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G E N E R A L      S E C R E T A R I A T




In exercise of the authority conferred on him by Articles 108 and 112 of the Charter and Articles 4, 8, and 12 of the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat, and


That resolution AG/RES.1 (XX-E/94), "General Policy Framework and Priorities: Partnership for Development," adopted at the twentieth special session of the General Assembly, provides that one of the priorities of the Organization is the preservation, enhancement, and awareness of cultural and linguistic identity to achieve the objective of partnership for development;

That by the Protocol of Managua amending the Charter, the member states have committed themselves to giving support to cultural activities, among others, to achieve various objectives in the area of partnership for integral development;

That the Plan of Action adopted at the Summit of the Americas, held in Miami in December 1994, affirmed that cultural development is a fundamental and integral part of development in the Americas, and that it has the intrinsic capacity to enrich the societies of the hemisphere and to foster greater mutual understanding among the countries;

That at the VIII Forum of Ministers and those Responsibles for cultural policy of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Managua, Nicaragua, in March 1996, the countries recognized the need for efforts to continue the processes of cultural integration in Latin America and the Caribbean; to understand democracy as culture; to values the interaction of our peoples guided by cultural and democratic values, and to promote communication in culture;

That at its twenty-sixth regular session, held in Panama, the General Assembly, by resolution AG/RES. 1434 (XXVI-O/96), reiterated the importance of culture for the integral development of the member states and the need for the OAS to strengthen and enhance the Inter-American Program of Culture; and

That the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), at its second regular session, held in Mexico, approved the Strategic Partnership for Development Plan 1997-2001, which includes cultural development among the priorities of the Organization; and, by resolution contained in document CIDI/doc.30/97 rev. 2, reaffirmed the commitment of the member states to prepare and adopt a new Inter-American Program of Culture,



1. The Office of Cultural Affairs is created as an entity within the Office of the Secretary General.

2. The Department of Cultural Affairs, currently under the Executive Secretariat of CIDI, is hereby eliminated.


The Office of Cultural Affairs shall have the following functions and responsibilities:

1. To foster regional and hemispheric dialogue on the most significant problems related to protecting and promoting the cultural values of the Americas and respect for cultural diversity.

2. To provide technical and administrative support in the area of its competence to inter-American fora for the design, formulation, development, and harmonization of cultural policies, and to identify actions and programs to help strengthen the work of the governments in the area, and, where appropriate, to play an active part in high-level international meetings.

3. To design and formulate policies on cultural issues in the hemisphere. To provide technical support and cooperate with the member states on the formulation of national policies whose objective is to improve the means and mechanisms for fostering integral cultural development in the region.

4. To design, identify, and carry out pilot projects and activities in strategic areas of action.

5. To support the work of protecting, conservating, enhancing, inventorying, and disseminating the archaeological, historical, artistic, and scientific heritage that is being carried out in the hemisphere.

6. To further a permanent cultural exchange among public institutions, non-governmental organizations, universities, experts, researchers, and administrators working on cultural issues in the member states by promoting and coordinating regional and international meetings, seminars, and conferences for comparing experiences and sharing results.

7. To promote, support, and participate in the education and training of the staffs of government institutions and non-governmental organizations, program directors, and grass-roots leaders, at all levels (municipal, provincial, state, regional, national, and hemispheric), in courses and internships, and through horizontal cooperation.

8. To foster and support the creation of data banks and information networks that make it possible to examine the status of and trends in cultural development in the countries of the region and to undertake studies and analyses on matters of interest. To promote the establishment or, as the case may be, strengthening of information systems in the member states. To facilitate and increase the exchange of information on cultural matters through the use of variety of technologies, including electronic media.

9. To identify and promote effective policies, methodologies, and actions to foster horizontal cooperation, and to promote close collaboration by the Permanent Observer countries to the Organization.

10. To work closely with the pertinent United Nations agencies, such as UNESCO, the inter-American agencies; national, regional, and international entities; the multilateral banks; the organizations of civil society; and the private sector, in the planning and conduct of programs, projects, and activities, and to seek alternative sources of financing, such as national and multinational corporations and private foundations.

11. To foster greater knowledge of the contributions of artists of the Americas in fields such as music, dance, literature, and film, and for this purpose to serve as a liaison among the creators of culture and the institutions through which they are communicated and disseminated. To support activities for the training of artists, and to seek to improve the quality of education in the arts by disseminating experiences that can serve as a model.

12. To develop and administer a program of publications whose purpose is to promote, disseminate, and enhance the cultural life of the Americas.

13. To administer and coordinate the program for grant awards, the "Gabriela Mistral" Inter-American Culture Prize, the "Marcus Garvey" Research Fellowship Prize, and other similar awards that may be instituted in the future to acknowledge the accomplishments of persons and institutions, including, among others, artists, researchers, educators, and artisans of the hemisphere.

14. To provide support and technical advisory services to the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), and its Permanent Executive Committee, as well as the General Assembly, the Permanent Council, and the agencies and entities of the Organization, in their respective areas of competence.

15. To collaborate with the Executive Secretariat of CIDI in the identification, formulation, design, and evaluation of inter-American partnership for development programs in the area of cultural development, as well as to evaluate projects that stem from such programs. Also, to collaborate with the other areas of the General Secretariat that promote cultural development.

16. To carry out the specific tasks that the Secretary General assigns to the Office, to contribute to the discharge of the responsibilities that the member States entrust to the Organization in the area of integral cultural development.


1. The Office is an entity within the Office of the Secretary General. The chief of the Office is its Director, who is directly responsible to the Chief of Staff of the Secretary General.

2. The Director administers, coordinates, and has technical responsibility for the results of the work done by the Office and its staff. The Director is responsible for establishing, pursuant to the norms applicable to the staff, program-budget, and related matters, an internal structure that makes it possible for the Office to operate responsibly and appropriately to carry out its responsibilities and mandates.


1. The members of the staff of the former Department of Cultural Affairs who have not been transferred to other areas are hereby transferred to the Office of Cultural Affairs.

2. The Office is responsible for the current programs, projects, and activities previously administered by the former Department of Cultural Affairs.

3. Any dispute in relation to the area of competence of the Office with other offices or entities within the General Secretariat shall be settled definitively by the Secretary General.


This Executive Order derogates and replaces all contrary provisions, regulations, and practices of the General Secretariat.


This Executive Order shall enter into effect as of the date it is signed.

Cesar Gaviria, Secretary General

Date: April 30, 1997
Original: Spanish