5/18/2024
English  Français  Português

 


SÍNTESIS DE LA REUNIÓN DEL 3 DE NOVIEMBRE DE  1998

CONSEJO PERMANENTE DE LA
ORGANIZACIÓN DE LOS ESTADOS AMERICANOS

COMISIÓN DE SEGURIDAD HEMISFÉRICA

OEA/Ser. G
CP/CSH/SA.58/98
2 diciembre 1998
Original: inglés
 

1. Efectos del Huracán Mitch en América Central

El primer Vicepresidente planteó ante la Comisión el tema del fenómeno del paso del Huracán Mitch por América Central. Al destacar las pérdidas de vidas y destrucción sufridas en la región, la Comisión observó un minuto de silencio y expresó su solidaridad y envió sus condolencias a los gobiernos y pueblos de las naciones afectadas.

Los Representantes Permanentes de Nicaragua y Honduras, Embajadores Felipe Rodríguez Chaves y Laura Elena Núñez Flores respectivamente, y el Representante de Belice, informaron a la Comisión sobre los daños sufridos en sus países a consecuencia del Huracán Mitch.

Invitado por el Primer Vicepresidente, el Jefe de Gabinete del Secretario General informó a la Comisión sobre las iniciativas de la Secretaría General destinadas a asistir a las naciones afectadas.

La Comisión solicitó con urgencia asistencia para los países afectados de América Central, al Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID), al Fondo de Emergencia de la OEA (FONDEM), y a la Fundación Panamericana de Desarrollo (FPAD). La Comisión le solicitó a la Secretaría General que presente un informe con relación a la incidencia y severidad de los desastres naturales y sobre la capacidad instalada existente. Dicho informe asistirá a la Comisión en sus deliberaciones sobre la conveniencia y viabilidad de establecer un fondo especial para responder a estas situaciones de emergencia causadas por desastres naturales.

2. Consideración de la resolución de la Asamblea General “Preocupaciones especiales de seguridad de los pequeños estados insulares” AG/RES. 1567 (XXVIII-O/98)

• Presentación del Primer Vicepresidente

El Primer Vicepresidente hizo una presentación oral sobre las preocupaciones especiales de seguridad de los pequeños estados insulares del Caribe.

• Exposición del Coordinador de Asuntos de Seguridad Hemisférica de la Secretaría General

El Coordinador de Asuntos de Seguridad Hemisférica de la Secretaría General, señor Ricardo Santamaría, hizo una presentación oral actualizada sobre la respuesta de la Secretaría General a las preocupaciones especiales de seguridad de los pequeños estados insulares. El señor Santamaría informó que, de conformidad con el Plan de Trabajo de la Comisión para 1998-1999, en enero de 1999 la Secretaría presentará su último informe escrito actualizado. /

• Comentarios de las delegaciones

Varias delegaciones hicieron uso de la palabra para referirse al mencionado tema y sobre las presentaciones formuladas por la Vicepresidencia y la Secretaría General. Se observó que los Estados miembros de la OEA están más actualizados con respecto al carácter singular de la seguridad de los pequeños estados insulares. También se reconoció que hay necesidad de continuar identificando y promoviendo la aplicación de nuevas medidas de cooperación para abordar estas preocupaciones de seguridad.

La Comisión solicitó a la Secretaría que distribuyera las presentaciones del Vicepresidente y del Representante Permanente de Antigua y Barbuda, Embajador Lionel A. Hurst. /

3. Otros asuntos

Firma del acuerdo de paz entre Ecuador y Perú

En nombre de la Comisión, el Primer Vicepresidente felicitó a los gobiernos del Ecuador y del Perú por la firma del acuerdo de paz y expresó que este evento representa un hecho histórico en la solución de este problema pendiente desde hace tanto tiempo.

APPENDIX

Presentation by Ambassador Richard Bernal

Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the OAS

First Vice-Chair of the Committee on Hemispheric Security

The issue of the security of small states is one of critical importance in this hemisphere because over a half of the membership of the Organization of American States consists of small states. Indeed, very small island states make up about a third of the membership. In addition to that, I might direct your attention to the fact that if you look at the number of countries which make up the world today and you were to use a population of say 10 million, you would find that at least half of the countries of the world today are small. If you were to use one million you would find that there are about 40 of the 190 odd countries have a population of less that one million. Small states are therefore, an important phenomenon in the global society. In addition to that, the number of small states has increased because a) there has been fragmentation of larger states, and b) increasingly micro-states are finding it feasible to become politically independent. Clearly, the security of small states is an issue which is here to stay and one which is likely to become even more important in the future.

