GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
TWENTY-NINTH REGULAR SESSION
27 May 1999
FIFTH REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT TO THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
PURSUANT TO RESOLUTIONS AG/RES. 1349 (XXV-O/95), AG/RES. 1377
Item 4 on the agenda
(Considered by the Permanent Council at its meeting of May 26, 1999)
II. PRESERVING AND STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY, JUSTICE, AND HUMAN RIGHTS
III. ECONOMIC INTEGRATION AND FREE TRADE
IV. ERADICATION OF POVERTY AND DISCRIMINATION
The OAS has incorporated the Santiago mandates into its working agenda through decisions adopted by the ministers of foreign affairs at the General Assembly in Caracas. Consequently, the Organization's agenda is directly associated with the one approved by the heads of state and government.
Likewise, the OAS has taken the necessary steps to organize its handling of the mandates assigned to it at the summits, through the establishment in July 1998 of the Office of Summit Follow-up.
All of this has also given a new character to the Committee on Inter-American Summits Management, whose role in following up on the Summits embraces almost all the items of the Santiago Plan of Action.
In light of this experience, the OAS is increasingly focused on carrying out its two-pronged mission of serving as a forum for dialogue and the exchange of experiences and providing technical support to specialized meetings of ministers and experts.
During the first meeting of the ministers of education, held in Brasilia in July 1998 within the framework of CIDI, the ministers decided on a plan to execute the education initiative and on a follow-up mechanism by means of a working group elected on the basis of geographic representation. They also approved the Inter-American Education Program designed to implement, within the OAS, the decisions of the Santiago Summit. To carry out the program adopted by the ministers of education, officials in the education sector drew up multinational projects which CIDI funded for execution in 1999 so as to implement the lines of action identified in the follow-up plan adopted by the ministers at the Brasilia meeting. CIDI recommended to the OAS General Assembly that it give priority to those multilateral projects in programming for the year 2000.
II. PRESERVATION AND STRENGTHENING OF DEMOCRACY, JUSTICE, AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Democracy and Human Rights
UPD activities with respect to the summit process have centered on the areas of: support for legislative processes and institutions; promotion of democratic practices and values; support for decentralization, local government, and civic participation; the democratic forum; and such special programs as: Assistance for Demining; Support for the Peace Process in Guatemala; OAS/UN International Civilian Mission in Haiti; Technical Collaboration for Peace and Reintegration in Nicaragua; Special Mission to Suriname, and Electoral Observation Missions.
OAS action in human rights has focused on the holding of seminars and training workshops and the launching of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.
Education for Democracy
An inter-university program was held on studies on democracy (1997-1998), as was a seminar/workshop in Nicaragua, September 23-25, titled "Central American Education for Democracy Regional Cooperation Program."
Civil society participated in the formulation of the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-Making for Sustainable Development, a mandate from the Santa Cruz Summit.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights sent the states a questionnaire on the situation of migrant workers and their family members in the Hemisphere, with a view to drafting a report on the subject.
Strengthening Municipal and Regional Administrations
The UPD, through its Program for Cooperation in Decentralization, Local Government, and Citizen Participation, organized high-level subregional meetings (CARICOM; Central America and the Dominican Republic; the Andean Community and MERCOSUR) to exchange experiences.
The principal OAS activity was the Symposium on Enhancing Probity in the Hemisphere, held in Santiago, Chile, November 4-6, 1998.
Prevention and Control of Illicit Consumption of and Traffic in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Other Related Crimes
The Mechanism for Multilateral Evaluation (MEM), for which CICAD had established an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG-MEM) in May 1998, is currently being organized. This Group has held five meetings and has agreed on the principles, characteristics, and objectives that are to govern the MEM's operations. It has also adopted all indicators to be used in the evaluation process.
It was decided that negotiations to design the Mechanism would be concluded at the meeting in Ottawa, Canada, August 30-September 3, 1999. The IWG-MEM agreed to conduct the first round of evaluations during the year 2000.
The most important action taken by the OAS was the organization of the Second Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism, held in November 1998 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, which approved the Commitment of Mar del Plata.
Confidence- and Security-Building among States
In October 1998, Brazil and the United States submitted a proposal for drawing up an Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions. To that end, a Working Group of the Committee on Hemispheric Security was set up.
On April 20 and 21, the Committee on Hemispheric Security held a meeting of government experts in Washington to examine the new concepts of hemispheric security and the strengthening of the inter-American system in this regard. The meeting was preceded by a seminar, to which academics from the Hemisphere had been invited.
Strengthening of Justice Systems and Judiciaries
The Second Meeting of Ministers of Justice, within the framework of the OAS, was held in Lima, Peru, March 1-3, 1999. Its purpose was to take concrete measures in the areas of judicial access and the training of judges, prosecutors, and judicial officials. The topic of new offenses was also discussed, for example, cyber crime.
A decision was also made to proceed toward the establishment of the Justice Studies Center, envisaged in the Santiago Plan of Action. To that end, a working group of government experts was set up and, with OAS cooperation, is already working on preparing a draft structure and draft statutes for the Center.
Modernization of the State in Labor Matters
The ministers of labor met within the framework of CIDI in Viña del Mar, Chile, October 20-21. On that occasion, they established two working groups: one on "economic globalization and its social and labor dimensions" and the other on "modernization of the state and labor administration: requirements and challenges." One of the groups met in April and the other will meet in June.
III. ECONOMIC INTEGRATION AND FREE TRADE
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
The main activities of the Trade Unit were:
Science and Technology
First Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology (COMCYT) of CIDI, Bariloche, Argentina, August 10-12, 1998. COMCYT approved the lines of action for the Inter-American Science and Technology Program, which will implement the Plan of Action approved at the Meeting of Ministers of Science and Technology agreed to at the Miami Summit, as well as the initiatives of the Santiago Plan of Action. CIDI approved said Program and forwarded it to the OAS General Assembly for adoption.
The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) carried out the activities related to the Summit mandates in the following areas: Global Information Infrastructure; universal service; mutual recognition agreements for telecommunications equipment; standards coordination; value added services; spectrum use; and training.
IV. ERADICATION OF POVERTY AND DISCRIMINATION
PAHO is the responsible coordinator of this initiative, which is comprised of three main elements: access to quality drugs and vaccines, strengthening health information and surveillance systems, and improvement in access to and quality of water and sanitation infrastructure.
The XXIX Assembly of Delegates of the CIM was held from November 16 to 18, 1998, in Washington D.C. During the Assembly, the Biennial Work Program was approved.
Basic Rights of Workers
In the Viña del Mar Action Plan, it was established that the Working Group on Modernization of the State in Labor Matters would discuss the topic of the basic rights of workers in the subgroups "Modernization of Labor Ministries," "Modernization of the State's Oversight Functions in the Area of Fundamental Worker Rights," and "Modernization of Labor Law."
The meeting of Government Experts, convened by the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Permanent Council, was held at OAS headquarters, February 10-12, 1999. It was called to examine the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had submitted to the General Assembly in 1997.
The Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment is pursuing its activities regarding the implemention, coordination, and follow-up of the Plan of Action of the Santa Cruz Summit.
SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS FOLLOW-UP
The Office of Summit Follow-up has provided technical support and participated in the SIRG meetings held in October 1998 and March 1999. It also provided technical support to the meetings of the Committee on Summits Management. The Office of Summit Follow-up has installed the Summit of the Americas Information System (SICA) on the Internet.
The OAS is making a significant and increasingly important contribution to the Summit follow-up process. In that regard, efforts to modernize the Organization, which were mandated by the heads of state and government, must be completed in order to shore up the Organization's technical capacity in follow-up activities and thus make it possible to strengthen ties between the Summit process and the Organization's agenda and continue to attach the highest possible priority to the Summit follow-up process.
In addition, public opinion in the countries must be made aware of progress made in fulfilling mandates so as to increase the credibility of the Summit process. Through the Office of Summit Follow-up, the OAS will continue to make available to the public at large, through the Internet, documentation and official information on implementation of the Summit mandates.
The Summit process requires greater coordination among all international organizations working on these topics. This coordination is essential to keep the Summit mandates alive on the agenda of each of the international organizations and to take further advantage of programs with similar goals without duplicating efforts. The joint work of the OAS governments, in coordination with international organizations, is the best approach to fulfilling the Summit mandates while making good use of existing financial and technical resources.
FIFTH REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT TO THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
PURSUANT TO RESOLUTIONS AG/RES. 1349 (XXV-O/95), AG/RES. 1377
By means of resolution AG/RES. 1349 (XXV-O/95), the General Assembly created the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management in order to provide effective, timely, and appropriate follow-up to the activities entrusted to the Organization by the heads of state and government in the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas held in Miami.
The General Assembly also charged the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management with requesting and receiving regular reports from any OAS organ, agency, or entity; with commenting on them; and, in accordance with its mandates, with orienting, providing specific indications, and entrusting tasks to those organs, agencies, and entities [AG/RES. 1534 (XXVIII-O/98)].
In accordance with the above, the Committee spent four meetings exchanging views on each of the initiatives contained in the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas in which the Organization had played an important part. To this end, the Chair asked the organs, agencies, and entities to prepare reports on the follow-up activities they carried out in connection with initiatives between June 1998 and February 28, 1999. However, in some cases, events that took place after that date were included. These reports were submitted and commented on by the delegations. They now make up this report to the Permanent Council, to be considered by the ministers of foreign affairs in compliance with resolutions AG/RES. 1349 (XXV-O/95), AG/RES. 1377 (XXVI-O/96), AG/RES. 1448 (XXVII-O/97), and AG/RES. 1534 (XXVIII-O/98).
Note: Under each heading, the section describing the mandates entrusted to the OAS by the heads of state and government is included in italics.
The outline of the report is based on the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas.
We, the Heads of State and Government [. . .]:
In compliance with these mandates, on July 20-21, 1998 the First Meeting of Ministers of Education of the Americas was held in Brasilia, Brazil, under the aegis of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI). The Unit for Social Development and Education (USDE) helped organize the meeting and provided the necessary technical secretarial services. At the Meeting, the ministers studied three main issues: (i) implementation of the education chapter of the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas, (ii) the follow-up mechanism for the education chapter of the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas, and (iii) the OAS Inter-American Program of Education for 1999-2001.
The OAS Inter-American Program of Education, as adopted by the ministers of education, is designed to implement the Education Action Plan of the Second Summit of the Americas. CIDI approved the following six priority multilateral projects for 1999, which will be financed by FEMCIDI.
Education for Social Sectors Requiring Priority Attention. This project will focus on promoting compensatory policies and programs aimed at basic education, with particular attention being paid to the education of women and the disabled and to initial education among vulnerable segments of the population.
Professionalization of Teachers and Educational Administrators. This project will continue with a series of national and regional efforts aimed at upgrading the teaching profession through new training strategies involving both the physical presence of instructors as well as modern information and communications technologies.
Strengthening Educational Management and Institutional Development. With this project, the education ministers aim to identify and systematize experiences arising from educational management reform processes.
Education for Work and Youth Development. This project is intended to assist education reform through the systematization of experiences and by establishing links between local job markets and the educational curriculum. Its activities will support the design of teacher training programs and the consideration of consistent competency standards.
Education for Citizenship and Sustainability in Multicultural Societies. This project will comprise four modules: basic education for migrant children, bilingual intercultural education, education for citizenship, and environmental education for sustainability at the regional level.
This project represents a joint response by the OAS and UNESCO to the mandates of the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Summit on Sustainable Development and the Second Summit of the Americas as regards environmental and education issues. To date, the project has produced a document titled Education for a Sustainable Future in the Americas, which was discussed at a meeting of experts called by the education ministry of Colombia.
Exchange of Teachers and Students for Study of the OAS Official Languages. Through the Regional Adult Education Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, this project will supply Spanish-language training for the OASs English-speaking member states.
Each of the six multilateral projects is the result of a joint planning effort by the technical representatives of the Hemispheres education ministries, who met on August 18-19, 1998, at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
In order to coordinate this mandates follow-up with other international organizations, the OAS General Secretariat has been regularly attending the meetings of the Inter-Agency Education Follow-up Group of the Santiago Summit, which comprises representatives coordinating the Education initiative and representatives of the IDB, OAS, World Bank, ECLAC, and UNESCO. At its most recent meeting in Mexico, March 22-23, 1999, the Group revised the lines of action and the multinational projects.
The report of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) on the activities carried out under this initiative follows:
IICA's technical cooperation focuses on fostering and supporting measures to promote evaluation, curriculum updating, teacher training, and accreditation as factors in changing rural education.
In the area of education, IICA coordinates and provides institutional technical cooperation designed to support and carry out initiatives to: (a) promote and facilitate regional and inter-American dialogue to integrate education, and (b) improve the efficiency, quality, and suitability of training for agriculture and rural development. The principal activities and achievements in the second half of the year have to do with consultancies, workshops, conferences, and negotiations, as set forth below:
II. PRESERVING AND STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY, JUSTICE, AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Governments will enhance cooperation with and support for the activities of the Organization of American States (OAS) in order to:
OAS Actions for Democracy
The Unit for the Promotion of Democracy carries out numerous initiatives in support of the priorities set at the Summits of the Americas, particularly as regards supporting dialogues and exchanges between electoral and legislative institutions, assisting their modernization, and strengthening decentralization processes and the participation of civil society.
These activities have been divided into four sections:
A. Strengthening Democratic Institutions
A. STRENGTHENING DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS
The aim of this area is to assist member states in their efforts to strengthen the democratic institutions of the government and civil society.
