Bissau hosts international symposium in January: “Facing the past to build the future”

Following consultations with more than 3,000 people across Guinea-Bissau, the Commission for the Organization of the National Conference "Pathways to Peace and Development" (COCN), mandated by the Bissau-Guinean parliament to resume the process leading to national reconciliation, organizes on 27-30 January 2017 an international symposium (provisional programme attached).

17 Jan 2017

Bissau hosts international symposium in January: “Facing the past to build the future”

"Facing the past to build Guinea-Bissau of tomorrow" (in Creole, NÓ NFRENTA PASADO PA NÔ KUMPU GUINÉ-BISSAU DI AMANHÃ) is the theme of the symposium which main objectives are to:

-Raise national awareness over the importance of dealing with the past to lift the country from the cycle of instability and political and social conflict;

-Strengthen collective awareness over the relevance of the National Conference – “Pathways to Peace and Development”;

-Empower delegates for the National Conference.

The symposium will bring together the great majority of delegates to the National Conference, from all regions of the country, national and international speakers, including the former president of Timor-Leste, José Ramos Horta, the Commission’s guest of honor, who will share the experience of his country.

The COCN, led by Father Domingos da Fonseca, was reinstated by the National People's Assembly (ANP) in 2015 to resume the consultation work begun in 2009 on the need, through a National Conference to choose a national reconciliation mechanism for Guinea-Bissau intended to address the causes of the conflict, to write the common history of Guineans for the country to turn the page of the past and move towards development.

So far the COCN has analyzed the results of the previous consultations, studied the experience of other countries such as East Timor and Côte d'Ivoire and produced its final report which will be presented at the symposium.

In this stage of capitalization on the process, the Commission considers it important, in the light of the accumulated experience gained over this period, to hold an international symposium following the preparation of the analytical report so as to provide Guineans and friends of Guinea-Bissau with a constructive, inclusive and dispassionate reflection on how to deal with the past to build Guinea-Bissau of tomorrow. This Symposium will help keep up the momentum of preparations for national conference.

The COCN is supported by the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), UN Peacebuilding Fund and the Government of Timor-Leste.