The OAS General Assembly established the status of Permanent Observer in April 1971 through resolution AG/RES. 50 (I-O/71) with a view to provide a way for non-OAS Member States to follow OAS activities, attend the meetings of the Organization’s political organs and provide cooperation for its development programs. The following year, the Permanent Council established the criteria and procedures for granting Permanent Observer status to a non-OAS Member State through resolution CP/RES. 52 (61/72), which were later revised in 1984 with resolution CP/RES. 407 (573/84).
Permanent Observers attend the public meetings of the General Assembly and the Permanent Council and of their principal committees and, when invited by the corresponding presiding officer, the closed meetings of those bodies. They also receive the documents and publications of the Organization and are invited to attend specialized conferences and other meetings convoked by the OAS. The Permanent Observers provide cooperation, in the form of training opportunities, expert services, equipment, and cash contributions for various OAS programs.
The following resolutions outline the criteria and procedures established by the OAS bodies for granting Permanent Observer status to a non-OAS Member State.