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EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT DAYSEUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT DAYS

October 22nd to 24th, 2009

The European Development Days is a yearly event that showcases the European Union’s continuing and enduring commitment to development. It is hosted annually by the European Commission and the EU Presidency, which is currently held by the Government of Sweden, one of the Permanent Observers to the OAS. The 4th edition of the European Development Days will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, from October 22nd to the 24th, 2009. The event brings about 4,000 people and 1500 organizations from the development community together to share ideas on how to make development aid more effective, particularly in the fight against poverty and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

On October 23rd a Plenary Session entitled “Democracy and Development: Interregional Dialogue on Democracy Building” will be held. Dr. Irene Klinger -Director of the Department of International Affairs- will participate and make a presentation on behalf of the OAS Secretary General, Mr. Jose Miguel Insulza. Invited speakers for this Plenary Session include the Secretary General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Vidar Helgesen, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa; former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark; Liberia´s first female president and Africa´s first woman head of state, Ellen Johnson’Sirleaf; the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek; and the Chair of the African Union Commision, Jean Ping, among others. The session will address the topic of how development is more sustainable in countries that are democratically governed. The promotion of democracy is indicated as one of the objectives of the European Consensus on Development.

For further details, visit http://eudevdays.eu/about_the_event/introduction_en.htm

OAS AND IOM SIGN AGREEMENT TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION ON MIGRATION ISSUES

October 14, 2009

On October 14, 2009, the OAS and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a Cooperation Agreement relative to activities in the area of migration in an effort to achieve the maximum benefits for their Member States. The Agreement focuses mainly on International Migration Law, Labor Migration, Combat Human Trafficking, Human Rights of Migrants, Democracy Strengthening and Education for Migrant Youth and Children.

The OAS-IOM Cooperation initiatives will foster the advancement of each organization’s  objectives and goals and may include conduction of workshops and activities on labor migration, counter- trafficking, migrants’ human rights and democracy strengthening; preparation of research and projects of cooperation and information exchange on issues of common interest for both Organizations; follow up on migration-related resolutions of the Summits of the Americas; organizing inter-institutional coordination meetings; attending each other’s meetings; and exchanging information and documentation to facilitate work on matters of mutual interest.

The Cooperation Agreement was signed at the Hall of Heroes by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza and the IOM Director General Mr. William Lacy Swing. Also present were Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos, Permanent Representative of Colombia and Chair of the Permanent Council; Ambassador Duly Brutus, Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS and Chair of the Special Committee on Migration Issues; and Mr. Richard E. Scott, IOM Regional Representative for North America and the Caribbean as well as several OAS officials and Permanent Representatives of its Member States.

The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2009 Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors

October 6-7, 2009

Istanbul, Turkey The Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund each year bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern.

This year’s meetings were held October 6-7, 2009 in Istanbul and focused on the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. During the Annual Meetings, the Boards of Governors, which for each institution (World Bank, IMF) consists of one governor from each of the institutions’ member countries, typically the finance minister, central bank governor, or minister of development, decide on major policy issues related to the future work of the two institutions, which are subsequently implemented by their respective Executive Boards.

Prior to the Meetings, a Program of Seminars was held in Istanbul October 3-5 which offered participants in-depth discussions on current issues relevant to the world economy and financial stability.

A Civil Society Policy Forum was also held. From October 3-6, the Forum comprised a series of policy dialogue sessions which joined World Bank and IMF staff, civil society representatives, government officials, and others to discuss issues being addressed during the Annual Meetings.

The Annual Meetings are usually held for two consecutive years at the IMF and World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. and every third year in another member country. The last three Meetings abroad were held in Singapore (2006); Dubai (2003); and Prague (2000). The 2009 Annual Meetings will be the second time that Turkey will host the Annual Meetings (the first time was in 1955, also in Istanbul), making Turkey the only country to host the Annual Meetings twice. A complete list of meeting sites and other useful information is available on the Annual Meetings website.

