Media Center

Press Release


  March 14, 2007

“We cannot fathom development in our countries without having reached consensus and made substantial progress on the complex and important issue of energy, which will determine the future of our generations,” Panama’s Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Samuel Lewis Navarro, said today at the Organization of American States (OAS). Panama will host the 37th OAS General Assembly from June 3-5.

Noting that “Energy for Development” is the central theme of the upcoming meeting of 34 foreign ministers of the Americas, Lewis Navarro asked the member states to work together to reach concrete initiatives that will translate into tangible benefits for the people of the region. Such a discussion, he told the Permanent Council, must be approached with the goal of “achieving firm commitments that go beyond a declaration of good intentions.”

In welcoming Lewis Navarro, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza highlighted the Panamanian government’s broad vision in having suggested energy as the central theme of debate at the General Assembly, stressing that “we all realize the importance that is being given to this issue and to its coordination in the region.” Insulza thanked the Panamanian Vice President and his government for the excellent preparation underway for the meeting of foreign ministers.

The Secretary General announced the possible participation of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, during the OAS General Assembly in Panama. He also reported on new activities being organized within the framework of the General Assembly, such as the launching of a hemispheric health plan by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). This initiative, he said, is in line with the OAS goal of working more closely with other international organizations and coordinating efforts as much as possible.

During today’s regular meeting of the Permanent Council, chaired by Ambassador María del Luján Flores of Uruguay, Lewis Navarro thanked the delegations for their valuable input in the draft declaration presented by Panama, assuring them that the final document “will be a collectively created declaration, whose content and achievements will be the result of the concerns of all the Organization’s members.”

In this regard, the Panamanian Vice President said he was optimistic about the debates that will take place in Panama City. “There is no doubt that the states share the common denominator of seeking an equation that allows for a balance between energy policies that provide incentives to investment and the development of special projects for our countries, that satisfy user demand and promote a more efficient use of energy,” said Lewis Navarro, whose country also hosted the OAS General Assembly in June 1996.

During the same session, the countries heard the annual report presented by PAHO Director Mirta Roses Periago. In addition to providing an overview of last year’s activities, she talked about the health plan initiative that will be presented during the General Assembly.

Reference: E-078/07