The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) was created on July 17, 1996, at the Lisbon Constitutive Summit.
It comprises Brazil, Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste. Founded upon the principle of solidarity, the Community's statutes define three main objectives for the organization: political and diplomatic coordination; cooperation in all areas; and promotion and diffusion of the Portuguese language.
The Community dates back to the first meeting of the Heads of State and Government of Portuguese Language (Sao Luis do Maranhao, November 1989), on the initiative of Brazil. On the occasion, the International Portuguese Language Institute was established, with its headquarters in Praia, Cabo Verde. In 2005, the Institute was incorporated into the Community as a coordination forum for the promotion and diffusion of the Portuguese Language.
The CPLP has three decision-making bodies: the Conference of Heads of State and Government (with biennial meetings); the Council of Ministers; composed of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (with annual ordinary meetings); and the Permanent Consultation Committee (CCP), which brings together member States’ permanent representatives to the organization, and holds monthly meetings at the CPLP headquarters, in Lisbon.
Moreover, since 2002, the CPLP holds Ministerial Sectorial Meetings and a Meeting of Cooperation Focal Points. Another body of the organization, the CPLP Parliamentary Assembly, was created in 2007 to foster dialogue and integration between the parliaments of its member States.
The CPLP offers two categories of observer membership: Associate Observer and Consultative Observer. The first one addresses countries and international or regional organizations. The latter is open to the nine member countries’ governmental and civil society agencies that identify themselves with the principles and objectives of the CPLP.
The CPLP Associate Observers are Uruguay, Senegal, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Mauritius, Argentina, Chile, Italy, Andorra, France, Luxembourg, Serbia and the United Kingdom, and the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture. The high number of Associate Observers at the CPLP is evidence of the organization’s growing international recognition.
The Community’s political and diplomatic activities take place at different levels. The primary one is the political dialogue between member States to strengthen institutions in the CPLP countries. This dialogue has practical effects on concrete initiatives of cooperation and support at times of crisis, either through community bodies or in collaboration with other regional organizations in which the member States are part, or even through dialogue with other States and organizations. There is room for close coordination between the nine countries in multilateral forums.
The ‘CPLP Groups’ have been established at the headquarters of international organizations and in many capitals. These groups are composed of member States’ permanent representatives and ambassadors, and their purpose is to promote dialogue and political coordination on themes relating to each Group. The CPLP has played a constructive role in consultation with other international actors, in situations including the process of independence of Timor-Leste and the political stabilization in Guinea-Bissau.
The CPLP has also had a constant presence in the observation of the election process of its member States, always conducted at their request. Brazil believes that the CPLP Election Observation Missions foster the development of member States’ institutions on democratic grounds.
In 1999, the 54th General Assembly of the United Nations granted the CPLP the status of Observer. Since 2005, the UN General Assembly has adopted, every two years, a resolution on cooperation between the two organizations. In addition, the CPLP has signed cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding with some of the main international organizations, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO); the International Labour Organization (ILO); the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI); the UN Women, among others.
In the field of cooperation, the work of CPLP today covers a significant number of themes. This work is carried out either through the Meeting of Cooperation Focal Points or within the scope of the Ministerial Sectorial Meetings (health, labour, social security, education, culture, defense, gender equality, justice, tourism, science and technology, human rights, youth, sports, and trade). Many of these areas have already drafted strategic cooperation plans, which are today in different phases of implementation.
In addition to political dialogue and technical cooperation, the promotion of the Portuguese language is one of the pillars of the CPLP. The International Portuguese Language Institute, headquartered in Cabo Verde, is the body of the CPLP responsible for overseeing the coordination of policies and the development of projects aimed at promoting the Portuguese language. Its current Executive Director is the Bissau-Guinean linguist Incanha Intumbo. In 2010, Equatorial Guinea adopted Portuguese as one of its official languages besides Spanish and French. In 2014, the country became a CPLP member State. The process of its accession was followed by a working plan negotiated between the government of Guinea Equatorial and the CPLP Executive Secretariat, which formalized the country’s commitment to promoting the Portuguese language in its territory and to fostering the CPLP values and principles at Equatorial Guinean institutional frameworks
Brazil played a decisive role in the process leading to the creation of the CPLP in 1996. Brazilian citizens headed the CPLP Executive Secretariat from 2000 to 2004, including Dulce Maria Pereira, the first woman to hold that position between 2000 and 2002, followed by ambassador José Augusto de Médicis, from 2002 to 2004. Brazil was also at the head of the Executive Board of the International Portuguese Language Institute between 2010 and 2014, in the person of Professor Gilvan Müller de Oliveira.
