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“Development with Social Inclusion” the Focus of the OAS General Assembly in Paraguay

  June 2, 2014

The 44th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which will take place in Asunción, Paraguay from June 3 to 5, 2014, will convene the Foreign Ministers of the Americas to debate “Development with Social Inclusion,” the central theme chosen by the host country and approved by all the member states.

The General Assembly is the supreme political institution within the OAS and its decisions guide the activities and priorities of the hemispheric Organization for the year ahead. Its mandates cover a wide range of subjects, including the promotion of democratic governance, the strengthening of human rights, hemispheric security, and other issues of common concern pertaining to security, among other areas. A preliminary agenda and other relevant documents may be found on the Web page of the Forty-fourth General Assembly.

Integral development is, together with the promotion of democracy, security and human rights, one of the pillars of the Organization. The region has a population of some 600 million people and despite the economic growth witnessed by the majority of the countries of the region in recent years, in Latin America and the Caribbean there are still 164 million people who live below the poverty line, and 68 million people who live in extreme poverty or indigence.

The Foreign Minister of Paraguay, Eladio Loizaga, who will serve as host of the event, has highlighted that the issue “is a cross-cutting topic for all of Latin America and the Caribbean.” “We need to revitalize our efforts in order to obtain concrete and effective results in the shortest time possible, and to do so, we want to focus on areas such as the eradication of poverty; inequality reduction and social exclusion; access to education and ensuring overall health,” he said, adding that the region must dare to dream about eradicating poverty by the year 2020.

Moreover, Foreign Minister Loizaga explained that “we propose to address the negative impact that these factors have on democracy and citizen security,” and “reflect on the effective role that the OAS must play to implement these priorities and the cooperation that the private sector can provide, in accordance with its social responsibility.”

In this context, the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, commended Paraguay for having chosen the issue, noting that while the region has considerable natural resources, with most countries governed by democratic systems and with an important professional training process, “remains limited by poverty and inequality.”

The OAS leader has noted that while poverty has declined in recent years, nearly 30 percent of the citizens of the region live below the poverty line. “It is important to tackle this issue from the standpoint of inclusion, because inequality and poverty are not only monetary, but also concern public services to which our citizens have access; or the quality of education, so different for some and for others within the same society; or the quality of health systems; or the environment, because we know that in the poorest areas of our cities environmental degradation is very serious,” he stated.

Throughout his term, the Secretary General has asserted on various occasions the need to link the issue of poverty with that of discrimination. “In our region, poverty has gender and it also has race and color. The poverty level of households headed by indigenous peoples, people of African descent and women exceeds that of the other segments of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean,” emphasized Insulza.

Regarding the General Assembly in Asunción, Secretary General Insulza specifically proposed that progress be made in the adoption of the Plan of Action of the Social Charter of the Americas that was approved during the 42nd OAS General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2012. “It is a good time to move ahead in the policies of implementation of our Social Charter, which is one of our most important issues that remains pending,” said Secretary General Insulza.

The inaugural session of the Assembly will take place at the Central Bank of Paraguay in Asunción, on Tuesday, June 3 at 19:00 local time. The plenary sessions will be held on June 4 and 5 at the CONMEBOL headquarters. All sessions will be broadcast live on the OAS webpage.

The draft schedule of the OAS General Assembly can be found here.

WHAT: 44th OAS General Assembly

WHEN: From June 3 to 5, 2014

WHERE: CONMEBOL Convention Center
la Ave. Sudamericana No. 595
Luque - Gran Asunción, Paraguay

Reference: E-218/14