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OAS General Assembly: Member states conclude debate on "Development with social inclusion"

  June 5, 2014

The member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS), speaking today at the Organization’s 44th regular General Assembly session, in Asunción, Paraguay, underscored the importance to come up with policies geared towards “Development with social inclusion” – the central theme of the Assembly.

In the order in which they requested the floor, six heads of delegation spoke at this morning’s sessions.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, Eda Rivas, commended the choice of social inclusion as the central theme for the OAS’ 44th General Assembly because, she said, it is one of the biggest tasks pending for the region. “During his visit to the OAS Permanent Council in June 2013, President Ollanta Humala [of Peru] reiterated how important it was for this organization to incorporate a social inclusion perspective into its work," she said. The Peruvian foreign minister said the region had, in recent years, been enjoying growth rates which, through intense and well-defined action, should close the inequality gap. "This involves not just continued growth but also conquering poverty by tackling inequality, through coordination of sectoral, participatory policies focused on the most vulnerable population," Minister Rivas argued, adding that for her government, "the 'include in order to grow' strategy means we must not wait to distribute, but that inclusion is key to sustaining the model and to keep growing."


The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados, Maxine McClean, said the theme of the Assembly “encompasses issues of critical importance to the development of the countries of the Americas and it is only fitting that it is the focus of our deliberations here.” Foreign Minister McClean gave an overview of Barbados’ human development efforts in such areas as primary education, integrating information and communication technologies (ICT) into education, and vocational training. She also touched on challenges faced by small island states in the region, and the importance of OAS support for the electoral process in Haiti. Finally, Minister McClean reiterated her country’s commitment to “doing everything possible to ensure that the OAS remains a vibrant, viable hemispheric organ.”


The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, Wilfred Elrington, thanked the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General for the “tremendous support they have given to us and Guatemala during our initiatives and efforts to try and resolve the territorial dispute that exists between our two countries.” Describing the theme of the Assembly as "timely and appropriate," Minister Elrington said that to achieve development with social justice, Our governments must play a must more dynamic role in the generation of wealth. The Foreign Minister of Belize countered those who claim that social inclusion must wait for development, saying “social inclusion is a prerequisite for our peoples.”

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The Foreign Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Camillo Gonsalves, observed that the central theme for the OAS’ highest decision-making body “has profound local regional, and international implications, and provides the OAS with a succinct raison détre as it looks to its future role in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.” The Foreign Minister identified specific challenges his country faces as a small island state, demonstrated in the four climate events that damaged the country in the past four years. Minister Gonsalves concluded by noting that the OAS has to make social inclusion “central to its identity and focus going forward. In doing so, this body, whose roots stretch back 125 years, will be well positioned to help shape the growth and development of its member states for the next century and beyond.”


The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Grenada, Nickolas Steele, observed that in the modern world, “education and electronic communications are now the foundations for a new and socially inclusive paradigm for development, democracy and human rights.” The Minister underscored the importance of quality education in the pursuit of development with social inclusion. He said adequate investment in electronic communications, environmental protection, and sources of sustainable energy were also important. In concluding his statement, Minister Steele urged the OAS to adopt a “broader, multifaceted perspective which entails not just improving people´s standards of living, but also achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, whereby the problems of social inequality and productive heterogeneity can be addressed.”


The Permanent Representative of Suriname to the OAS, Niermala Badrising emphasized that her country “underscores in its development policies and concurrent actions, that the human being is at the center of all development activities.” Among challenges to development with social inclusion, she cited institutional and financial difficulties, and issues in formulating public policies and, in her country’s case, the effects of climate change. Ambassador Badrising said the OAS “has made important strides toward social development by formulating and adopting numerous standard-setting instruments, among which the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the Social Charter of the Americas, the Draft Plan of Action on the Social Charter, and other Inter-American instruments on the promotion, protection, and observance of human rights.”

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

The full video of the event is available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-236/14