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-150/99
19 March 1999
Original: Spanish

Presentations made to the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management

(Session of January 28, 1999)

The following document contains the written version of the four reports which were delivered orally to the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management at its session of January 28, 1998. This document was prepared by the Office of Summit Follow-Up.

The topics of the presentations were from the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas and were as follows:

Mandate:

Report

1

Democracy and Human Rights

Report of the General Secretariat on the Activities of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy under the Second Summit of the Americas mandate "Democracy and Human Rights," delivered by Dr. Ruben Perina, UPD.

2

Migrant Workers

Report of the General Secretariat on the Activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights under the Second Summit of the Americas mandate "Migrant Workers," delivered by Dr. Jorge Taiana, Executive Secretary, IACHR.

3

Strengthening of Regional and Municipal Administrations; and Civil Society

Report of the General Secretariat on the Activities of the UPD under the Second Summit of the Americas mandates "Strengthening of Regional and Municipal Administrations"; delivered by Ms. Anne Marie Blackman, UPD.

4

Transportation

Report of the General Secretariat on Third Western Hemisphere Transportation Ministerial, held in New Orleans, December 14-17, 1998, delivered by Mr. Christopher Hernández-Roy, Office of Summit Follow-Up.

1. Report of the General Secretariat on the Activities of the UPD under the Second Summit of the Americas mandate "Democracy and Human Rights"

The Support Program for Legislative Institutions and Processes continued to play a part in boosting cooperative ties between Congresses in member states and between legislative institutions and civil society and academic circles. Assistance was provided in conducting research and in organizing regional seminars and workshops to generate know-how, exchange experience and information on legislative questions, and train specialists in specific areas such as: "Parliamentary Electoral Systems and Democratic Governance" (Andean region and Central America), "Parliamentary Management and Civil Society" (Southern Cone), and "The Role of Mercosur-Member Parliaments in the Areas of Democracy and Integration." Technical assistance was given to projects to design software for inter-parliamentary legislative information networks in the Andean region and Central America which were presented to potential users in seminars organized jointly with the Andean Parliament and the Forum of Presidents of the Legislative Branch of Central America (FOPREL). The Program, with the additional aid of an Inter-American Development Bank grant, also supported the Congress of Guatemala in its efforts to draft legislation to enact the Peace Agreements and implement an Integral Modernization Plan. Similar support was given to the Congress of Ecuador in its work on an Integral Modernization Plan. Such activities led to various publications, including "Congresos y Democracia en los países de la Región Andina. Deficiencias y Estrategias." Bogotá, Universidad de los Andes,1997; "Parlamento y Democracia: Las Asesorías Legislativas en América Latina," Corporación 2000, Chile, 1998; y "El Parlamento y las Principales Decisiones del Sistema Político Uruguayo," Latin American Center on Human Economics (CLAEH), Uruguay, 1998. The program also contributed to a project entitled "Legislative Leaders of the Americas Network," launched by Inter-American Dialogue. The Network’s first meeting was held in November 1998 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

In reference to the Programa for the Promotion of Democratic Values and Practices, the UPD, the OAS Department of Fellowships, and CIDI continued to provide support to the Inter-University Network of Studies on Democracy, which promotes and supports research and graduate studies in democracy, exchange of professors, and joint publications. The network is composed of the Latin American Institute of Social Doctrine and Studies (ILADES), the Universidad Javeriana, and the Universidad Rafael Landívar.

In the Andean Region, the UPD collaborated with the secretary general of the Andean Parliament and the University of Cuenca, Ecuador, to organize a regional training workshop for young women leaders of the Andean region on democratic values and practices. For the Central American region, the UPD cooperated with e Center for Election Advisory Assistance and Promotion of the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights (CAPEL/IIHR) in San José, Costa Rica, for the organization of the Regional Seminar-Training Course for Young Central American Leaders on Democratic Institutions, Values and Practices. Also, in collaboration with the National Institute for Political Training (INCAP), of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the UPD organized the regional training course in democratic values and practices for young leaders in the MERCOSUR countries. The purpose of these courses is to promote a greater understanding of democratic values and practices, a better knowledge of the functioning of democratic institutions and of the techniques of modern politics, as well as closer relations among the young leaders of the member states around the issue of democratic development.

