office of the Summit Follow-up - OAS

 

PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT

OEA/Ser.G   CE/GCI-142/98
17 September 1998
Original: Spanish

REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITS, OFFICES, AND DEPARTMENTS OF THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT IN RELATION TO FULFILLMENT OF THE MANDATES OF THE SECOND SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
(Document submitted by the General Secretariat)

 

EDUCATION

Unit for Social Development and Education (UDSE)

The UDSE prepares and furnishes support for ministerial- and high-level meetings to organize and coordinate regional cooperation; it also develops programs and projects to support the implementation of initiatives in education.

At the Meeting of Ministers of Education held in Brasilia, Brazil, from July 20-22, in the framework of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), approval was given to the Inter-American Education Program, which constitutes one of the mechanisms for implementing the initiative in this area contained in the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas. This Program includes six projects that were the object of a collective planning effort commissioned of technical representatives of the Education Ministries of the Hemisphere at a programming meeting held at the OAS headquarters on August 18 and 19, 1998. Implementation of the activities entailed in the multinational projects will start in January 1999 and be funded with resources from the Special Account for Education of FEMCIDI (Special Multilateral Fund for Integral Development).

In the second half of 1998, technical seminars financed by the Plurinational Project of Cooperation will be held on the education initiatives associated with the Hemispheric Summits. These initiatives are being coordinated by the Chilean Ministry of Education and specific multinational meetings and seminars relating to the mandates of the Second Summit.

In the third week in November the UDSE will support the Follow-up Meeting on the Chapter on Education of the Second Summit of the Americas to be held at the OAS headquarters.

Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD)

The UPD organizes fellowship and exchange programs for students, teachers, researchers, and education managers. To fulfill this mandate the UPD proposes to broaden its Inter-University Program of Studies for Democracy.

Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM)

The CIM will work in conjunction with the UDSE to support the development and implementation of multilateral projects on "Education with a Gender Perspective" in the framework of resolution CIDI/RES. 45 (III-0/98).

DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) The UPD will continue to provide support to those states that so require for the design and execution of programs and projects emanating from the Santiago Plan of Action, for example:
  1. To strengthen democratic institutions, practices, and values in government as well as civil-society organizations. To that end, projects will be carried out with national institutions aimed at boosting their institutional capacities and technical capabilities, and nurturing democratic values and practices.
  2. To design and implement projects for strengthening legislative institutions by means of technical training for their staff and development of legislative support services. To provide support and technical training for local government officials and for promotion of citizen participation.
  3. To provide support to electoral institutions in the member states in order to bolster their technical capacity and efficiency in electoral processes.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

The Commission decided to establish the position of rapporteur on freedom of expression, whose mandates and functions were defined at its meeting in March 1998. The recruitment and selection process is now underway for a Special Rapporteur of the IACHR on Freedom of Expression, who will be in charge of preparing reports on this issue and submitting them for consideration to the Commission. As for funding this activity, the IACHR hopes to obtain resources through contributions from the member states, permanent observers, multilateral organizations, cooperation agencies, foundations, and other private institutions interested in this issue. The United States Government has been the first to contribute, with US$150,000 for this purpose.

The IACHR will continue to organize seminars and events on the Inter-American System of Human Rights, including training for judges and magistrates in the human rights field. An event is planned for December 1988 that will consist in an evaluation of the human rights situation in the Continent in relation to the salient topics in this area and to the Inter-American system.

The Commission will focus its efforts on the Proposal for an Inter-American Program of International Promotion of Human Rights. The aims of the Program are:

  1. Strengthening of the functions of protection and defense through dissemination of the rules and procedures of the inter-American system;
  2. Strengthening of national institutions in charge of protecting and promoting human rights;
  3. Human rights education for the hemisphere’s population as a whole and for vulnerable groups in particular.
Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) Strengthening Democracy.

The CIM participates with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in the PROLEAD Program, through which more than US$4 million will be allocated to boost the capacity for political leadership of women in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Human Rights. The CIM has launched actions in support of the Judicial Education Program – Toward a Jurisprudence of Equality, of the International Federation of Women Judges (IFWJ). This program, sponsored by the IDB in five Latin American countries, entails training judges in the participant countries in the use and application of international human rights legal instruments in cases involving violence and discrimination against women.

CIVIL SOCIETY

Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment

(UDSMA)

The UDSMA will continue to support the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation (ISP). The programming stage is complete and implementation begun of the various components of the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Environment and Sustainable Development Decision-Making.

