Organization of American States



February 25, 2002



The Organization of American States and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) have agreed they should now move forward on a cooperation agreement signed some time ago.  The main areas of cooperation would cover trade, including the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and special treatment for smaller economies; transport, especially in port facilities; sustainable tourism; and natural disaster prevention and mitigation. 

   This decision emerged during discussions in Washington today between the OAS Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria and ACS Secretary General Prof. Norman Girvan.  

In an interview after visiting with his OAS counterpart, Girvan said the Trinidad and Tobago based ACS, which was formed in 1995, has now established its footing and is ready to move forward on the cooperative agreement. "Secretary General Gaviria and I agreed on the timeliness of activating the ACS-OAS cooperation agreement and to establish direct working relationships between the technical officers in our Secretariat and in the OAS secretariat to identify specific ways in which the cooperation will take place," he noted. 

He cited sustainable tourism as "the flagship program of the ACS," and outlined the goal of his Association of 25 member states to establish the Greater Caribbean Basin region as the "first zone of sustainable tourism in the international marketplace."   He went on to note that "the OAS has a program for tourism and a program for sustainable development and the environment.  Sustainable tourism is where those two things meet, so there is a clear scope for working together in those areas as well." 

The Jamaican-born Girvan lauded the OAS' role in helping to develop a response to the fall in tourism stemming from the attacks last September 11.  He noted the OAS concern on the social dimensions of tourism, which falls within the sustainable tourism focus of the ACS.  

            During today's OAS visit, Girvan met as well with departmental directors and with Ambassadors of the ACS member states accredited to the OAS.  He leaves Washington Thursday, after meeting with top officials at the Inter-American Development Bank and at the World Bank .