In a meeting held on June 2, 2007, at the El Panama Hotel in Panama City, over 100 civil society representatives that carry out activities in the region held informal talks with OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza.  The Informal Meeting between the OAS Secretary General and Civil Society Representatives aimed to facilitate an open dialogue between the OAS General Secretariat and representatives of civil society organizations on issues such as civil society participation in OAS activities and in the Summits of the Americas, the Hemispheric Agenda of the Secretary General, and programs and special initiatives of the OAS General Secretariat.

The two-hour session, which was also attended by representatives of OAS member states and personnel of the OAS General Secretariat, included a number of civil society interventions on topics such as the promotion and protection of human rights in the region, civil society participation in OAS activities, science and technology, youth inclusion, corruption and transparency, freedom of expression, the human rights of vulnerable populations, democracy and citizen participation, energy and sustainable development, and security in the Americas.

The Informal Meeting was well attended by local NGOs and activists, who took the opportunity to raise concerns regarding national issues, such as the impact of hydroelectric projects on indigenous and rural groups and communities.  Likewise, civil society groups stated their concerns to Secretary General Insulza regarding gender equality at the OAS, civil society access to OAS information, lack of funding for Summit of the Americas mandates, freedom of expression in the hemisphere, and existing OAS guidelines for civil society participation.

For more information and to view photos of the Informal Meeting between the OAS Secretary General and Civil Society Representatives please visit the OAS Civil Society Website at