PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN CHILDREN'S INSTITUTE TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
INTER-AMERICAN CHILDREN'S INSTITUTE
D.G. No. 799/95
Montevideo, September 22, 1995
The Director General
Dear Ambassador Babbitt:
I am honored to acknowledge receipt of your fax dated August 25, 1995 concerning the twenty-fifth regular session of the OAS (Haiti) - AG/RES. 1349 which takes note of the Permanent Council's report on the plan of action of the Summit of the Americas in which the OAS will play a leading role.
While the IIN has not received any official communication about that Permanent Council report, or the aforementioned resolution 1349, and, consequently, was unaware of the establishment of the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management, it was familiar with several of these documents, some of which had been discussed during its recent seventy-second meeting of the IIN Directing Council, held in June 1995.
In furtherance of that mandate, therefore, I am sending herewith the report which has been requested. This report explains the present programs and gives a summary of the reform process that the IIN has undertaken.
Even though the decisions of the Miami Summit and of the Permanent Council did not extend any specific mandates to the IIN, it is important to emphasize that the present IIN programming bears a close relation to several of those decisions. In general, and as document AG/doc.3183 points out, the objective of our work, within the framework of promoting and protecting human rights, is to promote study of the status of children and the family in the Americas, and to foster and instill a keen awareness of the problems that affect children, youth, mothers, the family and community in the Americas so as to awaken a social sense of responsibility with respect to those problems, which will translate into concrete activities aimed at solving them.
We also wish to point out that in the special report on children in the Americas, forwarded to the General Assembly in Haiti, the IIN makes a series of recommendations. One of these recommendations suggests the need to continue studying the status of children on a country-by-country basis. The other suggests the need for the OAS to consider preparing an additional protocol to the Inter-American Convention on the Rights of Children.
Also, in furtherance of resolution AG/RES. 1169 (XXII-O/92), a program to monitor the status of the human rights of children in the Americas in conjunction with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights is recommended.
Other activities in the field of prevention of drug dependency, disability, information, social affairs, legal affairs and civil registry and vital statistics are also highlighted.
Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas
This document contains no mandate for the IIN.
2. OEA/Ser.P AG/doc.3183/95 corr. 1 8 May 1995 Original: Spanish/English (list of matters before the Permanent Council)
The only reference that the Plan of Action makes to the IIN appears in point I, "Preservation and Strengthening of the Community of Democracies of the Americas," Subheading No. 2, "Promoting and Protecting Human Rights."
Under that heading, the heads of state and government assume the commitment to have the governments request that the OAS and the IDB establish or strengthen national projects aimed at promoting and monitoring human rights in the Americas. At the same time, the governments should strengthen even further the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
This initiative and commitment are the responsibility of a number of institutions, one of which is the IIN.
3. Since the aforementioned mandate does not specify any individual task for the IIN, we believe it appropriate to report on present trends in the IIN. In our opinion, these trends will lead to the identification of appropriate ways to put this broad initiative into concrete form.
4. Present Trends in the IIN
4.1. The OAS Permanent Council has created a Special Committee for Coordination of Activities among the organs, agencies and bodies of the inter-American system.
4.2. The Permanent Council has created a Special Committee for Inter-American Summits Management [AG/RES. 1349 (XXV-O/95)] to ensure effective and timely follow-up of summits.
4.3. At its twenty-fifth session, the General Assembly formed a working group to examine:
4.3.1. The Special Report on the status of children in the Americas presented by the IIN (AG/doc.3290/95).
4.3.2. The IIN, in coordination with the working group of the IIN Directing Council which was recently created (AG/doc.3244/95 and CD/RES. 18/72-R/95).
5. With respect to the aforementioned IIN working group, it is important to keep the following in mind:
5.1. According to CD/RES. 09/71.R/93, the Directing Council instructed the IIN office to commence the pertinent studies for amending the Statutes of the Inter-American Children's Institute.
5.2. According to CD/RES. 18/72-R/95, the Directing Council, at its seventy-second meeting, decided to create a working group for the purpose of studying the IIN as a whole: Statutes, programming, management, evaluation and so forth.
5.3. During that Directing Council meeting, the representatives also decided to examine the work of the IIN in light of the following documents:
-- The New Vision of the OAS
5.4. In principle, the IIN Working Group would meet for the first time in Washington, D.C., during the last week of October 1995. Whether or not this meeting materializes will depend on the General Secretariat's response to the query, already made, on the availability of interpretation services and a conference room for the meeting.
6. After the IIN Directing Council Meeting, the OAS Secretary General distributed a document entitled "Modernization for Cooperation and New Guidelines for the Functions of CIDI," which included a brief reference to the IIN.