The UPD has also worked with Ministries of Education of Central American on a Regional Program on Education for Democracy, to enhance and strengthen the teaching of democratic values, behaviors and attitudes within the formal school system of each participating member state. Activities, so far have included: 1) two technical meetings, 2) a regional survey of the current status of education for democracy programs or efforts currently underway in the each country in the region, 3) assistance in the exchange of information, knowledge and teaching materials on the subject matter among regional education officials and experts, and 4) technical assistance in the drafting a regional plan of action for implementing a long-term regional support program aimed at improving teacher training in education for democracy.

As far as the Program of Cooperation in Decentralization, Local Government and Citizen Participation, the UPD carried out in 1998 a series of high level sub-regional meetings. Within sub-regional groups (CARICOM States; Central America and the Dominican Republic; States of the Andean Community and Mercosur), institutions of the member states were able to exchange information and experiences, focus on priority issues of common concern, dialogue effectively, and identify opportunities for technical assistance though horizontal cooperation activities. In 1998, areas analyzed included legal and regulatory frameworks for decentralization and citizen participation; central/local government relations; aspects of social and economic development relating to local governance; capacity and institution-building. The Program facilitated creation of sub-regional networks of technical and resource personnel, and produced five research papers. Program activities also benefited from significant collaboration with regional academic, technical and international institutions.

2. Report of the General Secretariat on the Activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights under the Second Summit of the Americas mandate "Migrant Workers"

Introduction

In its 92nd Special Session, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) decided to undertake a study on the situation of migrant workers and their families throughout the hemisphere with the aim of drafting a report on the matter. The General Assembly of the Organization of American States, in its twenty-eighth regular session in Caracas, Venezuela, urged the IACHR to proceed with such a report.

The Santiago Declaration, adopted by the Heads of State and Government attending the Second Summit of the Americas, establishes that "respect for and promotion of human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all individuals is a primary concern of our governments." The Declaration goes on to state that "we will make a special effort to guarantee the human rights of all migrants, including migrant workers and their families" shall be made.

In the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas, the Heads of State and Government agreed to seek, among other things, "full protection of the human rights of all migrants, including migrant workers and their families, and adopt effective measures, including the strengthening of public awareness, to prevent and eradicate violations of human rights and eliminate all forms of discrimination against them, particularly racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

The Plan of Action also says that states will "support the activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with regard to the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families, particularly through the Special Rapporteur for Migrant Workers."

For the drafting of its report on migrant workers and their families, the IACHR established a Working Group headed by Commissioner Alvaro Tirado Mejía, Special Rapporteur for Migrant Workers, with Commissioner Jean Joseph Exumé and IACHR Executive Secretariat staff lawyers Pablo Saavedra, Bertha Santoscoy and Relinda Eddie as members.

Thus, following the instructions of the OAS General Assembly and the Summit of Heads of State and Government, in 1998 the IACHR carried out various activities that contributed to the elaboration of a report on the situation of migrant workers and their families.

Activities Carried Out by the IACHR in 1998

In the course of 1998 the IACHR drafted and sent to OAS member states a questionnaire covering all aspects of the situation facing migrant workers and members of their families in the hemisphere. The purpose of the survey is to provide as complete a view as possible of how migrants are treated in practice and in law in each of the countries in the Hemisphere. The questionnaire was sent to member states on May 23, 1998 and a deadline of November 1, 1998 was set for replies. Later the Commission agreed to extend that period to April, May or June 1999, depending on the case, for countries that had not yet responded. As of this writing the following countries had sent in their replies: Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Brazil, Chile /1, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica.

The Commission also drafted a separate questionnaire for intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations that work in the field of migrant workers and their families. So far only the Mexican Academy of Human Rights has replied.

Upon the invitation of the Government of the United States of America, the IACHR made a visit to California from June 6 to June 9 1998 in order to observe first hand immigration and asylum request procedures. During the trip information was gathered for the forthcoming report on migrant workers and their families. The IACHR delegation met with governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations representing civil society, and visited several ports of entry and detention centers. In the latter, interviews were conducted with detainees.