The importance of the security of small states was recognized by the Twenty-Eighth Regular Session of the General Assembly in Caracas, when it adopted resolution AG/RES 1567. This resolution highlighted the conclusions of the High Level Meeting on the Special Security Concerns of Small Island States which was held in San Salvador last February. This Organization has recognized the importance of this issue and sought to give meaningful expression to addressing this issue in the work of this Committee.

These conclusions were once again acknowledged in the recognition of the special needs and the diverse dimensions of the security needs of small island states. It was also recognized that these concerns go beyond the military and political aspects which have traditionally constituted the approach to national security of states in the past. Today, the concept of security encompasses a much broader range of economic, social, cultural and other aspects of security. This type of multidimensional approach to the scope of security recognizes the strategic link between economic development and social peace on the one hand, and political stability and democratic governance on the other. Where the former conditions do not exist, poverty and violence threatens the ability to sustain the latter and thus constitutes a major threat to the national security of small island states. In an era of rapid globalization and increased interdependence in every sense, exogenous events spread or spill over between countries and can have a profound impact on the national security of small developing states.

FACTORS INFLUENCING SECURITY

I will first look at some of the social and environmental factors which can militate against the security of small island states in the Caribbean and then go on to talk about the economic threats to security. We now recognize that these include:

1. drug trafficking and money laundering;

2. illicit arms trafficking and the link to terrorism, crime and violence;

3. natural disasters and long-term ecological change such as climate change;

4. transborder shipment of nuclear and hazardous wastes through sea and airspace of small island states; and

5. economic vulnerability and poverty.

These are just some of the aspects of the newer dimensions which we have recognized in the security of small states, particularly small island states. Such problems are of course not unique to small island states in the Caribbean. However, these states because of their extremely small size suffer the consequences to a much greater extent than would normally be associated with these dimensions.

In addition, the geographical location of the small island states of the Caribbean make them a natural area through which transit a range of materials including illicit drugs and arms – it is a natural corridor for their transhipment and movement, and therefore these small island states are exposed, to a considerable extent, to the movement of dangerous goods through this area.

1. Drug Trafficking

The transshipment of arms is of particular concern as it now poses a major security challenge. It directly threatens the social fabric of small island states because it stimulates violence and is associated with the illicit drug trade which now assumes such enormous size and involves so much money that it is difficult for small island states to withstand the pressure. Small states are particularly vulnerable because of their very limited defence capability. These states are not able to withstand the enormous resources that are involved in drug trafficking, and the associated traffic in arms which is so closely related to drug trafficking. In addition, the traffic in drugs involves introducing and spreading the use of drugs in these small societies and this is associated with crime, violence and corruption.

In addition, the fact that small island states in the Caribbean are located close to major production points of drugs and also major markets for drugs encourages drug smuggling and encourages the multinational drug trafficking groups to begin to locate increasingly in small island states. Efforts to combat drug smuggling have proven to be an expensive exercise, diverting substantial resources from social investment in areas such as education and health. In addition, the police and military capability in small island states is very limited particularly in equipment such as ships and airplanes, which makes it difficult, despite the strong commitment of governments in this area, to struggle against drug trafficking and firearms; it makes it difficult to translate that will into efficacious action.

2. Arms Trafficking

The OAS action in this area has been the adoption of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials; CICAD's Model Regulations for the Control of the International Movement of Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition; CICAD’s Model Regulations Concerning Laundering Offences Connected to Illicit Drug Trafficking and Related Offences. CICAD’s assistance to the Caribbean has included communications support for national drug enforcement agencies; the strengthening of national drug prevention committees; the design of shared documentation systems for the control of commercial firearms cargo; and technical assistance. This has been of substantial help in assisting small island states to try to cope with the illicit traffic in firearms and the associated drug traffic.

3. Natural Disasters

Natural disasters and environmental degradation pose a severe and ongoing threat to the security of small island states in the Caribbean. In these countries, economic progress can very easily be disrupted because of the region's susceptibility to natural disasters such as hurricanes. In fact, because of the very small size of these countries, when there is a natural disaster it is not confined to one part of the country but affects the entire country. In countries with large land areas such as the United States it is unlikely that a natural disaster would affect the entire country, but in the small island states a natural disaster like a hurricane affects every aspect of life, and damages every part of the country. Most countries lack the economic diversity and the level of development which is necessary to enable them to withstand and to respond quickly to natural disasters. In addition, several important economic activities such as tourism rely on the quality of the environment. Therefore, any developments which affect the environment including in the coastal waters, affect the economic viability of these countries. Infrastructural damage occasioned by hurricanes has had a major impact on tourism and agriculture as well as other foreign exchange earning sectors.

