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OAS Secretary General Urges Inter-American Defense Board to Promote the Adequacy of the Relationship between the Two Institutions

  March 25, 2014

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today suggested to the Council of Delegates of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) to propose an initiative that will bring adequacy to the relationship between both institutions, with the aim of enhancing international cooperation activities related to defense matters in the Hemisphere.

OAS Secretary General today participated in the inauguration of the Meeting, number 1,351, of the IADB Council of Delegates during which the 72nd anniversary of the inception of the Board was celebrated. The ceremony was held at the Casa del Soldado, which hosts the headquarters of the IADB in Washington, DC. While recalling that the Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas instructed the IADB to act as its Technical Secretariat, Secretary General Insulza said it is necessary to define precisely the relations between the IADB and the OAS. “Compliance with such important tasks requires a modification of the current characteristics of the IADB, in order to overcome the ambiguities arising from its current definition as an 'entity' of the OAS," he said.
“The task is set and the changes to the characteristics of this Board will be a reality any time soon in the future. I urge you to make this process of adequacy to the current needs a joint work and, even more, that the initiative comes from this Council itself, which is the most appropriate place to analyze and propose the needed changes,” added the head of the OAS.

Secretary General Insulza indicated that the OAS has a variety of tools that can be useful to help the IADB adapt to the hemispheric Organization’s operations and objectives. "In the OAS General Secretariat we already have extensive experience in the implementation of mechanisms and instruments relating to complex and multilateral agencies such as the IADB, and I am confident that together we will be able to identify the best of these mechanisms to realize the integration and, thus, to enable enhancing the activity of the Board within the OAS, as well as international cooperation activities related to defense matters in our hemisphere," he asserted. In this regard, he recalled that the OAS General Assembly, held in June 2013 in La Antigua Guatemala, resolved to instruct the Permanent Council "through the Committee on Hemispheric Security, to follow up the outcomes of this dialogue on relations between the OAS and the hemispheric defense meetings, the Inter-American Defense Board, and measures to promote cooperation."

For now, Secretary General Insulza welcomed as a positive development the fact that the IADB acts as Technical Secretariat of the Meeting of Ministers of Defense of the Hemisphere, which will hold its next meeting in Arequipa, Peru, in October 2014.

The leader of the hemispheric institution argued that the integration of the IADB to the OAS and the technical advisory assistance it provides to the hemispheric institution are "natural" for three reasons. “The first is that the OAS brings together all the states of the Americas and, therefore, is the natural forum for cooperation, which is how, according to the Declaration on Security in the Americas that in 2003 defined the concept of multidimensional security, security matters in the Hemisphere must be addressed. Secondly, because the OAS creates and is responsible for the precautionary principles of hemispheric cooperation established in the Declaration on Security in the Americas. And finally, because multidimensional security is one of the thematic axes or pillars of the Organization of American States," he added.

For his part, the Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic, Pedro Vergés, referred to the debate on the role of the IADB in the 21st Century. “I would like, for instance, for member states to commit to continue supporting the IADB through an active interaction between that institution and the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security.” He also expressed support, for the meantime, for working groups to keep on meeting in order to comply with the mandates of the General Assembly, and for one of these groups “to focus on reflecting on the true nature of the institution, and for another to assess the ties between meetings on hemispheric defense and the most appropriate ways to promote cooperation.”

Furthermore, the Chair of the Council indicated that the IADB “must not remain aside from the future of the OAS, which will undergo a significant restructuring once the debate on the Strategic Vision of the hemispheric institution, which was initiated at the proposal of Secretary General Insulza, concludes.”

For his part, the Chair of the Council of Delegates of the IADB, General Werther Araya Menghini, recalled that on March 30, the IADB will celebrate its 72nd anniversary, and he referred to the new statutes adopted by the Permanent Council in 2006. “With authorities elected by ballot, and with an explicit subordination of the technical advisory assistance on defense and military matters to the will of political authorities, the IADB has worked relentlessly during this new phase and has demonstrated that the advisory entity cannot be ignored for the value it adds to the decision-making process of the OAS,” he added.

In this regard, General Araya reaffirmed the “steadfast commitment of the IADB to the future of the OAS,” and he thanked, on behalf of the Board, the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security, through its current Chair, the Ambassador of Haiti, Duly Brutus, “for allowing us to express our opinion on the roles that the IADB must play in the future of the Organization.”

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-105/14