Portugal covers a total land area of 92 thousand square kilometres. It shares land border with Spain.
The population of Portugal is about 10 million people. Most of the people live in the west coast of the country, mainly in the cities of Lisbon and Oporto. Lisbon, the venue of the Annual Meetings, is said to be the world sixth destination for congresses, one of the most charming cities in the world for a 4-day city break and one of the top destinations selected by European consumers.
Legend has it that Lisbon was founded by Ulysses. The name comes from “Olissipo”, which has its origins in the Phoenician words “Allis Ubbo”, meaning “enchanting port”. It was most likely founded by the Phoenicians and styled by the Moors, which is reflected in the strong Arabic influences. It was, after all, ruled by the Moors for 450 years. In the 12th century, the Christians re-conquered the city but it was not until the mid-13th century that Lisbon became the country’s capital.
With the beginning of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries, Lisbon became enriched by its status as a spice and jewellery trade centre. The breakthrough for Portuguese expansion came in 1498 when Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India. This was indeed the beginning of a Golden Age, characterised by the Manueline architectural style named after King Manuel I, with its typical decorative use of maritime motifs. Over the centuries Lisbon naturally grew and changed. When the city centre was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, it was rebuilt by Marquise de Pombal, who thus created the Baixa Pombalina, a commercial area that still retains much of its original layout. Lisbon is a historic capital, a potpourri of unusual character and charm, where 800 years of cultural influences mingle with modern trends and lifestyles, creating spectacular contrasts.
There are four seasons: autumn, winter, spring and summer (June to August is the sunny and dry season). Lisbon has a pleasant climate. The period of the Annual Meetings will be the beginning of summer. Light wear is recommended, though nights can be chilly.
The security situation in Portugal is very favourable, and Lisbon is considered to be one of the safest cities in Europe. Serious random violent crime is practically unheard of in this city. Lisbon is a safe city to walk in both during the day and night; however, participants should always be alert to scam artists, purse snatchers and petty thieves. The number to dial in case of emergency is 112 from any phone.
Not all taxi drivers in Lisbon speak English. Participants are advised to carry the AfDB security card that has the name of all hotels and the major attractions in English and Portuguese. Make your destination clear to the taxi driver before getting in the taxi.
Annual Meeting badges will be required for access to the Conference Centre and for admission to the meeting rooms, offices and all other facilities. All participants will have to pass through the security screening stations to gain access to the facility.
Participants should be aware of their personal security in and around Lisbon, and special attention should be taken to ensure that they are aware of the emergency procedures in their hotels in case of fire, natural disaster or hazard by checking the floor plan mounted on the door of each hotel room. In case of any emergency, participants should remain calm and proceed to the nearest exit. Do not use the elevators. While in the hotel room it is advisable to keep the door locked and to use the peephole. If in doubt as to the identity of anyone trying to gain access to the room, please alert the hotel staff for clarification.
The PECAM Coordination Centre (PCC) inside the conference facility will function as a focal point for safety, security, liaison and all coordination issues; please direct any questions to the PCC.
All aspects related to personal security accompanying Heads of Delegation must be communicated in advance to the Portuguese Protocol of State (Ministry for Foreign Affairs).