Comments from the Leadership Council for
February 14, 2001
Permanent Representative of Canada
to the Organization of American States
Permanent Mission of Canada to the OAS
501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Dear Ambassador Peter 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
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
Director, APEC Study
Center Deputy Director
University of California, San Diego
University of Miami
THE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL FOR INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITRY
ON INSTITUTIONALIZATION AND IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD TO THE
OAS COMMITTEE ON SUMMITS MANAGEMENT MEETING
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 complied, 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
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 this 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 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 terms.
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
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.