Media Center

Press Release


  November 14, 2008

From November 10 to 14 2008, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, and the Director of International Affairs, Dr. Irene Klinger, traveled to Europe to meet with governmental officials in an effort to establish priorities for strengthening collaboration with the OAS.

In London, the OAS delegation met with Parliament Member, Gillian Merron, Permanent Under-Secretary of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to discuss United Kingdom cooperation in the Americas in the areas of democracy, human rights, multi-dimensional security, and sustainable development. Special attention was given to OAS activities in support of efforts to address the territorial differendum between Guatemala and Belize. Further talks on these matters took place with officials from the Department for International Development (DFID).

At a gathering, hosted by the Colombian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Noemi Sanín, OAS Assistant Secretary General and the Director of International Affairs met with 15 ambassadors from Latin American and the Caribbean to share with them the programs undertaken by the OAS and the challenges of the region.

Similarly, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin delivered the keynote speech at the conference “Making Trade Work for Development in Latin America,” that took place at the Chatham House, an internationally renowned think tank. High level officials and experts attended the event in which Ramdin talked about new approaches to trade policy in the Americas.

In his remarks, Ambassador Ramdin observed that “as we move toward increasing trade and integration there must always be room to consider such important questions as who benefits? How do they benefit? How can we make growth more equitable? Are there basic provisions that incorporate special and differential treatment for more vulnerable economies such as in the Caribbean and in Central America?”; and spoke on the importance of adapting trade strategies that take into account the effects of trade liberalization on smaller economies.

OAS officials also attended the three-day “Global Forum on Leadership for Shared Societies: Building a world safe for difference,” hosted by the Club de Madrid in Rotterdam, Netherlands. At this event, Ambassador Ramdin addressed a gathering of more than 250 people on how to ensure inclusion of all diverse societies. He referred to the need to recognize diversity in the Western Hemisphere, and to address the challenge in terms of inequality, discrimination, and exclusion. He pointed out that democracy has created opportunities in this regard, and that once diversity is widely acknowledged, necessary mechanisms must be created to ensure dialogue.

In this respect, he refers to the long standing negotiations of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to the Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. Finally, he emphasized that the responsibility for social cohesion is a collective duty that relies on political leaders and on civil society and religious organizations, and that the existence of institutionalized dialogue mechanisms to influence policy making is crucial to social inclusion in the Americas.

In Netherlands, OAS officials also met with Ambassador Joke Brandt, Deputy Director of International Cooperation for the Ministry of Development Cooperation, to discuss opportunities for collaboration in the areas of fragile states, economic distribution and growth, environmental sustainability, and women’s rights.

The meeting was viewed as largely successful in advancing support from the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands to OAS activities in the areas of democracy and human rights.

Reference: E-438/08