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OAS Assistant Secretary General Inaugurates Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development

  October 22, 2014

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, today inaugurated the Fourth Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington DC, calling on member states to work together to define a regional position on the post 2015 global sustainable development agenda.

“This is, in many ways, one of the most critical meetings we have within the Organization of American States, speaking of long term development and sustainability,” said the Assistant Secretary General. “Today we meet with the common aim of putting our own mark on the global effort to fashion a post 2015 sustainable development agenda.”

Ambassador Ramdin highlighted that “the debate is no longer about the practicality of sustainable development, rather how quickly it can be achieved.” “In my view governments and the peoples of the Americas have no choice here,” said Ramdin, “there is simply no other option than embarking rapidly on the path of sustainable development.”

In his address the senior OAS official detailed four points for consideration during the two day meeting: development agendas must be made a national priority; the design of programs must be practical if development is to be sustainable; education outreach and communication are critically important; and finally countries must work together.

In his conclusion, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin challenged those gathered “not to allow this issue to be mired in technicalities or bogged down by bureaucracy, but let us be practical, realistic, strategic and effective, looking at measurable outcomes that we can achieve. Let us commit to do this not only for our own future, but most importantly for the future of our children and their children.”

Francisco Contreras, Chair of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development, Undersecretary of State for Health of Honduras, and also Executive Secretary of the National Council on Sustainable Development of his country, said “beginning with the dialogue and reflections that we will have during these two days, this political forum charged with defining the directives of the OAS on the issue of sustainable development and the environment will be strengthened as a space for reflection on the road we have travelled and what lies ahead in terms of our contributions as an Organization, with solid steps, to the sustainable development of our peoples.”

Moreover, Undersecretary Contreras urged participants to “frankly share our progress, successful experiences and also the challenges we have find so that these become key inputs and help us to build a post 2015 sustainable development agenda for the Americas through the analysis and updating of the program and the path to the Third Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Sustainable Development, which we will hold in Honduras in 2015.”

The Chair of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) of the OAS and Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the Organization, Neil Parsan, thanked Honduras for having taken on the leadership of the process, and having offered to host the meeting in 2015. Ambassador Parsan highlighted that the meeting takes place “at a very opportune moment,” given its coincidence with the beginning of the inter-governmental negotiations of the United Nations on a post 2015 sustainable development agenda and its proximity to the 20th meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Lima Peru from December 1 to 14.

“As a regional organization of the United Nations, the OAS and its member states are well placed to play lead roles in the post 2015 process,” said Ambassador Parsan. He said that the meeting held today and tomorrow in the framework of the hemispheric Organization offers “the perfect platform” to play this role, and concluded by emphasizing that “both CIDI and SEDI are fully committed to remaining engaged in the post 2015 development agenda as it evolves, particularly in the definition of goals.”

The Fourth Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development will conclude tomorrow, Thursday October 23 with closing remarks by the Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS, Sherry Tross.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-452/14