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March 25, 1998

Human resource development, vital to progress in the hemisphere's nations, calls for strategic hemispheric cooperation, the assistant secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas has said.

Addressing the third meeting of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) underway in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ambassador Thomas declared that such cooperation would greatly benefit especially the less developed countries. Caribbean nations are therefore among those likely to reap tremendous benefit.

The OAS deputy chief told delegates to the meeting of CIDI, the arm of the OAS takes handles technical cooperation matters, that "such a strategy would involve national educational institutions working with each other and with regional universities in a relationship that allows each the flexibility to respond to national needs."

Under CIDI cooperation mechanisms, said the OAS official, member states can help to make better use of existing resources. He stressed that in doing so, new approaches could focus on human resource needs when scholarships are being awarded, and that human resource training should take account of segments of society that are generally overlooked, such as indigenous people, youth, women and the disabled as part of a strategy to help surmount extreme poverty.

The assistant secretary general also pointed out that OAS member countries can take advantage of existing CIDI mechanisms to broaden hemispheric cooperation in human resource training, a "key development area that could benefit greatly from collective approach."

While in Buenos Aires, the assistant secretary general also participated in a meeting on the White Helmets Initiative, a peace-keeping operation proposed by the Argentine government. Later Wednesday, he will also meet with the Argentina's foreign minister, Guido Di Tella, before returning to Washington.

Delegates from OAS member countries, including a number of Caribbean representatives, are participating in the three-day CIDI gathering that opened Wednesday. Important projects of interest to the Caribbean region, tourism among them, feature high on the agenda.

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