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OAS, IFE of Mexico and IDEA Organize Fifth Inter-American Electoral Seminar

November 27, 2012
Mexico City, Mexico

The Organization of American States (OAS), in collaboration with the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico (IFE) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) held the Fifth Inter-American Electoral Seminar, which seeks to promote improvements in the organization and administration of electoral processes and systems in the hemisphere.

28 representatives from 22 OAS Member States tool part in the event, which focused on two main topics: "Overseas voting: challenges and realities" and "The political participation of women: gender quotas and projects developed by Electoral Management Bodies to promote female participation."

At the opening ceremony, IFE President Leonardo Valdés said that the institution he represents "is fully convinced of the importance of international cooperation, as sharing experiences can improve practices that strengthen democracies in the countries of the hemisphere."

OAS participates in Workshop on the Role of Regional Organizations in the Promotion of Inclusive Political Participation

October 23-25, 2012
New York City, New York

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) organized a workshop with senior officials from different regional organizations emphasizing the key role that these organizations play in the promotion of inclusive political participation and representation in their respective regions.

Participants included representatives from the African Union(AU), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the European Commission, the European Parliament, the League of Arab States, the Organization of American States (OAS), Parliamentarians for the Americas (ParlAmericas), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and UN agencies such as the Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA), the United Nations Development Programme, UN Women and the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

The purpose of this meeting was to review and evaluate the exiting mechanisms of regional organizations to encourage inclusive political participation and representation, and facilitate sharing of experiences and lessons learned.

In his introductory remarks, International IDEA’s Secretary-General Vidar Helgesen noted that “Democracy at the regional level must continue to evolve as a way to ensure a legitimate and effective representation of all citizens not least of women, youth and marginalized groups.”

Another discussion topic was how regional organizations can further collaborate with the UN in promoting and encouraging inclusive political participation and representation.

OAS Secretary General participates in Vidanta Foundation Prize Ceremony

October 16, 2012
Mexico City, Mexico

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza spoke at the Industrialists Club in Mexico City at the awards ceremony of the 2012 Vidanta Foundation Prize. Distinguished personalities in the field of politics, culture, diplomacy and business gathered to recognize the work of three non-governmental organizations and one academic contribution.

Former President of Uruguay Julio Maria Sanguinetti, former Executive Secretary of the Economic Comission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Dr. Jose Luis Machinea, as well as Spanish Ambassador Carmelo Angulo and Chilean Ambassador and Professor Luis Maira served as jurors.

Winners included the Women’s Institute Foundation of Chile, the Rahab Foundation of Costa Rica, and the Pro Social Housing Foundation of Argentina, which received US $100,000, US $50,000 and US $25,000 respectively. The Vidanta Foundation also awarded $50,000 dollars to the academic work “Proposal and plans to reduce poverty and inequality” by Guillermo Cruces and Leonardo Gasparini.

The Vidanta Foundation Prize was created by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Ibero-American Secretary General (SEGIB) and the Vidanta Foundation in order to recognize and support outstanding, original projects to reduce poverty and inequality and combat discrimination in Latin America and the Caribbean. Candidacies are evaluated by a panel of Judges comprised of distinguished experts in the field and are graded on the following criteria: innovative concept or execution, measurable results or impact, capacity to be continued over time and be replicated in other places, and environmental sustainability.

The Vidanta Foundation is a non-profit institution founded in 2005 by Daniel Chavez Moran, President of Vidanta Group in order to strengthen humanitarian and democratic values and civic participation in the general population, support original projects, initiatives, and best practices that help to reduce poverty and inequality in Latin America, advocate for the formulation of public policies that help to strengthen democracy and to foster the economic and social development of Latin America.

OAS Secretary General Participates in International Seminar on “Latin America and Global Governability”

October 15-16, 2012
Mexico City, Mexico

The International Seminar on “Latin America and Global Governability” brought together a number of distinguished specialists in international relations from all over Latin America. The seminar was co-organized by the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Latin American Development Bank (CAF), the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Ibero-American Secretary General (SEGIB) and the Vidanta Foundation.

Speakers included OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, Mexican congresswoman Beatriz Paredes, Mexican diplomat and economist Jorge Eduardo Navarrete, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Former Deputy Foreign Minister of Mexico Andres Rozental, Subregional Director of ECLAC-Mexico and former Minister of Public Finance of Guatemala Hugo Beteta, Brazilian academic María Regina Soares de Lima and Roberto Russell, President of the Vidanta Foundation.

