“We know that political systems are going to suffer, that our social fabric is going to suffer, but we cannot emerge from this situation neither less democratic nor our peoples with less rights. Let's use this challenging moment as a unique opportunity to look at ourselves as an Organization, look at ourselves as a region, reinforce the essential values for life and human development, and ensure that the most excluded people in our societies are neither left behind or left out, not for one more minute."
- Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS
The SARS-COV-2 pandemic, the virus that generates the COVID-19 disease, has exposed multiple vulnerabilities in our societies. We have learned that our health depends on the health of others. We have learned that even if we have access to a doctor and medicines, if the person who bags our products in the market does not have access to health care, our own health is also affected. We have learned that to be healthy we need to be part of an inclusive society, without people living in poverty or extreme poverty, without people living on the streets, with a universal health system that cares for everyone equally, regardless of your social class or your economic income (or lack thereof). We have learned that we are strongly interdependent, and that our well-being depends on the well-being of the whole of society. This offers us the opportunity to generate a new social contract, based on solidarity.
We face many uncertainties, including the warning from international financial organizations that we will experience one of the worst economic recessions in modern history, with the consequent impact on unemployment and income levels. It is reasonable to think that there will be deep debates on issues such as the role of the State in the economy and in society, our relationship with nature and the use of natural resources, climate change and globalization, among many others.
At the OAS General Secretariat, we want to start thinking about the world to come. We can efficiently use this time of crisis to think, devise, debate and make decisions about a new social contract based on equity, justice and the economic and social inclusion of the entire population.
To do this, the OAS General Secretariat has created this Portal, "More rights beyond the pandemic: OAS Portal for Consultations, Forums, and Repository." With this tool, we open the debate to the peoples of the Americas: what should we do as countries and as societies to contribute to the construction of the future to come?
Anyone interested can propose ideas and comment on the ideas that other people propose. The OAS General Secretariat will feed the debate with contributions from international experts. The final purpose is that the best ideas and proposals become concrete projects. The OAS General Secretariat may transform some of the proposals into projects to be implemented in the region; in other cases, it may provide technical assistance to member states that show interest in implementing them; perhaps other regional and international organizations take some of these ideas and the OAS General Secretariat will be willing to work collaboratively with them to bring them to reality.
This Portal aims to be a participatory and democratic space where everyone has the opportunity to express their ideas on how we can shape the post-COVID-19 world so that more people access more rights beyond the pandemic. All people participating in the debate must accept the rules contained in the Participation Protocol, to ensure that the conversation is based on mutual respect, collaboration, and the prohibition of the use of insults or personal attacks.