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Ministers and High Authorities of Social Development Commit to Fight Poverty in the Americas

  July 9, 2010

The Ministers and High Authorities of Social Development of the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) today committed themselves to make progress on the fight against poverty, strengthening their strategies of social protection, and they called on “all sectors of society” to collaborate on the design and implementation of public policies.

The representatives, who met in Cali, Colombia, July 8 and 9, for the Second Ministerial Meeting on the subject, also committed themselves to enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of social protection programs, and underscored the need to strengthen coordination with inter-American integration agencies and mechanisms, among them the Inter-American Social Protection Network launched by the OAS in 2009.

During the event’s closing ceremony, OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development Alfonso Quiñónez thanked the “rich and active dialogue” held among the delegates, and their interest in learning and sharing, evidence of all the delegations’ commitment to the social matters at hand. “This process, which began in Reñaca, Chile, and continues today and will continue in Brazil, was strengthened today with all your contributions. Your commitment will also be important so the mechanisms of the Inter-American Social Protection Network may enrich dialogue with concrete actions of cooperation.”

The Director of the Department of Social Development and Employment of the OAS, Francisco Pilotti, presented on the latest progress in the activities carried out in the framework of the said Network, highlighting that “the most important achievement to date has been the design and launch of the Inter-American Social Protection Network, which is called to become the principal tool of cooperation in the forum of Ministers and High Authorities of Social Development of the OAS and currently has political backing at the highest level, which will facilitate its consolidation during the next few years.”

The document approved today by the Ministers and High Authorities of Social Development also includes the mandates received from the Heads of State and Government in the framework of the process of the Summit of the Americas, and offers directives and priorities for the Work Plan 2010 – 2012 of the OAS Inter-American Committee on Social Development (CIDES).

Among other things, the CIDES was instructed in Cali to consider strengthening the Inter-American Social Protection Network as a “mechanism of hemispheric cooperation in fighting poverty and inequity”; to continue, in the framework of the said Network, with the implementation of technical cooperation in the Caribbean through the “Bridge Caribbean Program”; and to support the government of Haiti, especially in the reconstruction of its communities after the earthquake of January 2010.

The forum also elected the new CIDES authorities for the next years. The Ministry of Social Development and the Fight against Hunger of Brazil was unanimously elected to assume the chairmanship of the CIDES, while the Ministry of Social Affairs of Barbados was elected to occupy one of its vice chairmanships. The Secretariat of Social Development of Mexico and the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency of El Salvador will share the other vice chairmanship.

Finally, the government of Brazil offered to host the Third Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Social Development, to be held in 2012.

The meeting was attended by delegations from 28 OAS Member States, 21 of which were headed by ministers or vice ministers of social action. Furthermore, in attendance were representatives from a dozen international organizations.

More information on this ministerial meeting may be found here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-271/10