Statement by the Head of the Brazilian Delegation H.E. Ambassador Adhemar G. Bahadian on Agenda Item Implementation of the Summit of the Americas

Implementation of thematical meetings

One of the major problems of the Summit implementation process is the lack of a methodology to advance it with internal and external government coordination and with a clear definition of the role and the contribution expected from other, important institutions. Part of the problem is associated to the organization of events by different institutions, without prior coordination as to their opportunity, timing and aimed results. On the other hand, the exclusive coordination of events by ministries or technical agencies may minimize important political and diplomatic aspects involved in the implementation of the Summit. Considering the level at which the Miami decisions were made, its implementation process is necessarily political, even though the subjects. discussed are sometimes of a technical nature. Therefore, there is the need to preserve the legitimacy, transparency and due process of negotiation in the preparation of joint communiqués or declarations, and in the implementation of the decisions made in Miami.

A look at this year's schedule, compiled by the Summit Coordinating Office (SCO), shows a very large number of scheduled meetings. Many of them lack information about their organization process and the criteria for their inclusion among the events of the Summit and for the solution of participants. Some of these meetings even foresee the participation of Ministers, for instance the "Civitas Pandmericana: a Conference on Civic Education" to be held in Buenos Aires, from September 29 to October 2.

One of the solutions would be to limit the number of new events for the next semester. Prior to its inclusion in the calendar, each event should be discussed by the SIRG. In this forum, the coordinating countries would present the implementation proposal, ways and means for the implementation and the expected results.

Many of the Summit of the Americas Plan of Action themes are of a trans-sectoral nature, meaning that their implementation is linked to actions in other areas. For this reason, perhaps, it would be advisable to combine the discussion of some of them in such a way that their. implementation would be integrated and would consider programs and projects in course. Accordingly, it would be possible to improve the effectiveness in the use of human and financial resources, be they international, national, or from hemispheric institutions.

In order to solve the difficulties created by the large number of meetings, it would benefit the implementation process greatly if the Foreign Ministries became the exclusive channel for sending communications to the other participating ministries, institutions or agencies. For the success of these proposals, it is essential that the Foreign Ministries be previously and fully informed about the preparation process and expected results of the meetings.

The rationalization of the implementation process

The rationalization of the Summit implementation process would be strengthened if, in the SIRG meeting, a substantial part of the time were devoted to discussing the experiences of the Governments in turning the policies and plans adopted in the implementation events into action.

The SIRG should be also informed by the coordinators about the results of those events, as well as about the expected results. Concerning the latter, it would be useful if, with respect to the calendar prepared by the SCO, the institutions and/or countries in charge of the implementation events delivered written information about their agenda, date, participation level and expected results. This process would facilitate the intergovernmental coordination and would contribute to the success of the event.

Back-to-back technical meetings may contribute to reduce costs, if a commonality of items can be identified in their agendas. In this case, it would be possible to use the same personnel, as well as the same interpretation and secretariat facilities.

The meetings should aim at assuring a genuine debate with practical results. For this purpose, the thematic coordinators and the supporting agencies should circulate the documentation of the meetings in advance. This would avoid long introductory speeches and would also allow the debates to concentrate on concrete actions, which would be reported to the SIRG coordinators. It should be borne in mind that the implementation of certain themes demands preparatory meetings, organized by the coordinator or by hemispheric institutions. As these institutions also deal with some of the themes covered in the Miami Plan of Action, it would be useful to coordinate the agendas in order to prevent duplication.

Equally beneficial would be the periodic (perhaps every semester) publishing of a book with the declarations and plans of action adopted at the meetings on specific themes, as well as proposals for the implementation presented by the thematic coordinators. This would allow all countries to have a clear record of the commitments undertaken and prevent duplication in their efforts. The OAS could take charge of the compilation and the publication of this book.

Another important aspect is the definition of the relationship between the SIRG and the institutions in charge of the follow-up of the implementation of these sectorial decisions. For instance, the Ministers responsible for Science and Technology in the Hemisphere asked the MERCOCYT1 to consider the creation of an Executive Committee to implement the recommendations of the Cartagena Conference (March/96). A mechanism that enables the Executive Committee to report to the SIRG is essential for the adequate political follow-up of the initiatives. The same applies to the Hemispheric Energy Steering Committee, that has the mandate of implementing the recommendations of the Hemispheric Energy Symposium, which took place in Washington, in October, 1995.

Initiative which has its technical secretariat at the OAS Department of Scientific Affairs. It aims to facilitate the contribution of universities, institutes and research centers in the generation and transfer of technology to private sector and to public institutions.

The Hemispheric Summit on Sustainable Development, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, next December, and the possibility of a second Summit of the Americas, recommend that the preparatory process of these events be well informed about the actions and commitments taken in the technical meetings for the implementation of the Miami Plan of Action. For this purpose, he SIRG may become a forum for stock taking of the activities carried out and for incorporating this information into the respective preparatory process.