These require substantial repair and reinvestment to bring them back into operation. Indeed, a substantial portion of GDP is lost each year in small island states because of the effects of natural disasters on the physical capital country and on economic activity in these countries. There have been several recent examples of devastation wreaked by hurricanes in the region, particularly recently in the Eastern Caribbean. There are still countries which are trying to recover from the impact of hurricanes. It seems too that hurricanes are becoming more frequent and that certainly this hurricane season indicates that not only the regularity is increasing but the severity of these hurricanes seems to be intensifying and therefore this is a problem we are going to have to deal with in the long term.

The damage to Jamaica from Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 amounted to about 33% of GDP; to Antigua from Luis and Marilyn in 1995, to about 66% GDP; to Monserrat of Hugo in 1989, to about 500% of GDP. In comparison, the damage to the United States from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, while much larger in absolute amount, amounted to only 0.2% of GDP.

In this regard, OAS action has contributed to handling these disasters in the short term but also trying to build a capability to achieve sustained development in the long run, in particular, the Unit for Sustainable Development which has undertaken projects in the areas of disaster mitigation and preparedness; programmes for Caribbean coastal zone management designed to strengthen institutional capacity to maintain these valuable natural resources; and a plan for adaptation to global climate changes, in cooperation with the Global Environment Fund.

4. Shipment of Hazardous Waste

May I now turn to a question which has troubled the Caribbean island states to a great extent in recent times which is potential disasters not of a natural kind, made and occurring from the actions of other countries, sometimes countries outside of this hemisphere, and I refer here to the shipment of nuclear and hazardous wastes through the Caribbean Sea. This is an issue which requires urgent and immediate attention. The fragile ecosystems of the Caribbean region are threatened by the passage of such dangerous shipments. There is a need for cooperative action to preserve the natural environment of the Caribbean and this was recognized as I cited earlier in AG/RES 1567 which calls on member states to engage in discussions to develop a cooperative programme to address maritime and air transport of nuclear and other hazardous wastes and to work with relevant international bodies to strengthen or develop standards governing the shipment of such goods and their safety. My delegation notes with satisfaction that the first step towards this will be taken at the Transport Ministers Meeting in New Orleans in December. Indeed, it was the delegations of the small island states who brought this to the attention of the Ministers and it will be fully discussed in that agenda.

5. Economic Vulnerability

The economic aspects of security of small island states has not received sufficient attention. It is difficult to maintain stable democratic governance if the majority of the population of these societies are experiencing extreme poverty. Poverty is associated with underdevelopment or inadequate development. Economic development is a foundation for long term social and political stability and is a basis for minimizing the threats to democratic governance, because it discourages involvement in the illicit drug and arms trafficking. It is also a basis for the development of these societies in a way which is conducive to sustainable development, i.e., development which does not harm the long term prospects of these countries.

Size is a major additional constraint to economic development, although it has been fashionable in some circles to dismiss size and to argue that whatever a large country can do a small country should be able to do even more easily because with fewer players, it is easier to organize. This is not a valid notion. Size affects development because small economies have certain characteristics, such as a high degree of openness, limited diversity in economic activity, export-concentration on one to three products, significant dependency on trade taxes, and small size of firms:

5.1. Smaller economies are characterized by a high degree of openness, that is, external transactions are large in relation to total economic activity. Smaller economies tend to rely heavily on external trade as a means of overcoming their inherent scale limitations, i.e., a narrow range of resources and an inability to support certain types of production given the small scale of the market. Economic openness is measured by imports and exports of goods and services as a percentage of gross domestic product [(X+M)/GDP]. This measure indicates the proportion of the economy that is involved in external trade.

5.2. The limited range of economic activity in small economies is reflected in concentration on one to three exports, accompanied by a relatively high reliance on primary commodities. As shown in Table 6, most of the economies that exhibit the characteristics of small economies in Table 4 are relatively undiversified in terms of their exports. Furthermore, over one-quarter of their total exports are concentrated on one or two products. In extreme cases, one primary product export accounts for nearly all of exports, e.g., in 1991, bananas accounted for 92% of total exports in Dominica and 87% in St. Lucia. The predicament is compounded by the fact that banana exports depended almost entirely on a single market. Britain absorbed 80% of Dominica’s bananas in 1992 and 90% of St. Lucia’s exports in the same year.

