Media Center

Press Release

Secretary General Insulza Presents a New Strategic Vision of the OAS to the Permanent Council

  January 2, 2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, presented today to the members of the Permanent Council the document "A Strategic Vision of the OAS," that contains proposals and perspectives about the Organization's core tasks, and the best way of rationalizing and using the available financial resources.

The document recognizes the common demand of all the member states "to work more efficiently as the premier forum for discussions on the hemispheric issues that constitute the essence of the Organization: protection and advancement of democracy, promotion and protection of human rights, partnership for development among its members, and regional security.

In his presentation, the head of the hemispheric institution acknowledged that "inorganic growth of mandates and stagnation of budgetary resources have progressively eroded our capacity to respond efficiently to the demands arising from our core missions," and suggested that, "based on the realities of the hemisphere, we prioritize the issues of the organization going one step above the mandates, identifying what matters are absolutely essential for its existence, and focusing on what constitutes its essence."

The Secretary General explained that some of the proposals have a "dual purpose." First, they seek to give priority to the four key objectives of the OAS, and secondly, that their success will depend on the collaboration between the member states and the General Secretariat on the basis of the defined objectives.

Furthermore, the document says that, "currently there is consensus on our activities as far as their core contents are concerned," which are: The preservation, strengthening, protection, and expansion of democracy, protection and promotion of human rights, preservation of peace and security throughout the hemisphere, and integral development for all our member countries.

"The assumption is that by concentrating on fundamentals, not only can we overcome the short-term situation, but also dispel many doubts about what role the OAS is destined to play in the hemispheric context," according to the document.

The proposals contained in the report of the Secretary alluded to: the allocation of regular and specific funds, the decentralization program, rationalization of specialized meetings, an effective human resources policy, a quota system, and political dialogue of member states. Some of these proposals include: coordinating with the OAS autonomous bodies a plan to find new alternatives of financing; a review of the Organization's programs to determine if it is advisable or necessary for them to continue to have their base of operations at OAS headquarters or if they could be relocated in member states; limit the level of contribution of the General Secretariat for the Ministerial Meetings; introduce a rule whereby no country pays more than 49% of the contributions to the Regular Fund, and set a minimum quota for membership in the Organization, among others.

The full text of the document presented by the Secretary General is available here .

After detailing the considerations under which the new vision is based, Secretary General Insulza insisted that "there is a pressing need for member countries to initiate a policy dialogue to prioritize mandates and that no time be wasted in tackling our current predicament and reaching decisions that will offer the OAS a future of greater dynamism and presence in the region's affairs."

The members of the Permanent Council welcomed the proposals presented and in particular the initiative of the Secretary General to open an agenda for dialogue regarding the work and available financial resources to the institution. In their interventions, the delegates presented their initial reactions to the document and called for the creation of a strategic operating plan that considers the ideas put forth. They also encouraged the discussion of priority topics, reiterated their concern with the budget issues that limit the actions of the Organization, and encouraged pragmatism, as well as the prompt study of the alternatives for their implementation at the permanent Council's Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs.

In closing the discussion, the Chairman of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS, Ambassador Duly Brutus, proposed to continue the discussion of this issue and pledged to explore alternatives on how best to address it within the framework of the Strategic Vision document presented by Secretary General Insulza.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-023/12