PROGRESS REPORT OF THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE ORGANIZATION TO IMPLEMENT THE MANDATES OF THE SANTIAGO SUMMIT
XVIII Meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group
Washington, D.C., April 7, 2000
This report of the General Secretariat describes the work of the Organization of American States to implement the mandates of the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas, held in Santiago, Chile, in 1998. This report covers the activities of the Organization for the period October 1999 to March 2000. On some initiatives the information extends back to the beginning of 1999. The report follows the order of the subjects in the Santiago Plan of Action and covers only those in which the Organization has carried out activities of some kind.
For further information see the Summit of the Americas Information Network: http://www.summit-americas.org
The Unit for Social Development and Education (UDSE) provided technical advisory services to eleven projects in which the emphasis is in accord with the mandates of the Second Summit of the Americas. Ten of these projects are multinational and allow participation by the 34 member countries of the OAS. The eleven projects received from FEMCIDI a contribution for 1999 totaling $1,856,600. They were designated as "Summit projects":
In some levels of the education system, the UDSE participated in the design, implementation, and evaluation of policies. The Unit’s technical advisory services helped secure the ratification of alliances between institutions of government, civil society, international agencies, and specialized institutions, and contributed to the forging of new alliances, particularly at the level of initial and preschool and/or toddler education and in the experiences of compensatory programs being run by the countries. Intersectoral efforts in support of education for small children, particularly health and feeding programs, were backed in different countries by operations in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization and/or the World Food Program.
All the projects facilitated horizontal cooperation between countries, the systematization of experiences, the training of teachers and education administrators, and, in some cases, training for representatives of civil society. In one project monitored by the Unit, researchers and teachers were trained to bring about changes in the public schools by introducing computers and increasing parent participation. Another important contribution was training for teachers of Spanish in the Caribbean in the use of and new technologies in the classroom.
The UDSE encouraged the building of specialized networks, contributed to efforts for continuing education by setting up and maintaining its web page with worldwide information and connections with all education ministries in the region, the salient specialized institutions, international agencies, and universities.
The UDSE contributed with advice and follow-up to efforts to consolidate an innovative operation consisting of widening the coverage of comprehensive care for children under six (captive population, registered as attending a center) with the mass media as its communication strategy and using adults as its intermediaries.
In the area of Compensatory Programs for Basic Education in Latin America, important gains were identified that permitted the preparation of a report on the most significant experiences and the best methods for reaching vulnerable populations and providing them with services of the highest quality. The UDSE and the Organization of Iberoamerican States held a joint Colloquium on Compensatory programs in Basic Education in order to consolidate in one report the experiences of Latin America and a plan for support to the countries in this area. The Colloquium was held in Peru the first quarter of 2000.
In specific aspects of education for work and youth development the Unit advised in the preparation of three final documents on certification based on competitions in the sectors of agriculture and construction. The documents were approved by the MERCOSUR’s Technical Committee on Education for implementation in 2000.
In the field of environmental education the UDSE provided guidance in the formation of a regional network of government and nongovernmental organizations.
World Symposium on Early Childhood Education for the 21st Century
One of the UDSE’s most important lines of work was to complement the initiative of the Junta Nacional de Jardines Infantiles (National Board of Kindergartens, or JUNJI), of Chile, to organize and conduct this Symposium, held from March 1 to 4, 2000 in Santiago, Chile. The event was attended by participants from all over the world and was sponsored by the Government of Chile and such national and international agencies as the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, the OAS, UNICEF, UNESCO, PAHO, CEPAL, CELEP, the Pontifical University of Chile, and the Catholic University of Chile, among others. A joint declaration entitled "Declaración de Santiago a Favor de la Infancia Mundial" (Santiago Declaration on Behalf of the World’s Children) was framed to outline a general diagnosis of progress in the sector; it set the priorities in the field of child education and defined how they should be considered in the new century. Measures to implement the commitments of this Declaration will begin in April 2000.
DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Electoral Observation Missions
The OAS has observed more than 40 elections in almost half of its member States. During 1999, electoral observation missions were sent to the following countries:
At this time, additional international electoral observation missions are scheduled for 2000, including one to Haiti on March 19, 2000, for first round legislative/municipal elections, to return on April 30, 2000, for a second round of legislative elections. Complete reports on these election observation missions are available from the UPD
Training Young Leaders
The Regional Andean Course for Training Young Leaders on Institutions, Values, and Democratic Practices, organized jointly by the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Luis Carlos Galán Institute for the Development of Democracy was held in Santa Fe de Bogotá, October 18-28, 1999. Thirty young persons from the sectors that influence public opinion participated, and came from civil society organizations, universities, the media, and political parties in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia.
The main objectives of the course included fostering the development and acquisition of theoretical and empirical knowledge of the functioning of democratic institutions and processes, as well as the importance, meaning, and application of the fundamental principles, values, practices, and institutions of democracy. The event also sought to promote information related to techniques, tools, and modern practices of political/democratic work, which now seem essential to public administration and political management, such as strategies and techniques for political communication, techniques for negotiation and conflict management, organization of parties and electoral campaigns, formulation and use of surveys, electoral organization, administration, and oversight, and the management of statistics, data bases, and data processing, among others. Another objective was to encourage the exchange of experiences, accounts, and critical assessments, among young leaders of the different political and social sectors of member states.
Network of Parliamentarians of the Americas
In March 29-30, 2000 the Network Parliamentary Meeting organized by the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) took place at OAS Headquarters in Washington D.C. The meeting was held to discuss the formation of a Network of Parliamentarians of the Americas. This Network will bring together the heads of parliamentary or congressional foreign affairs committees of OAS member States. The idea is to promote communication among parliamentarians on hemispheric issues and to explore the creation of a permanent forum for this purpose.
Strengthening of Democracy
Also noteworthy was the Organization’s response to the events in Ecuador, which have brought out, on the one hand, the ability of the inter-American system to react quickly and defend collectively democracy in the region, but also, on the other hand, the existence of vulnerabilities and destabilizing factors still latent in the region.
The Permanent Council of the OAS held two emergency meetings to consider those events and pass collectively on them. The first of these sessions took place only hours after the attempted uprising began. The Council drew up a resolution expressing support for the constitutional government of President Mahuad and the institutions of the state of law, condemned the attempt against the democratic order, and expressed its concern over the political situation and the possible consequences of an attempted destabilization. It closed by instructing the Secretary General to keep in close touch with the government and keep the Council informed.
The Council’s second meeting was held after resolution of the crisis with the assumption of the Presidency of Ecuador by Vice President Gustavo Noboa. In it the Council again reiterated its categorical rejection of the attempts to disrupt constitutional and democratic order in Ecuador or any other country. The events that led President Mahuad to step down were condemned. Also, and for the first time in a document of the Permanent Council, it was recalled that the responsibility of the armed forces is "to defend and preserve the democratic order and the constitutional authorities." Support was expressed for the new President, and the national institutions and the social, political, and economic actors of Ecuador were called upon to strengthen their democratic system. Finally, the international institutions were urged to support Ecuador in its efforts to surmount a serious political, economic and social crisis.
Afterwards, at the invitation of the new government the Secretary General traveled to Ecuador, where he spoke with the new authorities and heard the views of a broad spectrum of political and social leaders. On that occasion the Secretary General reiterated the message of the Permanent Council: democracy in our countries will be supported and defended by the international community, and domestic crises must be resolved through the institutional mechanisms defined in the constitution.
During the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the American Convention on Human Rights, the "Pact of San José", and the twentieth anniversary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and government representatives set up an ad hoc working group on human rights. This group held its first meeting in San José, Costa Rica, on February 10 and 11, 2000, and produced a series of recommendations relating chiefly to the full entry of the member states and to the role of the political organs in the inter-American system of human rights, as well as on the adjustment of procedural aspects in the work of the Commission and the Court.
This working group framed recommendations on the following matters:
2. The full entry of the member states as members of the inter-American system of conventions on human rights.
3. Promotion of human rights and of national measures to apply international human rights law.
4. The role of political organs as guarantors of the functioning of the system and in particular of compliance with the decisions of the inter-American system of human rights.