The main activities were to hold the first meeting of the Project Advisory Committee (PAC), in Antigua, Guatemala, at which the implementation plans for the different ISP components were presented; programming of specific activities of demonstration projects in Peru, Guatemala and Jamaica; development of a work plan and start of an inventory and analysis of environmental legislation as part of the Legal and Institutional Frameworks component; finalization of the Implementation Plan containing the details of all the project activities and its schedule; holding of a seminar to strengthen the National Sustainable Development Councils of Central America and Mexico in San Jose, Costa Rica; programming of the seminar on participatory management of biodiversity and coastal resources in the Caribbean to be held in Barbados; holding of the second meeting of the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) in Jamaica; and programming of the technical seminar to define water resources management policies in cross-border watersheds in South America. With the input of and experience gained from each project component, the UDSMA will start to design an ISP Framework, taking into consideration the recommendations on enhancing public participation in decision making on sustainable development and the environment.

Included among the main activities pending are various seminars and meetings, which are described in the meetings calendar attached (Annex I)

Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD)

To continue to implement the Program of Cooperation on Decentralization, Local Government, and Citizen Participation, whose meetings for 1998 are listed among the activities foreseen in the initiative on Strengthening Municipal and Regional Administrations.

Office for Summits Follow-Up (OSC)

This office will coordinate the work of all the Units/Offices in relation to this initiative.

It will create an official Internet web page, which will afford access to different academic, private, and other civil-society institutions.

It will organize seminars and presentations to disseminate the activities of the OAS with respect to the Summit of the Americas.

MIGRANT WORKERS

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) The Commission will disseminate and promote the conclusions and proposals contained in the report of the Special Rapporteur. It will make on-site inspections to examine the plight of migrant workers and their families. It will start to evaluate the results of questionnaires distributed among the member states, with a view to producing a final report in that respect. The IACHR has decided to set up a Voluntary Fund on Migrant Workers.

It will organize actions through the Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers, with the aim of disseminating the rights of migrant workers.

STRENGTHENING MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIONS

Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) The Unit will continue to implement the Program of Cooperation on Decentralization, Local Government, and Citizen Participation by holding technical meetings and seminars programmed for 1998. The Program also includes sharing of information by way of seminars, workshops, technical assistance through horizontal cooperation, applied and comparative research, "policy papers", and setting up information networks, including a UPD web page.

CORRUPTION

Secretariat for Legal Affairs The Secretariat will hold a Symposium on Strengthening Probity in the Hemisphere to take place from November 4-6, 1998, in Santiago, Chile. In this regard, it should be pointed out that, acting in an advisory capacity for the Permanent Council, the Secretariat took part in developing the Agenda for this meeting, has begun preparation of working papers, and will provide technical advisory assistance at the meeting.

It will stage workshops to disseminate the provisions contained in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. These activities have already got underway with two workshops in Venezuela y Costa Rica, the intention being for them to continue over the rest of the year and in 1999.

As for monitoring the progress of the Convention, the Secretariat acts as the depository for this treaty and updates information on the status of its legal effect. Furthermore, it supplies technical support for the work of the Inter-American Juridical Committee aimed at the implementation at the national level of a number of measures set forth in the Convention.

Electoral Campaigns:

The Secretariat for Legal Affairs has been compiling legislation in relation to this theme.

Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) Electoral Campaigns:

The UPD could provide technical assistance to national institutions in charge of electoral reform, by fostering the sharing of information and experiences among the entities in charge of supervising electoral campaigns, encouraging meetings between academic centers and civil-society institutions with a view to analyzing problems surrounding campaign funding. Furthermore, the UPD and the Secretariat for Legal Affairs will jointly organize the follow-up meeting on the Caracas meeting held in February 1998.

PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF ILLICIT CONSUMPTION AND TRAFFIC IN NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES AND RELATED CRIMES

Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) The Working Group on the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) was set up in the framework of the CICAD. In August, this Working Group met for the second time at the OAS headquarters to analyze the principles and aims contained in letter SGE/CAD-585/98 sent by the CICAD Executive Secretary to the main representatives, summarizing the documents submitted at the first meeting of the Working Group, along with comments put forward by several member states.

