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OAS Secretary General Highlights Recent Regional ​​Economic and Democratic Progress

  March 19, 2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, participated today in the 53 Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) held in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he stressed that the region is at a stage "of great promise, where democratic developments have taken root while achieving significant economic growth."

He further noted that this progress is even more remarkable as it "has taken place in the middle of a recession that has affected most of the economies in the world ", and explained that the clearest manifestation of this success has been the steady and constant reduction of poverty. "Now, we only need to consolidate these developments to face the challenges posed by this new stage: the qualitative leap that all citizens of the continent have a right to seek and demand for themselves," he said.

Referring to the challenges, Secretary General Insulza said that security and inequality are the two major concerns for the citizens of the hemisphere. "Although we have succeeded in reducing poverty, the gap in inequalities is hard to ignore" he added, and indicated that these inequalities also include social exclusions and limitations in access to public services and basic rights by a large number of people. "The democracy that our countries must build should be based not only on political rights but also on the challenge of providing a more just life, with greater opportunities for all," he remarked.

On the issue of security, the OAS leader recalled that "the challenges of democratic governance and economic development are linked to the reduction and prevention of violence which has been placed at the top of citizens' demands," and said that public security has become a social good, just like education, housing or health. "The required response is comprehensive and from the simultaneous fronts of prevention and control, and needs a better investment of the resources to strengthen the defense of the citizens’ rights against the threat of organized crime and social violence," he added.

In his speech, the head of the hemispheric organization pointed out that in less than a month the Sixth Summit of the Americas will be held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, and agreed with a recent statement by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos that this meeting "must be a defining moment of what should be done to make this the decade of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

"No doubt that the discussions held in this meeting on the economic challenges, regional integration, and security will nourish the debate that the Presidents will hold in Colombia, together with the urgent problems of infrastructure, the introduction of new technologies and the best alternatives for joint action to respond to the natural disasters that climate change has brought as a new obstacle to regional development," he stated, recalling the importance of these issues "to maintain and develop a higher level of growth, an effective reduction of poverty and inequality and a established and growing democracy. "

Secretary General Insulza took the opportunity to reiterate the firm support of the OAS to the IDB's work and noted that both agencies "are key partners in the American system and are determined to strengthen it." To achieve our objective,” he continued, "we have been working and forging alliances between our organizations." He then reported on the cooperation between the two institutions, primarily in the area of ​​security.

"The countries of the Americas have the ability to build their own future with all its complexities and difficulties, but also with the strength of its diverse stakeholders, including the richness of a fruitful interaction between them," he closed.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-103/12