The Organization of American States (OAS) 

The Organization of American States (OAS) is comprised of 34 Member States, and has granted permanent observer status to over 43 states, as well to the European Union. The mission of the OAS is to assure democracy and the economic and social well being of all countries in the Americas.  

The OAS is divided into several bodies: the Governing Bodies, which are the General Assembly, the Permanent Council and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI); several Inter-American Commissions and Committees; the General Secretariat; Specialized Organizations; and other agencies and entities.   Each department is responsible for taking action in their specific areas to further promote the mission of the Organization.   

The OAS continues to make progress in all areas important to the nations of the Americas, including ensuring democracy, advancing human rights, promoting peace, justice and security, improving education, expanding trade and tackling complex problems caused by poverty, drugs and corruption. 

Through the Summits of the Americas process, the hemisphere’s Heads of State and government have given the OAS important responsibilities and mandates, including:

·        Strengthening freedom of speech and thought as a basic human right;

·        Promoting greater participation by civil society in decision-making at all levels of government;

·        Promoting a democratic culture;

·        Improving cooperation to address the problem of illegal drugs; and

·        Supporting the process to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas. 

The OAS is also the home for the Secretariat for the Summit Process, which is responsible for the preparation for and follow up to the Summits of the Americas.   

For more information on the OAS, please see their web page: