESCO controversy has highlighted the fact that Equatorial Guinea faces many challenges, which is true, the situation is being viewed through an outdated understanding of what our Government is and what Equatorial Guinea is like. The real challenges that exist for us are in improving the health, education, culture and professional skills of our citizens—so that in the future we as a nation can successfully achieve our goals.

"Equatorial Guinea is working both to improve itself and contribute to the international community—thanks to the blessing of our recently discovered natural resources. The UNESCO-Obiang Prize is a part of this effort. We are also now taking steps to be more transparent and proactive in communicating the progress we are making as we strive to transform from the poor country that we were into an emergent, sustainable economy.

"Our hope is that the Executive Council, over the next few months, will come to a final determination, based on the original principles laid forth and approved by UNESCO for the prize when it was established more than 2 years ago, that will release these critical funds to the scientific community and will provide the resources they need to make discoveries that will benefit all humanity."