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Civil Society at the OAS Issues Recommendations on Access to Technology and Hemispheric Security for Sixth Summit of the Americas

  February 11, 2012

Groups of representatives of civil society met this week at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, to formulate proposals on promoting access to technology and strengthening hemispheric security, two key issues for the next Summit of the Americas, to be held April 14 and 15 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

As general framework for the proposals, civil society groups convened by the OAS Summits Secretariat asserted being committed to the historic responsibility of defending the Inter-American System and its Institutions, and considered of vital importance that at the Sixth Summit support for the institutions and bodies of the inter-American system be ratified and its resolutions in every one of the areas be validated.

The recommendations issued from the debate will be presented at the meeting of the Summits Implementation Reviewed Group (SIRG) on Monday, February 13, and will be shared with other interested parties in the Summits process. The SIRG is the principal executive body of the Summits Process and is made up of the 34 democratically elected governments in the Hemisphere, which are represented in the SIRG through National Coordinators designated by the governments .

The sessions held this week are part of the Policy Dialogues, an activity of the OAS General Secretariat to promote the contribution and participation of social actors during the preparatory stage of the Summit, the theme of which is "Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity." The Policy Dialogues include virtual as well as actual mechanisms for dialogue that provide opportunities for participation to civil society organizations and social stakeholders.


Civil society representatives divided their recommendations on this issue in three categories: access and rights; infrastructure; and appropriation, innovation and entrepreneurship. In the final document they propose that all member countries institutionalize access to technology as a citizen right at the level of law. In this sense, they suggest placing emphasis on indigenous communities, persons with disabilities, and vulnerable groups.

Also, they ask governments that they commit themselves at the hemispheric level to maintain processes of governance in the application and development of information and communication technologies, in which the characteristic is the maintaining of a principle of participation by the multiple stakeholders involved, in a framework of democracy and transparency."

On innovation and entrepreneurship, they recommend that, in the formulation of policies related to said technologies, the mechanisms of coordination and communication between the different levels of government and the private sector that are linked with their mis en scene be improved.

In the formulation of these proposals, participants began with the principle that the efficient and planned use of ICTs open perspectives for economic, technical, and human evolution in the diverse spheres: public, private, and social, with an impact on the economic and social welfare sectors, and in a relevant way on the educational sector.

The complete text of the recommendations on promoting access to technology is found here in Spanish.


The participants formulated their recommendations divided into: public security management; police management; international cooperation; citizen participation; and policies for youth and women.

The document proposes to the Sixth Summit to implement citizen security policies based on adequate diagnosis and periodic evaluation of its implementation with a gender perspective; to regulate, train, and control public force bodies for the use of force in fulfillment of international standards of Human Rights; and to invite the States that have not yet done so to adhere and ratify the United Nations Convention against transnational organized crime and other Inter-American Conventions related to security matters.

Also, they recognized the importance of promoting mechanisms to empower citizens to demand accountability from Governments on the use of resources destined for security; and they highlighted the importance for States to adhere to the Inter-American Convention of the Rights of Youth, and put into practice through legislation the dispositions included in the perspective of guaranteeing the rights of youth.

The full text of the recommendations on the strengthening of hemispheric security is found here.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-042/12