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December 11, 2000

Fact Sheet

Speech of the OAS Secretary General (Spanish)


The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) today began a week-long special session to consider and adopt national and hemispheric reports on progress in anti-drug efforts throughout the Americas.

OAS Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria stressed that the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), the diagnostic tool used as the basis for the reports, will become "the fundamental point of reference for our countries’ actions against drugs."

"The evaluation fulfills its purpose only if as a result of a precise diagnosis it can lead to policies and programs to strengthen what works and to correct deficiencies," Gaviria said, adding that the recommendations for action will be one of the most important elements of the process.

The evaluation tool uses 61 indicators to measure progress against drugs. All countries in the region participate in the evaluation process and all are evaluated.

"The MEM was conceived not as an end in itself but as a basis for our common progress and for mutual understanding," CICAD Chairman Lancelot Selman, of Trinidad and Tobago, said at the opening session. He stressed that the problem of illegal drugs threatens good governance, security and health throughout the region, damaging communities and families.

"The common enemy is a transnational borderless crime, requiring integrated, concerted action by a large number of countries," he said.

The MEM process stems from a mandate given by the presidents and prime ministers of the region in 1998, in Santiago, Chile. The first round of completed reports will be presented to the Third Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, Canada, in April 2001, along with recommendations about how to improve the evaluation process based on the first year’s experience.


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