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Versión Español | February 2015


The Region’s Commitment to Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

The Region’s Commitment to Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

“Citizen demand for social, economic and political equality, points to the need to give answers, and has led the region to search for a new development paradigm," stated OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza in the February 25 dialogue on the progress and future of the “Protocol of San Salvador,” which consecrates Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

The “new development paradigm” highlighted by Insulza refers to the regional and global consensus on the critical importance of equity and equality. In this regard, he recalled the approval of the Social Charter of the Americas in 2012, and its Plan of Action approved this very month. He further stressed that both the Declaration of the OAS General Assembly in 2014 and the Seventh Summit of the Americas to be held in April in Panama, make direct reference to social inclusion.

By recognizing economic, social, and cultural rights for citizens of the Americas, the Protocol of San Salvador is yet another regional instrument to address the inequality challenge. As such, it was highlighted at this month’s policy roundtable by experts on social rights and policies, who addressed the progress made to date in implementing the Protocol, and its inclusion in the discussion of the post-2015 development agenda. The dialogue was held at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., coinciding with the first period of sessions of the Working Group responsible for following-up on the Protocol.

Working GroupThis period of sessions represents a very significant step forward, as the Working Group analyzed national reports presented by 3 State Parties to the Protocol of San Salvador, in which countries report progress based on a set of specific indicators. These progress indicators (prepared by the Working Group and approved by Member States) are prioritized through a pioneer methodology or system that covers rights to social security, health, education, labor and trade union rights, adequate nutrition, healthy environment, and the benefits of culture.

During the Working Group’s sessions, the experts affirmed that “the system looks at indicators that are useful for the design and ongoing evaluation of public policies of Member States, aimed at ensuring compliance with all economic, social and cultural rights, with a realistic approach to equity and social justice.”

The OAS, through SEDI’s Department of Social Inclusion (DIS), operates as the Technical Secretariat of the Protocol of San Salvador and supports the work of its Working Group. The group is composed by eight experts from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay, as well as members of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  

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