The UPDs activities in this area are focused on the following issues: (a) supporting legislative processes and institutions, (b) promoting democratic practices and values, and (c) supporting decentralization processes, local governments, and civic participation.
a. Supporting Legislative Processes and Institutions
In compliance with the resolutions of the General Assembly and with the plans of action decided on at the Summits of the Americas, the UPD continued to support the strengthening of democratic institutions through the development of technical assistance programs for modernizing legislatures and by encouraging cooperation and interagency dialogue. During the period covered by this report, studies of parliamentary management were conducted, seminars and workshops on legislative techniques were held, and meetings to analyze the modernization of parliaments and democratic governance were organized. These activities can be broken down geographically as follows:
Network of Legislative Leaders of the Americas. The UPD and the Inter-American Dialogue worked together on the development of an informal hemispheric network of legislative leaders from the USA, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The network brings together distinguished legislative leaders in order to study how to enhance legislatures contributions to foreign affairs-related issues and in order to exchange experiences and opinions.
The first meeting of the Network of Legislative Leaders of the Americas, which was held on November 21-22, 1998, in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, was attended by national legislators from 30 of the Hemispheres nations. The issues discussed included the situation of legislatures in the Americas, the role of legislatures in foreign affairs, the problems of international trade, and the international financial crisis and its impact on the region.
A workshop on legislative drafting techniques was held from July 27 to August 24, 1998 in Barbados. The workshop was organized by the UPD in cooperation with Law Department of the University of the West Indies. Its objectives were to strengthen the operational capacities of the legislative drafting offices in the Caribbean member states of the OAS by improving the knowledge and professional skills of technical staff in these offices. Legislative officials from Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint. Lucia, Jamaica, Grenada, the Dominican Republic, and The Bahamas participated in the workshop.
Legislative Affairs Program at the Latin American Human Economics Center (PAL/CLAEH), Uruguay. Ongoing support was given to this program, the aim of which is to promote interparliamentary cooperation and the modernization of the Mercosur countries legislatures.
Regional Seminar: Parliamentary Management, Civil Society, Chile, 1998. This seminar was held on October 30, 1998, with assistance from the President of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies. The meeting, to which a report by the same name was submitted, was attended by 90 participants, including legislators from the chambers of deputies of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay, Chilean deputies, local authorities, academics, representatives of interested NGOs, UPD delegates, and students.
Central America and the Dominican Republic
Seminar to Present the Computer Program for a Legislative Information Network for Central America and the Dominican Republic (RILCA). This seminar was held in San Salvador, El Salvador, on December 3-4, 1998 under the aegis of the joint support program for legislative processes and institutions in the Central American region.
Management Plan for the Salvadorian Legislative Assembly Modernization Program. The President of Salvadorian Legislative Assembly requested the UPDs assistance in strengthening the data-processing component of the Management Plan for the Legislative Assembly Modernization Program and appointed the head of the assemblys data processing unit to serve as the counterpart. In order to analyze the potential for such cooperation, the UPD is to send a technical mission to El Salvador to assess the data-processing requirements of the Legislative Assembly and propose an appropriate working plan.
Seminar-Workshop on Legislation for Central American Reconstruction. The Congress of Honduras, through its Vice President, asked the UPD/OAS for "the technical and financial assistance that can be secured for carrying out a seminar-workshop on legislation for reconstructing Central America," to be held in Tegucigalpa in February 1999. Considering the importance of the issue and the timeliness of the request, the UPD began the analyses and formalities needed to collaborate with the Honduran Congress in organizing this meeting. The aim of the event is to facilitate the regionwide development of legislation providing public policies that respond to emergency situations and national reconstruction efforts, such as those the region is currently facing as a result of the natural disasters caused by Hurricane Mitch.
Support for Legislative Modernization in the Central American Region. The Forum of Central American Legislature Presidents (FOPREL) asked the UPD to organize a joint program for 1999 in order to strengthen activities in support of legislative modernization in the Central American region. The UPD is currently analyzing the possibility of collaborating with the Forum in promoting interparliamentary cooperation and legislative modernization in Central America.
Andean Legislative Information Network (RAIL). The UPD continues to support the launch of this network based at the General Secretariat of the Andean Parliament.
Comprehensive Modernization of the Ecuadorian National Congress. In response to the request made by the President of Ecuadors National Congress for the UPD to support the comprehensive modernization process in which that legislative body is currently engaged, a UPD consultant was appointed to analyze the development of its data-processing component. The consultant carried out a technical visit to the Congress, as a result of which recommendations and technical and administrative suggestions regarding the modernization process were made.
b. Promoting Democratic Practices and Values
The UPD has been collaborating, at the national and regional levels, with institutes of education, government agencies, and civil society in supporting and promoting the development of knowledge and skills related to the values and practices of democratic political culture; in this undertaking, particular attention has been paid to young people. Activities took place in three specific fields: (1) regional training workshops on democratic institutions, values, and practices for young leaders in the Americas, (2) the Education for Democracy Project, and (3) the Inter-University Network of Democracy Studies.
1. Regional Training Workshops on Democratic Institutions, Values, and Practices for Young Leaders in the Americas
The UPD has developed a hemispheric program on democratic institutions, values, and practices for young leaders, involving four training workshops: in Central America (September 1998 in Costa Rica), the Mercosur nations (August 1998 in Argentina), the Andean region (Cuenca, Ecuador, November 1998), and the Caribbean (planned for 1999).
2. Education for Democracy Project
This project is described in the section on Education for Democracy.
3. Inter-University Network of Democracy Studies
At the request of the governments of Chile, Colombia, and Guatemala, the UPD, the OAS Department of Fellowships, and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) continued to support the Inter-University Network of Democracy Studies. The network comprises the Latin American Institute of Doctrine and Social Studies (ILADES) at Hurtado University in Santiago, Chile, the Javeriana University of Bogotá, Colombia, and Rafael Landívar University in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Over this period, the network promoted advanced studies on democracy, organized exchanges of teaching staff, and conducted joint research projects.
c. Supporting Decentralization, Local Government, and Civic Participation
These activities are dealt with under the mandate on strengthening municipal and regional administrations.
B. TECHNICAL ELECTORAL ASSISTANCE
At the request of the member states, this area provides timely assistance to the Hemispheres electoral institutions, particularly in identifying new technologies, enabling institutional and juridical improvements to be made to the regions electoral systems, and organizing regional events for exchanges of experiences and knowledge.
The UPDs activities in this regard focused on the following areas: (a) organizational and technological development of electoral institutions, (b) electoral training, and civic and electoral education, (c) modernizing and strengthening civil registriesmaintaining and updating electoral rolls, and (d) electoral system reforms.
C. THE DEMOCRATIC FORUM
On October 20, 1998, a democratic forum was held on "OAS Peace-Building Experiences: Progress Achieved, Lessons Learned, and Future Possibilities." It was attended by leading figures from academia, diplomatic circles, and international organizations. Both the speeches given by the panelists and the exchanges of opinions during the question-and-answer sessions are being prepared for publication.
D. SPECIAL PROGRAMS
The UPD is currently conducting the following special programs and missions in the nations of the Hemisphere: the Assistance Program for Demining in Central America; the Special Support Program for the Peace Process in Guatemala; the OAS/UN International Civilian Mission in Haiti; the Technical Cooperation Program for the Consolidation of Peace and Reintegration in Nicaragua; the Special Mission to Suriname; and the Program for the PRONAGOB Specialized Agency (Bolivia). This area is also responsible for the Organizations electoral observation missions (MOEs).
The Special Program of Support for the Peace Process in Guatemala is focused on five projects: (1) technical assistance for elections; (2) the culture of dialogue: resource development for building peace; (3) democratic values and political management; (4) legal support for the Guatemalan Congress in its efforts to implement the commitments arising from the peace accords; and (5) assistance for mine-clearing in Guatemala.
The OAS/UN International Civilian Mission in Haiti has its efforts concentrated on the observance of human rights. The mission organized several seminars, courses, and discussions on human rights, civic education, and methods for resolving police conflicts, along with a symposium on judicial reform and a program of human rights training for teachers.
The Technical Collaboration Program for the Consolidation of Peace and Reintegration in Nicaragua supports state agencies involved with defending human rights, supporting the peace commissions, strengthening local governments, and supporting missions and activities involving universities.
The Special Mission to Suriname provided ongoing support for the governments activities to promote peace and democracy. The activities undertaken in conjunction with the National Assembly to establish a tracking system for legislative bills continued, and, in conjunction with the University of Suriname, a seminar was held to discuss the role of the Mission during its 10-year presence in the country.
Electoral Observation Missions (MOEs)
The OAS General Secretariats MOEs are one of the most important instruments available to the Organization for promoting, defending, and consolidating democratic practices and values. During 1998, electoral observation missions were sent to the following countries:
Nicaragua, Atlantic Coast, regional elections, March 1, 1998
Paraguay, general election, October 5, 1998
Ecuador, general elections, May 31, 1998, first round, and July 16, 1998, second round.
Dominican Republic, legislative and municipal elections, May 16, 1998
Panama, referendum, August 30, 1998
Peru, municipal elections, October 11, 1998
Venezuela, legislative elections, November 8, 1998; presidential election, December 6, 1998
OAS Actions for Human Rights
Strengthening and Improving the Inter-American Human Rights System
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is working on modifying its Regulations in order to modernize its formalities and procedures. In order to receive input regarding this reform process from the states and petitioners who make use of the inter-American human rights system, it invited them to put forward their suggestions and ideas.
Between May 1998 and February 1999, the Commission organized a series of promotional events in several member states, including seminars, training workshops, conferences, etc. In December 1998, the IACHR and George Washington University jointly organized a seminar on human rights for Argentine judges and public prosecutors. This seminar took place in Washington D.C.
On June 3 and November 18, 1998, the Commission entered into institutional cooperation agreements with the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice and with the Colombian Constitutional Court. The aim of these two agreements is to establish a framework for relations that will allow institutional cooperation between the IACHR and both the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice and the Colombian Constitutional Court for designing and carrying out specific actions to improve the quality and efficiency of the administration of justice, to promote reciprocal assistance in legal and professional training, and to encourage exchanges of basic human rights promotion and defense instruments, the jurisprudence of the competent bodies, and pertinent information on judicial activities in the nations of the Americas.
Strengthening Freedom of Expression and the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
The decision to create the position of Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression is an attempt to strengthen the IACHRs ability to promote and protect the full force of this important right across the Americas and, by so doing, to contribute to its further development. To promote and protect the right of free expression, the IACHR decided to appoint a special rapporteur who, within the IACHR Executive Secretariat, will be responsible for preparing the reports and designing the promotional activities specified by his mandate, prior to submitting them for the IACHRs approval.
During its 100th regular session, the IACHR unanimously chose the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. His mandate began in November 1998, and he is responsible for a series of duties including the drafting of an annual report on the situation of freedom of expression in the Americas for submission to the Commission for its consideration and approval.
The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression accompanied the IACHR on its on-site visit to Peru, where he met with different international agencies, civil society groups, and journalists.
The UPD collaborates with educational and governmental institutions and with civil society in promoting awareness about the values and practices of democratic political culture and in supporting methods, techniques, and skills for teaching and learning about this issue; in this, it pays particular attention to young people. Training for democracy has been introduced into the education systems of Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and regional workshops for training young people and leaders have been organized.
During 1998, studies were conducted for Chiles inter-university network on democracy; the main aim of these was to train experts in democracy.
The UPD and the Department of Fellowships set themselves the goal of creating an inter-university democracy studies program (1997-1998). This program involves granting scholarships for postgraduate studies, research projects, and teacher exchanges, together with donations for democracy-related publications, in conjunction with the Latin American Development Institute (ILADES) in Chile, the Javeriana University in Colombia, and Rafael Landívar University in Guatemala.
In addition, during 1998 the UPD and the Department of Fellowships organized specialized courses for promoting democracy.
The UPD, with assistance from the Ministry of Education and the Center for Education for Democracy in Nicaragua, organized a second seminar/workshop in Nicaragua, September 23-25the Central American Education for Democracy Regional Cooperation Projectdealing with the development and strengthening of new training methods in the field of education for democracy. The seminar was attended by representatives from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Democracy and Civil Society
The UPD/OAS sponsored and participated in the workshop on Effective Youth Participation in Civil Society held by the CARICOM Secretariat in The Bahamas on September 28-29, 1998. Opportunities for collaboration in shared program areas were identified, including the promotion of democratic practices and values (training for youth leadership) and youth participation within local government and the community.
Inter-American Strategy for Public Participation
On February 11-12, 1999, the third meeting of the ISP Project Advisory Committee was held in Lima, Peru. Coordinated by the OAS, this project brings together government officials, representatives of different sectors of civil society, and international organizations. The aim of the meeting was to decide on recommendations for a technical strategy proposal which, within the framework of the mandate of the Santiago Action Plan and the Santa Cruz Summit for Sustainable Development, could be used as a model for public participation in sustainable development projects. These recommendations were based on successful projects that are currently being carried out in the Caribbean, Central America, and Peru.
Based on its renewed commitment and on the progress made with the mandate handed down by the 1996 Bolivia Summit, the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment (USDE) continues to successfully coordinate the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-making for Sustainable Development (ISP). The USDE has presented a progress report on the formulation of that project.
It should also be mentioned that CIDI adopted a resolution entrusting member states, through their national focal points, and civil society with collaborating in the formulation of the ISP and presenting a draft to the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS) for consideration and subsequent approval by CIDI.