Brazil held the rotating presidency of the CPLP from 2002 to 2004, and from 2016 to 2018, and was the first member State to establish in Lisbon, in July 2006, a permanent mission to the CPLP, which is exclusively dedicated to the Community.
1989 – The Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Portuguese Language Countries is held in Sao Luiz do Maranhao, in November
1993 – The ambassador of Brazil to Portugal, José Aparecido de Oliveira, travels to Portuguese-speaking African countries to discuss the creation of a community of countries with Portuguese as an official language.
1996 – The First Conference of the CPLP Heads of State of Government is held in Lisbon, on July 17 – CPLP Constitutive Summit.
2000 – The Third Conference of the CPLP Heads of State of Government is held in Maputo, on July 17-18. Dulce Maria Pereira (Brazil) is elected as CPLP Executive Secretary.
2002 – The Fourth Conference of the CPLP Heads of State of Government is held in Brasilia, on July 31 and August 1. Brazil assumes the CPLP rotating presidency. Timor-Leste – an independent country since May 20, 2002 – becomes a CPLP member State. José Augusto de Médicis (Brazil) is elected as CPLP Executive Secretary.
2005 – The International Portuguese Language Institute is incorporated into the CPLP institutional framework.
2006 – The Sixth Conference of the CPLP Heads of State of Government is held in Bissau, on July 16-17. Brazil opens its permanent mission to the CPLP in Lisbon.
2010 – The Eighth Conference of the CPLP Heads of State of Government is held in Luanda, on July 23. The First International Conference on the Future of the Portuguese Language in the World System is held in Brasilia, in March. The Brasilia Plan of Action is adopted. Brazilian Professor Gilvan Müller de Oliveira is elected Executive Director of the International Portuguese Language Institute. The José Aparecido de Oliveira Award is created on the initiative of Brazil.
2016 – Brazil assumes the CPLP rotating presidency in November 1st, on the occasion of the 11th CPLP Conference of the Heads of State and Government, held in Brasilia
2017 – In the context of the Brazilian rotating presidency, the following meetings are held in that country:
- The 10th Meeting of the Ministers of Culture (May 5, Salvador);
- The Second Extraordinary Meeting of the Food and Nutritional Security Council (June 8, Brasilia);
- The 15th Conference of the Ministers of Justice (June 29, Brasilia);
- The 9th Meeting of the Ministers of Tourism (June 29, Foz do Iguaçu);
- The 22nd Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers (July 20, Brasilia) ;
- The Fourth Meeting of the Ministers of Health (October 26, Brasilia);
- The Fifth Meeting of the CPLP Ministers of Gender Equality (October 31, Brasilia);
- The Second Meeting of the Ministers of Energy (November 22, Foz do Iguaçu);
2018 – Under the Brazilian presidency, the following meetings are held:
- The 3rd Meeting of the Ministers of Commerce (March 13, Brasilia);
- The 10th Meeting of the Ministers of Education (March 16, Salvador);
- The 7th Meeting of the Ministers of the Environment and the Meeting of the Ministers and Authorities responsible for overseeing Water issues in the CPLP countries (March 21, Brasilia)
- The 8th Meeting of the Ministers of Science. Technology and Higher Education (June 21, Brasilia). On July 18, Cabo Verde assumes the presidency of the Community, on the occasion of the 12th CPLP Conference of the Heads of State and Government, held in that country. The then-president Michel Temer leads the Brazilian delegation.