In Los Angeles the IACHR delegation met with Mr. Richard K. Rogers, District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) of the U.S. Department of Justice, Mrs. Rosemary Melville, INS Assistant District Director, and other INS staff based in Los Angeles; Mr. Tom Graber, Director of the Los Angeles Airport; and Mr. Art Subia of INS field operations in Washington, D.C. The Commission also met with the following individuals working with the Office of the Governor of the State of California: Mr. John Duncan, Director of Industrial Relations, Mr. José Millán, Director of Implementation of Labor Standards, and Mr. Mark Carleson of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In San Diego the Commission met with Mrs. Adele Fasano, INS Assistant District Director; Mr. Kim Porter, assistant to the INS District Director; Mr. Peter Saldiana, assistant to the Port Director of San Ysidro; Mrs. Ralia Sarinetti, assistant to the Port Director of San Ysidro; Mrs. Sally Carrillo, assistant to the Port Director of Otay Mesa; Ms. Phyllis Yodz, Chief Customs Inspector, Otay Mesa; Mr. Kenneth Stitt, assistant to the Border Patrol Chief, Chula Vista; Mr. Mario Villareal, Border Patrol Supervising Officer, Chula Vista; Mr. Tom Wacker, Border Patrol Chief, El Centro; Mr. Ramón T. Ortega, Assistant Border Patrol Chief, El Centro; Mr. Héctor Najera Jr., Detainment and Deportation Supervisor, El Centro; Mr. T.S. Thorpe, Interim Port Director, Calexico; and other INS staff.

In both Los Angeles and San Diego the delegation met with lawyers, human rights activists and representatives of NGOs, including the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the Coalition for Human & Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the United Farm Workers (UFW), the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, the American Friends Service Committee, Health Services of North County, the California State University in San Diego, the School for Advanced Studies in Public Health and Behavioral Sciences, and the Immigrant Minors Study Project.

The Commission delegation also visited several ports of entry and detention centers, including those at the Los Angeles Airport, Calexico, Chula Vista, Otay Mesa, San Ysidro and El Centro. Detainees were interviewed during these visits. In El Centro, the delegation spoke with several detainees who had undertaken a hunger strike to protest conditions there. When visiting these centers and ports of entry, the IACHR delegation also observed detention and transfer hearings, as well as normal immigration procedures and the procedures applied to individuals requesting asylum.

While in California, the Commission gathered information related to the purpose of its visit. This included information on the mandate of the INS, the procedures that migrants and persons requesting asylum must go through, Port of Entry operations, Immigration Law procedures for accelerated transfer, conditions in detainment centers, access to lawyers and legal counsel, illicit traffic in migrants, alleged human rights violations against migrants, and the general conditions migrants face in the areas of education, work, medical care and housing.

The delegation was composed of IACHR President Carlos Ayala Corao, Commissioner Jean Joseph Exumé and Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers Commissioner Alvaro Tirado Mejía. The Commission received technical assistance from Executive Secretary Jorge Taiana, Assistant Executive Secretary David Padilla, and staff lawyers Relinda Eddie and Pablo Saavedra. Ms. Tania Hernández provided administrative support during the trip.

During its visit to Peru and Guatemala, the Commission included the subject of migrant workers and their families on its agenda. In Peru Commissioner Alvaro Tirado, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Speech, met with representatives of the International Migration Organization, which has its headquarters in that country. In Guatemala the IACHR delegation met with representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In April 1998 the Commission was invited to participate in a seminar on "Migrant Workers and Human Rights" organized by the Puebla Group and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the International Migration Organization. The IACHR was also invited to participate in a seminar on "Globalization and International Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean: Prospects for the 21st Century." On both occasions the Commission addressed the question of mechanisms to protect and promote the human rights of migrant workers and members of their families.

In August 1998, Pablo Saavedra, a lawyer with the IACHR General Secretariat, visited the Latin American Migration Research Center (CIMAL) in Santiago, Chile. While there, he carried out research and collected relevant documents.

Strengthening IACHR Efforts

In order to ensure that the Working Group of the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers functions properly, the IACHR established a Voluntary Fund for Migrant Workers and Their Families. All member and permanent observer states may make contributions, as may multilateral international organizations, cooperation agencies, foundations and private bodies.

For the purpose of advancing the drafting of a report on migrant workers and their families, the Commission decided to:

    1. Continue to study the situation of migrant workers during future field visits.
    2. Continue to schedule visits to member states for the specific purpose of examining the situation of migrant workers and their families in order to collect information first hand.
    3. Continue to make working visits to research centers that concentrate on the migrant worker issues in order to gather all available information on the subject.
    4. Start to evaluate replies to the questionnaire, and thus begin to elaborate a final report on the survey results.
    5. Strengthen its ties with intergovernmental organizations studying migrant workers and specifically with the International Migration Organization and International Labor Organization.
    6. Strengthen its ties with the Puebla Group and attend its meetings as an observer to keep up to date on what this leading body is doing regarding migrant workers.

