Media Center

Press Release


  September 22, 2004

The heads of the Organization of American States and other inter-American agencies and United Nations agencies pledged at a meeting on Monday to work together more closely and more efficiently to help improve the lives of the hemisphere’s citizens. Stepped-up collaboration will begin with initiatives to help Haiti and other Caribbean countries ravaged by catastrophic hurricanes recently.

OAS Secretary General Miguel Ángel Rodríguez said the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have also committed to this new endeavor. He said institutions working in the Americas on issues of democracy and development, human rights and financing have agreed that a more efficient collaboration would significantly benefit the hemisphere.

The Secretary General, a former Costa Rican president who assumed the OAS leadership last week, said existing cooperation and coordination mechanisms were being reviewed to determine whether they adequately address current hemispheric priorities and needs.

Rodríguez noted that a donors’ conference is being considered, stemming from IDB and PAHO reports and evaluations on natural disaster damage in Caribbean countries. He said Monday’s meeting devoted special attention to the effects of recent catastrophic hurricanes that left some 700 dead in Haiti and 37 in Grenada. Some 90 per cent of Grenadian homes were also destroyed by Hurricane Ivan recently.

The participants agreed as well that inter-agency cooperation must be strengthened to prevent and manage the catastrophes, by way of stronger building codes, among other things.

Among those attending the meeting—the second since last June—were OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi; IDB President Enrique Iglesias; PAHO Director Mirta Roses; ECLAC Executive Secretary José Luis Machinea; and Robert Landman, representing IICA Director General Chelston Brathwaite.

The IDB President said organizations engaged in socio-political, economic and cultural development initiatives in the Americas will implement the OAS Secretary General’s proposals for enhanced coordination among their respective offices in member countries of the hemisphere.

The participants from the other agencies represented at the meeting reaffirmed observations by Iglesias that CARICOM would benefit from technical and financial coordination efforts aimed at addressing the serious problems that affect those countries.

Reference: E-156/04