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Press Release


  November 24, 2009

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the common ground between the OAS and the Commonwealth of Nations in his opening remarks today to the Commonwealth Business Forum, titled, “Partnering for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future: The Commonwealth and the Americas,” in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

“It is my sincere hope that we can build on the historical, political, cultural and economic linkages that have existed between the countries of the Americas and the Commonwealth to advance consensus on our common issues, challenges and opportunities and pursue joint advocacy of global issues of mutual interest,” Mr. Insulza said.

The OAS Secretary General encouraged officials and businesspersons to find ways “to improve our collaboration on matters of trade, investment, development and democratic governance, as we seek to advance the sustainable development of our countries and our regions.”

Mr. Insulza stressed how firms in the Americas and the Commonwealth “are already doing trade with each other.” His hope, he said, is that “they will work together and with their respective governments and civil society groups to contribute to the development of their countries and regions.”

The OAS Secretary General emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations, particularly “to address shared challenges.” Among them he mentioned “the effects of climate change and natural disasters” and the need to “bolster the resilience” of the economies of small states to external shocks.

Moreover, the two organizations could deepen their cooperation in areas such as “trade, investment, energy, environmental conservation and development,” and join forces in groupings such as the G20 “to pursue a common agenda on issues of mutual interest to our member countries.”

The Commonwealth Business Forum was chaired by Mr. Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and Mr. Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada. Also in attendance were Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Mr. Paul Skinner, Chairman of the Commonwealth Business Council and Mr. Mohan Kaul, Director General of the Commonwealth Business Council.

The Commonwealth Business Forum took place in advance of the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM), to be held November 27-29, 2009, in Port of Spain.

Reference: E-393/09