7. Based on the foregoing information, the IIN Director General has prepared a document to support the efforts of the IIN working group and to list the different committees and working groups that exist within the OAS so as to coordinate their actions and prepare a timetable and a procedure for this period.
That document is attached to this report (as Appendix 1) but it has not yet been considered by the IIN working group.
8. In general, the idea is as follows:
8.1. The IIN, as an institution, would produce a general document on new or improved functions in the light of changes in the OAS.
8.2. The aforementioned document would be approved by the General Secretariat and the OAS General Assembly between April and June of 1996.
8.3. Between July and December, 1996, and the aforementioned general document notwithstanding, the IIN will develop a new Plan of Action for 1997-2000.
Since 1989, by mandate from the OAS General Assembly and its own Directing Council, the IIN has been responsible for the inter-American plan of action for needy children, currently consisting of the programs on prevention of drug dependency, rights of the child and the family, rights of disabled children (PANDA), social policies for children (PROINFBI and ALIP), information for children and the family (PIINFA) and Civil Registry and Vital Statistics.
INTER-AMERICAN PLAN OF ACTION FOR NEEDY CHILDREN
PROGRAM FOR PREVENTION OF DRUG DEPENDENCY
Its objectives are to:
-- Promote in the countries of the Americas study of the problems of
children, youngsters and families in relation to alcohol and drug abuse.
Aware of the need to not duplicate efforts and in an attempt to project its long regional experience in participatory preventive education, the program has developed the following projects in inter-agency cooperation with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD-OAS), the Pan American Health Organization and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM-OAS):
1. PROJECT ON PARTICIPATORY EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR YOUTH, FAMILIES, AND EDUCATORS TO PREVENT DRUG ABUSE AND RELATED PSYCHO-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
This project, which is the subject of negotiation with a number of lending agencies, combines and coordinates the different instruments that have been developed for work with youngsters, parents and educators. It has three basic components, as sub-projects: 1. Prevention meetings for youngsters and parents. 2. Prevention meetings for rural indigenous peoples. 3. Training workshops for extension technical staff in the education and health fields.
2. PROJECT: THE IMPACT OF DRUG ABUSE ON WOMEN AND THE FAMILY
At the initiative of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the OAS, this regional project has been launched through technical cooperation from the IIN Drug Dependency Prevention Program. The project is in the initial phase of execution. It has been designed to develop an awareness of the effects of drug abuse on women and children, and to help prevent situations arising from alcohol and drug abuse in families.
3. CHILDREN OF THE AMERICAS DRUG-FREE. Regional Educational Project to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse for School Children and Context
This project is intended to help improve education to prevent drug and alcohol abuse in the primary education systems in Latin America, especially among the most susceptible and high-risk populations. It also seeks to generate activities and resources targeting children, educators, and families, and will have a holistic, intersectoral approach for the purpose of developing strategies, joining efforts, and making use of common experiences.
This preventive program is now focused on integrating and diversifying its activities by implementing a comprehensive programming proposal which embraces the aforementioned projects and another specific project for children in institutions, directed toward stemming the demand for drugs and promoting mental health.
4. PROJECT ON PROMOTION OF MENTAL HEALTH FOR INSTITUTIONALIZED CHILDREN IN THE AMERICAS
This project seeks to improve the conditions of child welfare and protection institutions in the Americas and bring about the harmonious development of the children in their care enabling them to function psychologically, through:
-- An assessment of the individual status of each child welfare
institution in the area of mental health.
LEGAL AFFAIRS PROGRAM
The objectives of this program are to promote the improvement of child and family protection laws in the countries of the Americas, in areas concerning both domestic law and international law. These objectives are achieved through advisory services, technical assistance and executive and middle management personnel training for agencies that have jurisdictional and administrative responsibilities for children.
Furthermore, the program conducts research into specific subjects and participates in the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Private International Law (CIDIP). It also coordinates activities with The Hague International Conference on Private Law.
SOCIAL AFFAIRS PROGRAM
The IIN Social Affairs Program is part of the efforts to eradicate the most negative effects of poverty on Latin American families and children.
To achieve this, it conducts research, promotional and training activities through three main programs, all under the umbrella of the Convention on the Rights of Children:
1. Program to Strengthen Child Welfare Systems - PROINFBI
This program conducts comparative research into the development and present status of administrative agencies in charge of child welfare. This information provides basic input for reform plans, which currently affect these agencies. The program also includes training activities for personnel working with these agencies. PROINFBI's activities were the central issue at the XVII Pan American Children's Conference.
