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OAS Assistant Secretary General Says Region Must Remain Committed to Countries in Need

  July 8, 2010

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, has appealed to wealthier countries in the region to remain committed to neighbors in need. The call was made at an OAS meeting of Ministers and High Authorities on Social Development of the hemisphere in Cali, Colombia.

Ambassador Ramdin acknowledged that many countries in the region were still struggling with the impact of recent natural disasters, and the fallout of the global financial crisis. He called on Member States with more resources to demonstrate a deeper commitment to investment in social programs across the region.

The OAS representative also urged Ministers of Social Development from across the region to do more to address the issue of poverty, pointing out that poverty is increasing in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an additional 9 million people now living in poverty, and 5 million more people now living in extreme poverty.

Ambassador Ramdin told regional delegates that inequality was still a very real challenge in the region. “A continent with our level of development should not have one third of its inhabitants living below the poverty line. Nor is it compatible with our democratic discourse that between three and five percent of the population receives over 50 percent of national income,” he said.

Ramdin said the challenge for the region is to ensure that the needs of the people are met. “If a democratic state does not deliver the benefits of progress to all its citizens equally, it may trigger resentment and become a breeding ground for instability.”

The meeting, attended by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, brings together ministerial delegates from across the region to discuss inter-ministerial coordination. Among the items on the agenda are the promotion of employment and income generation for vulnerable populations, food security, and a comprehensive response for risk mitigation and social reconstruction in the communities affected by natural disasters.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-268/10