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November 19, 1999

Three Caribbean Countries Sign OAS Anti-Drug Evaluation Tool

Bahamas, Dominica and Jamaica today signed the declaration creating the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism, a new tool to evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to stem the production, trafficking and consumption of illegal drugs in the Americas.

Ambassador Arlington Butler of the Bahamas, Ambassador Richard Bernal of Jamaica and Ambassador Edward Alexander of Dominica signed in name of their countries. Also on hand at today’s signing ceremony at the Organization of American States (OAS) were Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria, Assistant Secretary General Christopher Thomas and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) Executive Secretary David Beall.

Gaviria emphasized that the new mechanism is based on the "principles of shared responsibility, respect for national sovereignty and an integrated, balanced and comprehensive approach to the drug problem." He added that the design of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism "ensures its transparency, impartiality and equality to guarantee an objective evaluation, with the full and timely participation of all states."

Beall stated in today’s ceremony that the new tool’s purpose is designed to make real progress in stemming illegal drugs. "It is a work of the hemisphere and it is what the OAS is all about," he said.

CICAD approved the evaluation tool at a meeting held in October in Montevideo, Uruguay, and data collection is already underway in some countries. The mechanism will use series of 61 objective indicators, or benchmarks, to measure efforts in four main areas: national anti-drug plans and strategies; prevention and treatment; reduction in drug production; and improved law enforcement.