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AG/RES. 1403 (XXVI-O/96)


(Resolution adopted at the eighth plenary session, held on June 7, 1996)


HAVING SEEN the Report of the Permanent Council on the White Helmets Initiative (AG/doc.3333/96 rev. 1);


That resolution AG/RES. 1351 (XXV-O/95) invited the General Secretariat, in coordination with the Permanent Council, to foster in the regional sphere the White Helmets Initiative adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (resolution 49/139) in December 1994; and

That the said resolution invited the General Secretariat to establish contact with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to ensure that due priority is assigned to this initiative within the framework of the Cooperation Agreement signed by the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the IDB;

NOTING the technical report entitled "White Helmets Initiative" (CP/CG-1393/96), prepared by consultants hired by the General Secretariat and the Office of the President of the IDB, which explains the White Helmets Initiative and proposes mechanisms for developing and applying it across the Hemisphere and which has been under study by the member state governments;


That execution of this initiative can contribute actively to alleviating critical situations of hunger and poverty wherever they appear in the Hemisphere and assisting populations affected by natural or man-made disasters;

That the White Helmets Initiative is a project that has received support from the United Nations General Assembly, which recognized the practical role that the White Helmets can play in supporting the United Nations system of humanitarian emergency assistance activities; and

That the Plan of Action adopted by the Summit of the Americas in December 1994, in which the heads of state and government stated that the White Helmets Initiative can facilitate the eradication of poverty and strengthen the humanitarian rapid response capability of the international community to meet emergency humanitarian, social, and development-related needs, and that the countries of the Americas could pioneer the Initiative through the creation of national corps of volunteers capable of responding to calls from other countries in the region; and

EMPHASIZING the role that the countries of the Americas could play in executing the Initiative and the agreements on the Initiative being implemented with international organizations,


1. To take note of the report on the White Helmets Initiative submitted by the Permanent Council.

2. To take note that the White Helmets are already engaged in emergency humanitarian assistance efforts and in development activities in countries within and outside the Hemisphere.

3. To urge member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) that have not yet done so to take action, as decided by the heads of state and government at the Summit of the Americas, to establish, organize, and finance in a manner they deem appropriate national corps of volunteers that can be available to other countries of the Hemisphere.

4. To express its appreciation to the Inter-American Development Bank and to the OAS General Secretariat for supporting the study entitled "White Helmets Initiative," which has made it possible to clarify the role that the two organizations could play in the White Helmets Initiative in the Hemisphere.

5. To request the Permanent Council to set up a Working Group on the White Helmets Initiative to:

a. Receive comments from the governments on the White Helmets Initiative and examine concrete measures for promoting it within the OAS;

b. Explore the possibility of defining measures for mutual cooperation in handling humanitarian emergencies in the Americas through the White Helmets, under the existing mechanism for coordination between the secretariats of the OAS and the United Nations;

c. Prepare, in coordination with the Office of the Assistant Secretary General, a plan of support for conducting White Helmets humanitarian assistance activities in the Hemisphere;

d. Continue encouraging full implementation of this initiative.

6. To determine that the Office of the Assistant Secretary General shall be in charge of the Technical Secretariat of the aforementioned Working Group so as to consolidate all information concerning implementation of the White Helmets Initiative in the Hemisphere, identify the areas of assistance, and disseminate that information through the Organization's mechanisms.

7. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh regular session on the implementation of this resolution.

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