Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Equatorial Guinea Calls for End to Delays on UNESCO-Obiang Life Sciences Prize

Pastor Micha Ondo Bile, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea's (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophonie, has called on UNESCO to proceed with the Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Life Sciences Research before the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Minister Ondo Bile reinforced Equatorial Guinea's longstanding commitment to humanitarian aid and the prize's purpose to lessen the suffering of peoples worldwide, particularly in Africa.

(To read Minister Ondo Bile's speech in its entirety, go to:

During his speech, Minister Ondo Bile said: "The people and the Government of Equatorial Guinea believe that this is the appropriate time and place to once again express its deep concern for the unfair and irresponsible attitude by certain figures and NGOs working against the laudable and humanitarian initiative to create the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo prize to motivate and encourage action by the world's scientists in scientific research for the conservation of life."

Minister Ondo Bile called on UNESCO to "without further delay, materialize the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo international prize for research in life sciences" in accordance with the decision which was adopted unanimously by all Member States of the Executive Board of UNESCO in October 2008. Further, Minister Ondo Bile reminded the Assembly that "this contribution of USD $3 million, is directed at the international scientific community and aims to find solutions and remedies to the major pandemics and diseases that plague the world today in general and, particularly, the African Continent."

As a part his speech, Minister Ondo Bile recounted Equatorial Guinea's record of humanitarian contributions to countries experiencing hardships, from natural disasters and economic crises, including:

  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (for the Chernobyl accident in 1986)
  • Federal Republic of Nigeria (for the oil pipeline explosion in the town of Jesse 1998)
  • Republic of Cameroon (for the Naos Volcanic Eruption)
  • Central African Republic (for aid of its economic crisis 2003-2004)
  • Niger (for the famine in 2007)
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea (for the support of its economic crisis)
  • United States (for Hurricane Katrina)
  • Republic of Cuba (for the effects of hurricanes in 2008)
  • Republic of Bangladesh (for the tsunami disaster)
  • Republic of Haiti (for hurricanes and floods in 2008 and 2010)
  • Republic of Sao Tome and Principe (for economic crisis)
  • Republic of Algeria Democratic and Popular (earthquakes in 2005)

The Foreign Minister further questioned the motivation of UNESCO to delay the Obiang Nguema Mbasogo prize, considering that despite (1) the great need that exists in the international scientific community; (2) its potential to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable communities, particularly in Africa; (3) having been duly approved by Member States that make up the Executive Board of UNESCO; and (4) the unanimous decision of Members of the International Committee on the Award to name three international scientists as winners international (mostly from developing countries), the prize still remains blocked today.

Most recently, as part of Equatorial Guinea's efforts to improve health in the country and promote scientific research on the African Continent, President Obiang announced the donation of USD$1.5 million from the Government of Equatorial Guinea to the World Health Organization, as well as the delivery of a headquarters facility for the organization to expand its work in the country. President Obiang also recently signed an agreement with the African Union for the creation and installation of the first Headquarters of the African Center for Science, Technology and Innovation in Equatorial Guinea.