Summits of the Americas Newsletter

September 2008 | Summits Online | Español

BACK TO NEWSLETTER: SIRG - II Meeting | See also: Social Development Ministerial - Civil Society - Virtual Platform

Message from the Director

David Morris, Summits of the Americas Secretariat

The three concepts embodied in the theme selected by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for the Fifth Summit of the Americas, “Securing Our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security, and Environmental Sustainability”, will be at the heart of the discussions of our Heads of State at a particularly important time for inter-American relations. The draft Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain, the initial version of the document that will be signed by the Heads of State of the Americas at the Fifth Summit, was presented at OAS headquarters on July 24th. This presentation marks the beginning of an intensive process of negotiation, consultation, and dialogue that will culminate at the Fifth Summit in Port of Spain on April 17-19 2009.

The Summits of the Americas process–now 14 years old–has been able to join forces with all the entities of the inter-American system to face the challenges posed at the hemispheric level by new global realities. The Summits demonstrate the importance of good regional governance in the context of globalization and the need to seek joint solutions to problems that are truly transnational and hemispheric in nature–problems to which all of us can and must help find solutions. The different activities highlighted in this issue of the Summits of the Americas newsletter attest to the important roles that a variety of Summit stakeholders play in this process, including: the OAS Member States, through the Summit National Coordinators and inter-American ministerial meetings; civil society; and the institutions of the inter-American and United Nations’ systems, among others. The importance of the widest possible participation by these actors is paramount to the success of the Summit; as such, the Summits Secretariat is utilizing information and communication technologies to make virtual dialogue and consultation possible. Preparing for this Summit is a matter of priority for the OAS and for all institutions of the inter-American system. Its outcome will guide the work of our organizations in the years ahead.

The OAS is committed to facilitating and ensuring an adequate space for civil society to articulate their aspirations and visions to Governments in the Summits process and across the inter-American system. The ongoing process of the consolidation of democracy needs a strong civil society, that can proactively and constructively engage with elected representatives to build societies and institutions that respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, allow for diverse forms of participation, and work to foster social and economic development. It was a great honor for the OAS’ Summits Secretariat to provide support to the National Secretariat of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in convening the Civil Society Hemispheric in Miami, Florida May1-2, 2008. In the immediate future a Summits´ of the Americas Virtual Platform will be launched, as an on-line tool designed to facilitate on-going communication and to complement face-to-face consensus-building activities among the stakeholders of the Summits’ Process. This Platform will foster consultations and dialogue in key thematic areas within the framework of the preparatory process for the Fifth Summit of the Americas.

These dialogues, Inter-American Ministerial meetings, consultative forums and discussions enrich the work of our Governments, and particularly the dedicated effort of the host of the next Summit to ensure an inclusive process, in being able to receive different points of view and provide ample opportunity for reflection as we approach the Fifth Summit of the Americas. The ongoing dialogue inherent to the Summits´ process puts the individual at the center of our concerted action to address the region’s challenges.

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