THE SECRETARY GENERAL,
In exercise of the
powers conferred upon him by articles 113 and 115 of the Charter of the Organization of
American States, and
That General Assembly
Resolution AG/RES. 492 (X-O/80), "Rationalization of the Publications and Documents
of the Organization," adopted standards for the preparation, printing and
distribution of OAS documents, and
That the policy
instituted by that resolution reduces the cost of documents by focusing on three
fundamental aspects: (a) limiting the length of documents; (b) reducing the number of
copies distributed; and (c) achieving economies in translation and reproduction costs
through better planning and scheduling,
That in order to
implement the resolution cited above, the norms and procedures contained in this Executive
Order shall be applied within the General Secretariat.
For the purposes of
this Executive Order, "documents for OAS deliberative organs" shall be
understood as including basic or reference documents, working documents, and official
documents prepared for the organs of the Organization as specified in Article 51 of the
Charter and for meetings of subsidiary organizations, agencies, and other entities for
which the General Secretariat is responsible for providing secretariat services, including
the General Assembly; the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs; the
Permanent Council; the Inter-American Economic and Social Council; the Inter-American
Council for Education, Science and Culture; the Inter-American Juridical Committee; the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; and the Specialized Conferences.
Excluded from this
definition are technical materials produced by the General Secretariat as part of its
regular technical activities, which are governed by Executive Order No. 74-2, as amended
by Executive Order No. 76-9. Also excluded are reports, manuals, texts for courses,
publications for sale, and internal issuances and manuals.
The following rules
shall be observed when preparing, reproducing, translating, distributing, and planning
1. Mandate. A specific mandate
from one of the organs of the Organization is required for the preparation of all official
documents, as defined in Section B.3, below. Authorization by competent organs to hold a
meeting or conference shall constitute a mandate to prepare the required documentation in
support of the items on the agenda.
An exception may be
made when the Secretary General or the Assistant Secretary General deems it necessary to
prepare documents that have not been mandated by an organ of the Organization.
When the General
Secretariat is requested by a deliberative organ or a permanent mission or delegation to
prepare a document at a cost in excess of that provided for in the approved
Program-Budget, a cost estimate shall be given to the organ, permanent mission, or
delegation making the request, as provided in Chapter III, Section A, of this Executive
Order. The bottom of the last page of the document shall show the cost, together with the
number of copies printed in each language and the name of the requesting entity.
2. Contents. Only relevant
substantive information shall be included in documents. Any material or information that
has already appeared in other documents, such as rapporteurs' reports, lists of
participants or documents and calendars of sessions, shall not be repeated in the body of
a document or in its appendices; a mere reference to these other documents, by title and
number, shall be made.
3. Length. Documents shall be as
brief as possible. They shall not exceed 16 sheets, and are to be printed on both sides,
for a total of 32 single-spaced pages or about 12,000 words. Any document exceeding this
limit must be approved by the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General, or the
Executive or Assistant Secretary within whose area the document has been prepared.
a. When appropriate official documents
shall include the following elements:
(1) Summary. A summary of the
contents of the document, not to exceed half a page in length shall appear on the cover in
the same language as the text of the document.
(2) Introduction. Whenever
necessary, an introduction may be included, giving in one page or less the background of
the topic and citing only the operative part of the resolution or text authorizing the
(3) Conclusions and Recommendations.
Conclusions and recommendations resulting from full study of the topic shall be given.
(4) Analysis. The analysis shall
explain the conclusions and recommendations and, when necessary, the basis or background
on which they are founded shall be included.
b. Final documents shall be uniform in
presentation, typed single-space, and printed on both sides of the paper.
c. When statistical tables or other data
are necessary, they shall be attached as annexes rather than included in the body of the
Documents shall be
prepared and distributed in advance of the meeting for which they are required in
accordance with the mandates or rules of procedure governing the appropriate deliberative
organ. To ensure compliance, the procedures contained in Chapter III, Section B, of this
Executive Order shall be followed.
B. REPRODUCTION, CLASSIFICATION, AND
1. Basic or Reference Documents.
Basic or reference documents for a meeting, such as statutes, rules of procedure, and
conventions or treaties shall be reproduced in minimum quantity and assembled in binders.
These binders shall not be distributed but shall be available to permanent missions and
delegations, and other participants for consultation.
2. Discussion Papers. Discussion
papers shall be reproduced only for the use of and distribution to the pertinent
subcommittees and working groups. Their preparation and distribution shall be the
responsibility of the technical secretary of the subcommittee or working group. They shall
not have an Official Records Series classification number; instead, a discussion paper
identification number shall be provided by the committee secretary and placed, together
with the date, in the top right-hand corner of the cover under the notation "Distribution
Restricted". These papers shall not be available to the public.
3. Official Documents. Working and
other official documents are those published by the General Secretariat for the
deliberative organs of the OAS that are classified as part of the Official Records Series.
Once it has been determined that a discussion paper shall become an official document, it
shall receive a number in accordance with the classification system maintained by the
Indexing and Classification Unit of the Columbus Memorial Library for the Official Records
Series. Reproduction runs of official documents shall depend on which of the following
types of distribution they are to have:
a. Distribution Limited. These
documents are not to be available to the public;
b. Distribution General. These
documents are for the information of the permanent missions and delegations and the
General Secretariat and for use in the General Assembly, the Councils, and other
deliberative organs. Reports and draft resolutions approved by committees for presentation
to the Councils fall within this category.
The type of distribution, whether limited
or general, shall be specifically indicated in the top right-hand corner of the cover.
