Media Center

Press Release


  September 26, 2008

“Our journey to a greener world is well underway.” So declared the principals of the Organization of American States (OAS) this week, after reviewing the achievements of initiatives for environmentally-sound practices as well as the first annual Green Week that was observed last week to raise awareness about the effects of climate change.

The OAS Permanent Council’s Chairman, Belize Ambassador Nestor Mendez, declaring the historic Green Week a success, highlighted environmental best practices being pursued by the OAS saying they have made a marked contribution to making the organization’s buildings and operations more energy-efficient and environmental sound.

Presiding over this week’s session of the Permanent Council of Member State ambassadors on Wednesday, Mendez pointed to the retrofitting of OAS buildings and said that other practices had helped the organization to reduce significantly its energy consumption. He said electricity consumption had been reduced by more than 361, 700 Kilowatt hours, which translated into savings of some $58,000.

Other practices in place have also moved the organization forward in its environmental thrust, including its reduced hours of heating and air-conditioning operation; greater use of electronic documents over printed documents; use of 100 per cent recycled paper products and supplies in all bathrooms and kitchens; replacement of traditional telephone systems with Voice Over Internet (VOIP) telephony; and incentives for staff to use mass transit so fewer automobiles would be on the roads, thereby contributing to a cleaner environment.

“The application of these actions is already generating positive results,” Mendez remarked. He noted how the savings in telephone costs and the increasing use of video-conferencing had helped to control travel and related expenses while reducing the organization’s “carbon footprints.” Ambassador Mendez disclosed as well that given the progress already made, the OAS would be applying to the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy Efficient Design for Existing Buildings (LEED) program for certification of its General Secretariat Building in downtown Washington, D.C., as a “green building” that operates more efficiently while minimizing its environmental impact.

In praising the results of the initiatives and the first annual Green Week at the OAS, the Permanent Council Chairman also thanked the staff of OAS for their “serious efforts to contribute to the well-being of our world and that of future generations.”

Reference: E-366/08