Held in 1991 at the initiative of Mexico and Spain, the 1st Ibero- American Summit led to the creation of the Ibero-American Conference and the "Ibero-American Community of Nations". Conceived as a forum to stimulate advances in political, economic and cultural issues that are common to the participating countries, the Ibero-American Conference has among its objectives:
- promoting and guaranteeing full respect for human rights;
- recognizing the contribution of indigenous people to the development and plurality of Latin American societies;
- strengthening national and international mechanisms to advance social inclusion policies.
Reducing social inequalities has gained prominence in recent years, particularly due to the advances promoted by many governments in South America. The Ibero-American Conference fosters cooperation among developing countries. Brazil is one of the leading providers of cooperation under this Initiative, with projects in the areas of health, education, culture, tourism, housing and infrastructure.
The Ibero-American Conference Summits have been held annually. They gather 22 countries – with 19 representatives from Central and South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras , Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela) and three from the Iberian peninsula (Andorra, Spain and Portugal). As from the 24th Summit, the meetings will be held biannually.
Also forming of the Conference are other institutions that make up "Ibero-America":
- Organization of Ibero-American States for Education Science and Culture (OEI);
- Organization of Ibero-American Social Security (OISS);
- Organization of Ibero-American Youth (OIJ);
- Conference of Ministers of Justice of Ibero-American Countries (COMJIB), and
- Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB).
The 23rd Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government was held in Panama in 2013. At that meeting, President Dilma Rousseff was represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, and Brazil strengthened its commitment to the renewal of the Conference.