Summits of the Americas Newsletter

February 2009 | Summits Online | Español

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South American Civil Society Forum concludes sub regional consultation process in preparation for the V Summit

The South American Civil Society Sub-Regional Forum held on February 6-7 2009 in Lima, Peru, concluded a series of three sub regional consultation forums organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) in preparation for the Fifth Summit of the Americas, to be held in April 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Forum had a turnout of around 150 participants, representing various sectors of civil society and non-governmental organizations from the countries of South America, which compiled their recommendations and suggestions on the region’s challenges. The recommendations formulated by the Forum participants will be considered by the 34 OAS Member States as they continue to negotiate the content of the draft Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain, which is expected to be adopted by the Heads of State and Government at the Fifth Summit.

The initiative, promoted by the Summit of the Americas Secretariat and the Department of International Affairs of the OAS, also included participation by Minister David Málaga, Director General of UN and Multilateral Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru; Mr. Felipe Noguera, representative of the National Secretariat for the Fifth Summit of the Americas of Trinidad and Tobago; representatives from a number of OAS Member States; the Dean of the University of San Martín de Porres, venue of the forum; as well as OAS officials.

The Forum was developed on the themes of the Fifth Summit: “Securing our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security, and Environmental Sustainability” and provided ample space for dialogue among the various civil society organizations on topics that will be addressed in the Summit, particularly with regard to the draft Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain.

In his welcoming remarks, Minister Málaga stressed the importance of the Summit Process and that of the involvement of civil society in this context in order to dynamize the dialogue and deepen democratization in the region. Mr. Hernán Chaimovich, President of the Inter-American Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) and Forum participant, highlighted the importance of these spaces and opportunities, pointing out that “the participation of the civil society in this process is essential” and indicating that the levels of legitimacy of the civil society representatives are varied and broad, “some represent major sectors of civil society, others, their particular interests”, he stated.

Ms. Cecilia Ramirez, representative of the Center for the Development of Afro-Peruvian Women (CEDEMUNEP), was elected by the Forum participants to present the final recommendations of the Forum in the coming weeks for the consideration of the OAS Member States, so that they are taken into account during the negotiations on the Draft Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain. This presentation took place during the 3rd Meeting of Negotiation of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) held from February 23-27, 2009 at OAS Headquarters, Washignton, D.C.

With the closing of the series of the three sub regional fora, the OAS is organizing the Hemispheric Forum of Civil Society in Preparation for the OAS General Assembly and the Fifth Summit of the Americas (March 3-4, 2009 at OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.). On this occasion, civil society organizations from all of the OAS Member States will have the opportunity to share their experiences and lessons learned in the Fifth Summit preparatory process as well as to discuss the engagement with Member States’ representatives to take place in the context of the Fifth Summit of the Americas.

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