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The OAS and the African Union sign Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on issues for the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights

October 1, 2009

The Commission of the African Union (AU) and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 1, 2009 to strengthen the cooperation between both regional organizations. 

The document was signed by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Mr. Jean Ping.Secretary-General Insulza emphasized the historic character of the agreement in his remarks, stating that this was the “first such agreement that has been signed” between the two organizations since inter-regional cooperation took root two years ago.

The MOU establishes a higher level of cooperation between the two organizations specifically on issues relating to the promotion of democracy and strengthening of democratic institutions and processes, conflict resolution, protection of human and peoples’ rights and social and economic development, as well as any other areas of common interest that may be defined in the future by the parties. The signing of the MOU will be followed by the visit of a delegation from the OAS General Secretariat to the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to agree on concrete steps for future cooperation, among them the organization of the Second Joint Forum on Democracy and Human Rights and the development of a working plan on areas described in the MOU.

The signing took place in the San Martin Room at OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC, and counted with the presence of a large AU delegation.  Besides Chairperson  Jean Ping, the delegation also included the AU Commissioner on Peace and Security, Amb. Ramtane Lamamra; the Permanent Representative of the AU to the US, Amb. Amina Salum Ali; the newly appointed Ambassador of the AU to the United Nations, Amb. Tete Antonio; Deputy Legal Counsel for the AU Commission, Ms. Dejanabou Diarra; Chief of Protocol, Mrs. Simone Abala; Senior Policy Officer of the AU Commission Office to the US, Mrs. Louise Bailey; Aide de Camp, Mr. Claude Alain Djaly; and Security, Mr. Samson Wossene.

The OAS and the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) sign a Cooperation Agreement

September 24, 2009

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) renewed their Cooperation Agreement and pledged to continue working together, focusing on issues related to political affairs, hemispheric security, integral development, human rights, and migration.The previous Agreement was signed on April 30th, 2008, between SEGIB and the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN), the Specialized Organization of the OAS responsible for promoting the study of issues relating to children and the family in the Americas, as well as for designing technical instruments that will contribute to solve the problems affecting them.

The new document was signed on the morning of September 24th, 2009 by the OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, and the Ibero-American Secretary General, Enrique Iglesias, in the framework of the 64th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.The Agreement opens the doors to the collaborative work of promoting the historical, cultural, social and economic links between Ibero-American countries.

Since June 2002, both institutions have worked together in various programs focused on development.  Among the projects undertaken together since 2002 are the following: the Leadership Project for Governance and Development, PROLIDER; the trust Virtual Education; and joint initiatives to promote the rights of children and adolescents through programs carried out by the Inter-American Children's Institute. The Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) is an Inter-governmental organization and the permanent organ for the provision of institutional and technical support to the Ibero-American Conference and the Ibero-American Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Heads of Government.

The SEGIB is integrated by twenty-two countries: nineteen in Latin America and three in the Iberian Peninsula: Spain, Portugal and Andorra.

64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

September 23-26, 2009 New York

The sixty-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly opened at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, September 15, 2009. The General Debate was held from September 23 to 26 and September 28 to 30, 2009.  The new President elected for the 64th Session was Dr. Ali Abdessalam Treki of Libya, the country's Secretary for African Union Affairs.  United Nations.

Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated that the 64th  General Assembly “shows a UN rising to the challenges of today’s world”.  “We are confronting the big issues of the day –- climate change, disarmament, the financial crisis and Millennium Development Goals, key issues of peace and security.  No nation can solve these alone.” 

Climate Change Summit:

Prior to the General Debate, the largest-ever Climate Change Summit was convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on September 22, gathering a record participation of 163 countries at the senior level, including 101 heads of state and government and laying a solid foundation for the Copenhagen Summit due to be held in December. Among important announcements was Japan’s confirmation that it would pursue a 25 % reduction against 1990 emission levels by 2020, and that it would seek to create a national carbon market linked to an international one. 