At this meeting the Working Group agreed on the principles and objectives, as well as the characteristics of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism. The multilateral evaluation process is founded on the following principles:

Respect for the sovereignty, territorial jurisdiction, and domestic juridical order of the states; reciprocity, transparency, co-responsibility, integrality, and balance in the treatment of the issue; and the Anti-Drug Strategy in the Hemisphere, and international agreements and instruments in force.

The next meeting of the Working Group will be in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on October 26 and 27, 1998. It was agreed that the agenda of the coming meeting would address, among other items, the process and schedule for the design and implementation of the MEM, along with indicators, and the communications policy.

TERRORISM

Secretariat for Legal Affairs The Permanent Council convened the Second Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism to be held in Argentina on November 24 and 25, 1998. In preparation for the work of this Second Conference, the Secretariat provided advisory assistance to the Inter-American Juridical Committee in drawing up the commentaries that the Committee submitted to the Permanent Council.

CONFIDENCE AND SECURITY BUILDING

Secretariat for Legal Affairs Acting on the instructions of the Permanent Council, the Secretariat will convene the Third Regional Conference on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, following on from the Conferences of Santiago and San Salvador, in order to evaluate progress and to define new actions.

The Secretariat will ready the documents written, information compiled, and analyses performed in preparation for the Special Conference on Security to be held in the framework of the OAS "by the start of the next decade, at the latest."

Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) The Unit carries out a mine-clearing program in Central America

The Unit is currently carrying out a program of support in the area of rehabilitation of mine victims and for the socioeconomic recovery of regions cleared of mines.

STRENGTHENING OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND OF JUDICIAL BODIES

Secretariat for Legal Affairs The Secretariat for Legal Affairs will prepare the working documents and provide technical advisory services for the Second Meeting of Ministers of Justice to be held in Lima by June 1999.

With the support of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs, the Inter-American Juridical Committee is preparing different studies on matters concerning protection and guarantees for judges and lawyers in the performance of their functions.

MODERNIZATION OF THE STATE IN LABOR MATTERS

Unit for Social Development and Education (UDSE) The Preparatory Meeting for the Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor was held at the OAS headquarters on August 27 and 28.

The Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor will take place in Santiago, Chile on October 20 and 21, 1998. This meeting will be held in the framework of the CIDI. The conference technical secretariat is under the joint control of the UDSE and the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI). The topics to be addressed include "globalization of the economy and its effects on employment" and "modernization of the State and labor administration". Furthermore, the first phase of the Job Markets Information System will conclude with the design of a set of basic indicators and of mechanisms for harmonization of indicator calculation methodology, preparatory to the start in January 1999 of the phase consisting in the provision of direct advisory services to the 18 countries taking part in the program.

Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) The SEDI will provide support for holding the Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor in Santiago, Chile.

FREE TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICAS (FTAA)

Trade Unit In 1998, the Trade Unit is allocating approximately US$ 20,000 to the FTAA Administrative Secretariat. An OAS contribution to the FTAA Secretariat of US$120,000 is programmed for 1999. This contribution is subject to the approval of the General Assembly.

As Chairman of the FTAA Negotiations Committee, the Representative of Canada has requested the Tripartite Committee for a report on measures recommended by the member states for promoting trade. The Trade Unit will prepare this report in conjunction with the other members of the Tripartite Committee once the countries have submitted their official comments, the deadline for this being September 15. The OAS will be in charge of the preparation of the report.

Trade Unit staff will provide support, at the request of the chairmen, to the FTAA negotiation groups. Consultations were held with a number of negotiation group chairmen in preparation for the negotiation meetings being held this month. Trade Unit staff will attend these meetings to provide support and to respond to any requests that the negotiation groups make to the Tripartite Committee.

The Trade Unit will also be present at meetings of the FTAA consultative groups. These consultative groups (electronic trade, civil society, and small economies) will hold their meetings in October 1998 and might request assistance from the Tripartite Committee.

The TU will continue to provide technical assistance principally to the small economies by way of seminars and courses funded by the CIDI. The TU is working with member states and subregional organizations like the Permanent Secretariat of the General Treaty for Central American Integration (SIECA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to identify areas that need strengthening in order to participate in the FTAA process.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) The First Meeting of the Inter-American Commission on Science and Technology (COMCyT) was carried out in the framework of the CIDI in Bariloche, Argentina. The Meeting discussed the mission and functions of the COMCyT, along with the future directions and priorities of the sector. The member states have until September 30 to send their observations and comments on the paper on contributions to the Inter-American Science and Technology Program in order for it to be presented to the CEPCIDI by December 31, 1998.
Office of Science and Technology This Office will continue with the connection to the Internet of institutions in the region through the Hemispheric Inter-university Scientific and Technological Information Network (RedHUCyT), as it will with the development of the regional scientific and technological information system INFOCyT.