5.3. Smaller economies, which lack economic diversity, tend to have a high dependence on trade taxes as a percent of government revenue. Larger economies, as measured by population size, tend to rely more heavily on income taxes rather than on trade taxes (such as customs duties). This pattern is not related to income levels. Those countries that are small in population, land, and GDP, and which depend heavily on external trade, also rely heavily on external trade taxes for government revenue. There is a relatively strong correspondence between the countries that could be considered small and a high reliance on revenues from import duties. All of the island states, with the exception of Barbados, St. Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago, obtain more than 20 percent of their government revenues from trade taxes. Trade taxes account for more than one-half of government revenue in St. Lucia and the Bahamas, and over 1/3 of government revenue of the Dominican Republic.

5.4. It is firms, not countries, which conduct international trade and trade investment. Nationally owned firms from small countries are small both by global standards and by comparison with firms in large economies and multinational corporations owned by or based in large countries. Except for a few sectors where economies of scale are not a significant factor, size makes a significant difference in a firm’s ability to survive and compete in the global marketplace. Small firms are at a disadvantage because they cannot realize economies of scale, are not attractive joint venture partners and cannot spend significant funds on marketing, market intelligence, and research and development. There are huge differences between the top 20 companies in the United States and the top 20 companies in the English-speaking Caribbean. Wal-Mart, the largest employer in the United States, has a staff complement of 675,000 compared (see table 8) to the Caribbean’s top employer, Lascelles Demercado (Jamaica), which employs 6,800. Total sales of General Motors is 328 times larger than that of Neal and Massey (Trinidad and Tobago).

Intervention by Ambassador Lionel A. Hurst

Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the OAS

Mr. Chairman, I wish to make reference to AG/RES. 1567 (XXVIII-O/98), which formed the basis of the discussion this morning and I would like to focus on three of the paragraphs of that resolution which received attention. I would like merely to provide some additional information to be included in the remarks that were heremade. I would propose to look at paragraphs 5, 8 and 9.

Paragraph 5 focuses upon instructing the General Secretariat to strengthen programmes of cooperation for the prevention and mitigation of the effects of natural disasters. Earlier when we touched on Hurricane Mitch in Central America and its impact I believe that we had come to the conclusion that hurricanes and other natural disasters, other natural phenomena, pose a special threat to the security of small states and you yourself, Mr. Chairman, expanded on this theme. We would just wish to note that when Hurricane Georges struck Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, several gulf cities of the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, that FONDEM, an institution of the OAS, responded by providing a small quantity of resources but, nevertheless, a very useful number of dollars were put to immediate use in providing such emergency relief supplies as tarpaulin and bottled water in Antigua and Barbuda. For that we are extremely thankful.

We wish to point out that FONDEM in fact requires a more permanent source of funding so that when disasters of the magnitude as we have seen in Central America strike, and in our view they are going to strike again and again, FONDEM will not have to scramble, as it were, to find the resources to assist these countries in their emergency relief efforts. We believe that a budgetary allocation annually would be very useful in making FONDEM an institution within the OAS that can respond effectively and immediately following a disaster. In order to do that there would have to be some budgetary allocation which could be reviewed annually whenever the OAS budget is being debated. As you know, the budget process is moving ahead at this moment since our Special General Assembly is only 10 or so days away. Our hope is that for the 2000 budget, we can in fact get the support of member states to include an amount that would reflect our commitment to the recovery of member states when hit by natural disasters.

On paragraph 8 which specifically urges member states to cooperate with the small island states in the eradication of transnational criminal activity, I am pleased to report that in fact the meeting which I attended in Honduras was the meeting of CICAD, the Inter-American Commission Against Drug Abuse and Control, and we were at that meeting working on what is known as the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) which was mentioned by the General Secretariat's Coordinator for Hemispheric Security Affairs. The MEM is an extremely complex mechanism which is being developed by member states. It is intended to be an alternative to the unilateral certification and decertification mechanism employed presently by one of our member states. But it is not quite like an exam grade or anything of the sort; in fact, our hope is that it will be so full of information each year, or whenever it published, that the information itself would be so rich that one could conclude that member states are in fact attacking the problem of drug trafficking in a meaningful manner. This MEM will include, for example, the quantities of drugs seized; the number of persons arrested; the number of illicit arms captured; the number of plants that have been eradicated; the alternative development schemes implemented by member states, and so forth.