The European Union announced support for a “fast-track adaptation funding facility”, for which it would provide €5 billion to €7 billion between 2010 and 2012.  China announced what it would be prepared to do in the context of an international agreement, in addition to its current efforts, while the President of the Maldives announced his intention to make the island nation carbon-neutral by 2020. Many leaders rallied around a proposal for contributing $100 billion annually to a Climate Change Fund over the next decade. 

The UN Secretary-General held a dinner with 23 leaders, bringing together those from the most vulnerable countries with those of the largest economies in order to discuss positions and reach common ground prior to the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

More information is available on the 2009 Summit on Climate Change webpage.

Disarmament:

On Thursday, September 24, 2009, a United Nations Security Council Summit on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament was held, the first time the Security Council had met to focus on the elimination of nuclear weapons.  US President Barak Obama became the first US President to chair a summit-level meeting of the UN Security Council.In a press conference after the summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated, “Not long ago, few challenged the idea that nuclear weapons were here to stay. That is why; nearly a year ago, I proposed a 5-point action plan for putting disarmament back on the global agenda, including a special summit of the Security Council.

Resolution 1887, unanimously adopted by the Security Council during its Thursday summit meeting last week, is an important step. We continue the march for a world without nuclear weapons.” Resolution 1887 calls for states with nuclear weapons to continue disarming, to ratify a ban on testing them and to agree on a treaty stopping the production of fissile material. In return, non-nuclear weapon states should accept stronger safeguards designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.  The resolution, however, is non-binding.

Meeting on situation in Honduras:

Two days before the beginning of the General Debate at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya returned to Honduras and sought refuge in the Brazilian Embassy.   During the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly the OAS Secretary General met with several Foreign Ministers and Heads of State and Government of OAS Member States to discuss the situation in Honduras. 

A meeting took place on September 23 in the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations, hosted by the Ambassador of Spain to the United Nations.  At the meeting, it was agreed that due to President Zelaya’s return to Honduras, negotiations would take place in Honduras from that moment forward.   The Ambassador of Brazil to the UN, Maria Luiza Viotti, asked the United Nations Security Council to convene an emergency meeting on the situation of its embassy in Honduras. 

According to the Government of Brazil, as a result of their hospitality towards President Zelaya, the embassy had become the target of intimidation by Honduran troops.  Brazil urged the Security Council to guarantee the safety of its embassy and of President Zelaya.  On Friday, September 25, 2009, the Security Council met and condemned acts of intimidation and called on the “de facto” Honduran authorities to respect the diplomatic status and the inviolability of the Embassy.  The Security Council also called on all parties to remain calm and to avoid escalating the situation or to place individuals at risk of harm. 

OAS Secretary General meets with UN Officials:

OAS Secretary General Insulza met with Lynn Pascoe, U.N. Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs and with Edmond Mullet, U.N. Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations on September 25, 2009.   It was agreed that it would be useful to sign an MOU between the OAS and the United Nations defining the areas and type of collaborative work that could be done by both organizations.

There was interest from both parties to structure this MOU in the near future.  With regards to the peacekeeping operations in Haiti, the complementary role of the OAS in providing supportive development assistance to Haiti alongside the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was discussed.

Specifically, the meeting took on the issue of the need for the OAS and MINUSTAH to cooperate locally and to identify a transition period for the OAS to take over all operations and support activities in Haiti once the peacekeeping forces leave.  It was agreed that work must begin in transferring departments over to the OAS.  The possibility of annual consultations with the UN Department of Political Affairs was considered. OAS Secretary General Insulza also attended a “Group of Friends of Haiti” meeting called by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to discuss the situation in Haiti and ways to help move forward the economic development of the country.

