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Heads of State at the SummitXX Ibero-American Summit
December 3-4, 2010
Mar del Plata, Argentina

The XX Ibero-American Summit took place in Mar del Plata, Argentina, from December 3-4, 2010. Secretary General Enrique Iglesias welcomed the 22 Members of the Ibero-American General Secretariat to discuss “Education for Social Inclusion” as the main theme of the Summit. This gathering will be remembered for the approval of a very ambitious Action Program on education with the goal of achieving full literacy in Latin America by 2015, as well as for the adoption of a historic special declaration on the “Defense of Democracy and Constitutional Order in Iberoamerica”. In commenting on the latter, Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman stated "There is now no Latin American forum in which you can be a member if you do not respect the democratic order." Under this new collective document, it would take unanimous approval to suspend a member nation for non-democratic actions, such as a coup removing an elected leader (link to the full summary)

Heads of State at the OSCE SummitSeventh Summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the 19th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
December 1 – 2, 2010
Astana, Kazakhstan

Eleven years after the last OSCE Summit in Istanbul, the Heads of State and Government of the 56 participating States of the OSCE assembled in Astana, Kazakhstan on December 1-2, 2010. This is the seventh Summit of the OSCE and marks the 35th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act and the 20th anniversary of the Charter of Paris for a New Europe. In his remarks, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed the work of the Heads of State and Government, saying their adoption of the Astana Commemorative Declaration reconfirmed the Organization’s comprehensive approach to security based on trust and transparency. The declaration calls for an action plan to be developed under the leadership of future chairmanships. The Astana Commemorative Declaration can be found clicking here “Astana Commemorative Declaration: Towards a Security Community” (link to full summary)
 

Secretary Insulza and President PC OSCEOAS Secretary General Speaks to the Permanent Council of the OSCE
October 28, 2010
Vienna, Austria

On October 28th, 2010, Secretary General Insulza addressed the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as a special guest. The President of the Permanent Council to the OSCE, Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov, from the Republic of Kazakhstan hosted the Secretary General at the OSCE headquarters in Hofburg, Vienna.

This visit was undertaken to strengthen institutional relations and cooperative activities between the OAS and the OSCE who work on many common issues. It follows upon a bilateral meeting held last January 2010 between OSCE Secretary General, Mr. Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and Secretary General Insulza where they agreed to intensify institutional cooperation between the two organizations during 2010. The bilateral meeting took place in the context of a High Level Retreat with 12 Heads of regional and other organizations hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who encouraged participating organizations to foster inter-regional collaboration (link to full summary).

 

Award ceremonyInternational Seminar: “The Opportuniy of the Bicentennial”and Prize Ceremony: "Contributions to the reduction of inequality and poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean"
October 14, 2010
Mexico City

OAS Secretary General Insulza, accompanied by Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Affairs, participated as a speaker in the International Seminar: “The Opportuniy of the Bicentennial” held on Thursday, October 14 in Mexico City. The Seminar, organized by the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), the Foundation for Democracy and Development from Chile, Grupo Vidanta Foundation and the Carolina Foundation from Spain, brought together former Presidents Ricardo Lagos from Chile, Julio Maria Sanguinetti from Uruguay, and César Gaviria from Colombia. Enrique V. Iglesias, Secretary General of Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), also attended the Seminar.

The Seminar concluded with a prize ceremony to recognize those projects that have contributed to the reduction of inequality and poverty in LAC. First Place went to the Fundación Mundo Mujer (Colombia), Second Place winner was Un Techo Para Mi País (Chile), Third place went to Comunidades de la Tierra (Guatemala). This is a joint initiative by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and the Grupo Vidanta Foundation that seeks to provide recognition and support for outstanding projects carried out in Latin America and the Caribbean to reduce poverty and inequality and fight discrimination.

The Grupo Vidanta Foundation is a non-profit institution whose primary aim is the promotion of social sciences and culture with a focus on Latin America to the benefit of all with a special interest in academia and policy-making. For more information please visit their website.
 

