Media Center



  June 3, 2007

PANAMA CITY, Panama—Delegates of the Organization of American States (OAS) member countries met today with business leaders from around the Americas to hear their recommendations for promoting economic growth, increasing prosperity and reducing poverty in the hemisphere through policies that increase efficiency in the use and generation of energy and that complement OAS efforts in this area.

The talks between the private sector and the Heads of Delegations were held within the framework of the 37th OAS General Assembly, which will formally open this afternoon under the main theme of “Energy for Sustainable Development.” Panama’s Vice President and Minister of Foreign Relations, Samuel Lewis Navarro, chaired the meeting, accompanied by OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin.

In his remarks, Ramdin reaffirmed that the OAS is committed to continue working with the business forum, explaining that it has been growing in the last few years. He said it represents a “one of the examples of good public-private partnerships, and we want to strengthen that alliance.”

The Assistant Secretary General called the private sector a partner in the hemisphere due to its capacity to create jobs, promote peace and build stable societies, and said “that is what the whole of the Americas needs, a sustainable environment to be able to further progress for social and economic development. So we see the private sector, civil society and the governments as one holistic approach to development.”

On May 31 and June 1, the Private Sector of the Americas organization, with the support of the government of Panama and the OAS, convened the IV OAS Private Sector Forum, entitled “Energy for Development in the Americas: The Role of Public-Private Partnerships.” Over 300 representatives from the private sector met to provide recommendations in the following areas: Energy Cooperation and Integration; The Future of Sustainable Electricity; and Biofuels as an Alternative for the Transportation Sector.

This marks the fourth time that these business leaders have met to provide contributions and recommendations to the region’s governments. The Chair of the Organizing Committee of the Private Sector Forum, Enrique Arturo de Obarrio, said this mechanism “has taken shape and is beginning to grow like a sturdy tree, already yielding fruit for the benefit of our peoples.”

The private sector representatives presented a document to be considered by the foreign ministers of the hemisphere during their General Assembly debates. The recommendations include the need for regional energy cooperation, promotion of innovative solutions for renewable energy, and the creation and improvement of financing mechanisms for the development of sustainable energy, among others.

Reference: GA-14-07