The Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) today approved by acclamation the regular fund budget of the hemispheric organization for 2013, in the amount of US$83.8 million, during the 43rd Special Session of the General Assembly, held at its headquarters in Washington DC.
Following approval of the 2013 Budget, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, thanked the Permanent Representatives of the Member States, and recalled that in December 2011 he presented a document that contained his Strategic Vision of the OAS, which he presented to the Permanent Council in February this year. In that presentation, Secretary General stressed the need to focus the organization's activities on four basic pillars: democracy, human rights, development and security.
Consistent with that document, in his address today Secretary General Insulza said, "everything we do is important, one would be hard pressed to find something that is banal, but the big question -and this is the core of the debate - is: Is everything that we do in agreement with the missions of the OAS, or would they be appropriate for other agencies to carry out?" In this regard, he reiterated that "the priorities of the OAS are the issues related to democracy, human rights, development and security in a framework of the strengthening of law in the Americas."
The OAS Secretary General warned that "after the passage of this budget, the real work begins because you have to make cuts in some areas in order to strengthen others, because I do not think there will be any substantial increases in contributions from the Member Countries."
Likewise, Insulza referred to the approval of the proposal to increase the budget for the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the amount of one million dollars. "The increase is in line with the title of the discussion that we are carrying out within the Council, which is the strengthening of the Inter-American system," he said, adding that "we believe it was important to signal our willingness to strengthen the system."
In his closing remarks, the Secretary General stressed the need to begin as soon as possible the discussion of the priorities of the organization, as he proposed more than a year ago.
For his part, the Chair of the General Assembly and Permanent Representative of Canada, Allan Culham, who is also the head of the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs (CAAP) of the Permanent Council, expressed his gratitude for the cooperation of the Member Countries in the approval of the budget and pledged his efforts to make the discussion on priorities take place as soon as possible.
During the Special Session of the General Assembly, the representatives of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti (speaking on behalf of CARICOM), the United States, Costa Rica, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, El Salvador, Peru , the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Grenada, Guatemala, Uruguay, Panama and Chile all took part.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The video of the event is available here.
The audio of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.