Media Center

Press Release


  June 29, 2007

The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), an agency of the Organization of American States (OAS), has a new Chairman. Major General Jorge Armando de Almeida Ribeiro handed over the reins to another Brazilian, Rear Admiral Elis Treidler Öberg, during a ceremony held Friday at the IADB’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Presenting the new IADB Chairman with the instruments of office, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza noted that in order to remain the most peaceful region, the Americas must increase confidence-building measures as well as transparency in reporting on new weapons acquisitions. Insulza described military cooperation at the hemispheric level as “one of the pillars whereby the nations of our region have settled their problems through peaceful and negotiated means.” He went on to note that “this foundation has helped us become the most peaceful region on earth.”

In highlighting the hemisphere’s current positive economic and political trends “that have helped us refocus attention on new problems that threaten our security,” Secretary General Insulza reiterated the need for more coordinated action to tackle such threats as natural disasters, climate change, transnational organized crime, terrorism, HIV/AIDS and other epidemics. “This is a combination of old and new threats that respect no borders, and contemporary security thus takes on a multidimensional character,” Insulza said.

The OAS Secretary General also touched on the reorientation of the OAS priorities to be in step with the new realities facing the Americas, explaining that this was why the member states had established the OAS Secretariat for Multidimensional Security. Insulza said this was the structure through which the Inter-American Defense Board is connected to the OAS and is also where the two institutions pursue joint projects such as the expanded mine-clearing program and pursue a new inter-American program for implementing confidence-building measures between and among the member states in relation to defense, military spending control and peace mission coordination policies.

As the new Board Chairman, Rear Admiral Öberg pledged that, “as a true Marine, I will always be seeking to chart the best course, trying to safely get us to the destination established by the [OAS Permanent] Council.” He stressed that giving the hemisphere’s citizens a sense of security is hindered by the high-tech environment “that fosters globalization as a rapid and inexorable process” that spawns new threats.

Meanwhile, the departing IADB Chairman, Major General Almeida Ribeiro, expressed appreciation for all the support he had received, and touched on highlights of his leadership of the Board. He underscored his belief that “the Inter-American Defense Board’s path to success serves as a beacon for our mission.” He said the Board’s objective is to “promote development and cooperation among our nations and to build bridges that unite—rather than separate—them.”

Brazilian Defense Minister Waldir Pires also addressed the gathering that included member state ambassadors as well as senior IADB and OAS officials and staff, among others.

Established in 1942, the IADB became an arm of the OAS in March 2006. Its engagement in mine-clearing, disaster relief and confidence- and security-building measures, among other programs, directly support the security goals established by the OAS and the Ministers of Defense.

Reference: E-161/07