3. Report of the General Secretariat on the Activities of the UPD under the Second Summit of the Americas mandates "Strengthening of Regional and Municipal Administrations"

I. Introduction

Decentralization and the development of local government with the participation of civil society have gained increasing importance, as the States of the hemisphere strengthen and consolidate democratic governance. The Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas held in Santiago, Chile in April 1998 contains a mandate on "Strengthening Municipal and Regional Administrations" which, in essence, calls for:

  • Establishing or strengthening mechanisms for participation of groups of society in the process of local and other subnational decision-making, and promoting transparency in local and other subnational Government finance operations;
  • Providing financing options for local and other subnational Governments, in order to expand the delivery of quality services as well as provide for training opportunities to strengthen local and other subnational administrative capabilities;
  • Studying the possible transfer of additional national government functions to local and other subnational levels as well as the possibility for enhancing such authorities;
  • Sharing experiences and information from existing and future programs supported by multilateral and bilateral cooperation institutions.

Decentralization and local government open up space for autonomous local development and service delivery, and for increased participation by civil society in public decision-making at the local level. In its mandate relating to "Civil Society," the Summit Plan of Action calls, inter alia for:

  • The encouragement of public sector-civil society dialogue and partnerships in pertinent areas of the Plan of Action;
  • The OAS to serve as a forum for the exchange of experiences and information;
  • The promotion of appropriate programs to implement the Summit initiative on Civil Society.

The Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD), as the Unit within the General Secretariat of the OAS mandated to provide support to member states in consolidating their democratic systems and institutions, is contributing to OAS efforts in both of these areas of the Summit Plan of Action, through a "Program of Cooperation in Decentralization, Local Government and Citizen Participation." This Program is included in the Unit’s Work Plan approved by the Permanent Council in CP/doc.2995/97 rev. 1.

II. Preparatory Consultations

The technical guidelines for this UPD Program of Cooperation were formulated at a regional seminar, held in Caracas, Venezuela on May 12-13, 1997 with support from the Governments of Bolivia and Venezuela. Government participants at this meeting on "Support to Processes of Decentralization, Local Government and Citizen Participation" agreed on broad guidelines for a program, which would be developed by participating countries, with the support of the UPD. It was considered that assisting governments to develop the policy framework for decentralization, strengthening local government and promotion of citizen participation is one vital way that OAS/UPD can effectively contribute to hemispheric efforts in these areas.

The conclusions of a high level conference on "Governance, Democracy and Civil Society in the Caribbean Community," held in Barbados in September, 1997 also provide input into the Program of Cooperation. OAS/UPD was one of five agencies co-sponsoring that Conference.

III. General Objectives

Based on Summit mandates, the UPD Work Plan, the preparatory seminar and conference mentioned above, as well as ongoing consultations, the UPD Program of Cooperation in Decentralization, Local Government and Citizen Participation aims at:

Contributing to policy debate and serving as a forum for creation, dissemination and exchange of knowledge and information;

Supporting institution-building in central, local government and civil society, principally through "horizontal cooperation" approaches among countries of the region;

Enhancing local governance through promoting increased citizen access and participation in public policy issues at the local level;

Collaborating with other agencies and institutions with mandates in the areas of the Program.

IV. Organization

The program is organized sub-regionally: CARICOM, Central America and the Dominican Republic, South America (States of the Andean Community and the Southern Cone). This facilitates information exchanges and creation and dissemination of specialized knowledge, as well as formation of subregional networks of technical and resource personnel working on these issues.

V. Instruments

Within the subregional frameworks, program objectives are achieved through:

  • Seminars and experts’ meetings;
  • Training workshops and short term courses;
  • Applied research, and information dissemination.

Networks of experts formed under the Program are to be supported, inter alia, by a specialized Internet Website, incorporating documentation from the Program’s meetings and other activities, links to other resource institutions, and dialogue.

VI. Program Areas

The following six basic program areas were targeted by the Caracas Seminar for analysis and cooperative action:

  • Legal and regulatory frameworks
  • Institutional development
  • Relations between central and local government authorities
  • Relations between legislatures and local authorities
  • Aspects of economic and social development relating to local governance
  • Information systems to support decentralization, local government and citizen participation.

