Media Center



May 22, 2006 - Washington, DC

I would like to begin these brief remarks by thanking the member states for their vote of confidence in confirming me as Executive Secretary for Integral Development and Director General of the IACD. I view this as a great honor, but also as a great commitment to work with you and your countries.

As I conveyed to the Secretary General when he proposed that I hold this office, I wish to convey to you my commitment to work diligently to promote the premises and principles of integral development and partnership for development.

Our area is one of the three substantive pillars of the Organization and, accordingly, we must ensure that it receives the attention it merits from both the political bodies and ourselves, the members of the General Secretariat, who have responsibility for providing them with support in the ongoing challenge of achieving the economic and social development of our peoples.

The challenge is indeed great. Needs are virtually endless and resources very limited. Therefore, I will work diligently to optimize our material, financial, and human resources, and to attract new ones. In addition, I will strive to optimize our comparative advantages as an Organization so that we may meet that challenge.

Our tasks include two very well defined action areas: a political area and a program area. We must strike a balance between the two. We cannot sacrifice one to the other; instead, we must ensure that they reinforce one another. In one, productive discussions are under way to define policies, priorities, and mandates; the other assists in their implementation.

However, in a situation where needs exceed resources, and, in addition, we have more mandates than we can in fact manage to implement, there is need for an exercise to identify and promote the added value of the OAS vis-à-vis other cooperation stakeholders. This will position us to be more effective and achieve better results in the fight against poverty, inequity, exclusion, and all other evils that maintain most of our countries at unacceptable levels of development and, in addition, pose challenges to our democracies.

With the Strategic Plan for Partnership for Integral Development that is about to be adopted, we will be taking a great step in the right direction. It is a plan that certainly takes account of this duality of policy and program, but also promotes as a strategic objective the strengthening of human and institutional capabilities.

We are an Organization faced with many challenges that I will not discuss here, as you are well aware of them. However, we are also an organization with special characteristics not shared by other cooperation stakeholders. This duality of policies and programs is unique and we must promote it. We are a forum where 34 member states take decisions to advance towards certain ends. We are surely a Hemisphere of contrast and diversity, but this enables us to have many experiences worth sharing. We are an organization in which we can further encourage the establishment of networks that enable some to draw sustenance from the experiences of others. We are an organization in which national and multinational projects can coexist, and the latter may even include hemispheric projects. We can have programs on a common topic with subregional components and national models. We are an Organization in which we can promote public/private alliances, and one with active civil society participation. We are an organization in which the mandates we must implement bear the imprimatur of the 34. In short, we are an Organization of great potential, and we must be creative and optimize the limited resources we have.

I am optimistic, and certain that, with the support of SEDI’s magnificent team of professionals and the support of you all, we will be able to chart a good course towards the integral development of the peoples of the Americas.