Media Center



December 7, 1995 - Washington, DC

"The big challenge of our nations is the lack of quality of our social institutions, and the poor design and management of the public policies being implemented."

It is a pleasure and a great honor to be here with you to sign the Agreement of Cooperation between the Interamerican Development Bank, the University of the West Indies and the Organization of American States. This Agreement reflects the interest of our three institutions in working together on behalf of the Caribbean people.

This important Agreement is a concrete example of the achievements we have made to coordinate our work with the IDB and other international and national institutions. The Agreement is a manifestation of the new spirit of cooperation that we are promoting at the OAS. The same spirit that the member States have promoted for some years, and particularly since the General Assembly of Managua and AGECID, in Mexico. It is also the type of relationship among the interamerican institutions that the Heads of State of the Hemisphere asked us to seek when they met in Miami at the Summit of the Americas, one year ago. Based on these mandates, we have worked hard to increase the communication and coordination of the OAS with other international institutions to combine our efforts and experiences for the well-being of the people of the Member states.

This act is also a great example of the kind of new association and the projects that can be achieved through the Agreement signed by the President of the IDB and the Secretary General of the OAS last June. This is the relationship that Mr. Iglesias and myself are working to build among our institutions. It has taken us far in a very short time, and will take us much further in the coming future.

The Agreement we are about to sign stablishes that the IDB, the UWI and the OAS will join efforts to put together six seminars, over the next three years, to train high level Governmental officials in social institutions, and people in the private sector involved in social policy in your countries.

The first two-week course will take place at the end of May of 1996, at the Campus of the University of the West Indies, in Kingston. The participants will be required to attend full time for this period. Dear Ambassadors, we urge you and your governments to make an effort to send high level officials to this first course. Their attendance will be crucial to set the standard of this project, which is neccesary to guarantee its future succes.

The program is an effort to regionalize the work that the recently born Interamerican Institute for Social Development at the IDB, known in spanish as INDES, is doing to train people in the social sectors of the countries of our hemisphere. Therefore, INDES will carry the main academic responsibilities, organizing the structure and content of the course. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mrs. Nohra Rey de Marulanda for the marvellous work she is doing at INDES, and to thank her for making this Agreement possible. Without Nohra we would not be signing this Agreement today.

The University of the West Indies also plays an important role in the course. The University has many highly qualified faculty members that work on social policy areas, whom will be part of the faculty delivering the course.

Finally, the OAS through the experience it has accumulatied in its Inter-American Center of Social Development, will also have an important input in the design and execution of the seminars. This will be an opportunity to revitilize the efforts of this Center and to bring it back to the heart of our Organization. We have more than two decades of experience to be proud of. But we must work to make the most of it, and to keep it up to date in the discussion on the need for new social policies and institucional reforms in the social areas of our countries.

It is important, as well, to note that the OAS will finance 30 fellows per course, which means that over the three year period 180 people from 14 countries will have attendend the training seminars.

These are the kind of projects that the proposed Unit of Social Development will have to pursue in its commitment to help the member States in their efforts to eradicate poverty and implement better and more efficient social policies. Today it is clear that the problems that Latin America and the Caribbean are facing in this policy area are not only need of resources. The big challenge of our nations is the lack of quality of our social institutions, and the poor design and management of the public policies being implemented. Our countries need more efficient institutions in the social sector, implementing new social programs and carrying more weight in the over all policies of our Governments. Making this happen is one of our challenges at the OAS, and that is why this type of programs are so important to us.

This Agreement is also very meaningful because it is precisely the type of cooperation that the upcoming CIDI most encourage. This is a "new generation project", one in which the OAS works with an academic institution, and not necesarily with a government, and combines its resources with it and other international organization to intensify its impact in the Americas.

At the OAS we also have a major opportunity to be a key broker of infromation and experiences in social policy in the hemisphere. The Unit of Social Development should work to coordinate the efforts of international and national institutions in order to make the most out of all our resoruces and avoid duplications.

Today is a very important day for our three institutions. This Agreement is just the first one of many others to come based on the same spirit and philosophy that led us here. We have learned to begin to work together, adding our experiences and resources for the people of this hemisphere, who after all, are the primary reason of our existence.

By signing this Agreement we are starting 1996 three weeks ahead of time. The solutions to the problems of the hemisphere need this king of energy. I urge you to help us find ways to arrive at new solutions.