In that regard, we would wish to report that on the 19th of October, Antigua and Barbuda passed into law, -our parliament passed into law, -an amendment to our International Business Corporations Act, having to do with offshore banking and squeezing out of our offshore banking system the criminal element, money launderers and the like. As you know, Mr. Chairman, up until 1972, Antigua and Barbuda had for more than 300 years produced sugar and in 1972 we abandoned this activity because it could not attract capital nor was it very profitable; in fact, it could not attract capital because it was not very profitable. We turned almost exclusively to tourism. Since 1972 we have seen more than a fourfold increase in the incomes of Antiguans and Barbudans and in fact had long decided that tourism would be the industry of the future. In the past ten years, however, Antigua and Barbuda has experienced three horrible hurricanes, to which we made reference this morning, and the harm which these hurricanes caused to our emerging economy. We have decided that to diversify away from tourism is in the best interest of Antigua and Barbuda. We have made a conscious decision to move to the same industry which has made Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichestein, Andorra and other small countries in Europe extremely wealthy; we are talking about offering offshore financial services. We recognize that there is a threat to honest business being attracted to offshore financial services when the criminal element attempts to utilize the same machinery and so Antigua and Barbuda's laws are now more stringent in ways that will squeeze the criminal element out of our offshore banking business.

But the evolution of our economy from sugar to tourism and to offshore financial services is a direct result of an increasingly hostile world. Hostile insofar as climate change is concerned and the contribution of states to the climate change phenomenon by their continued use, in such massive quantities, of products which produce carbon dioxide and thus cloud our atmosphere; hostile in the manner in which small states are relegated to the sidelines even moreso as a result of their smallness. So we are seeking ways to strengthen our economy and to strengthen our ability to respond effectively, and ensure thereby, the security for which all states yearn. So we believe that paragraph 8 of this resolution in fact has gone some way to making Antigua and Barbuda a much more secure place than it was when the General Assembly convened in Caracas this past June.

The third paragraph, paragraph 9, which instructs the Secretary General to cooperate within allocated resources, with the small states, through the University of the West Indies, to advance the examination of the special security concerns, we think has also been somewhat achieved. We do not believe it is complete, but we believe that we are beginning to see some movement. We would like to make mention of the decision of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development through the CENPES to fund a project that will in fact allow the University of the West Indies to become involved in the discussion of the security-policy decision-making on the part of the small states. I believe the contribution of the CIDI will be somewhere in the region of $65,000, while the contribution of the University of the West Indies will be matched and/or exceeded by its member states.

Now once again, Mr. Chairman, we would like to take the opportunity to talk just a little bit about the University of the West Indies. It is not only 50 years old this year, but the University of the West Indies is, as you well know, Mr. Chairman, having graduated therefrom, a special creation of the English-speaking countries in the Caribbean with the exception of the United States Virgin Islands. Every English speaking member of the Caribbean country has a fixed number of seats allocated to it in the university, with additional seats allowed on a competitive basis. It has served our needs well. But it is of course a very small institution with no more than 18,000 students. This is not nearly enough to create the kind of economic machine which the small island states in the Caribbean require. For example, Singapore, which has the identical population size as Jamaica of about two-and-half million, has more than 75,000 engineering students alone in its university, and this has nothing to do with students studying other disciplines. There we are with about 5 million people all told in the English speaking Caribbean, and our University can provide no more than about 18,000 seats in total. You can see the limit which is placed on our institution to deliver the kind of intellectual capacity which will be required in the 21st century. Taking this into account, and knowing that the University needs the assistance of multilateral institutions in providing the kind of leadership which will be demanded in the 21st century, we believe that this particular project will in fact begin to deliver some of the necessary thinking which needs to go into the special security concerns of small island states. This project achieves this end.

So I thought Mr. Chairman, that paragraphs 5, 8 and 9 could serve as a supplement to what has been reported here this morning and, with your permission, I have taken the opportunity to add to what has been said.

I thank you very much for the opportunity; I thank member states for placing this item on the agenda and I thank you for your leadership on this very troubling question of the security concerns of small island states. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Copyright © 2024 Todos los derechos reservados.
Organización de los Estados Americanos