Media Center

Press Release


  November 17, 2008

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, invited national summit coordinators responsible for debating the content of the Fifth Summit’s “Declaration of Commitment” to consider the economic challenges that the world’s economy is currently facing. This statement was done in the framework of the preparations for the Fifth Summit of the Americas that will be held in Trinidad and Tobago on April 17 – 19, 2009.

In his opening statement of the fifth meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) Insulza stated that “there is no doubt that what happened in the economy has exceeded the projections we had some months ago. What started as a crisis in a specific sector has now extended as a crisis in the world’s stock markets. We are living in a difficult period in which consensus, agreements and shifts in course should become part of our debate.”

The Secretary General also commented that the events that took place last weekend in Washington D.C. during the meeting of the Group of Twenty (G-20) “are very important for the region”. He also made reference to the need to address the economic crisis, in an effort to ensure that the current situation will not happen again. Insulza also highlighted that “the fact that self-regulation was acknowledged not to be an option anymore, and that governments and states have a critical role in the process, placed us in a new situation.”

In his speech, Secretary Insulza deemed as “very positive” the participation of the presidents from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the United Sates and Canada in the G-20 meeting and mentioned that he expects that the conclusions of G-20 can be tied to the discussions for the Fifth Summit of the Americas, making them even more relevant in the world context. He stated that “the countries of the Western Hemisphere cannot remain inactive in the face of the threats of this crisis to our economies, mainly unemployment, an increase in poverty, and interruption of the sustained growth we have had over the last six months.” Mr. Insulza concluded that “the Summits of the Americas have demonstrated the importance of sound regional coordination and governability in the context of globalization.”

Ambassador Luis Alberto Rodriguez, National Coordinator of Trinidad and Tobago and Chair of the SIRG, agreed with the need to concentrate on the economic, social and security challenges that the Hemisphere is facing, stating that “our region, and indeed the entire world, is now in a transition period. Major economies now face weakening economic conditions with adverse consequences for social progress.” Mr. Rodríguez also added that “the current economic crisis may deepen existing vulnerabilities in our countries or expose new ones. The effects are already being felt within the region through declining remittances and falling demand for exports.”

During the Fifth Meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) that is taking place November 17-19 at OAS Headquarters in Washington D.C., the participating countries hope to make progress on the negotiation of the Draft Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain, mainly on those paragraphs related to the issue of human prosperity.

The Fifth Summit of the Americas will take place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on April 17-19, 2009. The Summit’s theme is “Securing Our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability.” The complete text of the Draft Declaration is available on the OAS Summits Secretariat’s website:

Reference: E-443/08