Media Center



  June 1, 2009

San Pedro Sula, Honduras – Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) and representatives from the business sector agreed Monday on the need to deepen co-operation between public and private sectors towards promoting prosperity in the hemisphere, in a dialogue held in the context of the OAS General Assembly in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The meeting was part of a series of dialogues held separately between representatives from the 34 Member States and representatives of workers, civil society and permanent observers.

OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, stressed that the meeting and the collaboration between private sector and OAS “has been and continues to be of utmost importance to all our Member States.” “I commend you for your continued engagement and the creativity with which you have been working with the OAS,” he said.

Following up on the recent Fifth Summit of the Americas, held in Trinidad and Tobago in April, Ambassador Ramdin highlighted that “the key is implementation: We must transform words and ideas into concrete actions,” he added.

The Assistant Secretary General reminded the meeting of the significance that the OAS attaches to public-private partnerships “as a vehicle for promoting business development, economic growth and social development with equity throughout the Americas.”

“It is our hope that the private sector through private-public partnerships will increase its efforts to meet and mitigate the effects of the current financial crisis,” he said. “Evidence shows that when the private sector and governments work together, they have a greater chance of meeting the development priorities of the Hemisphere”.

The Vice-Minister of Foreign Relations of Honduras, Patricia Licona, who moderated the dialogue, stressed that public-private partnerships represent “an answer to the challenges of the hemisphere”. The Honduran Vice-Minister highlighted the “harmony that must exist between the production and development sectors,” and the “very important” role that the private sector can play in developing a culture of non-violence, following the theme of the General Assembly.

Vice-Minister Licona also celebrated that the General Assembly, and particularly the dialogue with the private sector, took place in the city of San Pedro Sula, “birthplace of the economic development of Honduras.”

Enrique Arturo de Obarrio, Vice-President of Private Sector of the Americas, said that “the private sector can play an important role in relieving poverty, mainly through creating good jobs.” De Obarrio also asked to consolidate a “wide participation of the private sector not only in Summits and OAS General Assemblies, but also of ministerial meetings of the hemisphere, as a follow up on particular topics.”

Carel Ayoung, president of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), said that “despite de challenges of our present era, development can still flourish. The collaboration and cooperation within CARICOM is working, though not perfectly.” Ayoung said that the Caribbean private sector “remains steadfast in its drive for individual and national prosperity, but at this juncture it must still depend on the initiatives of its governments and other global institutions like the OAS for support.”

Jacobo Kattan, president of FUNDAHRSE, the Honduran chapter of the Forum Empresa network, presented several proposals to the Member States, among them creating plans to integrate public-private partnerships focused on development; disseminating that social justice, equity and prosperity can only be achieved in democracy; and promoting voluntary work within corporations.

John Craig, representative of the Business Technical Advisory Committee on Labor Matters (CEATAL), focused his statement on the contributions that public and private sector can offer to develop a culture of non-violence. “The creation of productive jobs should be a key pillar in any strategy to combat violence,” he said. “Employment is a key component of social stability,” he added.

Representatives of Member Status also encouraged the private sector to continue promoting investment initiatives and reaffirmed their commitment with policies focused on recovering confidence to overcome the current economic crisis. During the meeting the floor was held by the representatives from Argentina, Brazil, United States, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize and Antigua and Barbuda.

Reference: GA-07-09