Media Center

Press Release


  May 1, 2009

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, presented an overview of the Fifth Summit of the Americas at the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C., yesterday along with Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Ambassador Thomas Shannon; the Permanent Representative from Trinidad and Tobago, Ambassador Glenda Morean-Philip; and Mexican Ambassador to the White House, Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, at the event, entitled “The Summit of the Americas Process: Port of Spain and Beyond”.

During the conference, Ambassador Ramdin called on OAS member states to work with the international community to seize the momentum and commitment of the Summit in order to translate mandates into concrete actions. Ramdin expressed optimism that “a new chapter had begun for the Inter-American system in which 34 heads of state demonstrated a clear willingness to dialogue and to listen to each other,despite the diversity of the political and economic landscape in the Americas.”

Ramdin offered several practical proposals for improving the Summit process, including making the Summit of the Americas an institutional part of the OAS Secretariat, and transforming the OAS General Assembly into a Summit of the Americas every three years, with participation of all the Heads of State and Government. This, Ambassador Ramdin stressed, “would ensure a process of seamless translation of Summit mandates in the political agenda of the OAS. Equally, member states need to consider how they would want to structure the implementation process nationally”, stated Ramdin and recommended countries to consider establishing a “National Executive Secretariat” to coordinate and facilitate implementation, financing, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

He also recommended “back-to-back” meetings between OAS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Ministers of Finance which would allow for a matching of political mandates with financial commitments.

Assistant Secretary General Ramdin concluded his remarks by affirming that “this new political environment in the Americas needs to be sustained” in order to strengthen the political impact of the various inter-American institutions.

Presenting a U.S perspective at the event was Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Shannon who stated that “the summit process is alive and well”. He also expressed that the recent Summit demonstrated that “the Caribbean has emerged as an important leader in the process, capable of managing both the substance of the agenda, as well as the logistics.”

Reference: E-153/09