February 14, 2001


His Excellency
Peter Boehm
Permanent Representative of Canada
To the Organization of American States
Permanent Mission of Canada to the OAS
501 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D. C. 20001


Dear Ambassador Boehm:

On behalf of the Leadership Council for Inter-American Summitry, we would like to submit this statement for the record for the February 16, 2001 meeting of the OAS Summits Management Committee.

We would very much appreciate your including this statement during your deliberations on the "Implementation" section of the meeting agenda.

We regret that we were unable to travel to the meeting personally to present this statement. However, we look forward to continued participation with the Committee and within other forums during the run-up to the Quebec City Summit.

With best regards,

Richard E. Feinberg                                              Robin Rosenberg
Director, APEC Study Center                               Deputy Director
University of California, San Diego                      North-South Center, University of Miami








FEBRUARY 16, 2001


:In its first two major reports, The Leadership Council devoted considerable attention to assessing the Summit process – the procedures whereby the Summit texts are compiled, the quality of the Summit texts themselves, and the mechanisms for post-Summit follow up. The texts approved in Miami and Santiago were praiseworthy in their vision and ambition. But summitry among 34 sovereign nations is an inherently difficult undertaking.

The Leadership Council has pointed to a number of flaws in the Summit process: In short, Summits have successfully focused leaders attention on policy initiation, but governments have paid insufficient attention to policy implementation.

In response to these flaws, the Leadership Council has urged that Summit initiatives should be responsibly crafted to contain practical goals, quantifiable targets and realistic timetables. Initiatives should be assigned to follow-up mechanisms with adequate technical and financial resources. To assure accountability, transparency, and adequate information feedback, monitoring responsibilities should be assigned for each initiative. (Leadership Council, From Talk To Action: How Summits Can Help Forge A Western Hemisphere Community of Prosperous Democracies, p. 17-18).

The Council is pleased to note that many governments have become cognizant of the need for such reforms. . Preparatory documents for the Quebec City Summit have underscored the desirability of a focused, practical, results-oriented process that identifies concrete, achievable initiatives. In the search for financial resources and for expertise – especially to assist poorer, smaller countries - governments have also recognized the need for greater coordination and engagement with the multilateral development banks. The importance of engaging the private sector and civil society in dialogue directed toward practical outcomes has also been noted repeatedly.

A learning process is underway with regard to how to conduct more effective leaders’ meetings. Still, there is much room for improvement.


The summitry process is struggling to design a governing structure to overcome the inherent tendency in multilateral diplomacy to produce unwieldy laundry lists of proposals. A "troika" of past and present hosts (the US, Chile, Canada) was established to provide leadership to the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) which itself attempts to oversee the Summit process between leaders’ meetings, but the "troika" has lacked clear authorities.

The Leadership Council supports the notion of transforming and modestly enlarging the "troika" to include representatives of the major countries and sub-regions of the Hemisphere, and empowering this new "senior executive committee" to more effectively oversee the Summit process

Created in July 1998, the OAS Office of Summit Follow-up serves as the "institutional memory" of the Summit process, provides useful technical backup to the "troika" and the SIRG, and manages the valuable Summit web page. Now, the Office should be strengthened to allow it to function effectively as a responsible secretariat to an empowered senior executive committee. More generally, governments should continue to strengthen the OAS and its capacity to implement Summit initiatives.

  Transparency and Evaluation

The enhanced senior executive committee and fortified OAS Office of Summit Follow Up should set as a primary goal the establishment of effective systems to monitor and evaluate implementation of Summit initiatives. It is increasingly routine in international diplomacy for agreements (whether formal treaties or "soft" agreements that lack juridical status such as those approved by hemispheric Summits) to include reporting requirements.

In establishing feedback systems, summitry should enlist the talents of independent, objective experts, as well as forming joint public-private evaluation teams.

Serious evaluations require good data. We recommend that the multilateral development banks build into relevant loans earmarked assistance for creating and maintaining data collection systems. The Banks should also promote harmonization of databases across countries to facilitate comparability studies. Only when it becomes possible to measure results will it be possible to assert with full confidence that Summit initiatives have attained their goals.

Among its responsibilities, this enhanced senior executive committee, with support from a strengthened Office of Summit Follow Up, could review initiatives being prepared for Summit approval. They could require that each proposed initiative meet these criteria: be of sufficient priority as to merit the attention of the leaders; include mechanisms for assessment and reporting; and be assigned sufficient resources for completion. This "PARR" test - Priority, Assessment, Reporting, Resources – could significantly bolster the realism and credibility of summitry in the Americas.


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