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Press Release


  May 22, 2009

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, called Friday the international community to use the wave of support to Haiti focusing on “the social and economic development” of the Caribbean nation, during his report to the Permanent Council of the hemispheric institution regarding the activities of the OAS in Haiti.

“Today, the Republic of Haiti has a high level of commitment, support and solidarity, not only in establishing and strengthening democracy, the rule of law and security, but also in the area of social and economic development. It is critically important to use this positive momentum to focus on social and economic development,” said Mr. Insulza.

Among the recent gestures of the international community, the OAS Secretary General mentioned the commitment, emanated from the Haiti Donors Conference held in April in Washington, DC, to invest $324 million in that country; and the appointment of former US President Bill Clinton as United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti. However, Mr. Insulza insisted that despite all of this, “Haiti is still facing many challenges.”

During his presentation, Secretary General Insulza highlighted two “important developments” regarding Haiti and the upcoming OAS General Assembly, to be held June 2-3 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras: “A new draft Resolution on Haiti was approved by the General Committee to be forward to San Pedro Sula, and the Fifth Summit of the Americas asked the General Assembly to consider the issue of funding of development programs in Haiti.”

Regarding the mandate emanated from the Summit of the Americas that took place in Trinidad and Tobago in April, the Secretary General announced that he will present another report to the General Assembly in which he will “explore some avenues” to fulfill the mandate.

Mr. Insulza explained to the Permanent Council three tools being used by the General Secretariat to coordinate its activities in Haiti: The Haiti Task Force, led by the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin; the Group of Friends of Haiti, which is an informal advisory group to the Secretary General; and the OAS office in Haiti, led since January by Mr. Ricardo Seitenfus from Brazil.

Among the issues in which the OAS offers particular support to Haiti, Secretary General Insulza stressed the modernization of civil registry, the support for the electoral system, and post-disaster support. Mr. Insulza also highlighted the programs carried out by the Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF), an institution affiliated to the OAS.

The 15-page report presented by Mr. Insulza is a consequence of resolution 2424, passed at the 2008 OAS General Assembly in Medellin, Colombia. Through resolution 2424 the OAS committed itself to support the government of Haiti in its efforts to reform and strengthen the nation’s institutions, and asked Haiti’s partners to coordinate the channels and procedures for the support to the Caribbean nation.

Reference: E-179/09