Portuguese American Journal

António Costa: Portugal’s gift to the United Nations – New York, NY

The outgoing Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, is in New York this Monday to meet with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and to participate in a significant cultural contribution, the donation of a tapestry titled “Coral Vivo” by Vanessa Barragão, which will be in the permanent exhibition at the UN‘s headquarters.

The symbolic gesture celebrates the importance and richness of coral reefs, an ecosystem with the greatest biodiversity in the world, and underscores Portugal’s commitment to the UN’s efforts, particularly in championing a sustainable and protective approach to the world’s oceans.

As part of the event, António Costa has highlighted the importance of the UN’s Ocean agenda and Portugal’s active participation in promoting a green and secure global environment.

This year is notably marked by the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a milestone that Portugal honors through this donation.

“With this offer, for permanent exhibition in the UN headquarters building, the Government states that it wants to value Portugal’s active participation” in that multilateral organization, “as well as the leading role of the United Nations in the Oceans agenda and in the construction of a greener, safer and more prosperous,” the office of the prime minister has stated.

António Costa’s administration has placed significant emphasis on the protection of oceans and the promotion of a Sustainable Blue Economy, evidenced by co-hosting the 2nd United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon in 2022.

This donation, symbolizing Portugal’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2027/28 term, also serves to recognize António Guterres’ unwavering commitment to climate action and sustainable development, aligning with the United Nations 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal 14.

António Costa, the former head of the Socialist Party (PS), resigned as Portugal’s prime minister in November 2023, amid suspicions of corruption in his administration, involving his chief of staff. He continues to serve as a caretaker to ensure the continuity of government operations until a duly replacement is appointed, following the ongoing early elections process and the final ballot results are known on Wednesday, March 20.

“Coral Vivo” by Vanessa Barragão

Vanessa Barragão, is an all-ecological textile artist based in Portugal. In 2019, she was interviewed for the Portuguese American Journal, by Millicent Borges Accardi.

Her artwork is 100% handmade, using ancestral techniques using jute, cotton, and wool materials to increase environmental awareness. Her art focuses on utilizing artisanal techniques by re-using discarded yarn from textile factories to fashion the material into fine art and interior design products, turning recycled material into unique and luxurious sculptural carpets, rugs, and tapestries for floors and walls.

Born in the town of Albufeira, southern Portugal, at an early age Barragão developed her love and interest for the arts and the ocean. After completing a master’s degree in Fashion and Textile Art at Lisbon University, she settled in Porto City, where the textile industry core is based. Her time is divided between collaborating as a textile designer for a local artisanal rug factory and running her art studio.


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