Columbus ceremonyColumbus Day Ceremony
October 11, 2010
Columbus Plaza, Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Affairs, represented the OAS in the 99th Christopher Columbus Ceremony in Washington, D. C., held on October 11 at 10:45 am at the National Columbus Memorial Statue, located on Columbus Circle in front of Union Station. Ms. Klinger shared the podium with diplomatic representatives of Italy, Spain and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, among other speakers. A wreath was laid at the Columbus Memorial Statue in the name of the Organization. The memorial was dedicated in 1912 to honor Christopher Columbus.

Picture SGSecretary General speaks at Fordham University
September 21st, 2010-Fordham University, New York

On September 21st, 2010, Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, addressed more than 200 faculty members and students at Rose Hill campus of Fordham University on “The Dangers for Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean”. Insulza expressed his hope to bring social, economic and political harmony to the region. Click on the following link to access the speech by the Secretary General.

Picture of UN opening ceremonyUnited Nations 65th General Assembly
September 20-30, 2010, New York

Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, along with a delegation comprised of Ms. Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Affairs, among others OAS officials, participated in the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly,  held in New York from 20 to 30 September 2010. The main theme for this year’s general debate was “Reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in global governance”. Prior to the Assembly, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convened a High-Level Plenary meeting to address progress achieved toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). At the Millennium Development Summit, Heads of State and Government and Ministers of every UN Member Country as well as the heads of International Organizations had the opportunity to share what their countries and regions have done to achieve the development goals. The Summit also proved to be an opportunity to re-energize the global commitment to achieve the goals that were set a decade ago. Link to full summary.

Picture AU Summit15th African Union Summit
Kampala, Uganda – 19-27 July, 2010

Heads of State and Government of the African Union held their 15th Summit from 19 to 27 July 2010 in Kampala, Uganda and adopted decisions on a wide range of issues, showing the desire of the African community to intensify its joint search for answers to the challenges facing the continent. The participants underlined the need to increase the effectiveness of intra-African economic cooperation, and expedite interregional integration. In political terms, the Assembly stressed the need to support systematic collective action aimed at counterterrorism and conflict resolution. Link to full summary in Word.

Picture of Irene Klinger in an interviewThe Director of the Department of International Affairs, Irene Klinger, presented to the Member Sates the Report on the Mission to Observe the General Elections in Suriname
July 7th, 2010

The report, delivered by Irene Klinger, Chief of Mission, focused on the work undertaken by the observation team, the preliminary visits conducted in Suriname prior to the general elections on May 25th, 2010, the observation of the voting process and its outcome.
Ms. Klinger stated that the electoral process and the election event itself took place in a peaceful and proper environment and complied with all international election standards, without any irregularities being reported. Ms. Klinger also thanked the Secretary General and the Permanent Council for the opportunity to perform such an important function for the Organization and her colleagues in the Secretariat for Political Affairs (SPA), as well as the 26 observers from 16 member States that made the electoral observation mission in Suriname a success. Since 1991 the OAS has been observing electoral processes in Suriname. OAS Electoral Observation Missions seek to contribute to the strengthening of democracy in the Americas through free, fair, participatory and transparent elections.
 

Picture OSCE meeting19th Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly Oslo, July 6 – 10, 2010

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) concluded its 19th annual Parliamentary Assembly session on the 10th of July 2010. The session’s theme was the “Rule of Law” with a focus on combating transnational crime and corruption. Its three general committees presented reports in their specific areas of political affairs and security; economic affairs, science, technology, and the environment; and democracy, human rights, and humanitarian questions.  Link to this summary in Word.

Picture of signing ceremonyOAS and UN Sign Cooperation Agreement on Women's Affairs
June 29th,2010

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) today signed a cooperation agreement that seeks to establish working mechanisms relating to issues on women.