As part of the process of developing the ISP, USDE has held three subregional seminars to encourage and study models of public participation in specific key technical areas. These seminars have brought officials from governments and from civil society organizations together to discuss methods and practices used in their countries to enhance the effectiveness of public participation in decision-making.
In an effort to support local public participation efforts and to strengthen the strategy of alliances between the government and the public sector, USDE is supporting, with assistance from member states and donor agencies, three public participation demonstration projects: in Jamaica, the Gulf of Honduras, and Peru. The Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment also conducted research into the existing legal and regulatory mechanisms that allow public participation in sustainable development decision-making. The USDE has drawn up a document on information and communications guidelines in which it describes the steps that member states can take to relay important information to stakeholders and to all interested parties when making decisions that could affect sustainable development. It has also organized a series of seminars to test the participation methods it has identified and to analyze others that allow joint decision-making, such as National Sustainable Development Councils.
Work also progressed on the consultation forums component. The consultant working on the legal inventory agreed to supplement the current report of the National Councils for Sustainable Development with an evaluation of laws and regulations, as well as a series of strategic recommendations to strengthen or support the creation of these organizations. In addition, research began in December with regard to another consultation forum for public participation in Honduras, the National Convergence Forum (FONAC).
Through these activities, the ISP has identified effective practices currently being implemented across the Hemisphere and it has noted the lessons learned, with a view to formulating a draft Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-Making for Sustainable Development. This strategy is to be submitted to the governments for their approval, and it could also be used as a point of reference for promoting public participation in other areas of the Santiago Plan of Action.
Small Business Development
At the same time, the OAS General Secretariat has sponsored three seminars on policies and instruments for developing small businesses, held in Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. The aim of these events was to make government authorities, company managers, and business owners aware of the Hemispheres most successful policies and programs for promoting the creation of new small businesses and strengthening and modernizing those that already exist. In this, assistance was provided by Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and the Latin American Confederation of Small and Medium Industries (CLAMPI).
The OAS General Secretariat, acting in conjunction with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), helped organize the subregional seminar on international migrations in the Caribbean held in Kingston, Jamaica, in October 1998. The main issues addressed were migration policies, the migratory situation in the Caribbean, the governance of migrations, international migrations and human rights, migration law in the Caribbean subregion, and information on migrations.
At its 92nd special session, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights decided to begin studying the issue of migrant workers and their families in the Hemisphere, with a view toward drawing up a report on the question. The General Assembly of the Organization of American States, at its twenty-eighth regular session in Caracas, Venezuela, encouraged the IACHR to continue working on its report on the conditions faced by migrant workers.
The Commission drew up and sent to the OAS member states an exhaustive questionnaire on the situation of migrant workers and their family members in the Hemisphere. The aim of this questionnaire was to obtain the broadest overview of the legal background and practical realities of migration in each of the Hemispheres nations.
The Commission also designed another questionnaire and sent copies of it to a number of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations that work with the problems encountered by migrant workers and their families.
To facilitate the work of the working group formed by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers, the IACHR created a voluntary fund on migrant workers and their families. This fund is open to contributions from OAS member states as well as from the Organizations permanent observers. It is also open to international and multilateral organizations, cooperation agencies, foundations, and private bodies.
In order to continue with the preparation of the report on migrant workers and their families, the Commission decided:
During its on-site visits to Peru and Guatemala, the Commissions working agenda included issues affecting migrant workers and their families. In Peru, Commissioner Alvaro Tirado, Special Rapporteur for Migrant Workers, met with Peru-based representatives of the International Organization for Migration. Similarly, in Guatemala, the IACHR met with representatives of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Finally, at the invitation of the government of the United States of America, the IACHR conducted an on-site visit to the state of California on July 6-9 in order to observe immigration and asylum processes in that region. It also collected information on migrant workers and their families for the report it is preparing. To this end, the IACHR held meetings with immigration authorities, officials from the state governors office, airport and sea-port officials, customs officers, members of the Border Patrol, authorities responsible for detentions and deportations, etc. During its visit, the Commission delegation also met with lawyers, promoters and representatives from nongovernmental organizations, and representatives from civil society.
Under its Program for Cooperation in Decentralization, Local Government, and Citizen Participation, in 1998 the UPD held a number of high-level subregional meetings. Within the subregional groupings (the CARICOM states, along with the Dominican Republic and the nations of Central America; the Andean Community and Mercosur states), the member states institutions were able to exchange information and experiences, address priority issues of common interest to them, establish an effective dialogue, and identify opportunities for technical assistance through horizontal cooperation activities. In 1998, the areas analyzed included the legal and regulatory frameworks for decentralization and civic participation; relations between central and local governments; social and economic development issues of relevance to local administrations; and the promotion of institutions and productive capacity. The program enabled subregional networks of technical personnel and specialists to be created, and it produced five research documents. The programs activities also received input from universities and technical institutes in the region and from international institutions.
On June 8-9, 1998, a regional workshop called "Local Government, Community Approaches, and the Citizenship: Opportunities and Challenges" was held in Kingston, Jamaica. Assistance in its organization was provided by the Social and Economic Research Institute at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica. This meeting brought together for the first time, at the subregional level, ranking government officials, academics, and representatives of international organizations, to analyze issues related to decentralization, local government, and civic participation in the CARICOM states. The participants stressed the need to strengthen the institutional capacity of local governments, promote economic development at the local level, encourage the dissemination of information on decentralization, local government, and civic participation, and support the Caribbean Ombudsman Association.
The main activity carried out by the Organization of American States during the past year in connection with the struggle against corruption was the Symposium on Enhancing Probity in the Hemisphere, which took place in Santiago, Chile, on November 4-6, 1998.
This symposium addressed issues related to the member states national rules and institutions connected with probity and civic ethics; legal and administrative models and the experience of intergovernmental agencies in this area; cooperation for institutional strengthening; mechanisms to allow cooperation between national institutions and other sectors of society; a study of the different issues contained in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption; the role of intergovernmental agencies in anticorruption activities; and the declarations and instructions contained in the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas.
The conferences activities were structured in two phases. The first involved an exchange of opinions regarding the institutional framework and national rules for probity and civic ethics in force in the member states; during this phase, the national delegations described their countries activities vis-à-vis the challenges posed by the fight against corruption, and the OAS Secretariat for Legal Affairs made a presentation that was chiefly intended to showcase the progress made in enforcing the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and developments to date with the Plan of Action of the Inter-American Program to Fight Corruption.
The second part of the event examined the experiences of international agencies in fighting corruption and strengthening probity. Speeches were given by representatives of the Inter-American Juridical Committee, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank; the national authorities then held an exchange of experiences and practices in which they described their individual situations and discussed the ideas put forward by civil organizations and institutions regarding the contributions they could make toward fighting corruption and strengthening probity and public ethics.
The Symposium produced several recommendations, including the following: the public institutions, international organizations, and civil society bodies charged with enhancing probity and fighting corruption in the Hemisphere should continue to exchange information and experiences; the Permanent Councils Working Group on Probity and Public Ethics should recommence its work and follow-up on the activities contained in the Inter-American Program to Fight Corruption; the ways and means for promoting the enhancement of probity and public ethics should be identified, with emphasis on education-related issues, on exchanges of experiences with the practices used by public institutions, and on the training of different sectors of society; and efforts to collect information on the structures and functions of the national institutions charged with enhancing probity and on legislation dealing with types of corruption covered by the Inter-American Convention against Corruption should continue.
Notable among the other recommendations were the following: information should continue to be gathered on preparing codes of conduct for public employees and advice should be furnished to those government institutions that request it; the areas requiring strengthening in the different national institutions should be identified, along with the measures needed to overcome the limitations that currently exist; actions aimed at implementing the preventive measures contained in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption should continue, including public employees filing sworn statements of their net worths; transparency and integrity in public procurement and auctions should be promoted; and progress should be made toward harmonizing the different initiatives that exist for developing a network interconnecting the institutions involved in enhancing probity and fighting corruption.
Other OAS actions in the field of probity and public ethics involved the work of the Inter-American Juridical Committee, most notably its reports containing the Model Legislation on Illicit Enrichment and Transnational Bribery (CP/doc.3146/99).
The General Secretariat, through its Secretariat for Legal Affairs, has also prepared a compilation of the legislation on illegal enrichment and transnational bribery in force and, additionally, it has drafted a preliminary proposal for legal texts on bribery and illicit enrichment to be used by the Juridical Committee in its work on this issue.
The Plan of Actions first two mandates are being pursued through the ongoing negotiations toward designing and implementing the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM). In May 1998, CICAD created an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG-MEM), chaired by Canada and with Chile serving as vice chair. On that occasion the Commission agreed that IWG-MEM would be open to participation by all the CICAD member states; that it would receive assistance from the Commissions Group of Experts; that it would meet every three months; that, through the Permanent Council, it would submit regular reports to the General Assembly; and that the mechanism designed would be compatible with the Hemispheric Antidrug Strategy and the mandates of the Summit.
At its second meeting in August 1998, the IWG-MEM agreed by consensus on the principles, characteristics, and objectives that are to govern the MEMs operations. These are the following:
In accordance with these agreements, the IWG-MEM held its third meeting in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on October 26-28, 1998. This meeting agreed on indicators to be used in the evaluation process, based on the following goals taken from the Hemispheric Antidrug Strategy:
The fourth meeting of IWG-MEM was held in Washington, D.C., on January 26-28, 1999. On this occasion, the participating countries concluded their analysis of the indicators to be used by the MEM and approved those related to Goal 4Measures for controlling money-laundering and arms smugglingtogether with those related to judicial cooperation. The meeting also approved, in principle, the process for operating the MEM. The IWG-MEM also agreed to conclude negotiations on the mechanisms design at the meeting to be held in Ottawa, Canada, August 30-September 3, 1999, and to submit the result of its work for approval by the twenty-sixth regular session of CICAD, to be held in Uruguay in late October 1999. The IWG-MEM agreed to conduct the first round of evaluations during the year 2000.
The last IWG-MEM meeting was held in Washington, D.C., May 3-5, 1999. It approved operating costs, indicators for arms trafficking control, and new indicators for demand reduction.
With regard to the Hemispheric Antidrug Strategy, CICAD has been carrying out a major demand reduction program, involving preventive measures, treatment, and rehabilitation efforts. In this context, with financial assistance from the governments of the USA, Japan, Canada, Spain, and Israel, the Executive Secretariat has been carrying out education and community participation activities for preventing drug addiction and reducing the demand for drugs; it has been training therapists in the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addictions and preventing drug abuse among street children, women, and young people; it has been conducting epidemiological research into drug consumption trends; and it has been designing communications strategies to prevent drug use.
In connection with the increased cooperation in areas such as data gathering and analysis, the standardization of systems to measure abuse, technical and scientific training, and exchanges of experiences, the CICAD Executive Secretariat has been carrying out the SIDUC (Inter-American Drug Use Data System) project with financial assistance from Spain, the USA, and the European Commission. The aim of this project is to draw up prediction models using a simplified information system that allows data to be collected systematically and enables time series on the use and abuse of drugs to be analyzed. It involves a major specialized training module for the members of the staff of the national institutions in charge of the project in each of the member nations. As a result of this effort, in October 1998 CICAD published the second SIDUC Bulletin, containing information on drug consumption in 13 nations of the Hemisphere.
Regarding increased cooperation in areas such as data gathering and analysis, the standardization of systems to measure abuse, technical and scientific training, and exchanges of experiences, CICAD provides the member states with technical assistance by promoting the establishment of harmonized legal provisions and institutional strengthening in order to improve criminal justice systems as they refer to illicit trafficking and related crimes. These efforts are being made in conjunction with the United Nations International Drug Control Program. The Spanish government provides financial support for actions of this kind by CICAD.
Supporting the actions taken by CICAD over the last four years, the Executive Secretariat is, thanks to financial contributions from the Inter-American Development Bank, carrying out a project in order to train bank clerks and officials of banking and insurance oversight agencies and to improve information exchange mechanisms. CICAD, with support from the IDB, has also launched another project to support the creation of what are known as Financial Intelligence Units in the member states. Financial contributions from the governments of Canada and Spain have enabled several training courses to be held for judges, public prosecutors, and bank clerks responsible for laundering control operations. The Group of Experts on Money Laundering Control reviewed the Model Regulations and proposed amendments that were later approved by the Commission at its plenary session held in Honduras in late October 1998.
During 1998 CICAD has concentrated much of its efforts on actions such as training courses for police officers, customs officials, and administrative personnel; beginning installation of the radio component of the Inter-American Drug Control Telecommunications NetworkPrecursor Chemicals Module (RETCOD/Precursors); expanding the network to incorporate Ecuador alongside Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela; launching a comprehensive project aimed at establishing chemical control mechanisms in the Caribbean; and the modification of the Model Regulations by the Group of Experts. All these undertakings were made possible by contributions from the governments of Canada, France, Korea, Mexico, the United States, and the European Commission.
The CICAD Executive Secretariat held a seminar in Fort-de-France, Martinique, with assistance from the French government. Attended by the nations of Central America, this event was aimed at encouraging enforcement of the Regulations. These activities took place thanks to contributions from the United States, Argentina, and Chile.
Similarly, the Executive Secretariat is carrying out a series of activities aimed at establishing market links for alternative development products in Colombia and Peru, at making agricultural extension and pest control tasks easier in alternative development areas, and at conducting pilot programs for applying the generalized land use evaluation and management tool (GLEAM) in the Aguaytía areas of Peru and in the Hermozillas and Río Blanco canyons, Huila department, in Colombia.
