Media Center

Press Release


  June 10, 2008

Secretary General José Miguel Insulza has described the Organization of American States’ (OAS) recently-concluded General Assembly, held in the Colombian city of Medellín as a success. “From the perspective of its presentation, this Assembly was one of the most enlightening we have had,” Insulza said of the 38th regular session of the General Assembly, which brought together foreign ministers from the 34 member states from June 1 to 3, under the theme “Youth and Democratic Values.”

Insulza shared his views about the annual foreign ministers conference as he presented an overview at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Monday, on the Colombia General Assembly.

Among agenda topics discussed at the Assembly, Insulza highlighted the worldwide food crisis and used ECLAC statistics to warn that, given the cost of food, “We risk about nine million people who emerged out of poverty over the last few years falling back into poverty.” He mentioned another serious risk—that many people could fall from poverty into extreme poverty, even as international organizations are pursuing initiatives to tackle childhood malnutrition in our hemisphere, malnutrition that affects some 50 million.

The Secretary General thanked the government and people of Colombia for the great effort they put into hosting the General Assembly. He also noted that it was significant that the General Assembly session was convened to coincide with the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the OAS Charter.

“It was brilliant,” Insulza said of the General Assembly in Colombia, adding that in terms of attendance, it was a remarkable Assembly. He said he was pleased as well at how the Colombia-Ecuador issue was handled, as both countries decided to accept a suggestion to resume their diplomatic relations.

Meanwhile, Colombia’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Camilo Ospina, thanked all the delegations for accepting his country’s offer to host this year’s General Assembly. Thanking the OAS as an institution, he reserved special mention for OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin, “for the institutional and organizational assistance we received.”

Ospina noted that a “very successful” Model OAS Assembly was held ahead of the inauguration of the 38th General Assembly of foreign ministers, bringing together Colombian university students. The Colombian diplomat said “we are training future generations to understand multilateralism, and to understand how positions are adopted and how countries pursue their foreign policy in a multilateral arena, with maturity and with a view towards the future.”

For her part, Ambassador Glenda Morean-Phillip, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago —host country for the V Summit of the Americas that will be held April 17-19, 2009—reiterated the message her government had taken to the General Assembly with respect to the next meeting of heads of state and heads of government of the Americas. She noted that her government has been emphasizing the consultative process as a defining feature of its approach to planning the V Summit of the Americas, and it will remain that way, and will continue to include civil society and private sector input.

The Trinidad and Tobago diplomat reported that the planning is well underway, and that a draft outcome document is already in hand: the Declaration of Commitment which is to be negotiated, outlining specific objectives towards delivering tangible and measurable benefits.

Reference: E-226/08