64th Session of the UN General Assembly: Links to Key Documents 

 

 

 

 

OAS LAUNCHES NEW INITIATIVE TO STRENGTHEN SOCIAL PROTECTION IN THE AMERICAS

On September 22, 2009, the OAS launched the Inter-American Social Protection Network. The event took place in New York City, at the time of the 64th United Nations General Assembly. The conference brought together representatives of governments, international agencies, the private sector, academia and nongovernmental organizations to define priorities, discuss areas for cooperation, and begin to develop a long-term agenda for expanding social protection strategies in the region.

Through this initiative, the OAS member states will intensify their cooperation to fight poverty and inequality and improve the well-being of people throughout the Americas. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno - together with high level officials from other international organizations- joined OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza to mark the beginning of this new effort. The initiative was a response to a mandate received at the Fifth Summit of the Americas where the Heads of Government and State called for the creation of an Inter-American Social Protection Network to exchange information on policies, experiences, programs and best practices in this area, with the goal of supporting national efforts to reduce social disparities, inequality and extreme poverty. 

The Network was also inspired by the agreements reached by the Ministers and High Authorities of Social Development, gathered at their First Inter-American Meeting in July 2008, in Chile. It will also be a substantive component of their Second Meeting, to be held in Colombia in 2010. 

The Social Protection Network will mobilize resources and prepare agencies and institutions around the region through training workshops and technical assistance. Once it is fully operational, in early 2010, it will develop a mechanism to match specific country needs with successful programs and methodologies that could be transferred from other countries. 

The Inter-American Social Protection Network will identify and promote effective and efficient ways to expand access to food, health, education, housing, and employment for the region’s most vulnerable communities. It should provide a vehicle for cooperation and information-sharing on policies, experiences, and best practices that can provide real solutions to help reduce social disparity and lift people out of poverty.  This exchange of best practices started with lessons learned from innovative “conditional cash transfer programs” in a number of countries in the Americas, particularly Brazil’s “Bolsa Familia”, Chile’s “Solidario”, Colombia’s “Familias en Acción”, and Mexico’s “Oportunidades”. The Government of Chile is currently working with several Caribbean nations to develop social protection programs, while New York City adapted its program –“Opportunity NYC”- from the Mexican model.

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THE OAS AND THE CLUB DE MADRID SIGN A COOPERATION AGREEMENT ON DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND CONSOLIDATION

September 22, 2009

The former Prime Minister of New Zealand and member of the Club de Madrid, Jennifer Mary Shipley, and the OAS Assistant Secretary-General, Albert Ramdin, signed a cooperation agreement (for Spanish version click here)at a ceremony which took place at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. on September 22nd, 2009.  The agreement sets out the commitment of both organizations to collaborate and strengthen efforts to achieve common objectives in the areas of democracy, human rights, security and development.  This cooperation is to be carried out through implementation of joint projects and the dissemination of knowledge as well as any other relevant activity.

During the ceremony, Ambassador Albert Ramdin affirmed that “the relationship between the OAS and the Club de Madrid has strengthened over the couple few years” and expressed that “the signing of this instrument is part of an OAS plan to be much more part of the world and strengthen our relationship with countries and with other important institutions like the Club de Madrid”. Former Prime Minister Jennifer Mary Shipley affirmed that it was an “honor to have this opportunity to form a new working relationship with the OAS.” She concluded by expressing her hope that “the signing of these documents cement an already well-established relationship.”

The Club de Madrid is an independent organization made up of more than 70 former Heads of State and Government, democratically elected, of whom 23 are from OAS Member Countries and 36 from its Observer Countries. It was created for the purpose of supporting and promoting democratic transition and consolidation, as well as the culture of democratic values. The actions of the Club de Madrid focus on issues of worldwide interest, particularly related to the consolidation and strengthening of democratic values, and on preparing practical and politically viable recommendations that can be implemented in situations of democratic transition and consolidation, in order to contribute to strengthening the rule of law and democratic values around the world.