5. Matching of procedural aspects in the work of the Commission and the Court.
At that meeting the IACHR stressed the importance of respect for the international obligations of the member states and the supporting role of the system; compliance with the decisions and orders of the supervisory organs, the role of the political organs in strengthening the system, the improving of the current procedural rules and practices, the increasing of the material resources of the organs of the system, and, finally, the participation of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and civil society in strengthening the system.
In keeping with this, the Commission had been examining several issues relating to the procedure for the consideration of individual cases and decided to undertake a reform of its Regulations. To this end, in December 1998 it invited proposals and observations on modification of the Regulations from the member states of the OAS, organizations of civil society, and prominent specialists in the subject. On February 4, 2000, the IACHR sent to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) and to the diplomatic missions accredited to the OAS copies of the observations of the member states as part of this process, which is in full swing and will doubtlessly receive priority consideration by the Commission in the course of the year.
As one of the efforts to strengthen the operation of the system for the protection of human rights, the IACHR and the Inter-American Court have opened an important area for cooperation and coordination. The two organs have continued their practice of holding periodic meetings to examine issues of mutual interest within their respective spheres of competence, particularly relating to procedure in the inter-American system. Exchanges between the two guardian organs have facilitated improved coordination in compliance with the mandate.
Particularly noteworthy is the entry into force of the Additional Protocol in the area of economic, social, and cultural rights known as the Protocol of San Salvador. This instrument at last expressly introduced protection of second-generation rights in the inter-American system and became effective with the deposit of Costa Rica’s instrument of ratification on November 16, 1999.
Also, in the period considered, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Mexico accepted the contentious jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court, thereby bringing 250 million inhabitants under the judicial umbrella provided in the American Convention and other treaties.
On February 8, 2000, Costa Rica ratified the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. Colombia and Ecuador did as much on January 19 and November 9, 1999, respectively. On the latter date Nicaragua ratified the Additional Protocol to Abolish the Death Penalty. Venezuela and Bolivia ratified the Inter-American Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons in January and May 1999, respectively.
In regard to the "Dialogue on the Inter-American System for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights," now taking place in the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, a second session was held on March 6, 2000 with the participation of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and various organizations of civil society, such as CEJIL, the International Human Rights Law Group, and Human Rights Watch, which presented to the Committee their views on the reform and strengthening of the inter-American system for the protection of human rights.
In addition, on March 10 last the IACHR closed its 106th regular session following an examination of a total of 52 reports presented to it for consideration. The working sessions were chaired by Dr. Hélio Bicudo, of Brazil. In its three weeks of deliberations, the IACHR held 41 hearings on individual cases, the general situation of human rights in different countries of the Hemisphere, precautionary measures, the follow-up of recommendations, and other matters in its competence. The IACHR will meet again from October 2 to 20, 2000.
On December 15, 1999, the Permanent Council of the OAS approved the "Guidelines for Participation by Organizations of Civil Society in the Activities of the OAS." The Guidelines allow registered civil society organizations(CSOs) to appoint representatives to attend public meetings, receive documents and the Activities Schedule of the OAS, distribute documents not exceeding 2,000 words on subjects within their specific spheres of competence, make presentations when approved by the committee or council concerned, and make statements in working groups or groups of experts. The interested CSO must send the Secretary General of the Organization of American States a letter stating its interest in registering.
In addition, the Special Committee on Summits Management, chaired by Ambassador Peter Boehm, Canada’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, held an open meeting on February 18, 2000, to assess progress on the implementation of the mandates on democracy and human rights, property registration, indigenous populations, migrant workers, and strengthening financial markets. The meeting was open to representatives of civil society and it was broadcast live over the Internet in order to secure the broadest possible audience from across the Hemisphere. For each subject area, civil society organizations made presentations. Ideas were exchanged between civil society and government representatives in order to build a comprehensive combined effort to implement the mandates in question.
Inter-American Strategy for Public Participation (ISP)
A special CIDS Working Group meeting was held in Washington, D.C. on November 11 and 12, 1999. Representatives from 17 countries attended the meeting, the purpose of which was to convene interested ISP National Focal Points and permanent missions to the OAS to finalize the draft ISP Policy Framework and Recommendations for Action. After two days of discussion, the Working Group finalized the ISP documents which will be submitted to the V Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) for approval. Complete information on the ISP project will be assembled and published in a book which will document the activities undertaken by the OAS in response to the Santa Cruz Summit Mandate.
