Media Center

Press Release


  May 1, 2009

An informative session took place today at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. to analyze the results of the Fifth Summit of the Americas, recently held in Trinidad and Tobago, and to evaluate its impact in the development of inter-American relations.

The event was opened by OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, who explained the numerous aspects that contributed to the general perception of the Summit’s success. Among them, he stated that the Summit’s expectations and objectives were completely achieved. He highlighted the atmosphere of cordiality, dialogue and strengthening of confidence among attendees, as well as the richness, openness, and consensus showed during the debate of the topics contained in the Summit’s agenda. He summarized the results of the Summit by emphasizing the quality of the dialogue and the agreements achieved in Port-of-Spain.

“I would say that the Heads of State and Government left the meeting convinced that it is possible to do a common significant work; that hemispheric relations are important, and that these can and should be significantly improved,” affirmed Insulza, who also added that “with the Summit, the atmosphere of hemispheric relations has been greatly strengthened.”

In reference to the debate that the leaders held between the 17th and 19th of April in Port-of Spain, Insulza said that the Summit fulfilled the agenda more than adequately. In this regard, he claimed that the topics of global warming, energy and security cooperation, were widely debated, from which “a common agenda with concrete actions” was created. On this matter, he stressed that one of the most important accomplishments was the agreement of member countries to arrive to the Copenhagen (Denmark) meeting at the end of the year with a common energy policy.

With regards to the economic crisis, the leader of the main hemispheric institution referred to the leaders’ willingness to “advance in this issue in a substantive manner, search for common solutions to the crisis in a multilateral fashion, to find ways of financing for the small economies that do not have own resources, and the adoption of anticyclical financial policies”.

“Within the framework of a very good logistic organization on behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the Fifth Summit of the Americas left us, the OAS and the rest of the organizations that are part of the Joint Summit Working Group, with a pending, solid job, in which we hope to continue working on.” He concluded by highlighting that “we all hope that this Summit of goodwill will open a new period in the history of the Americas and of our organization.”

On the other hand, Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow, White House Advisor for the Summit, who was also invited to the event, said that the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago was “a tremendous success for the Hemisphere.” “This Summit will go down in history as an immensely successful event,” he insisted.

Ambassador Davidow highlighted how the 34 Heads of State and Government that met in Port-of-Spain spent 15 hours together, apart from bilateral meetings, which shows that it was “a very substantive meeting.”

During the Summit,, Ambassador Davidow added, the leaders dealt with a wide array of issues that concern the governments and peoples of the continent, such as public safety, energy and climate change, the current global economic crisis and poverty.

The former US Ambassador to Zambia, Venezuela and Mexico also defended the consensus document emanated from the Summit. “It is indeed a valuable document to look at, a snapshot of where the Hemisphere is today, and what the concerns of the Hemisphere are,” he said. The document, he stressed, provides “very useful guidance” towards the future.

The challenge ahead, Ambassador Davidow mentioned, is the follow up process. On a personal note, Ambassador Davidow also joined the other panelists in supporting that the Summit of the Americas process should be integrated within the OAS.

Likewise, the Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the OAS, Glenda Morean-Phillip, stressed the need for “the Member States, the OAS and other agencies” to move forward with the Summit conclusions. “I hope we will see a move forward, so that the process remains alive through getting together, multilateralism, finding solutions to our several problems and moving forward with those solutions,” she said.

Another speaker of the first panel discussion was Marcelo Varela-Erasheva, Associate Director for the Americas Program at the Carter Center, who represented the perspective from the social actors that participated at the Summit, particularly their views and the importance of involving civil society in the overall Summit process.

The Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the U.S. House of Representatives, Eliot L. Engel; the Ambassador of Guatemala to the United States, Francisco Villagrán de León; the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OAS, Ambassador Camilo Ospina; and the Vice President of the organization ‘Private Sector of the Americas’. Enrique Arturo de Obarrio were part of the second panel of the event entitled: “Post-Summit Briefing: “A New Beginning in Inter-American Relations?” OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin moderated this second panel.

Reference: E-151/09