2. Alternatives to Extended Institutionalization - ALIP
The objective of this program is to train professionals employed by juvenile courts, NGOs and government and academic organizations on how to use foster families as an alternative to lengthy institutionalization of children.
3. Training Program on Children's Rights and Social Policies for Children
This program, which is conducted jointly with UNICEF, works with a variety of Latin American universities in organizing courses on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its legal, social and cultural implications. Its purpose is to train agents in the social and legal areas to publicize, apply and promote the human rights of children in Latin America.
INTER-AMERICAN INFORMATION PROGRAM ON CHILDREN AND THE FAMILY
This program, consisting of eight projects, is based on the following principles:
-- To have a uniform impact throughout the countries of the region through a development strategy which takes available resources into account and thereby makes it possible to distribute the impact of its activities throughout the different subregions of the Americas.
-- To reach smaller as well as major cities. More than 50% of the region's population lives outside the major cities but information and their administration inevitably do not cover them.
-- Transfer the working methodologies that have been developed and encourage their use. The program will attempt to be a dynamic agent for introducing new working technologies which will be passed on in their entirety to the executing agents.
-- Encourage the processing of information where the data are produced so that individual countries develop centers producing different types of information which become genuine focal points on the issues of childhood.
-- Create regional technical management areas for the design of concerted policies for action. The program will encourage the creation of working groups that work toward ongoing methodological improvements and produce coordination mechanisms between countries.
-- Integrate other formal and informal networks. The idea is that PIINFA will constitute the input concerning children which will become part of other existing networks and with which information can be exchanged on a regular basis.
Documentary Information Project (PID)
The objective of this project is to gather, select, examine and publicize documentary information about children and the family generated mainly within the region. This project has developed a working methodology and an information center that has been in operation since 1987 at the INN headquarters. It has nine focal centers which act as national coordinating centers, and a network of sub-centers and user centers. This approach makes it possible to establish a penetrating, feeder strategy that seeks to cover the information needs about children and families of each country. The IIN Information Network now has a total of 24 centers covering 15 countries of the inter-American system and at least one center in each subregion. The PID Database has more than 41,000 bibliographical references and approximately 4,000 user agencies in the region.
Childhood Information System (SIPI)
The child protection agencies in the region are for the most part structured in such a way (high personnel turnover, significant decentralization, little organizational development, low follow-up capacity) that decision-making is not based on proper information (evaluation of care systems, preventive policies, de-institutionalization and so forth). This state of affairs has led the IIN to promote a new system (SIPI) that will make it possible to monitor a child's status, evaluate care systems and provide an instrument for developing children's policies. The first phase of the project was carried out in Uruguay. It was later implemented in Ecuador, with the difference that the Ecuadoran system was simultaneously developed at two agencies: The Office of the National Director for the Protection of Children under the Ministry of Social Welfare, and the National Institute of Children and Families (IINFA). The proposed system has also been developed in Brazil, under the Brazilian Center for Children and Adolescents (CBIA). Honduras, Costa Rica and El Salvador also joined the project along the way.
Statistical Information Project (PIE)
The overall objective of the Statistical Information Project (PIE), within the framework of the PIINFA is to develop a yardstick making it possible to assess in quantitative terms a child's quality of life and to compare their development over time, as well as the different regions of the inter-American system.
Legal Database Project (BADAJ)
The general objectives of this project are to create and design methodologies and instruments for gathering and disseminating legal information on the rights of minors and the family, for the ultimate purpose of providing public information about the existence of these rights and determining where the greatest violations of them occur.
Secondary Source Information System Project (SIRS)
The general objective of the SIRS is to obtain and disseminate information on institutions and events in the region involved with children and the family in specific relation to legal and social affairs, education, health and prevention of drug dependency.
A database is now available and is able to access information, institutions that work for and on behalf of children, as well as a profile of these institutions, so as to publicize their existence through periodic instruments (annual guide) and for specific consultation by subject matter, activity, country and so forth.
The Glossary on Children's Affairs Project (TENI)
In 1986 the IIN developed a regulated vocabulary known as the Dictionary of Key Words (DPC), containing approximately 2,000 descriptors pertaining to children and families. These descriptors are structured on a hierarchical basis. Since 1987 this vocabulary has been used as the basis for the selection and indexing of documents that are entered into the PID database. This vocabulary is in Spanish, and an English version, not yet updated, also exists. Since 1992, work has been under way within the IIN involving specialists in this subject working toward the objective of conducting an analysis of this vocabulary, the sources used to prepare it, and conducting research into how it has been used with an eye on developing a new glossary that would be the foundation for the operations of the different PIINFA projects.
