Media Center

Press Release


  April 2, 2003

The implementation of hemispheric summit mandates is “very much on track,” member state officials and other delegates were told at an Organization of American States meeting today. The twenty eighth meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) is assessing achievements in advancing the mandates from the Hemisphere’s leaders.

Marc Lortie, the Canadian Prime Minister’s Personal Representative for the Summit of the Americas, presiding over the SIRG meeting, declared, “Indeed, we are very much on track in terms of implementation of the Plan of Action.”

He asserted that efforts were on track concerning the three major pillars of the Action Plan from the Third Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City, Canada, two years ago—in relation to the strengthening of democracy, which led to the Inter-American Democratic Charter; the question of prosperity; and the social agenda mandate relating to education, health, indigenous peoples, gender equality, children and youth, among other issues.

Ambassador Lortie identified hemispheric free trade negotiations as part of the “prosperity” pillar of the Action Plan, recalling that the free trade agreement being negotiated was intended to “help create more prosperity in the Hemisphere.” He said negotiations were on target.

Lortie also announced that the Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, is proposing to host an interim Summit—“an extraordinary session of the Summit of the Americas in 2003,” explaining that the Canadian leader underscored the need to “regroup at the leaders level,” given the changes and challenges facing the Americas on the political, economic and social fronts.

In his remarks inaugurating the meeting, OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi reported that much has taken place during the past six months. He cited a series of important meetings and activities in preparation for the upcoming regional conference on security, to be held in Mexico City, to review the security architecture of the Hemisphere.

The overall Summit agenda is being advanced on a daily basis by the partner institutions, he said. Ambassador Einaudi noted that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has mobilized resources and is working with the member countries to control communicable diseases and to reduce the price of anti-retroviral drugs, to ensure persons infected with HIV/AIDS have access.

“Overall, governability is emerging as a central challenge for the Hemisphere,” he added, lauding the initiative by the host government of Chile to select governance as the topic on which foreign ministers will focus at the heads of delegation discussion at the General Assembly in Santiago, next June.

The opening session of the daylong meeting included participation from a variety of institutions and civil society organizations. The meeting also heard reports by the Joint Working Group of the Partner Institutions as well as from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and civil society organizations.

Reference: E-075/03