Summits of the Americas Newsletter

February 2008 | Summits Online | Español

IN THIS NEWSLETTER: Youth and the Inter-American agenda | Ministerials: Agriculture - Labor - Education

Youth and the Inter-American agenda

Amb. Carmen Marina Gutierrez, Director, Summits of the Americas Secretariat

Today, a vast array of problems beset us: the need to reduce inequality and provide better education, health, water, job opportunities, reduce crime and promote good governance. These require the formulation of public policies geared to broaden and strengthen social cohesion and promote a sense of belonging in every country.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is a very young region. In fact, 67.5% of the total population of the LAC region -- close to 350 million people -- is under 35 years of age. It is therefore essential that our inter-American system respond; and promote a greater involvement of youth in matters of social, cultural, economic and political importance. This will help to ensure the dignity and quality of life for the next generation of citizens of the Americas.

In view of so many challenges, it is especially disconcerting that political involvement is low among the youth of our region. In this regard, it is essential to promote civic and political participation among youth.

The theme of the General Assembly this year, Youth and Democratic Values, will place on center stage the younger generation and the promotion of democratic values and practices, as defined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. As a cross-cutting topic of the Inter-American agenda and the member states, it will enable a global discussion that will address a broad array of cross-cutting sub-themes such as violence, social development, labor, education, environment, migration, economic growth, disaster mitigation, and gender equity. All of these are at the core of democratic governance.

Ministers of Agriculture Work Together for Agriculture and Rural Life of the Americas

The Fourth Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture addressed current hemispheric agriculture policies as well as the future challenges facing the region as the Fifth Summit of the Americas draws closer. The challenges in implementing the Plan AGRO were an integral part of the discussion, as well as questions as to how to best implement and follow up on mandates emanating from the Fourth Summit of the Americas.

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Regional Labor Ministers Renew their Commitment to Decent Work

The Hemisphere’s Ministers of Labor, representatives from the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, international organizations, and advisory bodies gathered in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss the status of Labor and Employment and their impact on the wellbeing of the Region’s citizenry during the XV Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor.

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Education Ministers Affirm the Role of Early Childhood Education in Reducing Social Exclusion

At their Fifth Meeting held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia on November 14-16, 2007, the Ministers of Education of the OAS member states agreed that attention to early childhood is critical and that a comprehensive approach would allow the region “to overcome the challenges of poverty, inequity and social exclusion.” The Meeting culminated with the adoption of a Hemispheric Commitment to Early Childhood Education, wherein the Ministers commit to increasing coverage in early childhood education, with a long-term objective of universalizing integral care for this age group. The document recommends that the Heads of State and Government commit to quality education and comprehensive care for the very young at the Fifth Summit of the Americas, to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.

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Other Events

XXVII Pan American Sanitary Conference

OAS Youth Symposium:
A First Step Towards the Increased Participation of Youth in the Americas

Civil Society Organizations Awarded Grants for Summit Follow-up

MESICIC Experts Examine Achievements in Combating Corruption


Upcoming Events

March 3, 2008
Inter-American Meeting of National Authorities and Experts on Energy for Sustainable Development in the Americas

March 10-14, 2008
"Partnering with Civil Society"
Washington, DC
  • Hemispheric Forum with Civil Society: Youth and Democratic Values
  • Special Meeting of the Committee on Inter-American Summits Management and Civil Society Participation in OAS Activities (CISC) in preparation for the XXXVIII OAS General Assembly
  • Special Meetings of the Permanent Council with civil society participation
March 17, 2008
Special Forum on Migration Issues

March 26-27, 2008
Meeting of High-Level National Authorities on Natural Disaster Reduction and Risk Management

Complete Calendar of Events »


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