2 September 1998
Original: Spanish




Washington, D.C., September 2, 1998

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I have the honor to address you and to provide you with the enclosed text of the proposal for new strategies to strengthen partnership for development within the framework of the OAS, which I shall present orally today to the Special Joint Working Group of the Permanent Council and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development on the Strengthening and Modernization of the OAS, which you so capably chair.

I take this opportunity, Excellency, to renew the assurances of my friendship and highest consideration.

Francisco Paparoni
Chair of CEPCIDI

His Excellency
Mr. Antonio Mercader
Chair of the Special Joint Working Group
of the Permanent Council and the
Inter-American Council for Integral Development
on the Strengthening and Modernization of the OAS

Attachment: As stated



The OAS Charter provides that the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) has the "aim of promoting cooperation between the American States with a view to achieving its integral development and, in particular, to contribute to the elimination of critical poverty." The Charter provides that CIDI shall operate by means of ministerial-level meetings, and also gives it the authority to convene meetings at the same level on specialized or sectoral matters within its purview; it designates the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development as the body responsible for executing and, as the case may be, coordinating approved cooperation projects; and specifically authorizes CIDI to establish non-permanent specialized committees. Within this legal framework, the CIDI Statutes have established the Permanent Executive Committee of CIDI and authorize this Council to set up such special committees as it considers necessary.

The reforms of the OAS Charter that gave rise to CIDI were the result of an effort sustained over several years by the member states with the support of the General Secretariat. Only recently, however, have these reforms entered into force and, above all, been put into practice. By way of example, it suffices to point out that the operational structure of CIDI was created within the last two years and that it is only now becoming possible to carry out a defined cycle of project programming within basic parameters–which certainly can be improved upon–for the preparation and execution of cooperation activities.

It is therefore necessary to maintain the course set by these reforms in order to take the measures necessary for their full application and correct deficiencies in the instruments and processes that have been created for this purpose.

It must be recognized that the reforms to the OAS Charter that led to the establishment of CIDI were based on shared aspirations and a political consensus among the member states on: the need to maintain a balance within the Organization in addressing essentially political issues and matters pertaining to economic and social development, the mission of the OAS as a proponent of partnership for development, and the organization of higher level fora within the OAS for political dialogue and cooperation, as well as mechanisms, with their own institutional identities, for implementing the Organization’s cooperation activities and taking responsibility for the results.

These reflections, and our experience with CIDI’s own operations over the past two years, indicate that the Council now has the necessary legal instruments and a permanent executive body, CEPCIDI, that are appropriately designed for the Council’s functions. Through a Subcommittee on Partnership for Development Policies, a Subcommittee on Program-Budget and Evaluation, and a Working Group on Regulatory Provisions, we are addressing CIDI’s agenda and working to continue improving the operation of its bodies. We are currently carrying out mandates intended to give greater coherence to its structure, including, for example, an analysis for developing a uniform legal framework for the inter-American conferences, and the preparation of provisions to govern the subsidiary bodies and the non-permanent specialized committees (CENPES).

It should be noted that in carrying out these tasks, we have structured our work according to the objectives established and the resources available. During this process we have developed innovative procedures allowing for flexible, informal dialogue and facilitating agreement. In considering new strategies for cooperation, it is fitting to identify areas for correction as well as innovation, to ensure better coordination and efficiency in the General Secretariat’s cooperation functions, and to establish mechanisms permitting the most effective management of cooperation funds and external fund-raising efforts. The following proposal addresses these points.

Administrative integration of cooperation activities

The member states should give consideration to the administrative integration of functions for the various partnership-for-development activities.

The OAS Charter provides ample room, without the need for reforms beyond those introduced by the Managua Protocol, for defining an autonomous and technically and financially integrated framework for managing cooperation consistent with CIDI’s function as a body for dialogue, political coordination on issues within its purview, and a proponent of partnership, as well as with the work of the General Secretariat, and in particular the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development.

The most evident constraints on the Organization’s ability to support cooperation efforts in the member states are the lack of coordination, the duplication of effort, and the inconsistency of information provided to the countries.

