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Press Release


  March 25, 2008

Former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein, the keynote speaker for the 26th conference of the Lecture Series of the Americas at the Organization of American States today, noted that the region has made progress in democracy and governance but that corruption, crime and inequality remain major challenges.

In his lecture entitled, “Political Strategy for Good Governance: The Importance of Regional Context,” Stein told diplomats, students, academics and representatives of civil society that “Democracy, in and of itself, has been expected to automatically create well-being. Democracy as a system does not create well-being, which is rather the product of citizens’ efforts.” The former Vice President explained that while democracy is an approach that helps improve the lives of people, the responsibility to find agreeable solutions will be as much the product of good governance as it is the result of active participation by citizens.

Underscoring the important role of international organizations like the OAS in strengthening good governance in member states, Stein argued that, “in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, governance questions have be been viewed definitely as domestic, internal issues that are basically the internal responsibility of each state and its democratically elected government. But matters of governance must increasingly be viewed and negotiated within the regional context.

“The regional framework for handling internal governance issues is more than simply for convenience. The regional framework must be contemplated and incorporated into every strategic policy initiative for democratic governance and development,” Stein remarked.

He cited the fight against transnational organized crime as a clear example of the constructive role of regional cooperation in strengthening institutions and governance. In that sense, according to Stein, interregional collaboration is vital for all governments of a region to see effective results.

Stein also noted efforts by his country to strengthen its institutions and improve governance, stressing the importance of deepening the opportunities for international cooperation and finding sustainable solutions to bring about societies that are more democratic.

Created by the OAS Permanent Council to promote democratic principles and values in the hemisphere, the Lecture Series of the Americas invites internationally renowned speakers to address key issues, such as democracy, human rights social development, hemispheric security and international relations. The conferences are possible thanks to the contribution of the San Martín de Porres University of Peru and the governments of China and France.

Reference: E-094/08