The Organization of American States (OAS) today organized a series of consultations with civil society and social actors with the aim of offering contributions to the Heads of State and Government that will meet in Panama on April 10 and 11 at the Seventh Summit of the Americas. These inputs deal with the central theme of the meeting in Panama City, “Prosperity with Equality: Challenges to Cooperation in the Americas.”
At OAS headquarters in Washington, the Secretary for External Relations of the Organization and Executive Secretary of the Summits Secretariat, Alfonso Quiñonez, inaugurated the dialogue titled “the Road to Panama: Mandates for Action,” expressing his conviction that “The active participation of civil society and social actors in the preparation for a Summit, and during the implementation of its mandates, is essential in that it allows the representatives of civil society to offer recommendations to governments both on the focus of the Summit and on its results.” ”In doing so,” he said, “they take an active part and in some way they make these results their own and they become allies of the governments and the countries in the implementation of the mandates and the follow-up activities of the Summit.”
Ambassador Quiñonez explained that, in this context, the OAS invited the representatives of civil society and social actors “to present their contributions and comments” on the working document circulated by Panama, titled “Prosperity with Equality: Challenges to Cooperation in the Americas – Mandates for Action.” “This is a very important issue for the OAS,” insisted Quiñonez, who highlighted that, despite the advances in the Americas to diminish poverty, “democracy in our region is limited by inequality and inequities, and therefore to fight against these challenges is also to fight to strengthen democracy, which is one of the central pillars of the work of the Organization.”
The Director General of the International Organizations and Conferences of the Panamanian Foreign Ministry, Max López, said his country chose the theme of the Summit recognizing that “the recent prosperity has not been sufficiently and broadly shared by our peoples.” “That is where the demand for equality begins. The experience and theoretical elaboration tell us that equality is not just an ethical demand, but also a technical condition for the sustainable growth of our countries,” he added.
Director López said the importance of the theme is reflected in “the continued existence of important social deficits and in the fact that the bases of stronger and sustained economic growth are still weak, as shown by the lags in infrastructure in some states, the coverage and quality of education, the situation of health care, environmental degradation and the consequences of climate change, as well as the institutional weaknesses that limit transparency in public administration, citizen participation and the full realization of human rights.” These issues are part of the main themes to be debated by the Heads of State and Government of the 35 countries of the Americas, said López.
At the same time as the meeting in Washington, a series of national dialogues in Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, United States, Guyana, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, focused on the key issues in the document “Mandates for Action:” education, health, migration and security, environment and energy, and democratic governance and citizen participation. On April 8 the Civil Society Forum will be held in the Hotel Panamá of Panama City, in the framework of the Summit.
In addition, the OAS today opened the Virtual Forum, which offers the representatives of civil society and social actors the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences and offer comments and recommendations to the states on the issues related to the theme of the Summit. Those organizations that work in areas directly related to the these issues and wish to participate in the Virtual Forum can register here.
The results of the consultations and the Virtual Forum will be compiled, distributed and presented to the host country for its consideration during preparations for the Summit. More information on the participation of civil society in the Summits of the Americas process is available here.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The B-Roll of the event will be available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.