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Civil Society and Social Stakeholders Participate in OAS Meeting on Sustainable Development

  November 17, 2010

More than thirty representatives of civil society and the private sector met today in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS) to present their positions and ideas to the debate that will shape the Declaration of the Second Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Authorities on Sustainable Development.

At the Round Table were the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Development of the Dominican Republic, Juan Temístocles Montas; the Director of the OAS Department of International Affairs, Irene Klinger ; and the Director of the OAS Department of Sustainable Development, Cletus Springer.

On behalf of the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, Director Klinger said that “to some skeptics in the developed world, climate change is nothing but a myth, while to others it is a challenge to be solved by future generations. But to the peoples of the Caribbean and the Arctic, to those who live in low-lying coastal areas, with fragile ecosystems, susceptible to natural disasters and dependent on the variations of the hydrologic cycle in the hemisphere, climate change is a clear, present and imminent danger that affects their way of life and even survival.”

Klinger also called on the international community “to fulfill the promises made in Copenhagen towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and access to the funds pledged to the most vulnerable regions in helping them adapt to climate change. At the same time, I call on the Member States of the OAS to intensify their own efforts in making their societies and economies more resilient to climate change and other natural threats.”

Klinger highlighted that “the organizations of civil society, environmental agencies and the private sector have an important duty to fulfill in the evaluation of social and environmental impacts, and they must contribute to the process of decision-making in their countries and at the regional level.”

Minister Montas highlighted “the importance of the contributions of civil society in the face of threats to the region, especially climate change and planning for sustainable development.”

The Round Table created a space for civil society in the Caribbean, Central and South America, to participate in the virtual discussion, as well as for the private sector to exchange experiences and ideas related to programs and national and regional policies on sustainable development, climate change and risk management. Also, a series of recommendations was issued, and these will be considered by the Ministers of the Environment of the Americas, who will present them on November 18, 2010, and should serve as important sources of input for the discussion of the Member States and the Declaration of Santo Domingo.

The Department of International Affairs, in collaboration with the Department of Sustainable Development, previously conducted a series of sub-regional consultations with civil society and social stakeholders in Buenos Aires, Argentina; San José, Costa Rica; and Castries, Saint Lucia. It also consulted with the private sector, and conducted a virtual hemispheric discussion forum from September 15 to October 15, 2010, as part of preparations for the Second Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Authorities on Sustainable Development.

For more information, visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-442/10