The Seminar was organized within the framework of the launch of the Latin America International Relations Council (RIAL).

OAS Signs Cooperation Agreement with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)

September 27, 2012
New York City, New York

Within the framework of the 67th United Nations General Assembly, the Organization of American States (OAS), signed a cooperation agreement with the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF) to strengthen the bonds between both organizations and join efforts in the pursuit of common goals. Most of the Member States of the OIF are connected to the OAS either as Members, in the case of Haiti and Canada, or as Permanent Observers.

The Agreement, signed by Secretary General José Miguel Insulza on behalf of the OAS and Mr. Hugo Sada, Delegate for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy on behalf of La Francophonie, sets the foundation for joint projects to promote the democratic values through out the hemisphere and facilitate the exchange of information and experience necessary to enhance the work of each of the parties involved.

The OAS and the Francophonie will use this agreement as the basis for designing a more substantive framework of cooperation related to peace, democracy and human rights, gender issues, youth and civil society participation.

The signing of this Cooperation Agreement is the result of previous efforts of the OAS to strengthen its ties with La Francophonie, including a presentation to the Permanente Council on the occasion of the International Day of La Francophonie on March 26, 2012, followed by a reception and a donation of books in French to the Columbus Memorial Library.

OAS Delegation Participates in the Ministerial Meeting “Connecting the Americas 2022”

September 27, 2012
New York City, New York

As part of the mandates given by the heads of states in the Summit of the Americas, held in Cartagena Colombia in April 2012, the initiative “Connecting the Americas 2022”, sponsored by the Colombian Government, which strives to deliver a reliable and sustainable supply of electricity to all corners of the region.

The meeting was co-hosted by the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Maria Angela Holguín, with the participation of ministers from across the hemisphere and representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and the Organization of American States (OAS). Secretaries Clinton and Holguin urged the participants to prioritizing universal access to energy in the region within their policies, as the power supply in large portions of the Americas continues to be expensive, unreliable, and in some places still unavailable.

Secretary Clinton stressed the need for regional cooperation to fulfill this mandate, since energy supply is “a security issue, it’s obviously a power issue, and it’s a political issue that requires joint work between the States and the private sector”. The Foreign Minister of Colombia emphasized the urgency of this matter for improving the quality of the lives of the population of the hemisphere.

OAS participates in 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

September 25 – October 1, 2012
New York City, New York

Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza led the OAS delegation to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York City from September 25 to October 1, 2012. The main theme for this year’s general debate was “Adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means”.

The relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations is recognized in Chapter VIII of the UN Charter as well as in several resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. Article 1 of the OAS Charter states that “within the United Nations, the Organization of American States is a regional agency”.

To discuss the most pressing issues of the region, the Secretary General held bilateral meetings with Presidents Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala; Mauricio Funes of El Salvador; Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic; Federico Franco of Paraguay; as well as with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Hector Timerman; Belize, Wilfred Peter Erlington; Panama, Romulo Roux; Peru, Rafael Roncagliolo; Suriname, Winston Lackin; Trinidad and Tobago, Winston Dookeran and with Arturo Corrales, Secretary of State of Honduras.

The OAS Secretary General also took the time to strengthen ties with Permanent Observers and held bilateral meetings with Messrs. Jose Manuel García-Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain and Uri Rosenthal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands. Their discussions centered on the strong bonds that tie both countries with the OAS and its Member States, reaffirming their support for OAS programs.

In addition to holding bilateral meetings and attending the General Debate, the Secretary General participated in a meeting co-organized by the OAS and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in which he joined high-ranking officials from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); and the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) for a discussion on the development of the region.

The OAS delegation was also engaged in the Haiti Partners’ Meeting chaired by President of Haiti, Michel Joseph Martelly with the participation of, among many distinguished leaders, the Prime Minister of Haiti, Laurent Salvador, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Secretary General Insulza concluded his work trip to New York City with a keynote address at the New York City Bar Association’s Vance Center for International Justice entitled “Strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System”.

OAS Secretary General opens the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

September 17, 2012
Washington, DC

In his opening remarks at the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Secretary General Insulza recalled that the Social Charter of the Americas states that “health is an essential condition for inclusion and social cohesion, integral development, and economic growth with equity.” He emphasized that the Social Charter of the Americas, adopted at the OAS General Assembly in Cochabamba in June 2012, is “one of the most important, complete and comprehensive social documents in the hemisphere,” because it addresses “social determinants as key conditioning factors in health.”

