The foreign ministers of the Hemisphere, gathered for the forty-second regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), chose Panama today as the venue for the Seventh Summit of the Americas, to be held in 2015.
The delegation of Panama officially offered to host the event, and the heads of delegation attending the second ministerial meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) in Cochabamba, Bolivia, approved the proposal by consensus.
“It will be an honor and a privilege for Panama to host the Seventh Summit of the Americas,” Ambassador Mayra Arosema, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama, stated. The Central American diplomat also said that she hoped that “all countries of the Americas will be present” at that meeting in three years.
The SIRG meeting was the first since the Sixth Summit, held in Cartagena de Indias in April, and provided an opportunity for the OAS Secretary General, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, María Ángela Holguín, and the Executive Secretary of the Summits of the Americas Secretariat, Sherry Tross, to take stock.
Secretary General Insulza congratulated Colombia for its “outstanding hospitality,” “deep dedication,” and “impeccable organization” in Cartagena. As concerned the content of the meeting, he noted that the meeting “marked a substantive change in the direction the region is taking in its multilateral diplomacy, which is much more transparent and direct in its processes.”
The head of the OAS drew attention to the mandates that the Organization received from the heads of state and government of the Hemisphere, especially regarding the consideration of different alternatives in the fight against drugs.
Secretary General Insulza concluded by emphasizing the value of the inputs received in Colombia from various social actors, which was “the crystallization of a months-long process.” “Our forums for dialogue are an essential part of the deepening of inclusive processes, as well as a necessary condition for the full and effective exercise of democracy,” he said.
Foreign Minister Holguín pointed out that the Summit afforded “a dialogue that enabled us to discuss issues on which there was agreement as well as others on which we held divergent views. No subjects were off limits, and the Americas addressed them directly and candidly, demonstrating the political maturity they have achieved.” This Summit of dialogue and sincerity, she added, will have positive effects in the short and long terms and will strengthen the integration and convergence of interests in the region.”
The Minister assured the meeting that her country achieved its objective given that the Summit adopted mandates that were “concrete, achievable, and measurable, with provisions for necessary funding and oversight.”
Likewise, the Colombian Foreign Minister focused in particular on the participation of civil society and the private sector in the Summit, where they were able to exchange their views directly with the heads of state and government.
The Executive Secretary of the Summits Secretariat, Sherry Tross, reported that her team had already started to review and implement the Cartagena de Indias mandates, in coordination with the other entities members of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG). “The institutions are fully committed to support implementation of the Summit mandates,” she stated.
The entities, she went on, “want to start working early on with the states on implementation of the mandates that fall within their areas of competence and their capacities; they intend to incorporate the Summit mandates into their work plans and, in some cases, are already working on developing concrete implementation programs.”
Sherry Tross also commented on the post-Summit follow-up with social actors and the private sector and reiterated her Secretariat’s commitment to “continue working closely with the member states during the implementation phase.”
The following delegations took the floor during the session: Guatemala, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Canada, Jamaica (on behalf of CARICOM), Venezuela, the United States, Peru, El Salvador, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Colombia, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Uruguay, The Bahamas, and Chile. As a whole, the countries congratulated Colombia for organizing the Summit and offered their support to Panama for a successful meeting as well in 2015.
A gallery of photos of the event will be available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.