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OAS Member States Approved the Organization's Budget for the 2015- 2016 Biennium

  October 29, 2014

The Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), gathered today at the 48th Special General Assembly unanimously approved the the Program Budget of the regular fund of the Hemispheric Organization for the 2015-2016 biennium, which assigns a total of 84.324 million dollars annually for the operation and implementation of the institution’s activities.

The General Assembly, which took place today in the OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, was led by the Permanent Representative of Chile to the OAS, Ambassador Juan Pablo Lira, who chairs the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs (CAAP) of the Permanent Council. Ambassador Lira welcomed the adoption of the resolution stating that "after intense and fruitful discussions, we have achieved a consensus document," he welcomed the agreement, and thanked the member countries and the OAS General Secretariat "for all the efforts and dedication demonstrated."

The Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Chair of the Permanent Council, La Celia Prince, introduced the document and stated that the draft presented by the Council "includes measures related to budgetary appropriation, accountability to member states and provisions of administrative and budgetary nature." "As is customary, measures instruct the General Secretariat to provide the CAAP with a timetable for presenting reports, strategies and plans in order to ensure fulfillment of mandates and the proper execution of the program-budget" she explained.

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, for his part, highlighted in his address the "collective effort" that member states and the Secretariat carried out to approve "a numerical expression of the priority programs that will guide the work of the OAS next year." In that context, he said, the budget now adopted is marked by the approval at the Special General Assembly last September of the Strategic Vision of the Organization, and the submission of the Secretary General to the Permanent Council of the Plan for the Management Modernization of the OAS.

In his analysis of the projection of the new 2015-2016 budget, the OAS leader mentioned the importance of the Strategic Vision and expressed his "personal satisfaction" that the plan has been adapted to "the conceptual ordering of the objectives" of the Organization, the product of a process that he initiated. In that regard, he reiterated that this helps to empower the "clear comparative advantage" the hemispheric institution has with respect to other multilateral institutions of the Hemisphere in the areas of democracy, human rights, multidimensional security, and even including its contributions in legal matters. However, Secretary General Insulza noted the need to review the role of the OAS in the area of integral development, including programs and projects that "require capacities, particularly financial, which are not the fundamental characteristic of our Organization, whose advantage lies on the political level.”

The Secretary General stated that the OAS should "cede the implementation of projects of an economic nature to institutions dedicated to such projects, perhaps reserving a space for areas such as education, in which we retain comparative advantage." He recalled that the essence of the OAS is its stature as the political forum of the region, and cited that even countries that criticize "very strongly the OAS, when they have a serious problem, they bring it to the OAS."

In relation to the Strategic Plan for Management Modernization, he recalled that the document culminates a process begun since he took office in 2005, when he initiated a series of reforms designed to improve the administrative, budgetary and financial management of the Organization taking as its bases "efficiency, transparency and accountability." More importantly, -continued the leader of the institution- is that the Strategic Plan contains three requirements that, in his opinion, the member states must face: to adjust the quotas paid by countries to inflation rates; secure funding for the maintenance of buildings and update systems information technology; and design an human resources strategy that adjusts to the attributes of each sector of the Organization and to the different forms of financing of the institution.

At the end of his speech, Secretary General Insulza recalled that his term will end in May, so that today will be his last budget leading the OAS, and suggested that in future budget assemblies be made in conjunction with General Assemblies, "I believe the best way to reflect the political priorities in the budgetary priorities, is to have both meetings at the same time and not have two separate Assemblies."

The budget approved today includes a framework for management and performance reports, instructs the Secretary General to intensify efforts to mobilize external resources to implement the mandates of the General Assembly, details the specific levels of appropriations for the Regular Fund by chapter and program with their recommendations, instructions or mandates, and provides implementation of the Strategic Plan for Management Modernization, and a review of the general rules of the Organization. The resolution includes footnotes submitted by the delegations of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia on the financing of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB).

During the Special General Assembly the representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Mexico, Bolivia, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Nicaragua, Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Canada, Venezuela, Saint Lucia, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina and Belize took the floor to highlight the value of the tools contained in the approved Program Budget to enhance accountability, improve efficiency of operations and ensure consistent planning. They also reiterated the commitment of member states to continue working on the Strategic Vision for the OAS, and encouraged moving forward on the discussion over its structure and modernization applying austerity and efficiency of resources for the Organization’s operations.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-470/14