VISIT TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

May 6-7, 2009

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, accompanied by other OAS Officials met with their counterparts from the Council of Europe May 6-7, 2009 at the Headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for a Programmatic Exchange organized by the Section on Institutional Relations of the OAS Department of International Affairs.  The OAS delegation was represented by Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Affairs; Victor Rico, Secretary for Political Affairs; and Mercedes Kremenetsky, Executive Secretary A.I. of the Inter-American Commission for Women.  The purpose of the Programmatic Exchange was to seek further deepening ongoing collaboration and concrete cooperation in the areas of substantive work.

Secretary General Insulza and the Right Honorable Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe met on May 7th and the OAS Secretary General delivered a speech to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in which he aimed to “reflect the fact that we (OAS) are a learning institution, that we care about inter regional collaboration, and that we look forward to a stronger cooperative relationship between the Council of Europe and the Organization of American States”.  The areas of substantive work agreed to continue collaboration as well as cooperate concretely on included: human rights, cyber security and the fight against terrorism, international law, conflict management, combating violence against women, and the exchange of best practices and experiences regarding the participation and involvement of civil society.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two inter-governmental organizations is expected to be signed in the near future.

VISIT OF THE AFRICAN UNION

April 27, 2009

A delegation of the African Union headed by H.E. Erastus J.O. Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson, met with the OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and members of the Department of International Affairs - Sherry Stephenson and Jorge Sanin - on April 27, 2009. The purpose of the visit by the African Union delegation was to discuss how to promote a deeper cooperative relationship between the OAS and the African Union in areas of common interest, given that the two organizations are very similar in their objectives and in their areas of work. It was agreed that steps would be taken to intensify this cooperation, including agreement upon a Memorandum of Understanding setting out a framework of understanding for the undertaking of activities in areas of mutual interest and priority.

Photo gallery

Briefing to the US Naval Academy

April 21, 2009

On April 21, Ms. Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Affairs addressed a group of college students from the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland. The presentation was about the work of the OAS and the results of the V Summit of the Americas and its impact for the future relations of Latin American Countries and the US. The role of the OAS in strengthening democracy and other current issues afecting the Americas. Other important issues discussed were Cuba, and the effects of the economic crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Announcement of the event

Korea and IDB: Finance up to $2 billion of projects and strengthen partnership on Green Growth (photo IDB)Korea and IDB: Finance up to $2 billion of projects and strengthen partnership on Green Growth

March 31, 2009

The Export-Import Bank of Korea and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will sign a an agreement to co-finance public and private sector projects worth as much as billion in the next three years in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Kexim, as the Korean official export credit agency is known, and the IDB will work together to share information and identify and finance projects in infrastructure, information technology, trade finance and other areas. The accord will be signed in Medellín, Colombia, during the 50th Annual Meeting of the IDB's Board of Governors.

Also during the annual meeting, the IDB and the Korean government, one of the Bank's 48 member-countries, will also sign a cooperation agreement on Green Growth to develop and promote the use of renewable energy, efficient energy technologies and practices and carbon finance activities in Latin America and the Caribbean ...

Inter-American Development Bank hosts Fiftieth Annual Meeting of Board of GovernorsInter-American Development Bank hosts Fiftieth Annual Meeting of Board of Governors

March 27-31, 2009

The Fiftieth Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Twenty-fourth Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Investment Corporation will be held in the city of Medellín, Colombia, from March 27 – 31 2009. The inaugural session will take place at the Metropolitan Theater. Seminars, sessions, and meetings will be held at the Plaza Mayor Exhibition Hall and Convention Center.

OAS Secretary General meets with Secretary General of the Council of Europe OAS Secretary General meets with Secretary General of the Council of Europe

March 20, 2009

On March 20, 2009, OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, received the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis. The two leaders discussed ways to increase cooperation between the intergovernmental organizations, as well as addressed issues related to human rights in the Americas and in Europe. Secretary General Davis met with the OAS Secretary General following his presentation at the XXXIV Lecture Series of the Americas, where he spoke on: "The Universality of Human Rights and the Work of the Council of Europe" on March 18, 2009 in the OAS Hall of the Americas.