Symposium on International Migration in Latin American and Caribbean
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), with the backing of the Latin American Demographic Center (CELADE – Population Division) and the International Migration Organization (IMO) are organizing a "Symposium on International Migration in Latin American and Caribbean" which will take place in San José, Costa Rica, September 4 to 6, 2000. This event is also sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and the OAS.
The Symposium will bring together decision makers, experts, international agencies, non-governmental and other civil society organizations, allowing them to interact and exchange concerns and experiences related to international migration in the Hemisphere. Some of the results expected from the Symposium include:
STRENGTHENING MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIONS
The UPD Program of Cooperation in Decentralization, Local Government and Citizen Participation simultaneously focuses on the "Strengthening Regional and Municipal Administrations" and the "Civil Society" mandates of the Santiago Summit, the latter of which, among other things, calls for the OAS to serve as a forum for the exchange of experiences and information on civil society participation. Experience in the member States has pointed to the particular potential of the sub-national levels of government for promoting and strengthening public sector-civil society dialogue and civil society participation in decision-making on public policy issues.
Under this program, the UPD is collaborating with the Andean Parliament and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), in Ecuador, in the following research activity for the States of the Andean Community: "Descentralización, y Participación Ciudadana en los Gobiernos Locales". This is an integrated three-part activity consisting of :
a. Preparation of a research paper on decentralization and participation in each of the five States of the Andean Community
b. High level seminar in Quito, Ecuador on November 18 and 19, 1999 that brought together senior officials from the Andean Community States (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela) for a dialogue and exchange of information and views on decentralization and participation by civil society in public policy issues, especially at the municipal level. Participants included senior central government officials, members of national Parliaments/authorities of the Andean Parliament, senior local government authorities such as mayors, and representatives of civil society, all from the Andean Community. The Seminar has been facilitated by the support of the Government of Ecuador.
c. Compilation by the end of 1999/early 2000 of the findings of the research and the discussions of the seminar, and presentation of draft model legislation on decentralization and participation in the States of the Andean Community
The UPD will continue to encourage skills development and offer refresher courses for officials, mayors, legislators, and experts in order to support efforts to train and upgrade human resources specializing in decentralization and local government. The UPD will also sponsor comparative research and the publication of papers on legislation in this field. Furthermore, the UPD is working with the Government of Bolivia on the creation of a "Permanent Forum on Citizen Participation at the Municipal Level," which will be composed of representatives of countries interested in this issue.
With respect to others initiatives relating to the mandate on Municipal and Regional Administrations, the increasing importance of decentralization and participation by civil society as public policy issues has led to a number of important international meetings and activities on these topics, such as the annual inter-American mayors’ conferences.
Department of Legal Cooperation and Public Information
As part of the Program of Support for Legislative Institutions and Processes of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, the Department of Legal Cooperation and Public Information of the OAS has provided technical advisory services in the consolidation of a project for support of the work of the Central American Interparliamentary Committee Against Corruption and Drug-Related Activities.
The purposes of this initiative are to develop preliminary drafts of a framework Code of Ethics for Public Service, Parliamentary Ethics, and Entrepreneurial Ethics and to identify some of the legal reforms that need to be made in the laws of the Central American countries to enable them to assimilate the Inter-American Convention against Corruption into their domestic legislations.
Through the UPD and the Department of Legal Cooperation and Public Information and in conjunction with the General Secretariat of the Andean Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Organization is framing a project to promote greater control of corruption in the parliaments and through them to support the strengthening of mechanisms for the control of corruption by the legislative bodies and of violations of the principles and standards of ethics, or "codes of behavior," in those bodies.