4. Unscheduled Documents. When a
deliberative organ requests the preparation of an unscheduled document, a report on the
budgetary implications and on whether there is an installed capacity to prepare and
reproduce it shall be made as provided in Chapter III, Section A, of this Executive
5. Copies of current documents for
permanent missions and delegations. At least once a year, the Secretariat to the
General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation, the Permanent Council, and Conferences, in
consultation with the permanent missions and delegations, shall update their requirements
for copies of documents.
6. Working documents for permanent
missions and delegations. Working documents shall be distributed to the permanent
missions and delegations in advance of the meeting for which they are intended. In
addition, a one-time distribution of documents shall be made at the meeting at which they
are on the agenda. If the topic is not taken up at that meeting, or if the meeting is
canceled, the documents shall not be distributed again.
7. Special requests from permanent
missions and delegations. When a permanent mission or delegation requests a noncurrent
document it shall be supplied from stock, if available. If it is out of print, the
permanent mission or delegation shall be notified of the cost of rerunning it or of
providing it through the Microfiche Demand Printing System. If the permanent mission or
delegation agrees to assume the cost, the copy or copies will be made and the document
delivered with the corresponding invoice, in duplicate. One copy of this invoice shall be
signed by the recipient of the document and returned to the Office of the Treasurer, which
shall bill the permanent mission or delegation for this service as provided in Chapter
III, Section A, of this Executive Order.
8. Copies to other entities and
individual. Distribution lists of individuals and institutions, both those paying for
documents and those that have agreements with the General Secretariat for the exchange of
documents and publications, shall be kept current.
1. Discussion Papers. Discussion
papers without classification number shall be translated only upon a specific request from
the working group, committee, or Council involved (see Chapter III, Section A, paragraph
2. Final Documents. Final
documents and those that have been used by the deliberative organs in the taking of
decisions shall be translated into those official languages of the Organization specified
in their respective rules of procedure.
3. Meetings Held Away from
Headquarters. When meetings are held away from headquarters, sufficient translation
and typing services staff shall be assigned to them in order that all documentation may be
completed at the meeting site.
A. SUPERVISORY AND REPORTING
1. Comprehensive Oversight. The
Assistant Secretary General is hereby assigned responsibility for the over-all policy
issues referred to in this Executive Order, including, but not limited to the following:
a. Approving the preparation of
b. Reporting to deliberative organs on
the program-budget implications of the General Secretariat's preparing documents that have
not been scheduled; and
c. Translation and document services.
2. Preparation. Each Executive and
Assistant Secretary shall designate a staff member to supervise the preparation of
documents in accordance with the provisions of this Executive Order.
3. Reproduction and Distribution.
The Department of Material Resources shall be responsible for carrying out and enforcing
the provisions of this Executive Order concerned with reproduction, the distribution of
copies, and the determination of costs, except when these functions are performed (a) by
the technical secretary of a subcommittee or working group; (b) by organizational
components of the Assistant Secretary General; or (c) at meetings held away from
4. Invoicing and Collecting for
Charges. The Office of the Treasurer shall be responsible for invoicing and collecting
any charges established by this Executive Order.
5. Translating Working Documents.
When a working document is to be translated in accordance with the rules in Chapter II,
Section C, of this Executive Order, an OAS Publications and Documents Process Sheet (OAS
Form 27) shall be completed and authorized.
B. PLANNING AND DEADLINES
1. Plan and Schedule for Preparing
Documents. To facilitate the planning and coordination of document preparation and
printing schedules, each office responsible for coordinating the technical preparation of
documents for approved meetings shall develop an annual plan and schedule, using the
Document Preparation Worksheet (OAS Form 596, attached). A copy of this completed form
shall be sent to the Secretariat to the General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation, the
Permanent Council, and Conferences, and to the Department of Material Resources before
January 31 of each year. Any subsequent major change of plan or schedule shall be reported
to those offices so that they can make any necessary scheduling adjustments.
2. Final Text of Document. The
area of the General Secretariat responsible for coordinating and/or preparing
documentation for a meeting shall deliver the final text of the document to the
Secretariat to the General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation, the Permanent Council,
and Conferences, at least eight weeks before the opening of the meeting in order to
meet statutory requirements for distribution and allow sufficient time for translation,
typing, reproduction and delivery to the site of the meeting, taking into consideration
the most economical means.
3. Annotated Agenda. At least six
weeks before the opening of a meeting, the office responsible for coordinating and/or
preparing documents for the meeting shall prepare and distribute an annotated agenda
indicating the status of the documentation required for each agenda item. If any documents
are not ready by that time, a marginal note shall give the reason.
4. Use of Marked Copies for Changes in
Draft Documents. Drafts prepared for the review and approval of policy-making
authorities should use marked copies to spare the reviewer the necessity to reread the
entire document. This procedure is described in a Management Circular.
5. Use of Modern Equipment
a. In order to reduce preparation time
and costs, maximum use should be made of equipment for word processing, advanced text
editing, photo-composition, printing, storing, recording, and reproduction.
b. The office originating documents
shall, if possible, prepare the texts on diskettes to facilitate any subsequent revisions
that may be necessary, and to avoid retyping for final preparation. The diskette and one
copy should be sent to the Documents Unit for classification and processing.
IV. AMENDMENTS AND SUPERSEDURE
A. This Executive order amends, where
applicable, the provisions dealing with documents in Executive Order No. 74-2, as amended
by Executive order No. 76-9.
B. This Executive Order supersedes the
Assistant Secretary General's memorandum "Guidelines for the Preparation of
Documents," dated April 14, 1981.
This Executive Order shall take effect on
the date on which it is signed.
Date: November 5, 1982