VII. Subregional Activities in 1998

a. CARICOM States

The Program of Cooperation in the Caribbean was initiated with a subregional meeting for CARICOM member states in Kingston, Jamaica on June 8 and 9, 1998. Organized in collaboration with the Institute of Social and Economic Research of the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus), the meeting took the form of a Workshop for senior policy-makers to analyze the topic "Local Government, Communitarianism and the Citizen: Opportunities and Challenges." Some forty participants from twelve countries highlighted the following areas as subregional priorities for the Program of Cooperation:

  • Capacity and institution-building;
  • Local development and community participatory planning;
  • Sharing and dissemination of information on local governance and citizen participation;
  • Assistance to the newly formed Caribbean Ombudsman Association.

b. Central America and the Dominican Republic

San Rafael de Heredia, Costa Rica was the venue of the meeting for Central America and the Dominican Republic, held on July 23-24, 1998. Organized in collaboration with the Federation of Municipalities of the Central American Isthmus (FEMICA), the meeting brought together some sixty senior national policy makers, mayors and representatives of international agencies to analyze pilot experiences and cases of successful local public service delivery, based on the theme "New Public Management Models in the Framework of the Decentralization Process: Water, Education, and Rural Roads." This analysis was aimed at extracting lessons from these experiences which could be instructive for policy formulation for the transfer of responsibilities from the central to the local level.

The meeting also examined ways to strengthen local governance for effective and efficient public service delivery. A special feature was a roundtable discussion with presidents of Social Investment Funds in the subregion, to examine the role of these funds in supporting local development and community participation. The meeting made specific requests for horizontal cooperation and follow-up by OAS/UPD and FEMICA to further examine policy-making for transfer of responsibilities from the central to the local level, incorporating citizen participation.

c. Andean Community and Southern Cone

A seminar on "Frameworks and Policies for Citizen Participation at the Municipal Level" was held in collaboration with the Government of Bolivia in Cochabamba, July 29-31, 1998. The meeting facilitated information exchange among some eighty senior policy-makers, academic and international agencies and other participants, on legal and regulatory framework for decentralization, as well as the status of citizen participation in local government in the twelve member states present. In a Declaration at the close of the meeting, participants called, inter alia, for a permanent forum for systematic study and exchange of experiences in citizen participation at the municipal level, including institutionalization of an annual meeting on this subject. The Government of Argentina offered to host the meeting of 1999.

d. Other Activities

In addition to the above major activities, UPD was among the co-sponsors of a CARICOM Workshop held in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, September 28-29 1998, on "Effective Youth Participation in Civil Society." That meeting established the basis for continued collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat on youth issues, particularly youth participation at the municipal and community levels, and youth leadership training. UPD also collaborated with the Tenth Latin American Congress of Municipal Legislators by commissioning one of the background discussion papers presented at that Congress, which took place in La Paz, Bolivia on December 2-5, 1998.

VIII. Summary of Program Results in 1998

To date, the subregional meetings of the Program of Cooperation have: produced five background or research papers, and three final reports which are in publication; promoted subregional dialogue and information exchanges; defined subregional priorities for action within the Program of Cooperation; promoted collaborative relations with institutions in member states; and formed three sub-regional networks of officials and resource personnel.

IX. Program Activities for 1999

The UPD is currently planning the 1999 activities of this Program of Cooperation, with the objective of deepening dialogue and examination of the areas identified by the 1998 meetings. Funds permitting, on an annual basis, the Program aims at featuring one experts’ meeting, one training activity and one research activity for each subregion. The program’s Internet Website on the UPD Home page should be completed in the first quarter of 1999.

Subregional meetings are currently being scheduled:

- In Argentina for the States of South America on the subject "Policies and Frameworks for Citizen Participation at the Municipal Level," the first of the annual follow-up meetings to the one on the same subject held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in July of 1998;

- In Honduras for the states of Central America and the Dominican Republic on coordination of training and technical assistance to municipalities.

Also being planned are:

- An activity in collaboration with the Andean Parliament, on the legal framework for decentralization and citizen participation in States of the Andean Community.

- A subregional meeting on community participatory planning for the states of CARICOM.

- Two short term courses, in coordination with institutions in the member states and with the Department of Fellowships:

- Certificate in "Decentralization with Emphasis on the Management of Local Finance, Planning and Local Social Policy," to be held at the Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia, June 21-July 2, 1999.

- Course on "Decentralization and Local Governments with emphasis on Citizen Participation," to take place at the University of El Salvador, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June, 1999 (dates to be confirmed).