Working Group on Probity and Public Ethics
On January 24, 2000, the Working Group held a meeting in which it considered three main subjects: 1) the Report of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs (Department of International Law) on the anticorruption work of the Inter-American Juridical Committee, 2) the Report of the Secretariat of Legal Affairs (Department of Legal Cooperation and Public Information) on the execution of anticorruption projects, particularly in relation to the OAS/IDB, and 3) commencement of the proceedings of the special session of the Working Group on the Enhancement of Probity and the Fight against Corruption in the Hemisphere. Regarding the Report of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs (Department of Legal Cooperation and Public Information) on execution of the OAS/IDB anti-corruption project, it was proposed that projects be carried out in four specific areas:
In addition, a variety of recommendations surfaced on the commencement of the work of the Working Group on the Enhancement of Probity and the Fight against Corruption in the Hemisphere. Noteworthy among these recommendations are the following:
The member states of the OAS must promptly sign, ratify, and implement and execute the Convention and, in addition, must develop programs that raise public awareness of the impact of corruption and the participation of public society and the private sector in the promotion of probity and public ethics.
On March 31, 2000, the Working Group held a special session on "The Enhancement of Probity and the Fight against Corruption in the Americas" in which it examined cooperation in the war on corruption and implementation of the Inter-American Program for Cooperation in the Fight against Corruption. It may be noted that this meeting was attended by representatives of international agencies, the private sector, and civil society. The international agencies spoke about their operations, projects, and experiences in the implementation of mechanisms for monitoring international anticorruption commitments. The representatives of the private sector referred to commitments and proposals in matters of probity and to the effects of corruption in trade and investment. The representatives of civil society described their role in the promotion of probity and civic ethics.
The Trust of the Americas: Conference against Corruption
This two-day conference will take place in San José, Costa Rica on April 7-8, 2000. The Conference will be the first in a series of regional events across the Americas, under the auspices of The Trust for the Americas, designed for journalists, government officials, corporations, civil society organizations and multilateral organizations. Working panels will explore the social and environmental impacts of corruption as well as the role of a transparent procurement process in fighting corruption from the perspectives of the media, civil society, private sector, and Government. The Conference will examine key institutional reforms being undertaken in the Central American region and throughout the Hemisphere, providing information on best practices and insight into policy and decision-making processes. The Conference will be complemented by weeklong intensive training seminars for investigative journalists on the coverage of corruption and governance issues.
PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF ILLICIT CONSUMPTION OF AND TRAFFIC IN DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES AND OTHER RELATED CRIMES
UPDATE ON CICAD ACTIVITIES IN RELATION TO FIREARMS
The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) Model Regulations for the Control of International Movements of Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition were approved by the Commission in October 1997 and subsequently adopted by the OAS General Assembly in June, 1998.
Following their adoption by the General Assembly, CICAD, in coordination with the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-LiREC) agreed to the convening of two awareness-building seminars. The purpose of the seminars is to bring together senior policy and operational officials responsible for the control of firearms exportation, importation and transshipment to exchange views concerning the application of the Model Regulations in their countries and the degree of their compatibility with national measures in place and to determine what measures, if any, would be required for the regulations to be applied.
A first seminar was held in November 1999 for all of the countries of South America in Lima, Peru. A second seminar for the countries of Central America and the Caribbean will be held May 23 – 24, 2000 in Fort de France, Martinique, again in coordination with UN-LiREC, and in coordination with the government of France’s Inter-Departmental Anti-Drug Training Centre (CIFAD).
CICAD has also developed a training proposal to apply the model regulations involving five or six training seminars over an eighteen-month period for line officers and their senior operational officials in the area of firearms control from CICAD member countries. The training will demonstrate to the officers working on the ground the measures contained in the Model Regulations for monitoring, controlling and effecting international cooperation over the movements of firearms, their parts, components, and ammunition and thereby reduce the degree of diversion from licit to illicit trafficking.
It should be noted that the project also proposes to provide technical assistance to countries that request it if necessary, to help to put into effect the necessary legislative and regulatory measures and suggest appropriate administrative structures as may be required to make the system operational.
Advisory Committee on the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials
The Advisory Committee on the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials held its first regular session at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington on March 9 and 10 last. At the opening of its proceedings the Secretary General of the OAS urged the states that had not yet done so to ratify that Convention. Later, the Ambassador of Mexico Claude Heller, having been elected Secretary pro tempore of the Advisory Committee, said that "the first order of business of this meeting will be to contribute to promotion of the ratification of this significant instrument of inter-American cooperation." In the two-day meeting the delegates approved the Advisory Committee’s rules of procedure and program of work and, following a general discussion of the subject, considered a project for training in firearms control for government officials which had been submitted to the states parties by the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). The Secretariat pro tempore will conduct the requisite consultations to set the date of the next meeting.
Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM)
The Intergovernmental Working Group for the MEM is currently receiving feedback from each of the 34 member countries on the evaluation questionnaires sent out in October . On April 10-14, 2000, the Governmental Experts’ Group (GEG) will meet for the first time in a planning seminar to begin the initial steps of the GEG process. At this organizational meeting each of the 34 delegated experts will have the opportunity to meet and determine the best method to proceed, and begin drafting the first preliminary reports. Then, the GEG will reconvene between June 12-30, 2000, for the First Plenary Session to write the first Multilateral Evaluation Reports for 2000. Three more meetings are scheduled for the Fall of 2000 and the Final Hemispheric Report is tentatively planned to be presented at the Summit of the Americas, to be held in Quebec City, Canada, in 2001.
The annual report of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) was presented at the Permanent Council meeting on March 8, 2000. The report includes the proceedings of the first ordinary session of the Committee which took place on October 28 – 29, 1999, as well as the rules of procedure, work plan and list of participants. This work plan was developed taking into account the Declaration of Lima to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate Terrorism and the Plan of Action on Hemispheric Cooperation to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate Terrorism, adopted at the First Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism (Lima, Peru, April 1996), as well as on the Commitment of Mar del Plata, adopted at the Second Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism (Mar del Plata, Argentina, November 1998). The Plan creates an international compilation network for the transmission of facts regarding the activities of groups associated with acts of terrorism. Furthermore, it compiles legislative rules in order to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism, in addition to conducting studies on international law mechanisms associated with terrorism. Finally, the Plan outlines the need to establish contact with other international terrorism-combating entities and NGO’s.
BUILDING CONFIDENCE AND SECURITY AMONG STATES
Committee on Hemispheric Security (CSH)
Acting through its Committee on Hemispheric Security, since October 1999 the OAS has engaged in the following activities to comply with the mandates of the Plan of Action of the Santiago Summit:
To follow up on and further discussion of confidence- and security-building measures, the CSH has scheduled for March 31, 2000, a meeting of parliamentarians to monitor the agreements of the Second Regional Conference, held in San Salvador in 1998, and to review the extent to which confidence- and security-building measures, launched in 1995, have been implemented. In addition, on April 5 it will hold a seminar for exchanges of experiences with other regional organizations, with the participation of the Disarmament Department of the United Nations, the OSCE and ASEAN. This seminar will be followed on April 6 by a special session of the Committee to evaluate and review application of the confidence- and security-building measures adopted in the Declarations of Santiago and San Salvador with the participation of government experts.
On March 20 and 21 the Committee held a special session, attended by experts and representatives of the member states, to examine the significance, scope and implications of the concepts of international security in the Hemisphere. This special session considered the common approaches best suited to address the different aspects of international security; studied the problems and risks for peace in the Hemisphere, and examined and evaluated the instruments bearing on peace and security, the institutions and processes of the inter-American system, and the subregional security agreements, mechanisms, and processes.
By arranging meetings of this kind and preparing information documents the Committee on Hemispheric Security continues to move forward in its analysis of the different aspects of security in the Hemisphere and the reinforcement of confidence- and security-building measures in compliance with the mandates of the Plan of Action of the Santiago Summit.
Special Security Concerns of Small Island States in the Caribbean:
At the hemispheric level, the OAS General Secretariat has adopted a number of measures in response to these special security concerns as they relate to economic matters, the environment and natural risks, the promotion of democracy, and cooperation for the eradication of illicit drug trafficking and abuse. These measures include the following:
Security experts of many countries met on February 29 at the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss the special security concerns of the small island states. At this meeting the experts studied the prospects of the smallest member states, whose economies are suffering severely from natural disasters. The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS said there was an 18-month program to help mitigate the disasters caused by hurricanes in Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis. The meeting was also addressed by George Alleyne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization, (PAHO), many ambassadors of member countries, and experts on the subject.
At the meeting, delegates reviewed how effective the OAS has been in promoting and developing the issue. The meeting also looked at the role regional and subregional organizations have played in strengthening security regionally and at the level of the small island states, as well as military cooperation among small island states.