It seems implausible that these limitations could be corrected while leaving intact an operational system that divides these functions among different centers of responsibility.

Consideration should therefore be given to centralizing, within the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development, all of the cooperation activities conducted by the General Secretariat, including the scholarship programs and the programs conducted by specialized units and offices.

As part of this integration effort, the situation of the national offices requires analysis. Where it is in the interest of the countries to maintain them, they should be strengthened technically for the purposes of coordinating with the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development on specific local support service functions for cooperation activities in this area.

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development would also be responsible for the coordination and technical support required to organize and hold CIDI’s regular meetings, the meetings of CEPCIDI and its sub-committees and working groups, the meetings of the inter-American committees and non-permanent specialized committees of CIDI, and the technical preparatory and programming meetings for cooperation activities.

The specialized units and offices of the General Secretariat would be responsible for coordinating the organization and technical support necessary to hold CIDI’s specialized ministerial-level meetings and other high-level sectoral meetings for the purpose of formulating policies in CIDI’s issue areas.

With regard to the logistical support required for all meetings of CIDI and its organs, the duplication of effort should in particular be reduced, by centralizing in a single entity the responsibilities of document translation, allocation of meeting rooms, and similar necessary functions for the General Assembly, the Permanent Council, CIDI, and the Organization’s other bodies.

Similarly, with regard to the services provided to CIDI’s special committees, and in particular the non-specialized permanent committees (CENPES)–whose annual meeting of some 56 experts at headquarters costs approximately $150,000–mechanisms must be found to lower costs without sacrificing effectiveness. An alternative to consider is more intensive use of communication technologies, such as those used in video-conferencing and on the Internet.

Management of cooperation funds and additional external fund-raising

A point on which we focused particular attention was the management of financial resources for partnership activities. The fact that these resources are placed together with the regular fund resources in a single account could, among other factors, explain why it is so difficult to obtain consistent and easily identifiable information on amounts, allocation, the use of interest, and other related variables.

The most advisable solution in this matter is to manage cooperation resources separately. Consideration should be given to placing the financial administration of these resources outside of the General Secretariat. Our proposal in this regard is to consider, among other alternatives, placing these funds in a trust to be administered by a banking institution–perhaps the IDB, which forms part of the inter-American system and which, on various occasions, has also expressed its willingness to support the cooperation activities of the OAS.

External fund-raising for cooperation activities and the urgent need to develop mechanisms for doing so effectively are perhaps the issues on which we have the greatest consensus. This is one of CIDI’s essential functions, whose implementation requires a special contribution from the Organization as well as sufficient effort and resources.

The integration of all cooperation activities that I am proposing would help to strengthen our capacity to perform all of the work connected with external fund-raising in a dynamic and effective manner.

With cooperation activities concentrated within CIDI, CEPCIDI, as a permanent executive organ, and the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development could carry out a strategy for the mobilization of external resources that would include, among other components, regular meetings within the framework of CEPCIDI with financial and cooperation institutions interested in contributing human, technical, and financial resources to support the programming of approved cooperation.

The possibilities in this regard are promising if a sustained policy is undertaken to approach the various sources of international financing and cooperation directly through the OAS and through contacts with the Organization’s accredited observer countries.

This would entail a revision of the current cycle for presenting, evaluating, and executing cooperation activities associated with CIDI’s Special Multilateral Fund, so as to include components reflecting CEPCIDI’s role in raising additional funds and strengthening the Executive Secretariat’s capacity for preparing and monitoring cooperation activities.

Implicit in this proposal is a very basic requisite: we must submit to the donors projects of high quality, rigorously evaluated from a technical standpoint, and consistent with financial requirements and availabilities. This would warrant measures to staff the CENPES with higher level experts and to strengthen the Executive Secretariat’s capacity for centralized management in identifying, formulating, programming, and monitoring cooperation activities to ensure that the projects effectively address the needs and interests of the member states and the objectives of partnership.

Attached to this document are organizational structure charts showing the proposed reforms and the process for preparing, presenting, and approving projects.


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