In November 1998, CICAD and the Inter-American Development Bank organized a meeting of a consultative group to support Perus war on drugs. The aim of this event, the first of its kind, was to obtain USD$198 million to support alternative development and drug use prevention programs. At the end of the meeting, which was held at the European Commissions headquarters in Brussels, the donors committed USD$247 million to support those Peruvian government programs. The Executive Secretariat, in conjunction with the Colombian authorities, is currently coordinating a similar exercise to support alternative development and prevention programs in that country.
CICAD played an active role in the preparations for the United Nations General Assembly special session held in June 1998 to promote international cooperation on illegal drugs and associated crimes.
In addition, every effort will be made to ensure effective implementation of international narcotics agreements to which they have subscribed, at regional and subregional levels, and for these to operate in consonance with the hemispheric effort, and to reaffirm their support for CICAD and its fundamental role in the implementation of these agreements.
OAS ActionsThe most important action taken by the OAS in recent months in connection with eliminating the threat of terrorism was the organization of the Second Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism, which took place on November 23-24, 1998 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
The OAS General Assembly adopted the corresponding resolution [AG/RES. 1553 (XXVIII-O/98)] at its twenty-eighth regular session (Caracas, June 1998) and instructed the Permanent Council to carry out preparatory work for the conference with a view to its convocation. In compliance with this mandate, the Council accepted the Argentine offer to host the meeting and charged its Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs with the preparations, including consideration of a draft version of the Commitment of Mar del Plata, which was later examined by the Meeting of Experts to Prepare for the Conference, held on October 15-16, 1998. This draft was the basic document that was considered by the Second Conference.
The Mar del Plata meeting began its work on November 23, 1998. The agenda adopted by the Conference covered the following: (1) national actions for preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorist acts; bilateral cooperation for preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorism; multilateral cooperation toward those same goals; (2) the examination and consideration of the Conference documents, including the recommendations of the Meeting of Experts to Prepare for the Second Conference on Terrorism and the Commitment of Mar del Plata.
The Conference spread its work over four plenary sessions. At these, the heads of delegation offered general overviews in which their countries reported on the different policies they had adopted to combat the terrorist phenomenon, the actions and steps taken at the national level, and the bilateral and multilateral measures regarding cooperation for preventing, combating, and eliminating the phenomenon. Once the general presentations had concluded, the Conference studied, amended, and adopted the Commitment of Mar del Plata and its three appendices, which dealt with, respectively, the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (CICTE), guidelines for inter-American cooperation regarding terrorist acts and activities, and measures to eliminate terrorist fundraising.
The decisions of the Commitment of Mar del Plata included the recommendation that the General Assembly create an institutional framework within the Organization, to be known as the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (CICTE), intended to encourage cooperation aimed at preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorist acts and activities and, to that end, proposing that in determining CICTEs powers and functions, the guidelines contained in Appendix I of the Commitment be taken into consideration; the agreement to request that the OAS General Assembly appoint, within its sphere of authority, a technical and administrative support unit for the Committees activities; the recommendation of adopting concrete measures to provide a concerted, effective response to the terrorist threat and, to that end, agreeing on guidelines for coordinated action by the member states; the recommendation of studying the possibility of appointing, in accordance with each states laws, National Liaison Offices to facilitate cooperation among the state agencies charged with preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorism; the recommendation that member states should continue to develop bilateral, subregional, or multilateral cooperation mechanisms, while not precluding the competent organs of the OAS from considering the proposals contained in the Commitment; the agreement to urge the member states that have not yet done so to promptly sign, ratify, or accede to the international conventions on terrorism adopted within the United Nations and other international organizations; recommending that the OAS General Assembly ask the Permanent Council to continue to study the need and advisability of a new inter-American convention on terrorism, in light of existing international instruments, and ask the Inter-American Juridical Committee to conduct studies into strengthening juridical and judicial cooperation, including extradition, in order to counter terrorism and to collaborate with CICTE in drawing up the applicable rules.
In connection with the organization of the Specialized Conference on Terrorism, it must be noted that the General Secretariat, through the Secretariat for Legal Affairs, participated in those efforts by providing technical support and advice for all the preparatory work and the activities carried out during the Conference. It prepared documents and background briefs and it participated at the Conference as the technical advice area. It also drew up a series of documents, including the meetings Final Report, and it is currently preparing the proceedings and conference documents for publication.
The Assistant Secretariat has prepared the draft statute of the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (CICTE), the creation of which was recommended by the Specialized Conference, and submitted it to the Permanent Council for consideration. In this way, the General Assembly will be able to consider the draft at its next regular session.
It is also necessary to note that in connection with this question, the Santiago Plan of Action states that the nations of the Americas will be encouraged to sign, ratify, or accede to the international agreements addressing terrorism. To this end, the Secretariat for Legal Affairs has prepared a document that analyzes the content and the signature and ratification status of the different applicable international agreements. In addition, the General Secretariats juridical area has given the Inter-American Juridical Committee technical advice on preparing the reports that this OAS agency has been writing on the need or advisability of drawing up new Inter-American treaties for combating terrorism.
In compliance with the mandates of the Santiago Summit, the OAS, acting through the Committee on Hemispheric Security (CSH), carried out the following activities:
Progress was made within the confidence- and security-building process last October when the delegations of Brazil and the United States submitted a proposal for drawing up an Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions in the Hemisphere. To this end a Working Group was set up. It has met five times since October and has made considerable progress so far in drafting the text of that international instrument, the aim of which is to further regional openness and transparency through exchanges of information on the weapons systems covered by the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. This register includes armored cars and vehicles, combat aircraft, large caliber artillery systems, attack helicopters, warships, missiles, and missile launchers.
With regard to the special security concerns of the small island states, the Committee on Hemispheric Security held a follow-up meeting on November 3 to discuss ways to generate greater awareness and understanding of the special security concerns of small island states, address those concerns, and identify and promote the application of cooperative measures. The meeting examined the report of the different organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization that address those concerns. An updated report on those activities is to be presented by the General Secretariat in the near future.
It should also be mentioned that the Third Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas was held in Cartagena, Colombia, in November 1998. This meeting reaffirmed the ongoing process regarding hemispheric security that has been taking place within the Organization of American States. At the December 8 meeting of the CSH, its Chair presented a verbal report on his participation at that Conference of Defense Ministers.
At that same meeting, the Chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) presented a verbal report on the confidence-building measures of a military nature submitted by the member states and he distributed the compilation of them that the Board had prepared. The Committee agreed to hold another meeting in early 1999 to examine in greater detail the results of the IADBs work in this area.
On December 15, within the framework of its closer relations with other multilateral bodies on security issues, the Committee invited the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and a representative from the United Nations Center for Disarmament Affairs to give a presentation on United Nations activities in the fields of disarmament and security, on the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, and on the United Nations Instrument for Standardized International Reporting of Military Expenditures.
On February 4, 1999, the Committee on Hemispheric Security held a meeting to analyze the demining program in Central America and to consider the progress made regarding antipersonnel land mines.
In connection with the demining program in Central America, the UPD and the IADB reported on the effects of Hurricane Mitch, which destroyed equipment and infrastructure and thus paralyzed the humanitarian demining operations that were being conducted in the region. The hurricanes effects also drastically altered the nature of the mine problem existing in the area (particularly in Nicaragua and Honduras) by moving and relocating an unknown number of mines still waiting to be destroyed and thus further complicating the difficult scenario of detection and destruction. Moreover, within the problems faced by the demining effort, they noted that a new threat to public security in the region had emerged, which could create additional accidents arising from the combination of mines and the storm.
In spite of losing part of their equipment, the OAS and program counterparts made the necessary ambulances, vehicles, emergency communications systems, and military operating capacity available to the local authorities. These elements then helped in evacuating and relocating the affected population, reopening a number of roads and bridges that were blocked, and destroying land mines that rose to the surface during the storm and were reported by members of the community.
The UPD/IADB, in conjunction with national and international support authorities, and in light of the displacement of the land mines, has begun a reassessment of the situation and of the efforts needed to meet this new challenge arising from the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch.
The Committee also heard reports from the United States, Mexico, and Canada on the subject of antipersonnel mines. The delegate of the United States reported on his governments demining efforts across the world, while the representatives of Mexico and Canada described the Regional Seminar on Antipersonnel Mines which was organized by the two countries and which took place in Mexico City, January 11-12, 1999.
Finally, the representative of Canada reported on recent developments with the ratification of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (the Ottawa Convention), noting that the Convention was to come into force on March 1.
On February 25, 1999 the Committee on Hemispheric Security held a follow-up meeting on compliance with the confidence- and security-building measures contained in the Santiago and San Salvador declarations. The meeting, which was attended by the chairs of those two conferences, showcased the progress being made by the member states in this area and, in accordance with the Summit mandate, presented updated information on national defense policies.
With regard to the Program of Education for Peace in the Hemisphere, the Committee noted the proposal drawn up by the UPD at the end of last year; subsequently, on March 4 of this year, the draft resolution on the Program of Education for Peace was approved, along with the draft resolution for the Meeting of Experts to design a project for that program. The Meeting of Experts will be held in October in the city of Cartagena, Colombia.
Finally, on April 20-21, the Committee on Hemispheric Security held a meeting in Washington with government experts to analyze the new concepts of hemispheric security and the strengthening of the inter-American system in this regard. The meeting was preceded by a seminar organized by the delegations of Chile and the United States, with support from the OAS General Secretariat, and was attended by academics from across the Hemisphere. The two events served as preparatory rounds for the work of the Committee on Hemispheric Security over the coming years, which is to conclude with the Special Conference on Security with which the Summit charged the OAS, to be held no later than the start of the coming decade.
At the Santiago Summit, the heads of state and government decided to support the organization of regular meetings of the ministers of justice within the OAS framework. The first of these was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 1997. The Second Meeting of Ministers of Justice took place in Lima, Peru, on March 1-3, 1999.
The main issue addressed at the Second Meeting was the modernization and strengthening of justice systems in the Americas. The primary goals were to take concrete measures with regard to access to justice and the training of judges, prosecutors, and judicial officials, and to strengthen inter-American cooperation. The topic of new offenses was also discussed, for example, cyber crime. A decision was also made to proceed toward the establishment of the Justice Studies Center, envisaged in the Santiago Plan of Action. To that end, a working group of government experts was set up, and, with OAS cooperation, it is already working to prepare a draft structure and draft statutes for the Center. The conclusions and recommendations adopted by the ministers, as contained in the meetings Final Report (REMJA-II/doc.21/99), are reproduced below:
I.Access to Justice
A. To continue with the exchange of experiences regarding measures and initiatives adopted at the domestic level, as well as progress achieved and obstacles encountered by the OAS member states in relation to the problem of access to justice in their respective countries; improvement of legal aid and defense services; legal protection of minors; and incorporation of alternative dispute resolution methods in national justice systems.
B. To further those ends, clear identification will be made of the applicable cooperation mechanisms in these areas, and actions including the following will be undertaken: compilation of the legislation in force regarding these matters, with a view to creating a database; comparative studies; and preparation of a list of countries and institutions that are in a position to provide international cooperation in these areas.
II.Training of Judges, Prosecutors, and Judicial Officials
A. Justice Studies Center for the Americas
With a view to the establishment of the Justice Studies Center envisioned in the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas; and taking into account the different legal systems in force in the Hemisphere, it is decided:
1. That the objectives of the center will be to facilitate:
2. That a group of government experts, open to participation by all delegations, will be formed to:
3. That the Centers work plan, in the initial phase, will focus on criminal justice matters.
4. That the group of experts will conclude its work by September 21, 1999.
5. That the OAS will be requested to provide the necessary support for the work of the group of experts.
B. Regional Courses, Workshops, and Seminars
To continue to cooperate with the OAS General Secretariat by organizing regional or subregional courses, workshops, and seminars to train and develop the legal skills of officials in charge of the justice system in the OAS member states in collaboration with international or national, governmental or nongovernmental institutions.
III. Strengthening and Developing Inter-American Cooperation
A. To strengthen and promote international cooperation in areas of special concern, such as the struggle against terrorism, combating corruption, money laundering, forgery, drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in firearms, organized crime, and transnational criminal activity.
B. Cyber Crime: Because of the importance and difficulty of the issues presented by cyber crime, and the spread and potential magnitude of the problems it poses for our countries, it is recommended to establish a governmental expert group, within the framework of the OAS, with a mandate to:
The government expert group should present a report to the Third Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas.
C. To continue working in an effective and flexible manner to strengthen mutual legal and judicial assistance among the OAS member states, particularly with respect to extradition, requests for delivery of documents and other forms of evidence, and channels of communications between central authorities.
D. To evaluate the application of inter-American conventions in force in the area of legal and judicial cooperation, in order to identify measures for their effective implementation or, if appropriate, to determine whether the existing legal framework in the Hemisphere should be changed.
E. To urge OAS member states that are parties to treaties for legal and judicial cooperation to appoint Central Authorities where they have not yet done so, to ensure implementation of these treaties.
F. To recommend that the OAS convene a meeting of central authorities in due course to strengthen cooperation among those authorities in relation to the various conventions on the subject of legal and judicial cooperation.
G. Extradition, forfeiture of assets, and mutual legal assistance: recognizing the need to strengthen and facilitate legal and judicial cooperation in the Americas with regard to extradition, forfeiture of assets and mutual legal assistance, and to enhance individual and international efforts against organized crime and transnational criminal activity through improved intergovernmental communication and understanding, we commit ourselves to exchange information, through the OAS, on the following matters in order to deal with them at the Third Meeting:
In order to facilitate this work, we will immediately begin to compile a list of contact points for information on extradition, mutual legal assistance, and forfeiture of assets.