Demining and the Ottawa Convention:
The Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel land mines and on their destruction came into force on March 1st, 1999. However, only seven countries have provided information according to Permanent Counsel Resolution CP/RES. 724 (1162/98) to the OAS Register of Antipersonnel Land Mines, established May 22, 1998.
The OAS Unit for the Promotion of Democracy reports regularly to the member states on progress with the Program of Assistance for Demining in Central America (PADCA). Recent reports have included the effects of Hurricane Mitch on the process of mine removal, as well as aspects pertaining to program coordination, in particular, questions related to international financing, fundraising activities, and infrastructure and equipment needs.
Other important activities undertaken in the region include:
Tensions between Honduras and Nicaragua rose to worrying levels in late November 1999, following the ratification, by Honduras, of a treaty with Colombia which mutually recognizes Honduras and Colombia’s maritime boundaries in the Caribbean sea. Both countries quickly sought the help of the OAS in order to prevent an escalation or incidents in the Caribbean Sea.
Upon receiving the requests from Honduras and Nicaragua, and without delay, the OAS Permanent Council met in special sessions on December 6 and 7 to consider the matters presented by the two countries. On December 7, the Council approved a resolution calling for the Secretary General to nominate, "with the greatest possible urgency," a special representative to "evaluate the situation, facilitate dialogue, and formulate recommendations aimed at easing tension and preventing acts that could affect peace in the Hemisphere."
Ambassador Luigi Einaudi was chosen as Special Representative immediately set upon helping the Parties search for common ground and establish confidence and security-building mechanisms to avoid incidents. Over the subsequent three months, Honduras and Nicaragua reached a series of understandings which helped reduce tensions and established mechanisms to ensure the peace.
The first agreement was concluded in Miami following two days of intense discussions at the end of December 1999. The Foreign Ministers of Honduras and Nicaragua, and the Special Representative, agreed on a political framework for lowering tensions in the region and for enacting confidence and security-building measures.
The second agreement, concluded February 7, 2000, in San Salvador, El Salvador, defined tension-reducing measures in the Caribbean Sea, including an agreement to not maintain any new military or police posts, to refrain from carrying out actions that could provoke incidents or serve as an obstacle to resolving any controversy by peaceful means, and to establish a combined Honduran-Nicaraguan patrol mechanism. The final agreement, concluded March 7 after three days of intense discussions at the headquarters of the Organization, completed the confidence and security-building mechanisms agreed upon in Miami and San Salvador by setting forth detailed provisions for combined patrols in the Caribbean, for controls on military activity near the land border, and for coordinated patrols within the two countries’ jurisdictional waters in the Gulf of Fonseca.
The provisions established by the three agreements provide for a peaceful and secure modus vivendi while the substantive issue of determining the maritime border in the Caribbean Sea is settled by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Nicaragua had requested that the Court determine the maritime boundary, and both countries have agreed to abide by its decision.
Two other disputes in the sub-region, one between Costa Rica and Nicaragua over navigation rights in the San Juan river, and a territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize, have more recently been brought to the attention of the Organization. At the request of the Parties to both disputes, the Secretary General is serving as a facilitator for continued discussions to find peaceful solutions to these issues.
STRENGTHENING OF JUSTICE SYSTEMS AND JUDICIARIES
The Inter-American Juridical Committee met in Washington, D.C., on March 20-31, and discussed several key issues including the juridical aspects of hemispheric security and legal dimensions of integration and international trade. Participants also discussed the issue of children who are taken across international borders by one parent.
Third Meeting of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas
The Third Meeting of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas was held from March 1 to 3 in San José, Costa Rica, and was opened by the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Dr. Miguel Angel Rodríguez. It fulfilled several of the mandates of the Plan of Action of the Santiago Summit in the area of the strengthening of judicial organs and justice systems.
One of the most important outcomes was the formal establishment of the headquarters of the Center for Justice Studies of the Americas in the city of Santiago, Chile. This Center already has its own Statute and Board of Directors. For it to enter fully into operation, its Rules of Procedure will have to be drawn up. The ministers thus instructed the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the OAS to prepare a preliminary draft.
Similarly, the ministers approved a series of concrete proposals for collective measures to move forward in the areas of legal and judicial cooperation, primarily in the field of extradition and cyber crimes.