4. Report of the General Secretariat on Third Western Hemisphere Transportation Ministerial, held in New Orleans, December 14-16, 1998

The United States Department of Transportation hosted a Western Hemisphere Transportation Ministerial, December 14 to 16, 1998 in New Orleans, Louisiana, under the theme: Integrating Western Hemisphere Transportation. The three-day conference featured joint government-private industry discussion panels. Major themes for discussion included: integrating transportation institutions; transportation safety and its economic impact; transportation and trade (barriers and infrastructure); transportation technology.

The Ministerial was guided by a central document on transportation systems in the hemisphere prepared by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The document, "Profile of Regional Transportation Systems of the Americas" (available at http://www.summit-americas.org/Transport-perfil-spanish.htm, in Spanish only for the moment) offers a synthesis of the transportation systems in the Americas.

Several noteworthy speeches were made during the Ministerial, including an address by US Transportation Secretary, Rodney E. Slater, made during the Opening Plenary Session; remarks by former White House Chief of Staff and Special Envoy for the Americas, Thomas "Mack" McLarty; and a speech by the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications of Chile, Mr. Claudio Hohmann given during the Ministers' second roundtable discussion.

The Ministers of Transportation issued a statement of solidarity (Memorandum of Consultations on Disaster Response Cooperation) with the nations of Central America and the Caribbean in light of the devastation caused by hurricanes Mitch and Georges. In addition, the Ministers adopted a Ministerial Declaration, which outlines eigth areas of cooperation and action (see table below), (the speeches and official documents are available at http://www.summit-americas.org/ hemisture.htm#b).

The Western Hemisphere Transportation Initiative Executive Committee, established provisionally in 1996, was mandated to prepare terms of reference for the operation of this follow-up body, and to develop a two-year work program. The first post-ministerial meeting of the Executive Committee, will be hosted by the Government of Chile, in Santiago on April 23, 1999.

At the Meeting of Experts held on the last day of the Ministerial, member states determined that the eight items in the Plan of Action of the New Orleans Declaration should be undertaken by the following countries or international organizations:

Initiative

Responsible Coordinators

Plan of Action for Integration

ECLAC and the Executive Committee of the WHTI

Transportation Statistics System

Canada and Jamaica

Disaster Response Plan

Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, CARICOM and OAS

Compendium on Safety and Incident Response Best Practices

USA and Jamaica

Best Practices Report on Transportation Infrastructure Financing

IDB and Bolivia

Capacity-Building Seminars

Costa Rica and Jamaica

Information Exchange on Transportation Technologies

USA

Y2K Conference

Mexico

The ministers requested OAS participation in the development of a Disaster Response Plan under item #3 of the Plan of Action. Over the coming weeks, the General Secretariat will determine what expertise and resources it can bring to this endeavor.

The OAS at the Ministerial:

The OAS, participating principally as an observer as the institutional memory of the Summit Process, delivered some remarks to the ministers outlining the efforts it is making to implement the transportation mandate. Attending in representation of the General Secretariat was Mr. Christopher Hernández-Roy of the Office of Summit Follow-Up; Mr. Carlos Gallegos, the Technical Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Ports; and Ms. Sherry Stephenson, Principal Trade Specialist in the Trade Unit.

The General Secretariat informed the ministers of three areas in which the Organization is pursuing projects in the transportation field. A description of these follows.

The Secretariat informed about the December 3 and 4, 1998, meeting of international law experts, which discussed, among other items, ways to improve the 1989 Inter-American Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods by Road.

The Secretariat reported on the OAS’ Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment’s projects on environmental concerns related to trade corridors and on the environmental management of road infrastructure construction and maintenance.

The Secretariat reminded the participants that the OAS Special Commission on Inter-American Ports is the only hemispheric forum where port authorities of member states analyze strategies for port and harbor development, modernization and cooperation.

In addition, the General Secretariat reminded the Ministers of Transportation that among the issues being negotiated within the FTAA process is a framework for the liberalization of trade in services. It was mentioned that governments will have to carefully define their national transportation interests and sketch out appropriate negotiating positions and strategies.

Finally, the ministers were informed of the Summit home page (http://www.summit-americas.org or in Spanish at http://www.cumbre-americas.org), and were told of the General Secretariat’s desire to build an electronic information network for the Summit Implementation Review Group.


Endnotes:

. /1  Chile only answered part of the questionnaire.


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