The agreement, signed by the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, and by the Director of UNIFEM, Inés Alberdi, will focus its goals on areas like Economic Politics and the empowerment of women; the strengthening of democratic political systems and electoral processes through the promotion of free and fair elections throughout the American continent; the fight against poverty and social exclusion, with a special emphasis on the social inclusion of women; the strengthening of the capacity of the most vulnerable groups (indigenous, Afro-descendants, and others); the elimination of all forms of violence against women; sustainable development; cultural diversity; and actions designed to guarantee the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals.

 

Picture of signing ceremonyThe OAS and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) sign a Memorandum of Understanding to reinforce their support for democracy and democratic institutions
June 29th,2010

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 to reinforce institutional collaboration between the two organizations. The document was signed by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and International IDEA Secretary General, Vidar Helgesen. The MOU reinforces joint efforts of the OAS and IDEA to further develop dialogue and cooperation in the Latin American and Caribbean region for the support of democracy and democratic institutions, the promotion of transparency and efficiency in electoral processes and strengthening of the role of political parties. This MOU superseded an earlier agreement signed in 2007. As indicated by Secretary General Helgesen, the new agreement better defines the objectives of both organizations with respect to specific areas, which will allow for an output-oriented approach to common activities. 

 

Picture of the luncheonDialogue between the African Union and the OAS -
June 17th,2010

Officials of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) participated in an informal dialogue session with representatives of OAS Member States at the OAS headquarters on June 17th 2010.

The delegation of the ACHPR was headed by its Vice Chair, the Honorable Commissioner Mumba Malila; the Executive Secretary, Mary Maboreke and the Senior Legal Officer, Chafi Bakari. The IACHR was represented by Assistant Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed and Staff Attorney Fanny Gomez. The human rights experts from the African Union and the OAS were welcomed by Ms. Sherry Stephenson, Head of Institutional Relations, on behalf of the Director of the Department of International Affairs. The dialogue session included the following delegates from OAS Member States: Ms. Keltie Patterson, representing Canada, Mr. Christian Rehren of Chile, Mr. Alonso Martinez of Mexico, and Ambassador Marguerita Ragsdale of the U.S. Department of State.

The aim of this dialogue was to have an opportunity to inform Member States representatives of the ongoing cooperation project between the two organizations being implemented by the IACHR. The ACHPR and the IACHR have exchanged information through contacts and visits in a limited and sporadic manner for the last fifteen years; past contacts have indicated a strong interest within both systems for a better understanding of the processes, working methodology, and the human rights standards developed in each region. 

 

Picture of the luncheonWorking Luncheon with Institutions- XL OAS General Assembly
June 8th,2010

Secretary General Insulza hosted a working luncheon with institutional partners in the framework of the 40th General Assembly of the OAS on Tuesday, June 8th at 1p.m. at the Country Club Lima Hotel, located on Los Eucaliptos 590, San Isidro, Lima 27, Perú. The objective of this meeting was to share views on the region and discuss the work of the OAS and other regional institutions and ways in which they can further collaborate to meet their common goals and objectives. The members of the Joint Summit Working Group (JSWG) also attended the luncheon. The participation of Clemencia Forero, Vice Minister for External Relations of Colombia, provided the opportunity to dialogue on how these institutions can support the preparation for the Sixth Summit of the Americas to be held in Cartagena in 2012.

 

Picture ILO  meeting99th Session of the International Labour Conference, Geneva
June 2–18, 2010

The International Labour Organization held its annual meeting in Geneva from 2 to18 June 2010. Two panels were convened to discuss ways of forging a job-rich recovery and fostering more sustainable and balanced growth through making employment a macroeconomic objective of the same order as low inflation and deficits. It was noted that such a recovery would help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, threatened by current austerity measures taken in response to the sovereign debt crisis and which reduce public expenditure. Speakers highlighted the efforts of the Global Job Pact and Decent Work Agenda as a sustainable response to the crisis.  Link to full summary in Word.

