Mr. Chairman, as you and the members of this Committee well know, the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development which I am representing today, is a subsidiary body of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI). CIDI has established a comprehensive structure for sectoral policy dialogue at the ministerial and senior official level in many of the thematic areas of the Santiago Summit Plan of Action which can be readily mobilized by the Member States as part of the new archictecture that could be established in the OAS in future for supporting the implementation of Summit mandates.
I would like to make a few observations on the natural synergy that exists between the topic of today’s meeting – realizing human potential and connectivity -- and the Agency’s mandates.
The business of the Agency is the promotion and management of technical cooperation between the countries of the hemisphere. Technical cooperation, by definition, focuses on people -- whether by developing their skills, improving their quality of life and incomes, strengthening their institutions, or promoting exchanges of experience and learning between them. Secondly, the new generation of technical cooperation in the information age and the knowledge based economy, places special emphasis on instruments that promote connectivity. Thirdly, technical cooperation involves practical activities in which partnership building between governments, regional institutions, the business sector, and non-governmental actors can be strengthened. Fourthly, the Agency has been given a particular mandate to promote closer relationships between national cooperation entities of the OAS Member States, as well as closer collaboration between the technical cooperation activities of the institutions of the inter-American system.
The Agency will support Summit implementation through its extensive knowledge and outreach with respect to the hemisphere’s development needs and international public and private sector capabilities to meet them. It is committed to improving the quality of multilateral technical cooperation and to strengthening and diversifying the financing and partnerships involved in such activity.
The priority themes and sectors of activity for the Agency’s programs are set in the four year CIDI Strategic Plan. OAS Member States have decided to approve the new Strategic Plan for 2002-2005 only after the Quebec Summit, in order to ensure its complementarity with the priority areas that will be defined in the latter’s Plan of Action. In addition, by focussing its efforts of collaboration with other technical cooperation entities in the Member States on priority areas coming out of the Quebec Summit, the effectiveness of the latter’s own program effectiveness and relevance can be strengthened.
The Agency has now adopted its first Business Plan which proposes new instruments for mobilizing additional and more effective technical cooperation over the next few years. Many of these instruments will be devoted to the supply of technical assistance services that will coincide with areas of priority identified in the Summit Plan of Action. These instruments are being specifically designed to engage additional financing from new sources and identify the best practices that have been engaged by our countries for their national development that lend themselves to sharing technical cooperation with other countries. Among these instruments, the Trust of the Americas, an autonomous NGO Foundation closely associated with the Agency, is specifically helping to find opportunities for greater involvement by the private sector in the inter-American agenda and to create partnerships with Civil Society Organizations of the hemisphere and in other regions of the world that are active in the Americas.
With respect to Agency activities in support of the Summit Baskets, while these will have to be defined in detail in the new Strategic Plan, the Agency, through its Secretariat and the Trust of the Americas believes that it will be actively supporting the implementation of action under all three baskets of the Quebec Summit’s Plan of Action. Morever, in all its activities, it will attempt to give special emphasis to three overarching themes of the Summit: one, the hemispheric integration process, through the promotion of practical functional cooperation that optimizes the experience and capacity already developed in member states; two, investment in human capital through skills training and institutional capacity building; and three, incorporating wherever possible in all of its programs new information and communications technologies and practices that promote the "vital connections" between the peoples of the hemisphere.
As we advance in the definition of our programs, the Executive Secretariat looks forward to supporting and closely collaborating with this Committee as it moves forward its own work in the preparation of the forthcoming Summit.