IV. Prison and Penitentiary Policy
V. Venue of the Third and Fourth Meetings of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas
The Permanent Council established a working group to implement the recommendations of the meetings of ministers of justice or of ministers or attorneys general of the Americas. On May 10 and 11, a meeting of experts was held on the establishment of the Justice Studies Center of the Americas. It reached agreement on points relating to the nature of the Center and its Work Plan.
At the 11th Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor of the Organization of American States, held in Viña del Mar, Chile, October 20-21, 1998, the labor ministers met to discuss two issues: "economic globalization and its social and labor dimensions," and "modernization of the state and labor administration: requirements and challenges." At the Conference, the ministers adopted the following decisions:
In connection with the globalization of the economy and its social and labor dimensions, in the area of employment and the job market, the labor ministers resolved to do the following:
In the area of labor relations, the ministers adopted the following decisions:
In the area of social security, the labor ministries agreed to:
In the area of the functions and tasks of the ministries of labor, the ministers agreed to:
III. ECONOMIC INTEGRATION AND FREE TRADEFree Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
[. . .]
II. We instruct our Representatives in the institutions of the Tripartite Committee, in particular the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to allocate appropriate existing resources within those institutions to support the Administrative Secretariat for the FTAA negotiations.
III. We urge the Tripartite Committee to continue to respond positively to requests for technical support from FTAA entities. We ask the three institutions to consider requests for technical assistance related to FTAA issues from member countriesin particular from the smaller economies in order to facilitate their integration to the FTAA processaccording to their respective procedures.
In order to comply with these mandates, between June 1998 and February 1999 the Trade Unit made progress in the following areas: support for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) process, the Foreign Trade Information System (SICE), institutional cooperation; and technical cooperation.
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
During the period covered by this report, the Trade Unit assisted the member states in three areas of the FTAA process: the Ministerial Meeting on Trade held in San José last March; the vice-ministerial meetings held in Buenos Aires in June and in Suriname in December; and the meetings of the FTAA negotiating groups. It also helped organize the Fourth Business Forum of the Americas, held during the San José ministerial meeting.
The Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), comprising the regions vice-ministers for trade, was created. Since then, the TNC has been meeting to implement the negotiating framework agreed on at San José, Costa Rica, last March, including such issues as its goals, approaches, structure, and location.
The work undertaken within the FTAA working groups during this period was intense. The Trade Ministers, meeting at the trade ministerial, transformed the Working Groups into Negotiating Groups, and made some additions and modifications to them. They established the Consultative Group on Smaller Economies, the Committee of Government Representatives on Participation by Civil Society, and the Joint Government-Private Sector Committee of Experts on Electronic Commerce.
The FTAA Negotiating Groups include the following: Market Access; Investment; Services; Government Procurement, Dispute Settlement; Agriculture; Intellectual Property Rights; Subsidies, Antidumping, and Countervailing Duties; and Competition Policy.
In turn, the OAS Trade Unit will continue to support the following Negotiating Groups: Investment; Services; Intellectual Property Rights; Subsidies, Antidumping, and Countervailing Duties; Competition Policy; and Dispute Settlement. It will also provide support for the Negotiating Groups on Agriculture and Market Access, as required. The Trade Unit will also support the Consultative Group on Small Economies, the Committee of Government Representatives on Civil Society Participation, and the Joint GovernmentPrivate Sector Committee of Experts on Electronic Commerce.
In addition, the Trade Unit has continued to assist these efforts. It has coordinated its work with the other institutions on the Tripartite Committee: the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The division of labor has made it possible to make efficient use of the human resources and materials available in each of the institutions. At its Buenos Aires meeting, the TNC asked the Tripartite Committee to compile a list of business facilitation measures.
The negotiation assistance provided by the Trade Unit has involved preparing inventories and comparative studies of national laws and of subregional, regional, and international agreements entered into by the countries of the Hemisphere, which were then used to identify common ground and differences between the different regimes; at the request of FTAA negotiating and consultative group chairs, analyzing issues under discussion, such as mechanisms to facilitate FTAA participation by the regions smaller economies; preparing working documents for the negotiating group chairs; and logistic support through the Administrative Secretariat in Miami.
Foreign Trade Information System (SICE)
The Foreign Trade Information System (SICE) is intended to provide the most complete information possible on the Hemispheres trade through access to documents that, although public, are frequently difficult to locate or obtain, in the four official languages of the OAS. During the period covered by this report, the process of expanding SICE continued, and it now has an Internet homepage (www.sice.oas.org). As a result of these efforts, both the information available through SICE and the use made of it have grown considerably. During the period covered by this report, the SICE page received 4,302,197 hits.
SICE contains documents on the FTAA process, including the results of the Second Summit of the Americas in Santiago, the ministerial meetings held in Denver, Cartagena, Belo Horizonte, and San José, and general background information on the process: trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties among the OAS member nations; trade-related institutions; general country information; companies and business chambers; quantitative data, including trade flows, tariffs, and prices; trade information provided by the member nations. In addition, there has been a considerable increase in the number of documents available in French and Portuguese.
SICE manages the official FTAA homepage, which has its own address (http://www.alca-ftaa.org). The page contains general information about the process, together with official documents authorized for publication by the participating countries, including those arising from the ministerial meetings and the FTAA working groups.
Under an agreement between the OAS and the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and financed by the latter institution, a conference was held in September on trade and investment relations between the Andean Community and the United States. The result of another conference on the same subject held in 1997 was the publication of a book titled "The Andean Community and the United States: Trade and Investment Relations in the 1990s."
In addition, the OAS has continued to participate in the IDB/UNCTAD project TRAINS for the Americas, an information system that provides broken-down data on trade flows, tariffs, nontariff barriers, and rules of origin.
In turn, the Trade Unit and the ALADI Secretariat are cooperating on a program within which the Trade Unit has obtained access to the ALADI member nations database on trade flows and has, in exchange, furnished data on the trade flows of the USA and Canada.
As the FTAA negotiation process has advanced, the importance of technical assistance to many of the regions countries has become apparent; this is particularly true among the small economies, which request it not only to guarantee their effective participation in the negotiations but also to strengthen their execution capacity. The General Assembly, at its twenty-eighth regular session, therefore charged the General Secretariat with providing assistance to those member states requesting it, as agreed upon by the trade ministers in the Declaration of Belo Horizonte; it also instructed CIDI to support projects, programs, and activities related to the priority areas of economic integration and diversification, trade liberalization, and market access.
The Trade Units main undertaking in this regard has been the OAS/WTO/Georgetown training course for trade officials, funded by FEMCIDI, which came to a successful conclusion in July. Two sessions were heldone for English-speaking countries on June 119, and another on June 29 to July 17 for the Spanish-speaking nations. A total of 53 participants from 32 nations across the Hemisphere attended and heard the speeches given by 50 speakers at the two intensive courses on multilateral and regional trade policy issues. The speakers and instructors came from different governments from around the Americas, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States, Georgetown University, and numerous research centers, law firms, and NGOs. The aim of the course was to increase awareness about trade policy and how it is drawn up and implemented, paying particular attention to the Hemispheres smaller economies.
On May 26-27, a conference was held on multilateral and regional trade within the OAS; this was used to prepare the materials for the training course described above. It also facilitated an exchange of ideas about the multilateral and regional trading systems.
The issues addressed by the conference included regionalism in the Western Hemisphere, smaller economies and trade agreements, market access negotiations, rules of origin, customs procedures and rules, investments, services and intellectual property rights, competition policy and trade laws in reparations cases, government procurement, dispute settlement, and social issues related to trade, such as labor and environmental affairs.
A book covering the issues dealt with at this conference will be published in 1999.
The OAS Trade Unit has also participated in and helped organize seminars on issues related to the work being carried out by the FTAA negotiating groups. These seminars addressed the following issues: competition policy (Lima, Peru, in May), trade and the environment (San José, Costa Rica, in April), rules and technical barriers to trade (Guatemala City, in May), dispute settlement (Caracas, Venezuela, in November), and investment (Kingston, Jamaica, in October).
Finally, officials of the Trade Unit have assisted member states by answering requests for assistance in specific trade and integration projects and by attending seminars, workshops, and conferences as invited experts.
IICA carried out various activities and achieved important results in the second half of the year in such matters as: support for trade negotiations within WTO and FTAA; support for institutional reforms related to trade and improved competitiveness, especially in the food chains; and strengthening of agricultural information systems.
The following activities and achievements are most noteworthy:
First Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology
The third ordinary meeting of CIDI, held in Buenos Aires in March 1998, agreed to create the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology (COMCyT); this decision was ratified by the twenty-eighth regular session of the OAS General Assembly held in Caracas.
The Committees first meeting was held in Bariloche, Argentina, August 10-12, 1998 under the aegis of CIDI. The member states presented the COMCyT chair with their observations and comments on the design of an Inter-American Science and Technology Program, which would serve as the channel for implementing the Santiago Plan of Actions initiatives in the fields of science and technology.
The Committees goal is to coordinate, monitor, and assess the OASs activities regarding scientific developments and technology exchanges and transfers, in accordance with CIDIs Strategic Plan.
Other activities carried out within the framework of the OAS:
Inter-American Program for Environmental Technology Cooperation in Key Industry Sectors
On September 27-30, 1998, continuing with the series of meetings begun in August 1997, the fifth Roundtable on solid waste management was held in the city of Salvador de Bahía, Brazil. At the event experts from several countries emphasized the importance of conducting solid waste management in harmony with the natural and social environments, because that is the only way to achieve solutions and alternatives that are compatible with sustainable community development.
On November 24-26, 1998, the sixth Roundtable in the series, addressing the issue of the forestry industry, was held in Santiago, Chile, hosted by the Industrial Development Society (SOFOFA). This Roundtable concluded that although the region faced major forestry challenges, it also had enough experience and advanced technology for meeting those challenges.
These Roundtables furnished an adequate setting for representatives of international organizations, industrial associations, the public and private sectors, educational institutes, and NGOs to exchange ideas and work together in search of solutions for sustainable development in the region. They also emphasized that the creation of a business culture at the level of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is essential for achieving that development by using cleaner technologies and better management techniques.
On December 17-18, 1998, representatives of six industrial associations met in Washington, D.C., with members from the Office of Science and Technology to create a steering committee for a new program: the Inter-American Program for Promoting Proven Environmental Practices in Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (PMMEs). The goal of this program is to increase the competitiveness of those three groups of companies in the region by improving their environmental performances with cleaner technologies and improved management practices. The idea is to promote the implementation of cleaner technologies based on the production chain, from the raw materials to the marketing of the finished product or service, and the use of optimal management practices throughout that process.
Regional projects under the aegis of MERCOCYT and biotechnology projects for the Caribbean have continued, with the aim of promoting actions for sustainable development and the environment. On August 10-12, 1998, a meeting of the Committee on Science and Technology (COMCyT) was held in Bariloche, Argentina; on that occasion, the draft version of the Inter-American Science and Technology Program (PRICYT) was placed under consideration. This program is being discussed by the member states prior to its submission to CIDI; it should be noted that the program contains two chapters related to the Bolivia Summit: Science, Technology, and Innovation for Promoting Social Development; and Science, Technology, and Innovation for Sustainable Development.
Hemisphere Wide Inter-university Scientific and Technological Information Network (RedHUCyT)
The Inter-University Hemispheric Network of Scientific and Technological Information (RedHUCyT), funded by FEMCIDI, is continuing to give support to the Caribbean nations. In particular, the RUDAC project, interconnecting six universities in the Dominican Republic, began to operate. Additionally, funding was granted for the purchase of an antenna for satellite communications in Jamaica, which will allow an improvement in the Internet services of the University of the West Indies and other institutions. Expansion projects in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Uruguay, and Venezuela continued. In July 1998 a consultancy mission from Costa Rica visited The Bahamas and Barbados to furnish and launch several communications systems.
Implementation of the INFOCyT project continued, the aim of which is to furnish a common access point that interconnects national and regional databases covering the areas of science and technology at the regional level.
Metrology, Standardization, Accreditation, and Quality
The Inter-American System of Metrology, Standardization, Accreditation, and Quality project, which concluded its second year of operations in December 1998, has since January 1999 involved two projects: "Physical and Chemical Metrology for the Americas: Establishing and Developing Measuring Capabilities within the Inter-American System of Metrology (SIM)," and "Standardization, Accreditation, and Quality for Small and Medium-sized Businesses."
In the metrology area, efforts have continued to reactivate the Inter-American System of Metrology (SIM) with the participation of the 34 member states through their national laboratories, and with technical support from institutions such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST-USA), National Research Council (NRC-Canada), National Metrology, Standardization, and Industrial Quality Institute (INMETRO-Brazil), and National Metrology Center (CENAM-Mexico).
In the standards area, continued support has been given to the activities of COPANT (Pan American Standards Commission). The support for COPANT is in response to the goal of promoting the development of technical standardization and associated activities in its member states.
The information systems created by the project during 1997such as those of SIM (http://www.ibpinetspcom.br/sim/index.html), of COPANT (http://web.ansi.org/copant), of the IAAC (http://www.ibpinetsp.com.br/iaac), and the quality systemhave been put on line and now comprise the Inter-American System of Information for the Productive Sector, accessible from the web page of the OAS Office of Science and technology. In addition, a system for consulting the standards database over the Internet has been developed.
In the area of accreditation, the project continues to support the activities of Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC), with a view toward promoting the formulation of mutual recognition agreements among the Hemispheres accreditation institutions.