Secretary General Insulza also mentioned the importance of the “Inter-American Social Protection Network that, through the OAS,” and “in collaboration with several international organizations such as PAHO, promotes the exchange and transfer of experience and knowledge, incorporating the focus of the health sector into social protection in the Americas.”

For her part, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, said that the organization she leads and its member states face two major tasks: one is the reform of the WHO and other is putting health on the development agenda for 2015. “Universal health coverage is the most powerful social equalizer,” said Chan.

During the 28th Conference of PAHO, the next Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne was elected for a period of five years.

OAS Secretary General participates in XVI CAF Annual Conference

September 6, 2012
Washington, DC

The XVI CAF Annual Conference, sponsored by the CAF (Latin America’s development bank); the Inter-American Dialogue and the Organization of American States (OAS), seeks to encourage greater dialogue on factors influencing Latin America’s development. The event, held at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., commenced with Latin American leaders calling for a greater role for the region in U.S. policy decisions.

Speaking before an international audience of over 400 Latin American and U.S. political leaders, Enrique García, CAF’s Executive President, stressed the importance of the conference as a vital forum for discussing key hemispheric problems and challenges. “At this juncture in the U.S political campaign, regardless of who wins the election, a new approach to Hemispheric relations is needed,” said Garcia, emphasizing on the region’s growing influence represented in the large turnout of international participants to the event.

OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza spoke of the need for Latin America to forge its own approach towards development considering how much the region has changed in the past decades. “Today, Latin America is seeking its own destiny rather than a purely hemispheric relation. If we want to renew pan-Americanism, we must find a clear agenda on topics that are inherently hemispheric while allowing countries to continue on their independent path in areas that are not hemispheric in nature" said Insulza.

Leonel Fernández, former President of the Dominican Republic, highlighted the region’s pending challenges. "Although Latin America did not feel the impact of the economic crisis to the extent Europe did,” he said, “we must leverage the current economic bonanza to transform the region’s primary export-based economic model into a diversified economy."

The CAF Annual Conference seeks to share information and perspectives on areas pertaining to Latin America’s development. Key conference topics included: the U.S. election and its impact on Latin America; pending challenges for sustainable development; views on addressing drug trafficking, violence and transnational crime.

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OAS, IDB, ECLAC and CAF Host Roundtable on Responsible Corporate Debt Issuance

September 5, 2012
Washington, DC

The Organization of American States (OAS), together with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), hosted a Policy Roundtable to discuss the importance of corporate governance in debt issuance, a subject whose importance has grown during the global economic crisis of the past three years.

The event featured the presentation of a research project entitled “Corporate Governance in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico” by Professor Germano Mendes de Paula of the Economics Institute of the Federal University of Uberlândia in Brazil, and a panel, moderated by Nora Lustig, Professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane University, which included the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, the Executive Chairman of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Enrique García, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, and the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, who appeared in a video shown at the event.

The OAS Secretary General highlighted the importance of corporate governance in debt issuance for its key role in making available to businesses “greater diversification in funding, tools for investment, greater competitiveness, better positioning against competitors and in value chains, increased liquidity and better overall performance as a company.” Insulza also emphasized that “proper governance eases the operation of a socially responsible and sustainable organization, and allows for the measurement of the social and environmental impact of their investment.”

IDB President Moreno pointed to a current paradox of Latin American economies based on “the enormous amount of international reserves that we have today.” He said “suddenly, thanks to macroeconomic stability, we have begun to accumulate savings, and yet we do not have mechanisms to move those savings to the productive sector which is the one that needs to grow the most.”

For his part, the President of the CAF expressed that improving corporate governance is crucial so companies “can have not only a proper business structure, but access to resources beyond their own savings.”

In a prerecorded video statement, the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Bárcena emphasized that “good corporate governance is a central factor in the development of capital markets, and should play an important role in long-term financing.”

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OAS Secretary General attends SICA Summit

August 8, 2012
Managua, Nicaragua

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, attended the Summit of Presidents of the Central American Integration System (SICA) held on August 8, 2012, in Managua, Nicaragua.

The Summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA) addressed various issues concerning the region, but particularly the discussion of a regional food security plan, and the Central America Security Strategy.

Regarding the latter, the Secretary General stated that “there is great need to work on developing the infrastructure for the prison system … one of the main problems is repeat offenders, which results from prisons’ inability to function as centers for rehabilitation”.

Mr. Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua and pro tempore leader of SICA, invited Secretary General Insulza as a special guest to partake in the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Esquipulas Agreements, which restored peace in Central America. Secretary General Insulza also delivered a presentation to the leaders of the region on the development of the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas (2012-2013) which will analyze the effectiveness of different strategies to combat drug consumption, as mandated by the heads of state and government of the Americas at the VI Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena, Colombia in April 2012.

The Secretary General’s schedule included a bilateral meeting with President Ortega and Foreign Minister Samuel Santos in order to further deepen the dialogue on the issues discussed during the SICA Summit and to reassert the role of the OAS in the prevention of drug consumption.

“As far as the OAS is concerned, we have launched programs in all Central American countries … we have a key program in El Salvador which deals with gangs and security, likewise in Honduras and Guatemala, here (in Managua) we have signed an agreement for the control and destruction of weapons and we are cooperating with SICA”, Insulza concluded.

Meeting of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization

June 14, 2012
UN Headquarters, New York

The United Nations Special Committee on decolonization met at UN Headquarters in New York City. The 24-member Special Committee monitors implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples in 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories under its purview. It makes recommendations on that matter, hears statements from representatives of the Territories, dispatches visiting missions, and organizes seminars on the political, social and economic situations in them. Additionally, it makes recommendations on information dissemination on an annual basis to drum up public support for the decolonization process.

At this particular session, convened to discuss the question of the Falklands (Malvinas), the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner reaffirmed Argentina’s will to find a peaceful and political issue to the dispute with Great Britain over the islands. President Fernández expressed to the committee that "We do not want more deaths, we do not want more wars - We are not asking anyone to say yes, the Malvinas belong to Argentina. We are asking no more, no less than to sit down and talk,".

Prior to the committee session, President Fernandez met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who reiterated his offer to mediate in Argentina's dispute with Britain if the two sides request it.

While Britain says it will agree to talks only if the 3,000 islanders want them, Roger Edwards, a member of the Falkland Islands' Legislative Assembly, told the committee the Falklanders' right of self-determination was guaranteed under the U.N. charter and would be exercised in a referendum early next year on whether to keep British rule for the South Atlantic islands.

The Secretary for Political Affairs attended the meeting representing the Organization of American States.

United Nations High-Level Retreat with Heads of Regional and Other Organizations

June 9, 2012
Greentree Estate, New York

The United Nations Secretary-General held a high-level retreat with heads of regional and other organizations at Greentree Estate in New York, providing an opportunity for the heads of organizations such as, the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Commonwealth, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss and exchange views on two critical topics: conflict prevention and transnational and emerging challenges to peace and security.

In his opening remarks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon pointed out the importance of coordinating the work of all international organizations under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and stressed the importance of early warning systems that would enable timely response and action to prevent conflicts.

The Secretary-General of the OAS gave a presentation on the specific needs of the Americas dealing with transnational and emerging challenges to peace and security, highlighting the disastrous effects of organized crime on the most vulnerable members of the region’s population, such as women and youth, and advocating an open dialogue among OAS Member States in order to assess regional work in this field and determine the most effective enforcement and public health strategies going forward. Mr. Insulza also expressed great concern by the treat that organized crime poses to peace and stability in the region. In the words of the Secretary-General, “early warning and action are the keys to success in preserving stability in the Americas”.

Mr. Ban Ki-Moon remarked in closing that inter-regional cooperation on common issues is essential to prevent instability and insecurity, and that the empowerment of women, the protection of human rights and economic development are all key to achieving sustainable peace and security.

OAS Secretary General Participates in "The Latin-Hemispheric Agenda" conference

May 2, 2012
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) 
Washington, DC

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza participated as a panelist in “The Latin-Hemispheric Agenda” conference. The conference was hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Youth Program, IDB Youth, Espacio de Vinculación, A.C. (EVAC) and Grupo Televisa at the IDB’s Washington, D.C. headquarters from May 2-4. The event, which brought together over 150 young Latin American students, opened with a panel discussion with Secretary General Insulza, Rafael Moreno Valle, Governor of Puebla, Mexico; Arturo Sarukhan, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States of America; Emilio Azcárraga Jean, President, Grupo Televisa; and Luis Alberto Moreno, President, IDB.

