The continued support by the Permanent Observer countries during 2010 made possible many success stories in the Americas in the areas of strengthening democracy, the advancement of human rights, the promotion of multidimensional security, and in the implementation of policies that support economic, social, and sustainable development.
In 2010, Permanent Observers contributed a total of US$15.7 million in cash contributions and an estimated value of US$825,787 in in-kind contributions (training courses, experts, specialized services, and the donation of equipment) to OAS priority programs mandated by its Member States.
Contributions from Permanent Observers played a key role in the promotion of democracy and the strengthening of democratic institutions throughout the hemisphere, as mandated by the Inter-American Democratic Charter. During 2010, OAS Electoral Observation Missions for municipal, legislative and presidential elections were conducted in Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, St. Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru with the support of China, Finland, France, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The OAS also executed programs related to strengthening electoral management bodies, the incorporation of gender in electoral observation methodology, and conducted political analyses of countries in the region with the contributions of Germany and Spain.
The OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS) was created to verify compliance with the peace process, including a ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, as well as the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of illegally organized armed groups in Colombia. 2010 support from the international community was received from Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland.
The Peace Fund, created by the General Assembly in 2000, helps OAS Member States to react swiftly to crises resulting from a territorial dispute. Through the Peace Fund, the countries avail themselves of a range of conflict resolution mechanisms contemplated under the OAS Charter, including direct negotiation, good offices, mediation, investigation and conciliation, judicial settlement, arbitration and other mechanisms to which the Parties jointly agree. Among the major accomplishments of the Peace Fund includes the successful defrayment of costs related to the resolution of the Belize-Guatemala border conflict, which will be heard before the International Court of Justice, as well as the establishment of a Mission of Good Offices to restore a climate of confidence in resolution of the conflict between Colombia and Ecuador. These programs received contributions from Azerbaijan, China, Spain, Qatar, and the United Kingdom in 2010.
Ensuring a Multidimensional Approach to Security
Permanent Observer support to
OAS Comprehensive Demining Programs helps Member States eliminate dangerous
antipersonnel landmines. To date, more than 3 million square meters of area have
been cleared, around 70,000 mines have been destroyed, and thousands of landmine
survivors throughout Central America and the Andes have been treated and
reintegrated into society. Thanks in large part to these efforts, Costa Rica,
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Suriname are now considered landmine free. Significant progress has
also been made with developing and implementing important mine risk education
programs which emphasize the involvement of affected communities in mine
awareness initiatives, including participation through exchange of information
on the location of mined areas and explosive devices, as well as physical and
psychological rehabilitation programs thanks to Belgium, Italy, and Norway.
Permanent Observers have also contributed significant amounts of money to the general fund and specific programs of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), helping to implement programs throughout the Hemisphere to prevent, treat and eradicate illicit drug production and consumption. CICAD approaches all facets of drug control, from institutional failure to money laundering and alternative crop development. In 2010, CICAD programs funded by Permanent Observers focused on demand reduction, rehabilitation and examined the link between development shortfalls and drug production. CICAD has also made efforts to address drug treatment through the European-Latin American and Caribbean cities partnership (France, Spain).
The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) also received contributions from Permanent Observers to encourage cooperation among Member States to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism. Permanent Observers supported activities in aviation security, cyber security, legislative assistance and counter-terrorism activities, tourism and port security, and the development of partnerships and international cooperation programs on international criminal activity (Israel, Turkey).
Promoting the work of the OAS through outreach programs
Through the Lecture Series of the Americas, as well as OAS Policy Roundtables, Permanent Observers have helped bring prominent world leaders and intellectuals from throughout the world to participate in conferences at the OAS on key issues of the inter-American agenda. (China, Spain, Turkey). Permanent Observers have also provided support to the Model OAS General Assembly (MOAS), a youth initiative designed to promote democratic values among youth and familiarize the students with the work of the OAS as the principal regional political forum. Through the MOAS, students represent the OAS Member States and defend the policies and interests of the country they are assigned and learn about the importance of democratic values and dialogue (Spain).
In addition, cultural programs, including Americas Magazine (supported by Azerbaijan) and initiatives of the OAS Department of Cultural Affairs also received some support from Permanent Observers to advance programs that showcase the cultural diversity of the Americas. In particular, the Orchestra Program for Youths at Risk in Jamaica, Haiti and St. Lucia which was developed to reduce violent behavior among low-income children and youths received support from Korea.
Defending Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) makes use of several instruments to implement its mandates: its individual case system, on site visits, country reports, recommendations to the Member States and precautionary measures. The role of the Commission in the last decade has been characterized by the strengthening of its system of individual petitions, which has had a direct impact on the release of individuals who were arbitrarily detained; the reparations for the victims of disappearance and massacres; the derogation or modification of laws that limited fundamental rights; the encouragement to carry on important constitutional reforms; and, advancing freedom of expression in the Americas, among others. The support of Permanent Observers (France, Luxembourg, European Union) to the IACHR is crucial to ensure that the Commission fulfills its mandates.
In 2010, Permanent Observers supported the OAS Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR, specifically as it pertains to access to information and addressing case backlog. With contributions from Permanent Observers (France, European Union, Switzerland, United Kingdom), the Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression carried out its duties in disseminating and promoting the inter-American human rights system through seminars, working visits to OAS Member States, and bringing forth claims against freedom of expression to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Much needed contributions of Permanent Observers financed diverse OAS efforts aimed at promoting indigenous peoples’ participation in the Inter-American system and furthering activities to protect their human rights and advance their cultural, social, and economic development. Permanent Observers helped finance programs of the OAS Special Rapporteur for Rights of Indigenous Peoples in OAS Member States. (Germany, European Union).
Fostering Integral Development and Prosperity
Permanent Observers continually provide contributions and take active roles in OAS activities that encourage the integral development – through the support of policies of OAS Member States to foster education, culture, trade, tourism, science and technology, sustainable environment, and employment. In 2010, Permanent Observers focused contributions in the area of professional and human development scholarships, and in efforts aimed at building a solid entrepreneurial base among low-income and vulnerable populations. Other programs in the area of sustainable development received contributions, especially those relating to the protection and sustainable use of water resources and management, disaster relief, and natural hazards-risk management (China, Luxembourg, Germany, Israel, Qatar, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom).
Advancing Gender Equity
With 2010 as the Inter-American Year of Women, The Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) worked diligently to implement programs directed at strengthening hemispheric policy to advance women's rights and gender equality. Likewise, the programs that CIM develops support women's movements throughout the Americas, and seek to foster inter-American cooperation (China).
Strengthening Access and Effectiveness of Justice
Italy and the Netherlands provided support to the development of judicial facilitators programs in Nicaragua and Guatemala, ensuring greater access to the judicial systems for vulnerable communities, avoiding impunity and violence.