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OAS and El Salvador Work together for a Greener General Assembly

  June 5, 2011

The forty-first regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which opens today in San Salvador, has been convened to discuss security in the region, a topic of concern to all the Hemisphere’s governments. The inauguration coincides with World Environment Day and, therefore, the OAS and the Government of El Salvador have decided to make the meeting as environment-friendly as possible. That decision reflects the values, efforts, and achievements of the member states -in particular those of the host country- and the OAS General Secretariat in contributing to the stewardship of the planet and in promoting sustainable development.

Consequently, this year, at the forty-first regular session of the General Assembly, the OAS and the Government of El Salvador have instituted an environmental strategy to help protect and preserve the environment. In recent years, the OAS has increased its pursuit of green initiatives. For example, the number of photocopies made during the annual meeting of foreign ministers in Lima, in 2010, was 30 times less than that produced at the 2005 Assembly in Fort Lauderdale. Similarly, the accreditations of 85% of the almost 1,500 participants at the 2011 event were processed on line, and a large numbers of CDs and USB devices containing key General Assembly documents are being distributed to reduce the volume of paper used.

In this way, the hemispheric organization and the Government of El Salvador have called on participants and organizers at the forty-first regular session of the General Assembly, each within their areas of responsibility, to take steps for the benefit of the environment and natural resources. The main aim is to reduce the use of paper during the Assembly as a way of contributing to environmental protection. In addition, all waste generated during the meeting will be sorted to facilitate recycling, using different containers for plastics, organic waste, metals, glass, and paper, thus helping to save resources and energy.

The OAS has an Eco-Guide developed by the Department of Conferences and Meetings Management (DCMM) designed to ensure that every effort is made to minimize the adverse environmental impact of the meetings held as part of OAS activities and to make use of the best available technology. At the same time, the OAS’s Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) has designed an environmental strategy to be adopted by the Organization in its day-to-day operations at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Environmental stewardship has for many years been a priority of the Organization, as is evident from Article 15 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, signed on September 11, 2001. That document states that “the exercise of democracy promotes the preservation and good stewardship of the environment,” and that “it is essential that the states of the Hemisphere implement policies and strategies to protect the environment, including application of various treaties and conventions, to achieve sustainable development on behalf of future generations.”

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-709/11