The conference seeks to analyze and discuss the current situation of the Latin and Latin-American community; their interaction, contrasts and codependence, in a hemispheric scenario, rather than at the country level.

OAS Officials met with Ms. Alexandra Guáqueta, Member of the United Nations Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises

May 1, 2012
OAS Headquarters, Washington, DC

A group of OAS Officials, which included Alfonso Quiñónez, Secretary for External Relations; Santiago Cantón, Executive Secretary, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Elizabeth Abi Mershed, Assistant Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Dante Negro, Director, Department of International Law; and Jorge Sanín, Director, Department of International Affair, met with Ms. Alexandra Guáqueta Member of the United Nations Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises.

The Working Group was asked primarily to promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, which outline what States and business enterprises should do to ensure that human rights are respected by business, and to ensure access to effective remedies for those whose rights have been adversely affected by business activity. It is also tasked with advising governments on the development of domestic legislation relating to business and human rights, building the capacity of all relevant actors to address business-related human rights impacts, and working to enhance access to effective remedies for those whose human rights have been affected by businesses.

The purpose of the meeting was to share experiences, express concerns and make suggestions that may better inform the work of the Working Group in addition to familiarizing the Working Group with the work of the OAS in the fields of Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in order to find areas for potential cooperation between the Working Group, the OAS General Secretariat and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.


OAS Delegation Participates in Alliance of Civilizations Group of Friends’ Meeting

March 20, 2012
UN Headquarters, New York

A delegation from the OAS participated in the Group of Friends’ Meeting of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations held at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City. Established in 2005 as an initiative of the governments of Spain and Turkey under the auspices of the UN, the Alliance was created in order to advance and improve understanding and cooperation between nations of different cultures and religions.

The Alliance is supported by a Group of Friends consisting of around 90 UN Member States and organizations, including the OAS itself and Member States Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, the United States of America and Uruguay.

The objective of the Group of Friends Meeting is to engage the community of countries and organizations into the work of the Alliance, enrich its initiatives by providing ideas, insights and the necessary support. It is also an opportunity of the Group of Friends members to report on their national and regional activities carried out under the Alliance’s umbrella, as well as foster exchanges and cooperation among the members.

In his opening remarks, High Representative and former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio stated that “looking ahead to the post-MDG system, we definitely need a broader concept of sustainable development based on its four pillars – environmental, social, economic and cultural diversity. Cultural diversity should lie at the heart of development as a driving force for economic growth but also as a means for people and communities to achieve a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional and spiritual life.” The High Representative also highlighted the importance of the Istanbul Partners Forum as a source of funding for the work and sustainability of the Alliance.

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OAS Secretary General Participates in LIII Annual Meeting of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
March 16-19, 2012
OAS Headquarters, Washington, DC

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza attended the LIII Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) held in Montevideo, Uruguay on March 16-19. On March 16th, Secretary General Insulza participated in the Forum of Top Economic Authorities, organized jointly by the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the CAF Development Bank of the Americas (CAF), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Iberoamerican General Secretariat (SEGIB).

Carlos Alvarez, Secretary General of the ALADI, described the forum as “a space to contribute to the search for complementarity between the distinct visions and different social and economic projects that take precedence today in the Latin America reality”. Secretary General Insulza gave brief remarks alongside the Iberoamerican Secretary General, Enrique V. Iglesias, as well as Finance Ministers from Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, high-level trade officials from Mexico and Colombia, and central bank authorities from Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela.

On March 19th, Secretary General Insulza spoke at the Second Plenary Session of the Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the IDB/IIC. In his address, he proudly proclaimed that the OAS and the IDB “are main partners in the Inter-American System, determined to strengthen it, and that’s why we have been working together, building alliances between our organizations”.

Insulza further stated that “we are in a moment of great promise for our region, where we have been able to cement democratic progress in the region while simultaneously achieving important economic growth - even in the face of the “great recession” that has struck the most of the World economy. A clear manifestation of this success has been the constant and recurring reduction of poverty in our hemisphere. The challenge now is to give the qualitative leap that all citizens of the Continent have the right to aspire to and to demand for themselves”.