Picture of EU-LAC Summit VI EU-LAC Summit
May 18, 2010

At the invitation of the Prime Minister of Spain, Mr. José Luis Zapatero, Heads of State and Government of the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries will meet in Madrid on May 18th 2010 for the VI EU-LAC Summit. Several preparatory events organized prior to the Summit will take place, a meeting of EU-LAC Foreign Ministers is planned for May 17th and a series of bilateral mini-Summits will also be held with specific LAC countries and sub-regions (16 May: Summit with Mexico; 17 May: Summits with Chile, CARIFORUM and MERCOSUR; 19 May: Summits with the Andean Countries and Central America). This Summit, which has been held every two years since 1999, will be an opportunity for addressing key issues such as the global economy, the new international financial architecture and climate change. The central theme for the VI Summit is “Towards a new phase of the bi-regional association: innovation and technology for sustainable development and social inclusion”. The European Union will be represented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. High Representative/Vice-President, Catherine ASHTON and Commissioner Karel DE GUCHT will also participate for the EU. Link to full summary in Word.

Picture of Suriname ElectionsElectoral Observation Mission to Suriname - Preparatory visit
April 30,2010

Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Affairs, was designated by the Secretary General as Chief of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) in Suriname for the elections of 51 members of the National Assembly on May 25th, 2010. Ms. Klinger led an OAS mission to Suriname in a preparatory visit on April 30th, May 3rd and 4th, when she met with the various political parties and coalitions competing in these elections, as well as with electoral authorities, civil society representatives, ambassadors and government officials. The Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Maurits S. Hassankhan, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Lygia Kraag-Keteldijk, both welcomed the Chief of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission and offered full cooperation assistance to the mission so that it can fulfill its mandate. On the last day of the preliminary visit, Ms. Klinger signed the Agreement on Electoral Access with the Minister of Home Affairs, the Director of the Independent Electoral Commission of Suriname (OKB), Mr. Adjaykoemar Moensi; and its President, Ms. Jennifer V. van Dijk-Silos. For this mission, the OAS will deploy 30 observers to the 10 districts in Suriname to observe pre-election activities, the election itself and the counting of the ballots on May 25th. This process, once concluded, will be reported by the Chief of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission to the OAS Permanent Council. The OAS has been carrying out electoral observation missions in its Member States upon request in order to assist in the strengthening of their electoral processes and systems following on the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The OAS preparatory visit also included Mr. Steven Griner and Mr. Jean Francois Ruel in addition to Ms. Klinger.

2010 IMF/WB Spring Meetings April 24-25,2010

Each spring, the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee and the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee hold meetings to discuss the progress of the work of the Bank and the Fund. Along with the meetings of the Boards of Governors, the World Bank and the IMF organize lectures and roundtables to facilitate the interaction of governments and Bank-IMF staff with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), journalists, and the private sector. This initiative is an effort to contribute to the transparency of the work done by both organizations. Some of the sessions that may be highlighted this year include the following: “From Global Collapse to Recovery: Economic Adjustment and Growth Prospects in Latin America and the Caribbean”, by Augusto de la Torre, World Bank Chief Economist for the LAC - Latin America and the Caribbean (April 21st starting at 12 PM); the lecture “Imbalances, Global Financial Stability and Growth in a Post-crisis World”, with Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley (April 22nd starting at 11:30 AM); and the roundtable “LAC Beyond the Crisis: Blessed or Cursed by Commodity Wealth?”, with: Andres Velasco, Former Minister of Finance of Chile; Pedro Malan, Chairman, International Advisory Board, Itaú Unibanco; and Ricardo Hausmann, Director, Center for International Development at Harvard University, as panelists and moderated by Javier Blas, Commodities Correspondent, Financial Times (April 23rd at 2 PM); and “Haiti and the Haiti Reconstruction Fund” by Yvonne Tsikata, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, and Alexandre Abrantes, World Bank Special Envoy to Haiti (on April 24th at 9:15 AM); The complete schedule of the meetings and other useful information is available on the website of the Meeting.

