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Organization of American States (OAS)
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Paragraphs Related to the Theme Paragraphs VII Summit
Reports
Date:  5/30/2013 
OFFICE OF COMPETITIVENESS

The purpose of the OAS Competitiveness Program is to promote productivity and innovation in the member states through dialogue, cooperation, exchange of best practices, and adoption of initiatives whose purpose is to improve public policy and human and institutional capacity building. The multilateral public-private policy dialogue on competitiveness has continued its process of consolidation through the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC). The network brings together high-level competitiveness authorities and public/private councils of competitiveness and innovation of the Americas.

The 2012 Annual RIAC meeting brought together the competitiveness authorities and councils of 31 countries on the occasion of the VI Americas Competitiveness Forum (Cali, Colombia, October 22-24, 2012). The ACF featured plenary sessions on innovative cities, culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, international trade, enabling business environment and infrastructure. There were also special workshops for Caribbean Member States, on sub-national competitiveness and one for the medical device industry.

The RIAC presented the “Signs of Competitiveness Report”, a summary of profiles of best practices shared by member countries which included specific offers of supply and demand of cooperation. The Report was prepared by the Chair Pro Tempore, Colombia, with the support of the Technical Secretariat (OAS). It includes 53 successful experiences from 16 countries and two institutions (Compete Caribbean and CAF-Development Bank of Latin America) on the 10 competitiveness principles approved by RIAC members in the Consensus of Santo Domingo in 2011. It also features a section on the innovation regional landscape with contributions from RIAC support institutions (IDB, ECLAC, CABEI) and experts (key note speakers, Oxford Economics, GFCC, IIPI). These profiles have allowed cooperation initiatives and technical exchanges among member states.

RIAC members also agreed to create a working group of experts on sub-national competitiveness. This initiative on regional competitiveness is working to identify the elements of regional competitiveness that will be useful as a point of reference when putting together and implementing agendas of specific public policies (at the state, provincial or municipal level) that nurture relative competitiveness and that can be replicated in the countries of the Americas that are interested in this issue.
Paragraphs: 8 Paragraphs VII Summit: -

Date:  5/30/2013 
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR - CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:

Mandate
In the Declaration of Port of Spain (2009), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is linked to reducing poverty, inequality and inequity “To reduce poverty and hunger, eradicate extreme poverty, create dignified and decent work, and raise the standard of living of all our people, we must achieve higher levels of business development and sustainable economic growth with equity. Subject to the domestic laws of each country, we will continue to promote diversified economic activity in the energy, transport, tourism, communications, services, financial services and agricultural sectors. We are committed to facilitating investment and public-private partnerships in infrastructure and other relevant sectors in order to promote business development, economic growth and social development with equity. We will continue to promote increased corporate social responsibility and improved competitiveness, to which the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Chile in 2009 will contribute.

CSR Projects and Activities

The OAS CSR Program focuses on three principal work areas:

1. Integrating CSR into the business practices of SMEs in the Americas. SMEs are a key component of economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean and the OAS CSR workshops for SMEs offer theory, practical knowledge and tools for businesses to develop innovative CSR solutions and strategies;
2. Raising awareness about CSR among parliamentarians in the region to support a policy framework that is conducive to implementing responsible business practices. This component focuses heavily on promoting public-private partnerships; and
3. Creating a CSR community of practice, which is a platform designed to facilitate knowledge exchange, share CSR solutions, provide tools, and promote partnerships between the private and public sectors, academia and other key actors.

The OAS CSR Program assists the region in incorporating CSR principles and guidelines into the business strategies of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and ensuring it is included in government agendas. Since 2003, the Program has trained approximately 800 SMEs in LAC on the importance of CSR as a strategic tool to enhance their productivity and competitiveness. Furthermore, and has trained policymakers in the region about the advantages of CSR.

In 2013, the OAS CSR Program has developed and launched a new methodology for SMEs, which aims to provide SMEs with tools to implement responsible practices into their business strategies. The new methodology moves beyond CSR awareness and into CSR implementation. The first pilot workshop that utilized the new methodology was held in Quito, Ecuador in March 2013 and the Ecuadorian SMEs indicated that they were extremely pleased with the workshop methodology, content, and format and they appreciated the concrete ideas, solutions, and tools that were presented throughout. The OAS CSR Program will be holding similar workshops in Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama in 2013.
Paragraphs: 8 Paragraphs VII Summit: -

Date:  5/30/2013 
Capacity Strengthening
Create Higher Education dialogue platforms to encourage institutional capacity strengthening and technical cooperation between member states through partnerships. The DHDEC in collaboration with Anton de Kom University of Suriname organized a Seminar "Strengthening Higher Education Institutions for International Cooperation and Integral Development" for high level authorities in higher education. The Seminar was attended by 17 high-level authorities of higher education in the region and representatives from Latin American and Caribbean networks such as UDUAL (Union de Universidades de America Latina y El Caribe), CKLN (Caribbean Knowledge Learning Network), UNICA (Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe), GCUB (Grupo Coimbra de Universidad Brasileras) and UNESCO Open Educational Resources Network.

To create higher Education dialogue platforms to encourage institutional capacity strengthening and technical cooperation between member states, the DHDEC and the CGBU (Coimbra Group on Brazilian Universities) organized a Symposium of International Cooperation between Brazilian, Latin American and Caribbean Higher Education Institutions. New programs on academic mobility, language courses and joint graduate degrees were discussed. The event was held November 28-30, 2012 under the umbrella of the V CGBU General Assembly. The Symposium was attended by 12 University Presidents from Latin America, 7 high level representatives from Higher Education Institutions in the Caribbean, and more than 30 Brazilian University Presidents.

In connection with the XIII International Symposium Virtual Educa Panama (June 18-22), the DHDEC, Virtual Educa, UDUAL (Union de Universidades de America Latina y El Caribe) and the Universidad de Panama organized a Multilateral Forum on "Higher Education, Innovation and Internationalization". The Forum was attended by approximately 150 higher education representatives from OAS member and observer states. Some of the presenters were authorities from Latin American University Networks such as the Consejo Superior Universitario Centroamericano, AUALCPI (Asociación de Universidades de America Latina y El Caribe para la Integración) and UDUAL (Union de Universidades de America Latina y El Caribe).

Develop new strategic partnerships for capacity strengthening of educational institutions in member states under the following criteria: a) consistent positive education results and learning outcomes, b) visible impact in the geographic area they serve, c) utilization of a social access and inclusion approach, d) proven models that can be brought to scale, e) development of core educational elements that are transferable in the region, f) low cost interventions, and g) willingness to offer technical cooperation to other countries. The DHDEC has been able to identify more than 30 educational institutions from the public, private and civil society sector willing to provide technical cooperation in education in the areas described in the needs assessment above. These institutions meet our operational criteria of success in innovative educational approaches and currently have or are seeking resources to implement these initiatives. Additionally, more than 20 education experts willing to offer in-kind services in regional technical cooperation have also been identified.
Partnerships between Higher Education institutions that attended are being monitored.
Paragraphs: 8 Paragraphs VII Summit: -

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