Media Center


OAS Secretary General Highlights the Importance of Building Trust Between Indigenous Peoples, Society and Governments

  April 11, 2012

OAS Secretary General Highlights the Importance of Building Trust Between Indigenous Peoples, Society and Governments
Photo: OAS

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today inaugurated the Fourth Summit of the Indigenous Leaders of the Americas, held within the framework of the activities prior to the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia). During the event the chief representative of the OAS highlighted the organization's efforts to expand the avenues for participation of social actors in the summit process, particularly the indigenous peoples, and to build trust between this group, overall society and governments.

Secretary General Insulza called the meeting "an important example of the synergies that are being forged between the political process and hemispheric issues raised by indigenous leaders from the Americas for the benefit of all peoples.” He added that previous Summits of Indigenous Leaders have served "to promote and strengthen the participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making, but mainly to sensitize society about the issue."

Addressing the meeting’s theme, "Weaving alliances for the defense of Mother Earth" and its relation to that of the Summit of Presidents, "Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity," Secretary General Insulza said that both speak to one of the region’s main concerns: how to reduce poverty and inequality. In addition, he pointed to the challenge of how to do so through greater integration with economic and environmental sustainability, while highlighting the vulnerability of indigenous peoples, the segment of the population with the lowest socioeconomic and human development levels. "The dissolution of the social fabric, poverty, inequality, the lack of access to basic education and health, and the growing gap between representatives and represented exacerbates this problem,” he said, adding “Inequality is also reflected in access to justice.”

The Secretary General concluded his speech by affirming that the Summit of Indigenous Leaders is a unique opportunity to deepen the work done in the area of governance. "The quality of our democracy will undoubtedly be reinforced with the participation of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas in a proactive, favorable and constructive dialogue and with specific proposals for the benefit of all peoples of our region," he said.

The OAS leader opened the event along with the Vice President of Colombia, Angelino Garzón, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Colombia, Germán Vargas Lleras, and the High Councilor of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, Luis Andrade Evelis Casama.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: FNE-8623