African Union-OAS Programmatic Exchange April 23, 2010

On April 23rd 2010 a Programmatic Exchange between members of the OAS General Secretariat and the African Union Commission took place at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The aim of this programmatic exchange was for the two organizations to better understand ongoing work of each organization in specific areas, as well as to discuss ideas for strengthening ongoing and creating future additional collaboration. Link to summary in Word document and photo gallery.

Picture of panelistsSeminar:“De Río de Janeiro (1999) a Madrid (2010): Una Década Después” SEGIB, Madrid, April 19-21, 2010

Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and the Director of the Department of International Affairs, Irene Klinger participated in the seminar “From Rio de Janeiro (1999) to Madrid (2010): a decade later” in Madrid which was a space of analysis of the European Union – Latina America and the Caribbean Summit process celebrated every two years since 1999. This seminar was also an opportunity of generation of ideas aimed to promote the strengthening of the bi-regional relationship in the preparation of the VI UE-LAC Summit which will take place in May of this year. The second day, Secretary general Insulza addressed issues related to the cooperation between Europe and America for democracy, the challenges to democracy in the Americas, the implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the links between Latin America and Europe. On April 21st, the III Forum Europe – Latin America –USA took place, organized by SEGIB, Real Instituto Elcano and the Inter-American Dialogue. It was centered on subjects such as the Rule of Law, democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean, social and economic development under the economic crisis and the evolution of U.S. policy towards the region. Secretary General Insulza participated in the first session which addressed Democracy and Governance in Latin America. Link to summary in Word

The Inter-American Development Bank 2010 Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors 19-23 March 2010 Cancún, Mexico

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) held its annual meeting from 19 to 23 March in Cancún, Mexico. The conclusions from the meeting included:   a) Cancellation of Haiti’s debt of US$ 479 million with the Bank, and an additional US$ 2 billion in aid over the next 10 years; b) A capital increase of US$ 70 billion, which will increase the Bank’s total capital to US$ 170 billion and allow for a double lending capacity of US$ 12 billion a year in its priority work areas, namely: o lending to small and vulnerable economies, o poverty reduction plans, o climate change initiatives, and o regional cooperation and integration programs; c) A full replenishment to ensure the liquidity of the Fund for Special Operations, the IDB arm for concessional lending for Bolivia, Guyana, Honduras and Nicaragua. Link to summary in Word document.

High Level Retreat hosted by UN

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S RETREAT WITH HEADS OF REGIONAL AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Monday, January 11, 2010 – Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On January 11 and 12 of 2010, Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of the American States (OAS), participated in a High Level Retreat hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  The retreat was held on Long Island, New York, and included 12 heads of regional and other organizations to address the theme "Cooperation in Times of Crisis".  SG Insulza was accompanied by Dr. Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Affairs/ SER.

Participants in the informal forum were able to discuss issues of critical concern to their respective regions and to identify possible new avenues for improving future cooperation in times of crises between the UN and regional organizations.

Discussions began with an address by Mr. Ban Ki-moon on “Global Realities and Regional Challenges”. Regional leaders then focused on three themes in the following panels.  SG Insulza presented the opening remarks in the first session on “Cooperating in Times of Crisis: Crisis Prevention and Mediation”.  He also intervened as a discussant in the other two panels on “Cooperating in times of crisis: crisis management and implementation of agreements” and “New avenues for cooperation”.

Along with SG Insulza, participants in the High Level Retreat  included the heads of  the African Union Commission (AU), Caribbean Community, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Commission (EC), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), League of Arab States, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIF), Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).   SG Insulza met bilaterally with the UN Secretary General and with the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Mr. Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and agreed to follow up with the latter for intensified institutional cooperation during 2010. Link to summary in Word document