The Office, particularly through the RedHUCyT, is a very active supporter of Internet development in the region. The project sponsored the connection to the Internet for the first time of many countries in the region, including Bolivia, Peru, all the Central American countries, and Paraguay.

The Office will continue the Inter-American Program of Diagnostic Methods and Tools to Improve Competitiveness and Compliance with Environmental Regulations among Small- and Medium-size Businesses, while at the same time promoting environmentally sound production. The Office will also continue with round tables on environmental-technological cooperation in key industrial sectors.

It will strengthen the Commission for the Scientific and Technological Development of Central America and Panama (CTCAP).

It will continue to carry out activities in connection with Regional Science and Technology Indicators under the coordination of Quilmes Univeristy in Argentina.

It will launch the Inter-American Chemical Metrology Program in keeping with the strategic developed as part of the activities of the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM) 1997-1998. The Chemical Metrology program puts emphasis on the areas of health and the environment.

It will undertake activities to monitor the impact of the "El Niño" phenomenon on biological systems.

It will continue to support meetings of the MERCOCYT.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) CITEL will carry out programs to contribute toward the implementation of its guidelines on value-added services and advancement of the development of community information services for the provision of basic telephone value-added services, computers, and Internet services, among others.

It will undertake programs in support of the member states on themes relating to sharing and distribution of information on regulatory affairs that are in alignment with the international commitments in place.

It will perform studies on coordinating standardization of telecommunication infrastructure.

Through CITEL, the OAS will participate in and provide technical support for a series of Meetings of the following Working Groups:

  1. Universal Service
  2. Value-Added Services
  3. Certification Procedures for Telecommunication Equipment
  4. Spectrum Management
  5. Global Information Infrastructure
  6. Standards Coordination
  7. Development of Human Resources

These groups have already held some meetings and made progress in their work.

WOMEN

Inter-American Comission of Women (CIM) The CIM General Assembly, which is to be held on November 16 to 18, will define the activities that will be to be carried out in fulfillment of the mandates of the Second Summit of the Americas. Apart from participating in the implementation of other initiatives (Education, Democracy, and Human Rights), the CIM will also continue with it efforts to spur on the signing and ratification of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, "Convention of Belém do Pará", and achievement of the objectives contained therein.

BASIC RIGHTS OF WORKERS

Unit for Social Development and Education (UDSE) The Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor will take place in Santiago, Chile on October 20 and 21, 1998. This meeting will be held in the Framework of the CIDI. The conference technical secretariat is under the joint coordination of the UDSE and the SEDI.
Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) The SEDI will provide support for holding the Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor in Santiago, Chile.

INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS

Secretariat for Legal Affairs Meeting of government experts in the framework of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs in early 1999 in Washington, D.C. The Secretariat will prepare the working papers and serve in a technical and legal advisory role at the meeting.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment (UDSMA) The UDSMA is in charge of coordinating actions in fulfillment of the mandates of the Santa Cruz Summit. The UDSMA chairs the Inter-Agency Task Force to Support the Bolivia Summit Follow-Up. The Task Force has set up seven Working Groups to address the principal initiatives contained in the Santa Cruz Plan of Action.

Programmed activities:

  • Creation of a hemispheric network of officials and experts in environmental law, enforcement, and compliance.
  • Implementation of activities identified in the Inter-American Strategy for Public Participation in decision Making on Sustainable Development.
  • Identification of response mechanisms, along with avenues and means of strengthening public and private finance for sustainable development.
  • Support for the Inter-Agency Task Force assisting in the implementation and coordination of the Santa Cruz Plan of Action follow-up.
  • Support for the Initiative on Biodiversity.
  • Support for the Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management
  • Support for the Initiative on Sustainable Cities and Communities

Creation of a Forum of the Americas on Sustainable Development. This forum will debate regional, subregional, and national policies on this theme; serve to adopt regional positions for negotiations at the international level; promote implementation of the initiatives contained in the Santa Cruz Plan of Action; and promote a structured dialogue on national experiences with sustainable development issues.

Development of programs that make it possible to put into practice the proposals Presented in the Report of the Secretary General of the OAS, in relation to coordination and implementation of the decisions adopted at the Santa Cruz Summit.


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