In the field of quality, the German government is still supporting the OAS/GTZ Quality and Productivity Management Project in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, underway in 12 of the regions countries. Activities in this area are aimed at improving quality management systems in small and medium-sized companies through training and advisory services provided by the project in such areas as managerial and strategic planning, marketing, and ISO provisions applicable to quality management and environmental quality.
Hemisphere-wide activities were aimed at coming up with an overall idea of the future of agriculture from a technological point of view, supporting the consolidation of the regional system of technological innovation, developing conceptual and methodological approaches to strengthening national and regional systems of technological innovation and cooperation mechanisms, and contributing to institutional development for the integrated management of national resources, with emphasis placed on genetic resources, soil, and water, including ad hoc technical support for countries.
Noteworthy in this regard were the following activities and achievements:
In compliance with these mandates, the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) carried out the following activities:
A draft Mutual Recognition Agreement covering telecommunications equipment has been drawn up and will be put before the member states consideration in March 1999. This is a decisive step in the promotion of guidelines to ensure greater consistency in the certification of telecommunications equipment across the Americas.
CITEL has continued to make progress in promoting the use of common, coordinated standards, particularly in the telecommunications management network, signaling systems, intelligent networks, wireless mobile services, and interconnection systems. Similarly, CITEL remains very busy in connection with the coordinated use of the radio spectrum. These activities are seen as essential ways to ensure greater economy in the introduction of new services that will ensure the interoperability of member states telecommunications networks.
CITEL has also prepared a program to assist member states in the area of the Global Information Infrastructure in the Americas and Universal Access/Services. The aim is to provide basic telecommunications services across the Americas. Specific projects are also underway in the fields of electronic commerce, distance learning, and telemedicine. CITEL is working with other regional and international telecommunications organizations in implementing these programs.
CITEL also plans to continue with and expand its information programs and seminars, attempting to clarify the impact of telecommunications services by providing the requisite practical guidance.
The world of telecommunications has fundamentally changed as the result of market liberalization. Countries are obliged to make basic telecommunications services available to all their inhabitants. CITEL has a fundamental role to play in this in its capacity as a forum in which countries can exchange ideas.
Within the framework of the work of the Permanent Consultative Committee on Public Telecommunications Services (PCC.I), CITEL maintains a working group on basic and universal telecommunications services which is currently working in conjunction with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Hispano-American Association of Telecommunications Research Centers and Enterprises (AHCIET) on drawing up a Universal Service Manual. Notable in their study were the following points, which emerged from the submissions made by the participants: definitions of universal service and universal access; the current status of rural telephony and public telephony in the Americas; identifying options for financing universal service programs; and identifying the direction to be followed in expanding this service. The aim is to finalize this Manual by late 1999.
The accounting rates system was established when all international telecommunications traffic was handled by national providers in monopoly positions. Nowadays, new technologies and new exploitation methods, the WTO agreement on basic telecommunications, and the emergence of heightened competition among regional groups have led to the establishment of new rules. The result is that the flow of settlement payments is falling. Many developing countries, which depend on these payments to finance their network expansions and to pursue the goals of universal service, will be subjected to increasing pressure to reduce their accounting rates. Thus, other ways to fund the development of the telecommunications industry must be sought.
PCC.Is Working Group on Accounting Rates is analyzing the repercussions of modifying the accounting rates system, making use of the experience of operators and regulatory authorities from developing countries with different degrees of liberalization. In addition, a Rapporteur Group was created, which will be responsible for coordinating working desks for each of the subregional integration organizations in order to motivate and improve the dynamics of the cooperation process among countries, helping to draw up a common cost structure for international telephone services.
Mutual Recognition Agreements for Telecommunications Equipment:
The telecommunications sector is covered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement liberalizing basic telecommunications services. The new framework for trade in and regulation of telecommunications services created by the WTO should facilitate the true globalization of the telecommunications services and equipment industries. A rapporteur group from PCC.Is working group on certification processes is currently drafting a framework mutual recognition agreement (MRA), thus demonstrating the countries express will to jointly accept test reports and/or equipment certifications from other countries. Some of the issues being considered by the rapporteur group include the necessary types of approval and the existing regimes; geographical coverage; existing regulatory requirements; ways to harmonize national/regional standards and the feasibility of so doing; and identifying compliance assessment procedures in the existing legal regimes.
The essential condition for agreements of this kind is confidence in other countries certification processes, particularly as regards test measurements and precision. The aim is for this framework agreement to be finalized and delivered to the member states for their consideration by the end of 1999.
The Working Group on Standards Coordination is currently engaged in a demanding program of activities, including signaling systems, numbering systems, network administration, mobile systems, and interconnection technologies. This group produces coordinated standards documents containing the best options in the areas in question and which are then made available to the countries.
It is also within this working group that the Year 2000 problem is being studied. This problem affects telecommunications networks, the main public services (electricity, gas, water, etc.), transportation, security systems for building access, production lines, financial and banking services, etc. In 1998 CITEL launched a highly detailed program in this area in order to coordinate all Y2K equipment modification activities, including generic guidelines on the tests to be carried out and creating an environment favorable to the sharing of information.
Global Information Infrastructure (GII):
While some countries are currently implementing their own strategies for launching high-speed information infrastructures, a perspective of the region as a whole must be maintained in order to ensure that these new technologies are compatible.
The networks must be interconnected, which requires the cooperation of everyone involved, from manufacturers and network designers to telecommunications operators. Within the Ad Hoc Working Group on Studying the Global Information Infrastructure, CITEL is analyzing and identifying the minimum requirements for ensuring that member states will be able to develop and implement GII. This work is being carried out in close collaboration with the other CITEL working groups.
This working group program covers numerous issues, such as the global GII architecture, the technical framework for electronic commerce, and security within communications systems.
CITEL is aware of the implications of new information technologies, since they are of great usefulness to developing countries. With this aim, pilot telemedicine and distance learning projects are being prepared./ The result of these programs will be a document including a list of the hardware, software, and human resources needed to execute similar projects. This work is being carried out in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Regional Office for the Americas of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Argentine Republic was chosen to host CITELs first pilot distance learning project. There is also a specific rapporteur group for compiling and distributing information on interconnection practices in the region, which plans to propose, by late 1999, the best practical guidelines for interconnection regulations.
Another goal is to create a truly worldwide information infrastructure that will allow the electronic interchange of information on products and services, purchase and sales orders, and other financial transactions. However, access to GII is necessary, but not in itself enough, for the development of electronic commerce. This is being studied in detail by this working group.
Value Added Services:
In 1997, the PCC.I Working Group concluded a draft convention for the implementation of value added services in the Americas. This convention was made available to the FTAA working group on services for consideration. The chairman of the working group was appointed to act as the liaison between CITEL and the FTAA group.
Within PCC.III,/ CITEL is conducting several activities to ensure coordination of the regions spectrum usage. There are several reasons for gathering information on spectrum use, including identifying the current use being made of the spectrum in order to plan efficiently and determine current and future needs, facilitating the entry of new services.
At present, a database containing the regions spectrum allocations in the range of 137 to 3700 MHz is being prepared. This database will be of invaluable assistance in preparing for World Radiocommunication Conferences.
In addition, PCC.III is carrying out a detailed analysis of the different radiocommunications services available. This will allow the countries access to information and experiences they can use in establishing regulations and introducing new services. In this regard, mention can be made of the efforts of the working group that conducted a study of incompatibilities between FWA and PCS in the 18501990 MHz band. The results of this are being used by the member states to identify the most appropriate technologies.
The possibilities for overcoming the enormous transformations within the communications sector are largely based on the empowerment of human resources and on the development of adequate training. In addition, it is clear that the regulatory agencies and operating companies need new knowledge and skills to define and manage the sectors reform in an appropriate fashion.
Regulatory agencies are going to play an important role in applying commercial principles to the telecommunications sector. Since in many countries these are new government bodies, regulatory agencies have little international experience, which means that they have not had many opportunities to share and analyze their responsibilities.
In August 1998, CITEL held a seminar at which preparations for a program of appropriate training in these areas began. In addition, a database containing the administrative procedures used and the regulatory policies in force has been compiled. The participants at that event, many of whom came from telecommunications regulatory agencies, were able to share points of view and experiences.
IV. ERRADICATION OF POVERTY AND DISCRIMINATION
As responsible coordinator, PAHO was given the mandate to develop and implement Health Technologies Linking the Americas. This initiative is comprised of three elements: access to quality drugs and vaccines, strengthening of information and surveillance systems, and, improvement in access to and quality of water and sanitation infrastructure. In addition it was determined that PAHO could play a supporting role in education, drugs, women and hunger and malnutrition.
1. Access to Quality Vaccines and Drugs
Governments will seek, through public and private efforts, or partnerships between them, to enhance the availability, access to, and quality of drugs and vaccines, especially for the most needy, by promoting efforts to safeguard the quality, rational selection and use, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products, with special emphasis on vital and essential drugs; and by supporting regional initiatives that by the year 2002 will facilitate research, development, production and utilization of vaccines, which will reduce the incidence of diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, measles, rubella and mumps.
PAHO developed a Regional Vaccine Initiative to support countries in building national capabilities to conduct epidemiological surveillance and deliver immunization programs; ensure the sustainable introduction of vaccines into routine programs; and to foster vaccine development activities that will allow countries to participate and incorporate new technologies of production for vaccines against diseases of public health importance. This initiative calls for countries in the Americas to:
Two key events to further the access to quality, inexpensive drugs have recently taken place:
The project for the Joint Procurement of Critical Drugs for Central America is being further developed. PAHO will thereby support countries to strengthen and make the legal frameworks of respective countries more flexible so that the joint Central American Negotiation Commission can conduct negotiations on behalf of the states that it represents. PAHO will also support countries in promoting mechanisms to facilitate payment to suppliers, so that the terms agreed upon can be respected, and offer political, financial, and administrative support to the Commission. Negotiations are also underway with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).
2. Strengthening Health Information and Surveillance Systems
Strengthen and improve existing national and regional networks of health information and surveillance systems, so that stakeholders have access to data to address critical health issues in the Region, in order to make appropriate clinical and managerial decisions. They will address the development, implementation and evaluation of needs-based health information systems and technology, including telecommunications, to support epidemiological surveillance, the operation and management of health services and programs, health education and promotion, telemedicine, computer networks, and investment in new health technologies.
3. Improvement in Access to and Quality of Water and Sanitation Infrastructure
Develop initiatives designed to reduce deficits in access to and quality of drinking water, if, basic sanitation and solid waste management, with special emphasis on rural and poor urban areas, by applying existing technologies or developing new, appropriate and effective low-cost technologies.
PAHO's focus is on the development of low cost technology for water and sanitation for the urban poor and rural environments. This effort is being lead by CEPIS and the following activities are being undertaken:
4. Technology Assessment
Develop mechanism for assessment of the effectiveness, cost and efficacy of those technologies to be introduced to cope with these and other relevant health problems.
Working with its own resources or with other partners, PAHO is serving as facilitator (at both the subregional and national levels) cooperating with countries in the establishment of suitable policies and mechanisms for promoting health technology assessment, which, among other things, includes: (i) identifying relevant groups and national institutions in this field; (ii) supporting situation analysis and the identification of needs; (iii) encouraging the organization of national coordinating agencies and/or specific units; (iv) facilitating coordination with international agencies, groups and networks; (v) organizing workshops and seminars on health technology methodology, setting of priorities and practice; (vi) establishing and/or reinforcing the mechanisms for disseminating results and sharing experiences; and (vii) supporting the evaluation of the impact of the recommendations of the assessment reports in terms of fostering the health sector authorities regulatory capacities
At the moment, the two main constraints in this field are: (i) the lack of a proper understanding on the part of many policy makers about the importance of health technology assessment for the normal development of health systems and services and the achievement of the health sector reform processes currently undergoing in the majority of the countries in the region and, (ii) the absence of a critical mass of personnel trained in the methodology and practice, with appropriate access to national and international information sources.
For this reason, PAHO:
5. Areas where PAHO can play a supporting role
In addition to assuming the responsible coordinator role for Health Technologies Linking the Americas, it was agreed at the XV Summit Implementation Review Group, that PAHO would play a supporting role or act as a resource in the following topics of the Plan for Action:
Education (Mexico Regional Coordinator) The Plan of Action calls for intersectoral programs in education, health and nutrition as well as early childhood educational strategies will be priorities, inasmuch as they contribute more directly to plans to combat poverty. At the meeting of education ministers in Brasilia, PAHO proposed to play a supporting role or serve as resource in the area of education, on the basis of its expertise in the areas of health education, particularly in the health promoting schools initiative, and nutrition. The Interagency Group agreed to the proposal.
Drugs (United States Regional Coordinator) Under the topic Prevention and Control of Illicit Consumption of and Traffic in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Other Related Crimes, various references are made to the prevention of drug consumption and to drug use being a public health problem as well as an enforcement issue. The hemispheric dialogue on drugs would benefit by ensuring that the health issue, which is a universal one, is addressed. PAHO is already active through the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) in the Hemispheric Strategy on Substance Abuse, which addresses Standards of Care, Education Programs, Epidemiological Surveillance and Social Communication. The movement for tobacco control in the Americas led by PAHO, has brought about through the approval of an Action Plan by the Ministers of Health, the beginning of a negotiating process with the OAS in the drafting of an Inter-American Convention on Tobacco Control. A convention is necessary due to the fact that tobacco control has international dimensions and it must be furthered through multisectoral action as well as action in the area of health.