Juvenile Court Data System (SIJME)
The principal objective of this system is to generate an information system containing general data on children under the jurisdiction of juvenile courts for the purpose of improving their management, developing follow-up tasks, developing standards for decision-making and generating information to make social policy for children.
CIVIL REGISTRY AND VITAL STATISTICS PROGRAM
This program seeks to improve the civil registry and vital statistics as the records and legal foundation for the exercise of human rights of children in particular and as a provider of information for better social planning. The overall objective of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of civil registries, it is hoped, would be achieved by means of a series of projects implemented in accordance with a diagnosis made for each country. These projects would shape a comprehensive plan for reform of the civil registry, dealing with its legal and regulatory modernization, updating of management, human resource training, professional upgrading of staff enhancement, development of public information and awareness campaigns, stronger budget management, improvement of local offices and restoration of archives.
At this time, the IIN is working with the IDB and the OAS Unit for Promotion of Democracy in the Americas, within the framework of its Civil Registry Project in Paraguay. Activities have focused on a diagnosis of the Civil Registry of the Republic of Paraguay, and preparation of a benchmark project.
INTER-AMERICAN PROGRAM ON CHILDREN, FAMILY AND DISABILITY (PANDA)
Its general objectives are to:
-- Promote the development of preventive, and educational and social rehabilitation policies and programs by providing training and technical support to public and private agencies in building an infrastructure to deal with the problems of disabled children and their families from an overall perspective. The focus of the program is on involving these agencies in general planning and social work.
-- Promote and extend human resources training and specialization for management and application of innovative methods and technologies.
-- Promote and enhance the development of research into prevention of disability and care (educational, social and health areas).
-- Promote a written record of information on documentary, institutional and professional resources available in the region.
-- Contribute to the creation of groups or networks of programs and services that care for disabled persons and their families.
The framework project from which the remaining projects and activities of the program extend is the Project on Technical Assistance and Cooperation for the Development of Policies and Strategies to Prevent and Care for Disabilities.
The objective is the acquisition, update and exchange of theoretical and practical knowledge by the staff and agencies responsible for formulating policy, executive, administrative and professional staff of agencies working in the area of care for disabled children and their families as well.
Currently under way is the inter-American project entitled "Growing Together in Community Life - A New Model for Development of Social Policy for Disabled Persons." This project is being prepared jointly by the Canadian Association for Community Life (CACL), a non-governmental agency, the IIN and the Inter-American Confederation of the International League of Associations for the Advancement of Persons who are Mentally Handicapped (CILPEDIM). This project has the support of the Government of Canada in that it is part of the Canadian government's plan for children known as Brighter Futures for Children. This plan is part of the Childhood Fund under the Ministry of Health of that country. It is that country's desire to support initiatives within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Children.
Consistent with its view of human rights, "Growing Together in Community Life" has as its target group the children and youngsters of the Americas and their families. The first part of the project, on a pilot basis, is for youngsters with intellectual disabilities and their families. This project is a way of demonstrating the feasibility of developing and applying a new framework for the design of policies and programs in the field of disability. The project involves participants from the 34 countries of the OAS.
The program has also developed, in conjunction with the Inter-American Information Program on Children and Families, a sub-network known as SINDI. SINDI uses the same method instituted by PIINFA, having 9 sub-centers in the region which are specialized in documents on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Prepared by: Eugenia Maria Zamora Chavarria
The purpose of this aide-memoire is to provide basic information for the First Meeting of the IIN Directing Council's Working Group.
1. Under CD/RES. 09/71-R/93, the seventy-first meeting of the IIN Directing Council decided to undertake studies to consider amending the IIN's Statutes.
2. The twenty-fifth regular session of the OAS General Assembly (Haiti, 1995) decided:
2.1. To adopt a document entitled "A New Vision of the OAS," presented by the OAS Secretary General.
2.2. To issue AG/doc.3244/95 on the Report of Activities of the IIN, and to create a Permanent Council/OAS Working Group to study the special report of the IIN and to coordinate with the IIN Directing Council's Working Group engaged in the work of studying the reform of the IIN and redefining it.
2.3. To issue AG/doc.3290/95 on the Special Report on Children in the Americas.
3. Under CD/RES. 18/72-R/95, the seventy-second meeting of the IIN Directing Council decided to create a working group to redefine the IIN, the text of which is attached.
4. According to CP/RES. 649 (1024/95), AG/RES. 1254 (XXIV-O/94) and AG/RES. 1349 (XXV-O/95), the OAS Permanent Council created a Special Committee for Follow-up of the Agreements of the Presidential Summit of Miami.