As far as the road ahead, the Secretary General assured the audience that security and inequality are the challenges that worry our region’s citizens the most and pointed out that the rooted disparities deeply polarize our societies and heighten conflict. He concluded his intervention by praising the close cooperation between the OAS and the IDB in matters of security and congratulated the Bank on its Regional Citizen Security Initiative, which will allow for stronger information systems and the exchange of best practices.

Secretary General Insulza concluded his participation in this event by participating in the high-level diplomatic seminar “Globalization, Citizenship and Diplomacy”, where he spoke about the Summit process and governance of the international system.

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OAS celebrates the International Day of La Francophonie
March 7, 2012
OAS Headquarters, Washington, DC

The International Organization of La Francophonie represents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world. Its mission is to embody the active solidarity between its 75 member states and governments -among them OAS Member States Canada, Dominica, Haiti, Saint Lucia, and Dominican Republic as Observer- which together account for a population of over 220 million French speakers. Its actions advance cultural and linguistic diversity and serve to promote the French language, peace and sustainable development.

The OAS celebrated the International Day of La Francophonie by hosting M. Bernard Geenen, President of the Cultural Festival of the Month of La Francophonie 2012 in Washington, D.C. Mr. Geenen spoke before the OAS Permanent Council providing an overview of the history and importance of the Francophonie Festival and later joined the Permanent Representatives of OAS Member States, OAS officials, Permanent Observer representatives and invited guests gathered at the Hall of the Heroes, where as a sign of friendship and in recognition of the diversity and cultural heritage of French- speaking nations, OAS Member States and Permanent Observers made a generous donation of books in French to the Columbus Memorial Library.

Mr. Geenen's address to the OAS Permanent Council
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Dialogue with Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe 

March 1, 2012
OAS Headquarters, Washington, DC

A dialogue between Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) and OAS Member States, sub regional groups and General Secretariat technical areas took place on March 1, 2012 at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Dialogue provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen the institutional and cooperation relations between the OAS and the CoE within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding that both Organizations signed in September 2011, by sharing experiences on programs of cooperation, exchanging information and best practices and identifying possible synergies. The Dialogue including the welcoming by Ambassador Hugo de Zela, Chief of Staff of the OAS Secretary General, enabled the CoE and the OAS to identify those practices and initiatives that are most suitable for cooperation in the future, especially on human rights, terrorism, corruption, violence against women and gender equality, data protection and citizenship education, among others.

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The President of the European Court of Human Rights visits OAS Headquarters

February 29, 2012
OAS Headquarters, Washington, DC

A delegation from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) headed by its President, Sir Nicolas Bratza, met with the Chair of the Permanent Council as well as the President and the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), high-level officials from the OAS and representatives from the Permanent Observer Missions of France, Italy and Spain. The purpose of the meeting was to explore areas for cooperation between the ECHR, the OAS, the IACHR and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Judge Nicolas Bratza stated that no court or commission is as important for the ECHR as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He recognized the importance of undertaking Joint work between the Inter-American Human Rights entities - the IACHR and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights- and the European Court of Human Rights and highlighted the need to engage in knowledge-sharing as well as promoting accession to international instruments for the protection and defense of human rights within their respective regions.

The President of the IACHR, Commissioner Dinah Shelton and its Executive Secretary, Mr. Santiago Cantón pointed out a few similarities between the Inter-American and the European Human Rights Systems, and indentifying key areas for cooperation, such as capacity-building seminars for jurists and sharing databases containing cases and other important sources of jurisprudence.

Following the meeting, Judge Bratza addressed the Permanent Council of the OAS and met with officials from the IACHR.

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Meeting minutes
Address of H.E. Nicolas Bratza to the OAS Permanent Council


Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe (Winter Session)

January 23-27, 2012

The Council of Europe brings together 47 democracies with 636 members from their national parliaments. Throughout the year members of parliament hold seven meetings, starting with the Parliamentary Assembly.

The winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly was held on January 23-27, 2012 in Strasbourg, France, at the headquarters of the Council of Europe. The session heard addresses from different European leaders including Grigol Vashadze, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Tarja Halonen, President of Finland and David Cameron, Primer Minister of the United Kingdom.

During the Assembly a debate was carried out focusing on women’s rights worldwide, citing the failure to decrease inequality despite the numerous commitments that have been made in the past. This debate was followed by a statement from Michelle Bachelet, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Director of UN Women.

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