Women (Nicaragua Regional Coordinator) Under the Miami Summit's Item 18, PAHO played a supporting role in Strengthening Women in Society primarily in acting as a resource in projects against domestic violence and in gender training of Health Services personnel. The Santiago Summit Plan of Action calls to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women as well as to promote policies designed to improve women's health conditions and the quality of health services at every stage of their lives. To play a supporting role on women as is set out by the Santiago Plan of Action is a continuation of work undertaken since the Miami Summit. Projects addressing violence against women continue to be a priority area for PAHO, and in addition, PAHO is organizing an intergovernmental convention on this issue in Toronto later this year. PAHO is preparing a research, training and lobbying project to show, document and correct gender inequities in public health policies and continues to work in the area of quality of care in further applying the qualitative methodology capable of identifying problems of gender equity in health care.
Hunger and Malnutrition (Argentina Responsible Coordinator) The Plan of Action states Give the highest priority to reducing infant malnutrition, concentrating efforts on health, nutrition and education programs for the nutrition of infants ... to that end emphasis shall be given to adequate nutrition and correction of specific nutritional deficiencies specifically with vitamin and mineral supplements.
PAHO's program in the Prevention of Micro Nutrient Deficiency is involved in the following areas:
Mandates of the Summit
Actions of the OAS
The Status of Women in the Americas
In February 1999, the Inter-American Commission on Women (CIM) published the final version of the report of the Special Rapporteur for the Status of Women in the Americas, adopted by the IACHR on March 6, 1998, and based on a questionnaire sent to all states in the Hemisphere.
The report concluded with the following recommendations by the Commission: elimination of instances of discrimination de facto and de jure preventing women from fully exercising their rights; analysis of the consequences of such discrimination and the development of initiatives to fulfill such objectives with the regional system. Noteworthy among the central recommendations were those directed to the member states to initiate immediate action to identify and reform legislation and practices that have the purpose or effect of discriminating on the basis of gender, to enable the member states to evaluate the legal remedies provided for under domestic legislation with a view to developing and strengthening their accessibility and effectiveness.
The Rapporteur has recommended that, during the course of this year, the Commission focus on the rights of women with respect to violence against them and use of the human rights mechanisms of the inter-American system against such violence.
The Commission also agreed to set up a working group to promote and protect the rights of women, within its powers and purview, and to strengthen the participation of governments and civil society in this effort.
The Permanent Council set up the "Coordination for the Status of Women in the Americas" as an informal mechanism to promote the political support of member states for promoting a gender-equity approach and helping to strengthen the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM)
This mechanism has moved ahead with several proposals, including a proposal on ways to modernize the CIM, set forth in resolution AG/RES. 1592 (XXVIII-O/98), which the CIM adopted in the form of three basic lines of action:
The XXIX Assembly of Delegates
The XXIV Assembly of Delegates of the CIM was held on November 16-28, 1998, in Washington, D.C. During the Assembly, the new members of the Executive Committee for the 1998-2000 period were elected. The Executive Committee approved the Biennial Work Program and determined that the issues for priority attention for the period would be as follows: strengthening and modernization of the CIM, education, participation by women in power and decision-making structures, eradication of poverty and elimination of violence. The Assembly adopted the Declaration of Santo Domingo, reaffirming the need to ensure the full observance of womens human rights and the determination of the delegates to support strengthening and modernization of the Commission.
A consultant was hired to conduct the project "The Educational Status of Women in the Americas," which will contain a diagnostic study of the current educational system for women. Based on that study, material will be designed and produced for development within the CIM of a hemispheric campaign to heighten awareness of the issue. During the first half of the current year, all of the material will be distributed in English and Spanish for use by the delegates.
In cooperation with the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD), a project is being conducted to train teachers in Central American law schools in the gender-sensitive perspective on legal matters, for incorporation in courses, seminars, and workshops on the subject. The project includes production of a manual for achieving real equality, adapted to the appropriate educational and cultural levels, translated into the Mayan, Maya-quiché, and Katchiquel languages for subsequent use by indigenous peoples. It is also planned to establish gender committees in law schools.
The first phase of the project "Education and Family Support Program" was completed in October 1998. Its aim is to strengthen the family unit in low-income population segments, through plans for education, social support, and personal development. This project is designed to produce a multiplier effect in the participating countries, based on the development of an integrated social service model for low-income families in Latin America.
Womens Participation in Power and Decision-making Structures
The CIM began its activities as co-sponsor and member of the Board of the Program for the Support of Womens Leadership and Representation (PROLEAD) of the Inter-American Development Bank, together with funds from the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Through this program, more than US$4 million will be provided to finance leadership projects in the Hemisphere. In July 1998, the first call for project proposals was held, and more than 300 proposals were received. In November 1998, the Board selected 40 proposals to receive financing during the first cycle of activities. The Executive Committee approved the allocation of US$30,000 from the 1998 CIM budget as an initial contribution to the program.
The Twenty-ninth Assembly of Delegates of the CIM adopted resolution CIM/RES. 198 (XXIX-O/98) "Plan of Action of the CIM on Womens Participation in Power and Decision-making Structures." The plan of action was the result of the Inter-American Meeting of Consultation on the subject held in Washington, D.C. in February 1998. It contains the strategies proposed by the CIM to achieve parity in the exercise of power.
The CIM cofinanced the first meeting of the Caribbean sub-region on "Women in Politics," organized by the network of Nongovernmental Organizations for the Advancement of Women in Trinidad and Tobago and held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on May 11-13, 1998.
Organized by the UPD and the Andean Parliament with support from the CIM, a Seminar-Workshop for Young Women Leaders in the Andean Region was held in Cuenca, Ecuador, from November 29 to December 8, 1998, on democratic institutions, values, and practices. The course included an analysis of the challenges now confronted by women with respect to democracy.
The President of the CIM was invited to participate as main speaker on Issue III "Quotas for Women," at the International Seminar on Electoral Legislation and Organization: a Comparative Vision, organized by the UPD and the Transparencia Civil Association and held on February 9-10, 1999, in Lima, Peru.
Promotion of Human Rights
The CIM continued to promote fulfillment of the objectives of the Belém do Pará Convention, with a view to securing its ratification by all OAS member states. Mexico and Antigua and Barbuda ratified the Convention in November, 1998, bringing the total of countries that have ratified the Convention to 29. Since its adoption by the various member states, the number of countries that have enacted laws on domestic violence has increased considerably.
In pursuance of resolution AG/RES. 1456 (XXVII-O/97) "Promotion of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence Against Women, "Convention of Belém do Pará," the CIM presented to the twenty-ninth regular session of the OAS General Assembly the first biennial follow-up report on the Convention. The report highlights the progress made in member states in applying the Convention, and the experiences and results obtained through initiatives and programs carried out by the member states to combat violence against women.
The project "No es amor," produced by Olmos Productions Inc., addresses the issue of violence among adolescent couples. This project was financed by the CIM and the Government of the United States and consisted of the production of an educational video and a study guide. The CIM organized an event to present the video in the OAS Hall of the Americas in October 1998, as well as at the National Hispana Leadership Institute. The English and Spanish versions of the video and the related study guides will be distributed free-of-charge to all member states through the delegates, with a view to educating young people about the issue of violence in interpersonal relations.
Financing was provided for the participation of two Panamanian judges in the program "Establishing Judicial Precedent for Equality: Women, Judges, and Human Rights," sponsored by the International Foundation of Judges (IFWJ) in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Uruguay, with support from the IDB. This program is designed to train judges in the use of international legal instruments in the field of human rights in cases of violence and/or discrimination against women.
The CIM cooperated with the IACHR Special Rapporteur in preparing a report on the conformity of laws and practices in the member states in the area of womens rights with inter-American human rights provisions. The results of the research were presented by the Rapporteur in the Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the status of women in the Americas to the OAS General Assembly in June 1998, as part of the IACHR Annual Report. The Twenty-ninth Assembly of Delegates, after considering the recommendations in this Report, adopted resolution CIM/RES. 199 (XXIX-O/98) "Equal Legal Rights for Women Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the Status of Women in the Americas" with a view to continuing work with the Rapporteur in monitoring this initiative.
Three publications were issued on the subject of violence:
Eradication of Poverty and Discrimination
The first phase of the project "Profiles of Health and Quality of Life from a Gender Perspective in the Mexico-USA Border Area," conducted jointly by the CIM and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) culminated in 1998, providing information broken down by gender on the repercussions of world economic integration on health and human development in border areas.
The CIM and the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA) are participating jointly in executing the project for the integration of rural women, presented during the VII Conference of Wives of Heads of State and Government of the Americas. Approved by the First Ladies, this project was also presented and approved by the Ministers of Agriculture at a meeting held on October 13-16, 1997, in Santiago de Chile. The aim of this project is to help correct the current conditions affecting rural women and support and promote efforts to improve their position in the process of rural development in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1998, the proposal received financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and in October 1998, the CIM co-financed the forum on Rural Women in the XXI Century, organized by IICA in Panama under the auspices of the First Lady of that country.
Institutional Strengthening of the CIM
The CIM also undertook promotion and institutional strengthening efforts to increase its capacity to respond to current challenges, an experience it will share with other organizations and the member states and which will facilitate the development of smooth interaction between the various sectors. The activities conducted in this regard are described below.
The Twenty-ninth Assembly of Delegates approved the "Plan of Operations for Strengthening the Inter-American Commission of Women," which includes an analysis of the CIMs current situation vis-à-vis the new challenges now emerging and proposals for establishing leadership in the formulation of consensual strategies designed to promote greater equality in relations between men and women in the region as well as within the OAS and the member states.
The Assembly also approved Resolution CIM/RES. 209 (XXIX-O/98) "Strengthening and Modernization of the Inter-American Commission of Women," which sets forth measures and strategies to be implemented during the biennium for this purpose. These include: the preparation of a draft inter-American program for the promotion of womens rights and gender equality in pursuance of resolution AG/RES. 1592 (XXVIII-O/98), "Status of Women in the Americas and Strengthening of the Inter-American Commission of Women"; and the organization of a meeting of ministers or high-level authorities responsible for policies for the promotion of women in the member states. At its first regular meeting, the Executive Committee of the CIM for the period 1998-2000 resolved that the agenda for that meeting would include approval of the aforementioned draft inter-American program for the promotion of womens rights and gender equality.
The Twenty-ninth Assembly of Delegates adopted resolution CIM/RES. 201 (XXIX-O/98) "Amendments to the Legal Instruments of the CIM," introducing amendments to the Statute and Regulations of the CIM and to the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of Delegates. These were referred for its consideration pursuant to resolution CIM/RES. 188 (XXVIII-O/96) "Revision of the Regulations of the CIM and of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of Delegates of the CIM," approved by the previous Assembly.
The CIM has initiated a new stage in its efforts to strengthen relations and cooperation with the specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN):
Gender equity and the entrepreneurial growth of rural women are priority aspects of IICA's working agenda. Among the outstanding activities and achievements are:
Mandates of the Summit
Actions of the OAS
At the Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor discussions were held on several labor-related matters in connection with the mandate for modernization of the state in the administration of labor matters, such as the mandate concerning basic worker rights. Accordingly, part of the information on this mandate can be found in this report in the section on the mandate for modernization of the state in labor matters.
Nonetheless, the Ministers of Labor have considered a number of initiatives that are directly related to this mandate. In the Viña del Mar Action Plan, the Ministers created two Working Groups to provide follow-up on labor issues. The Working Group on Modernization of the State in Labor Matters addressed issues directly related to the mandate on workers basic rights. These issues will be discussed in the sub-groups "Modernization of Labor Ministries," "Modernization of the States Oversight Functions in the Area of Fundamental Worker Rights," and "Modernization of Labor Law."
The working subgroup on "Modernization of the States Oversight Functions with Respect to Fundamental Worker Rights," will provide information and analysis to the Ministries of Labor on different national approaches and practices in the region, institutional and legal instruments, and innovative methodologies for promoting and monitoring observance of basic worker rights enshrined by the ILO.
The working sub-group "Modernization of Labor Justice," will provide background information on national practices and various initiatives for reference in formulating recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of judicial functions and procedures in the area of labor law. Experience with pretrial mechanisms, such as the various mediation systems existing in the region, will be evaluated.
The working subgroup "Social Dialogue, Coordination, and Collective Bargaining" will continue the work entrusted to a group with the same name by the Tenth Conference.
Mandates of the Summit
Actions of the OAS
Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Populations
Significant progress is being made in the analysis and approval by OAS member states of the proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presented to the General Assembly in 1997. Pursuant to a General Assembly resolution, the Inter-American Juridical Committee presented its analysis of the proposed text to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Permanent Council. On February 10-12, 1999, the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs convened a meeting of government experts at OAS headquarters in accordance with the pertinent resolutions of the General Assembly.
The Chair of the Committee, Dr. Carlos Ayala Corao, presented the proposed Declaration, explaining its background and the various articles of the document. A presentation was also given on the process of consultation with governments, indigenous representatives, and other experts in this area. Dr. Wilton Littlechild, an attorney and member of the Cree Nation indigenous group took part as official member of the Committees delegation to that meeting.
For the first time in the Organizations history, there was dialogue between representatives of the member states and indigenous representatives from throughout the Hemisphere on the contents of the proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Populations.
Activities of the Inter-American Indian Institute (III)
The III Technical Meeting of Directors of Indian Affairs of the Inter-American System was held in Cuernava, Morelos, November 23-25, as a follow-up to the meetings in Paipa (1996) and Paranoa (1997). It issued the Declaration of Cuernavaca, which was presented to the Directing Council and the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs in Mexico, D.F., on November 26. (Declaration attached).