5. The Secretary General prepared a document entitled "Modernization of Cooperation and New Guidelines for the Functions of CIDI," which was received by the IIN on July 24, 1995. This document makes a brief reference to the IIN.
II. Proposal of the Inter-American Children's Institute
In the light of new changes in the OAS, the IIN will have to redefine a series of aspects that will enable it to strengthen its role in behalf of the children of the Americas.
Several ideas in this connection appear below.
1. Institutional Policy
1.1. A necessary step is to present an IIN policy paper dealing with both internal office matters and with the Directing Council and Secretary General to the Permanent Council and General Assembly of the OAS.
The statement will have to be accompanied by a document that sets out the new philosophical programming of the IIN and its plan of action.
1.2. One of the possible approaches to implement the foregoing would entail the following steps:
a) The OAS Permanent Council has designated a Special Committee to coordinate actions with the organs and agencies of the inter-American system.
b) The OAS General Assembly has created a Working Group to examine the report on Children of the Americas and IIN Programming (AG/doc.3244/95).
c) The OAS Permanent Council has created a Special Committee that will receive bi-annual reports from the organs and agencies of the system for follow-up of execution of the mandates of the Presidential Summit (AG/doc.1349/95).
d) The IIN Directing Council has created a Working Group to examine the IIN in general (CD/RES. 18/72-R/95).
e) The new Office of the Director General of the IIN would develop a document on its vision of the IIN.
f) The IIN Technical Team should develop a similar document.
2.1. The Directing Council's Working Group of the IIN should deliver the document it is preparing in January 1996.
2.2. The document on the Office of the Director General should also be delivered in January of 1996, as will the document being prepared by the aforementioned working group and the other being prepared by the IIN Technical Team.
2.3. Since a special meeting of the IIN Directing Council will be held in March 1996, the new Office of Director General should prepare the IIN document on the foundation of the three previous documents, that is, the documents by the Office of the Director General, the Directing Council Working Group and the IIN Technical Team. This document will be presented to, discussed and approved by the Directing Council.
2.4. This document would be submitted by the Office of the Director General to the OAS Secretary General and, afterward, to the twenty-sixth regular session of the General Assembly of the OAS between April and June 1996.
2.5. Once this document on the IIN presentation is approved, the IIN Office of the Director General should prepare, between July and December 1996, the Plan of Action for that technical and policy programming. The document would go into effect starting in 1997, and cover the period 1997-2000.
3. IIN Programming
Several ideas on future IIN programming appear below. Later on, the outgoing Director General will bring before the Directing Council Working Group an improved definition of these ideas.
3.1. From the standpoint of institutional capacity, the IIN should begin the planning and fund-raising efforts for the following four projects:
a) Regionalization Project
3.2. From the administrative standpoint, four very simple but key points will have to be resolved. These will be adequate for sound advancement of the IIN:
a) Regularization of vacant positions
3.3. From the standpoint of technical programming, the IIN should:
a) Strengthen the PIINFA, the PROINFBI, the Disability Program, the Health
and Drug Dependencies Prevention Program
See the attached table on the different groups and working commissions that have been mentioned.
IV. IIN Timetable
See proposed timetable.
V. Starting with the aforementioned background information, the IIN Office of the Director General takes the liberty of listing the reference documents considered necessary for the discussions of the Directing Council Working Group.
1. IIN-OAS Agreement
2. IIN By-laws
3. IIN-Government of Uruguay Agreement
4. OAS Charter
5. OAS Organization Table
6. IIN Organization Table
7. Resolutions of the Presidential Summit, Miami, United States of America, 1994
8. Document entitled "A New Vision of the OAS"
9. Document entitled "Modernization of Cooperation and New Guidelines for the Functions of CIDI"
10. List of topics, Permanent Council/Presidential Summit, Miami, USA, 1994 (consistent with point II.7)
11. Final report of seventy-second meeting of the IIN Directing Council
12. IIN Program-Budget-1995
13. Amendment of By-laws (Annex 43 of the seventy-second meeting of the Directing Council)
14. Resolutions, OAS General Assembly, Haiti-IIN (according to I.2-2.2 and 2.3)
15. General Assembly resolutions on the IACHR-IIN [AG/RES. 1169 (XXII-O/92)]
16. IIN Technical Programs: Inter-American Information Program on Children and the Family (PIINFA), Social Program, Program on Prevention of Drug Dependencies
Entire contents © 1998 Organization of American States, Office of Summit Follow-Up