Media Center



April 21, 2005 - Washington, DC

Distinguished Ambassadors, Permanent Representative to the OAS
Permanent Observers to the OAS
Representatives of Inter-American and International Organizations
Representatives of Non Governmental Organizations
Delegates to CIM
Emeritus Advisors to CIM
Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women, Carmen Lomellin and staff of the Executive Secretariat

On behalf of Acting Secretary General Luigi R. Einaudi, who is away from Headquarters on mission, and on my own behalf, I am honored to welcome all of you to this first meeting of the CIM Executive Committee for 2004-2006. I wish first of all to congratulate the Executive Committee members on their election and wish them a very successful tenure. As Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary General and the Acting Secretary General (since October 2004), over the past five years, I have had the privilege to be a close observer and supporter of the CIM, and have seen it strengthen its role as the principal forum for generating hemispheric policy to advance women's human rights and gender equity and equality in our Region.

The CIM has definitely transformed the Regional Agenda. Within the OAS, the gender issue has permeated at every level, and there is growing conviction of its fundamental importance for achieving our regional objectives of democracy, peace and justice. Not only was the OAS staff – myself included – trained to integrate a gender perspective in OAS policies and program, but the Departments themselves and the Missions to the OAS are taking the initiative in making gender an integral part of their activities and reports.

CIM’s policies have also influenced ministerial agendas. The recommendations of Second Meeting of Ministers or of the Highest Authorities Responsible for the Advancement of Women in the Member States (REMIM II) on gender and justice impacted the Plan of Action of the V Meeting of Ministers of Justice, REMJA V, which, for the first time, included gender, violence against women and trafficking Similar success was achieved in the area of Science and Technology, where the Ministerial meeting held in Lima last November adopted the recommendations on gender mainstreaming as a regional initiative.

Similarly, CIM’s participation as technical advisor in the Summit of the Americas process, has had an impact in the outcomes of the Summit. The Fourth Summit, to be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina in November, without a doubt will continue building on the gender mainstreaming commitment expressed by the Heads of State and Government at the Third Summit. It is particularly important that the CIM’s recommendations be taken into consideration because the Summit main theme addresses poverty and work, areas in which women are specially vulnerable . Regional statistics indicate that the female labor force is increasingly educated and that many women have risen to high level positions. However, women still experience higher rates of unemployment and earn less income than men.

Finally, the adoption of the Follow-up Mechanism to the Convention of Belém do Pará by the States Party last October, also represents a major achievement. The Convention of Belém do Para continues to be the only international treaty in the world that addresses gender based violence, and the Mechanism, the third such tool adopted within the Inter-American system, truly places our region in the vanguard of the world-wide efforts to eliminate violence against women. Similarly, thanks to the CIM’s efforts, the issue of trafficking in persons has become part of the regional Agenda.

The actions carried out by the CIM have significantly enforced the mandates of the Inter- American Program on the Promotion of Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equity and Equality (IAP) and we wish the CIM to continue developing its own initiatives and supporting the gender mainstreaming effort of the rest of the organs, organisms and offices of the OAS, in their endeavor to comply as well with the IAP.

Before concluding, I would like to recognize the excellent work of the CIM Executive Secretary, Carmen Lomellin and the staff of the Permanent Secretariat. I am sure that this meeting, indeed this biennium, will be most productive. Let me assure you that you can count on the staunch support of the Secretary General and the General Secretariat in all your endeavors. I wish you much success in your deliberations.