At the Meeting, officials in charge of Indian affairs in the inter-American system exchanged information and experiences, which made it possible to identify common problems and new challenges. The Santiago Plan of Action, which encouraged the organization of hemisphere-wide roundtables, is thus being complied with.
The Meeting on the Teaching of Indigenous Languages was held in the Inter-American Indian Institute, June 4-6. As a result of this event, a proposal was made to hold a Hemisphere-Wide Meeting on the Teaching of Indigenous Languages of the Americas. That meeting will be held in Mexico City, October 23-28, 1999, in coordination with the National Indian Institute, the General Directorate of Folk Culture of the National Council for Culture and the Arts, and the School of Philosophy and Letters of UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico).
The Seminar on Indian Autonomy versus Regional Reality was held on July 24 and 25. At that meeting, anthropologists and ethnologists working in various regions of Mexico exchanged experiences and ideas on indigenous autonomy.
From September 21 to October 30, the Inter-American Indian Institute cosponsored, together with the Center for Research and Studies on Social Anthropology (CIESAS), the MacArthur Foundation, the National Human Rights Commission, and the National Indian Institute, a diploma course on human rights and the development of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. This course was taught to a group of 51 participants working in the area of the human rights of indigenous people throughout the Hemisphere.
In vol. LVII, nos. 1 and 2 (1997) Révista America Indígena published a collection of opinions on the peace process in Guatemala and 10 papers from the seminar "The Indigenous Peoples in Central America in the face of International Law: Scope and Limitations."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was published in seven Indian languages, in conjunction with the Mexican section of Amnesty International, the Federal's District Human Rights Committee, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and the Rafael Preciado Hernández Foundation.
Mandates of the Summit
Actions of the OAS
Activities under the project Coordination and Follow-up to the Santa Cruz Plan of Action and activities under the Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development pursuant to Chapter II of the Santa Cruz Plan of Action continued.
Hemispheric network of officials and experts in the field of environmental law
Work progressed on the Bolivia Summit initiative to cooperate in the establishment of a hemispheric network of officials and experts in the field of environmental law, enforcement, and compliance. The report on consultation with experts from the Hemisphere at the technical meeting held in the North-South Center of the University of Miami on May 21-22 was completed. The network initiative was presented and discussed at the Fifth International Meeting on Application of and Compliance with Environmental Regulations, in Monterrey, California, on November 16-20, 1998. Based on these consultations, a proposal concerning the network and its operations was prepared and sent to those who participated in the drafting process for their final comments. A proposal concerning financing for the network through external resources was also prepared.
Strengthening of public and private financing
A technical meeting on ways and means of strengthening public and private financing for sustainable development was held on October 30, 1998, in Washington, D.C. Five papers on sustainable development and related financing were presented. Among the issues addressed were financing for the conservation of biodiversity, the use of economic instruments to improve environmental management and generate resources for sustainable development, compliance with environmental legislation and the use of fines as a source of financing for environmental protection projects, and the use of sellable carbon emission permits as a source of income for the region. Based on the discussions at the meeting, the authors of the papers will prepare final versions for printing and distribution.
Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-Making for Sustainable Development
(See the information contained in this report under the Civil Society mandate.)
Reduction and prevention of natural disasters
The OAS, with the support of the United Nations Center for Regional Development (UNCRD), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the United Nations Secretariat for the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), presented the remaining Regional Workshops on Sustainable Cities and Trade Corridors: Reduction of Vulnerability to Natural Disasters, Mandates and Future Actions, as part of the activities to follow up on the Bolivia Summit. One was held in Bogotá, Colombia (October 15-16), and the other in San José, Costa Rica (October 27-28).
In cooperation with the World Bank, PAHO, the IDNDR Secretariat, the Social Studies Network for Disaster Prevention in Latin America, and other institutions, the OAS presented the Second Inter-American Dialogue on the Reduction of Disasters (Dialogue II) on December 15-16, 1998, in Washington, D.C., at the World Bank and the OAS. The agenda for the meeting included the preparation of recommendations to incorporate reduction of the vulnerability of economic and social infrastructure to the El Niño phenomenon and other natural threats among the pragmatic regional and national development activities to be conducted. More than 100 specialists from more than 18 countries in the Hemisphere and Europe took part.
In coordination with the World Bank, the IDB, the Andean Development Corporation (CAF), and the Pan American Highway Institute (IPC), the OAS presented the draft document "Hemispheric Plan for the Guide to Environmental Management of the Highway Transportation System," during the third meeting of the Latin American Society of Highway Environmental Systems (SLUAV), which was held in Florianópolis, Brazil, November 29-December 4, 1998. The OAS is coordinating the activities to complete the document, requesting comments from more than 400 professionals throughout the Hemisphere.
With support from the IDNDR Secretariat and Partners of the Americas, the OAS held a virtual conference on implementation of the Hemispheric Plan for the Reduction of Vulnerability to Natural Disasters in the Education Sector on October 19-23. The participants participated and discussed recommendations on new activities for the reduction of vulnerability to disasters in the sector.
On December 11, a meeting of the Interagency Task Force Group on Bolivia Summit Follow-up was held.
The meeting examined progress by the following working groups:
Pursuant to the Summit mandates, IICA has incorporated its institutional task of supporting member states with a view to the sustainable development of agriculture and the rural environment into its strategic and operational sphere. In October 1998, the IICA Executive Committee approved the Medium-Term Plan 1998-2002 La Agricultura más allá de una Visión Sectorial" ("Moving beyond a Sectoral View of Agriculture").
IICA also prepared, through the Technical Secretariat of the Committee on Sustainable Development (CODES), the progress report Plan of Action for the Sustainable Development of the Americas. Chapter on agriculture: Iniatives 7 to 16. November 1998.
Other CODES publications during the second half of the year are:
To make our national and collective efforts more dynamic, we are urging our agencies and national entities responsible for international cooperation to support the development and implementation of programs and projects stemming from the Plan of Action. They shall also request assistance in this regard from multilateral cooperation institutions.
Actions of the OAS
1. Support by CIDI at the political level
CIDI has shown itself to be a very effective instrument in support of OAS mandates from Inter-American Summits.
1.1 The first statement of support by the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) to the Inter-American Summits process was contained in resolution CIDI/RES 25 (II-O/97) at its Second Regular Annual Meeting, in Mexico on April 18,1997. It directed that in implementing the Strategic Plan for Partnership for Development 1997-2001 also approved at that meeting, due consideration would be given to decisions of the Presidential Summits in the areas of priority of the Strategic Plan.
1.2 The main policy statement describing CIDIs relationship to the Summit is contained in the March 1998 document "Ministerial Meetings and Other CIDI Instruments for the Follow-up of Summits of the Americas" prepared by the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) for the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management as part of the latters report to the 1998 regular session of the General Assembly. This document describes the manner in which CIDI can support this process at four different levels: through ministerial meetings, inter-American cooperation programs and committees, OAS partnership for development projects, and coordination of the activities of other cooperation entities in support of the Summits.
1.3 This document served as background to the Ministerial Dialogue on "CIDI and the Summits Process" which took place in the Third Regular Meeting of CIDI in Buenos Aires in March 1998. The Ministerial Dialogue resulted in the approval of CIDI resolution 50 (III-O/98). It recommended that wherever possible, the sectoral authorities of member states utilize CIDI instruments to implement Summit mandates; that the Permanent Executive Committee of CIDI (CEPCIDI) identify specific cooperation initiatives to translate Summit commitments into action; and that SEDI maximize support for these initiatives by national governments, international financing organizations, and the private sector.
1.4 The Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas reinforced this decision by instructing the OAS, through Ministerial and other instruments under CIDI, to promote, articulate and facilitate cooperation and collective action and to this end convene, in concert with the national education coordinators, consultative forums to implement the mandates of its Chapter 1: Plan of Action for Education.
1.5 In line with direction from the April 1998 CIDI Meeting, inter-American meetings of ministers of education and of labor were convened in June 1998 and September 1998 respectively, to provide follow-up to the Santiago Summit Plan of Action mandates in these two areas. Funding for these two Ministerial Meetings and their Preparatory Meetings came from the CIDI Chapter of the OAS Regular Fund and the CIDI Special Multilateral Fund (FEMCIDI) respectively. The organizational coordination of both Meetings was entrusted to the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development.
1.6 Funding for four additional sectoral ministerial meetings in priority areas of the Strategic Plan has been provided in the 1999 OAS regular program-budget, and the same funding is being proposed for the year 2000 budget.
1.7 Since CIDI was created, six Inter-American Programs have been adopted: Combating Poverty and Discrimination, Sustainable Development, Education, Culture, Science and Technology, and Tourism
The lines of action for the OAS in most of these Programs are complementary to mandates of the Santiago Summit Plan of Action. (The areas of Culture and Tourism are not reflected in the Santiago Plan of Action although they were in the Miami Summit Plan of Action).
1.8 At the Fourth Regular Annual Meeting of CIDI in Washington in April 1999, further institutional measures to support the Summit process were decided: (a) the holding, under CIDI, of four inter-American ministerial meetings and four Inter-American Committee meetings in 2000; (b) strengthening the role of existing and future Inter-American Committees of CIDI in the areas of program development within the OAS to implement Summit mandates in their areas. One of the conclusions of the Policy Dialogue in this April 1999 Meeting, has been to mandate SEDI to work more closely with national cooperation agencies of member states in promoting follow-up to the plans of action of hemispheric Summits.
2. Support by CIDI through its special multilateral fund (FEMCIDI)
2.1 To date, CIDIs grant financing instrument, FEMCIDI, represents the most consistent source of multilateral project support for Inter-American Summit commitments. CIDI projects approved for execution in 1998 and 1999 have included approximately $13M for hemisphere-wide or subregional Summit-related projects in the priority areas of the CIDI Strategic Plan. These are projects presented by member states and by specialized units of the OAS General Secretariat. According to CIDI Statutes, SEDI coordinates and is accountable for FEMCIDI spending. Projects are initially assessed by the nonpermanent specialized committees (CENPES), whose members are chosen by the member states, and those that are recommended are collectively approved by CEPCIDI against available funds from contributions received from the countries. One of the criteria considered in assessing all projects is the extent that they contribute to the implementation of Inter-American Summit commitments in priority areas of the CIDI Strategic Plan".
2.2 The following is an illustrative list of approved multilateral and subregional projects that support the Santiago or Santa Cruz Summits Plan of Action mandates. They cover the 1997-98 period, now terminated, and the 1998-99 period currently in execution. (No national projects are included):
(in thousands $US)
Education (Chapter 1 of the Santiago Plan of Action)
Democracy, Justice and Human Rights (Chapter 2 of the Santiago Plan of Action)
Economic Integration and Free Trade (Chapter 3 of the Santiago Plan of Action)
Alleviation of Poverty and Discrimination (Chapter 4 of the Santiago Plan of Action)
Sustainable Development (Plan of Action of the 1996 Santa Cruz Summit)
Mandates of the Summit
Actions of the OAS
In accordance with the Santiago Plan of Action, the OAS Secretary General, as well as other officials of the Organizations General Secretariat, took part in the XV and XVI meetings of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG), held on October 29, 1998, and March 9, 1999, respectively.
On July 6, 1998, by Executive Order No. 98-3, the Secretary General of the OAS established the Office of Summit Follow-up, with the aim of ensuring coordination of summit-related issues within the Organization and serve as institutional memory for the process. The office also provides technical support to the Special Committee on Inter-American Summit Management, and upon request, to the Co-Chair of the SIRG.
The General Secretariat, and in particular the Office of Summit Follow-up, will provide support with respect to substantive issues as well as secretariat/information services if required. In the political sphere, the General Secretariat supports the political organs in terms of drafting preliminary reports; coordinating translation; organizing meetings and coordinating the presentation of reports by the various areas of the OAS General Secretariat. The office also takes part in ministerial level meetings within the framework of the OAS, in order to preserve institutional memory and provide official meeting reports at the request of the relevant political bodies.
In its secondary role, as a provider of secretarial/information services, the Office has been developing and has already completed the first phase of an Information System for Summits of the Americas (SICA). This Internet site, http://www.summit-americas.org., launched in late October 1998, was completed in Spanish and English in early March 1999. It contains the official documents of the SIRG, the Special Committee for Inter-American Summit Management, as well as specific documents on the mandates of the Summit Process. The page also contains summaries of each of the mandates as well as reference and research tools for use by member governments and the general public. The Office, together with the Information Systems and Technology Department and the Member States participating in the Summit Process, is considering new electronic services to be made available to national coordinators for the Summit Process.
The General Secretariat, through the Office of Summit Follow-up, has also actively participated in several civil society forums in Washington, D.C. and other cities of the Hemisphere, where various civil society organizations interested in the OAS and the Inter-American summits have been discussing issues and proposing new ideas on how to increase civil society participation in the Summit process. In this connection, the General Secretariat, through the Office, has coordinated with the countries with responsibility and co-responsibility for civil societythe Dominican Republic and Jamaica respectivelyas well as many of the Permanent Missions to the OAS, to proceed with a strategy for increasing civil society participation in the Summit process.
The General Secretariat, through its units and offices, has continued to provide technical support to the sectoral ministerial meetings held during the period covered by this report. The details of this support are described in the relevant chapters of this report.
At the request of the Secretary General of the OAS, IICA has participated in the follow-up of government compliance with the mandates of the Summits of the Americas in respect of the agriculture chapter of the Plan of Action of the Summit for Sustainable Development. In this connection, it has prepared and sent the following documents to the General Secretariat:
Entire contents © 1998 Organization of American States, Office of Summit Follow-Up