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Letter from the International Union of Francophone Press to request the implementation of the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Prize

posted by – February 15th, 2012


The International Union of Francophone Press, through its International Secretary General, Georges Gros, has addressed the Director of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, to request the implementation of the Life Sciences Award, which was offered at the time to the institution by President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The International Union of Francophone Press (UPF) is a leading international association of journalists, and is present in hundreds of countries where it has over 3,000 professional partners individually or through national associations. The UPF unites its members of Algeria, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Belgium, Benin, Congo, France, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Mali, Lebanon, Russia, Senegal, Vietnam and Romania, among others.

The full text of the letter sent to the Director of the UNESCO states that:

-“Following the demand of our African Vice Presidents and the Presidents of our national sections of Central Africa and West Africa, I have the honor to request your kind attention in relation to the International UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Prize”.

– “Our intention is not to add one more letter to those you have already received, but to let you know of the interest that we, as journalists, have in the big pandemics that are plaguing the world and specifically, Africa.”

-“So we cannot remain indifferent to the efforts offered by Equatorial Guinea and its award, which promotes medical research to those who work in humanitarian causes, facilitating their work. Indeed, knowing the number of people who each year suffer and die from this terrible disease, we encourage any effort that will certainly help to improve this dramatic situation”.

– “Because of this, the International Union of Francophone Press, as an association accredited by the UNESCO, asks for your full understanding.”

-“Please accept, Mrs. Director-General, the assurances of my highest consideration.”


George Gros.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea has spent years defending that the  UNESCO must initiate the procedure for implement this award, which was given by H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to contribute to research on diseases and other illnesses that plague the African continent in particular. The award was officially approved by the Board of the UNESCO, although, because of the debate provoked by certain international lobbies, the same board decided to delay its implementation.

The latest postponement occurred on October 4, when the Executive Board of the UNESCO decided to delay the decision on the award until April 2012. Therefore, the issue will be debated again in a few weeks.

Last November 2011, H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic, announced, after a visit to France to participate as Chairman of the African Union in the G-20, that he was willing to remove his name from the UNESCO Prize for Research in Life Sciences, in order to unblock the situation.

The Award that the President of Equatorial Guinea provided to the entity aims to contribute to efforts in scientific research to find cures to diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, that plague humanity in general and, in a much more serious way, the African continent.

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