The member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) concurred today on the need to launch as soon as possible the debate on the strategic vision of the Organization, in line with the presentation of the proposed program-budget for 2014, that took place during a special meeting of the Permanent Council.
The meeting complied with the resolution on "Progress towards Accountability, Efficiency and Effectiveness, and Results in the OAS General Secretariat," adopted at the last General Assembly in La Antigua Guatemala. On behalf of the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, his Chief of Staff, Ambassador Hugo de Zela, said that the proposed budget, presented on August 5, was formulated keeping in mind that it is still pending the identification of strategic priorities for the Organization and, therefore, is a "transition budget." He also highlighted the effort to maintain a very high level of transparency and explained that the proposal was based on an analysis that links mandates, results and resources available for its implementation.
During his presentation of the document’s details, contents and structure for the consideration of the member states, Ambassador De Zela recognized the risks, differences, and implications that the consideration of a budget, based at this time on results, entails. "I convey to you the earnest request of the Secretary General that, once this discussion has been completed, we embark on the pending decisions related to the dialogue on the strategic vision of the Organization, to determine its priorities, and work with a renewed effort and clarity, which member states expect from us," he added.
The debate on the role and priorities of the Organization was raised by Secretary General Insulza in his report on the Strategic Vision for the OAS, which first version was submitted in February 2012. Last April, the Secretary General presented an updated version in which he broadens and further lays out the proposals and perspectives on the prioritization of the tasks of the Organization and on how to best rationalize and leverage available financial resources. This vision emphasizes that today it is necessary to have "an inclusive Organization, made up of sovereign, diverse countries legitimized by democracy, working on an equal footing to advance the same hemispheric agenda,” which is “what is demanded of the OAS in the 21st century, far from what was demanded of it during the Cold War.”
For his part, the Chairman of the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs (CAAP) and Permanent Representative of Canada, Ambassador Allan Culham, stressed the need to move forward "with a sense of urgency and priority" with regard to the strategic vision. He also highlighted the high level of commitment and sense of trust and cooperation that the CAAP maintained with the General Secretariat in terms of information sharing, "which has helped advance this process." The Alternate Representative of Mexico and Chairman of the Working Group on the Technical Review of the Program-Budget, Alberto del Castillo, presented in detail the analysis and the work of the Group in relation to the implementation of the 2014 Program-Budget.
In their interventions, the delegates spoke of the need to work in the prioritization of mandates, to give priority to the substantive programs of the Organization, to seek sound and appropriate finances, and to adapt them to regional needs, as well as the need for the General Secretariat and the member states to work together, with regular consultation mechanisms.
During the meeting, the President of the Council and Permanent Representative of Paraguay, Martin Sannemann, as well as many representatives of the member countries took the floor to express their condolences over the "tragic traffic accident occurred yesterday on a highway in the jurisdiction of Chimatelango, in Guatemala, which claimed the lives of over 40 people, and for the killing of 11 people in an indigenous community last Sunday" in that same country.
At the meeting, the representatives of Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (on behalf of CARICOM), Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, Nicaragua, and Bolivia took the floor.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The video of the event will be available here.
The audio of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.