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Press Release


  December 1, 2006

The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, is scheduled to open a two-day ministerial-level meeting on Monday, December 4, which will gather representatives of the 34 countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) to address the major environmental challenges facing the Americas.

The First Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High Level Authorities on Sustainable Development, taking place in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, will review the state and fate of environmental change, and identify a forward-looking cooperative agenda.

“The success of this meeting will not be measured by its political declaration – the green agenda is already over-crowded with promises made and not kept – but rather by the practical and concrete actions that help improve the lives of families and communities,” noted OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, who will address the hemispheric forum on Tuesday.

The region’s ministers are expected to tackle a number of issues, identifying concrete steps forward in improving the sustainable management of water resources; increasing the resilience of communities to natural disasters; and advancing sustainable markets in the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors.

The meeting marks the first time that governmental ministers, experts in environmental management and representatives from civil society from across the region come together to assess the progress made towards sustainable development and to discuss responses to the new challenges emerging in the hemisphere.

Ten years ago, the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra also hosted the Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development at the level of Heads of State and Government. Next week’s meeting will provide an opportunity to review the policies that emerged from that Summit and to focus on the environmental issues that continue to affect the region.

The OAS Department of Sustainable Development is coordinating the ministerial meeting, which will adopt a number of proposals aimed at improving regional cooperation and implementing practical strategies.

OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin will also speak at the opening ceremony, as well as Bolivia’s Minister of Planning for Development, Luis Hernando Larrazábal Córdova. The sessions will take place at Los Tajibos Hotel in Santa Cruz.

Reference: E-264/06