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Press Release


  September 19, 2008

In a renewed pitch for the Summit of the Americas process to focus on “implementation, coordination and financing mechanisms,” the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Assistant Secretary General, Albert R. Ramdin, declared at a stakeholders meeting in Barbados Thursday that those elements will be vital support for the Member States to realize the agreed targets.

“To me it is clear that special financing windows will be required, that national development plans should incorporate the Summit mandates, and that coordination on ‘who does what, when and where’ among Summit supporting institutions will be of critical importance to deliver the benefits of this Summit process to the people of the Americas,” Ambassador Ramdin stated at the opening of the Third Regular Meeting the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG).

Other top high-level officials on hand for the two-day SIRG meeting included Donville Inniss, Minister of State in the Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business; Ambassador Luis Alberto Rodriguez, National Coordinator and Special Envoy to the Americas of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Ambassador Glenda Moreann-Phillips, Trinidad and Tobago’s Permanent Representative to the OAS; as well as the member countries’ national coordinators for the Summit of the Americas and David Morris, Director of the OAS Summits Secretariat and representatives of the Joint Summit Working Group institutions including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

Ambassador Ramdin also said that to facilitate the proposed mechanism, it will be necessary to convene a tripartite meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Finance and Heads of the Joint Summit Working Group institutions immediately after the Trinidad and Tobago Summit of the Americas is held in April 2009.

He also renewed the call for “an all-inclusive process and a constructive engagement from all involved” in the preparations for the next Summit of the Americas. “Only through this multilateral commitment a successful Summit will deliver what we all are looking for.”

The OAS welcomes the Trinidad and Tobago government’s commitment in this regard, Ambassador Ramdin told the Summit of the Americas stakeholders, reiterating that the OAS “stands ready to continue its assistance and also to host another SIRG meeting at our headquarters if the National Secretariat so desires.”

He hailed the Barbadian government’s hosting of the SIRG meeting as an important demonstration of the Caribbean sub-region’s commitment to inter-American affairs and to the OAS. “The leadership which is exercised through these activities is welcomed and will go a long way in influencing the political and economic future of the Western Hemisphere.”

Ramdin assured the delegates of Secretary General José Miguel Insulza’s commitment to assisting “in whatever way we can to make the encounter of the 34 democratically-elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere in April next year a success and a meaningful engagement aimed at addressing in concrete ways the difficulties our Member States are experiencing.”

With reference to the severe impact many countries in the Caribbean and beyond have suffered as a result of several deadly hurricanes, the OAS official said the natural disasters have destroyed “badly needed production capacity and setting back economies many years.” As well, the region continues to face unacceptable levels of poverty, social exclusion and discrimination, illegal trafficking in drugs and fire arms, HIV/Aids, among other problems, he observed.

Ramdin told the SIRG delegates their discussions must include “new ways of thinking of creating peace, stability and prosperity in our societies.” He said the fifth Summit “provides a new opportunity to strengthen unity, collectivity and solidarity in the Western Hemisphere. This important dialogue process has become the main vehicle for setting out an agenda for the hemisphere and maybe Member States would want to include in their subsequent deliberations how to further institutionalize this process in the architecture of existing inter-American dialogue mechanisms.”

The Assistant Secretary General welcomed the SIRG meeting’s launch of negotiations on the draft Declaration of Commitment. As proposed by the next host of the Summit of the Americas, this draft “provides, in my opinion, an excellent base document,” said Ramdin.

“Securing or Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability” is the theme of the Fifth Summit of the Americas. The current SIRG meeting is addressing in particular the “human prosperity” component, with the goals of greater equity, inclusion and social development as set forth in the Draft Declaration.

Prior to the formal opening of the SIRG meeting, Ambassador Ramdin chaired an informal meeting of the Joint Summit Working Group, which comprises 12 institutions that, he argued, “can contribute to determining the feasibility of the proposed goals and the commitments, as it will be these institutions that will be required to incorporate these in their policies and work programs.”

Reference: E-354/08