The general discussion among the ministers and attorneys general reflected the growing need of the countries in the Hemisphere for cooperation in the aforementioned areas not only in relation to their national interests, but because of the complexity and transnational scope of many of those subjects today, whose treatment has ceased to be exclusively domestic. In this spirit the ministers noted the importance of exchanges of experiences and the support of the OAS and other international institutions for the modernization of their justice systems.
In this meeting those high officials discussed possibilities for cooperation, exchanges of experiences, multilateral agreements and the setting up of specialized working groups in the OAS to address such important subjects as:
Note may be taken of the participation by several nongovernmental organizations, some in the meeting itself and others in an informal session, in which they described the work they had done in support of the governments, primarily in matters relating to prison policies. Extensive information was also supplied on a variety of national experiences in some of the areas covered by the agenda.
MODERNIZATION OF THE STATE IN LABOR MATTERS
On February 24-25, 2000, in Washington D.C., the Ministers of Labor of the hemisphere met for a two-day follow-up session of the Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor. The International Labor Organization (ILO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Organization of American States (OAS) provided technical support to the meeting. The main objective of this meeting was to review the progress made in implementing the Plan of Action approved by the ministers in their 1998 meeting in Viña del Mar, Chile.
Peru, as coordinator for Working Group I on "Economic Globalization and Its Social and Labor Dimensions", presented a document stressing the social dimension of integration processes. The document outlines the transformations undergone by labor markets and labor legislation, it recommends reforms in training and vocational education, and argues in favor of establishing systems to assist unemployed workers, or workers changing jobs.
The second working group, coordinated by Costa Rica, presented its conclusions in a report entitled "Modernization of the State and Labor Administration: Requirements and Challenges". Some of the main points emphasized in it were: general labor administration topics; inspection systems; information and statistics systems; mechanisms for prejudicial settlement of labor disputes; dialogue between labor and management; collective bargaining; and integration of special collectives in the labor market.
To follow-up on these proposals, the Chairman requested that a future meeting of the Advisory Committee be convened. This Committee will prepare specific projects for technical cooperation on nine different areas:
Finally, the ministers agreed to hold the XII Conference next year in Canada, and the XIII meeting in Brazil in 2003.
FREE TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICAS
Since the beginning of 2000, various Negotiating Groups have met in Miami, Florida regarding the implementation of the trade mandate from the Toronto Ministerial held in November, 1999.
On January 17-19, the ALCA Negotiation Group on Subsidies, Antidumping, and Compensatory Rights met to work on eliminating barriers to trade and investment. The discussion centered on the interaction between trade and competition policies, including anti-dumping measures, in addition to ways to deepen subsidy disciplines.
The ALCA Negotiation Group on Competency Policy met January 20-21, 2000. The deliberations focused on defining a schedule of meetings and a methodology in order to fulfill the trade mandate promoting the development of competition policy and a guarantee on the enforcement of regulations on free competition.
On February 15-16, 2000, the ALCA Negotiation Group on Investment gathered in Miami, Florida. They began the first phase of drafting a Work Program on an Investment text, which will be presented in final form to the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) 12 weeks prior to the Ministerial meeting scheduled for April 2001, in Argentina. The main objectives of the Investment Negotiation Group are to establish a fair and transparent legal framework to promote investment through the creation of a stable and predictable environment that protects the investor, his investment and related flows, without creating obstacles to investments from outside the hemisphere.
The ALCA Negotiation Group on Purchases of the Public Sector met between February 17-18,2000, followed by the Group on Services which met between February 29 and March 3, 2000. At this meeting, a work plan and a tentative schedule of meetings for this year were adopted, as well as deadlines and the next steps for the formulation of a draft text for the chapter on services.
Finally, the ALCA Negotiation Group on Intellectual Property met in Miami, Florida, on March 15-16, 2000.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The Hemisphere-Wide Science and Technology Project (RedHUCyT)
The Hemisphere-Wide Science and Technology Project (RedHUCyT), continued its support to the development of the Internet and Information Technologies in the region. In particular it funded a project in Nicaragua to plan, develop and install networks, and network connections in the following institutions:
RedHUCyT’s financial support enabled these institutions to purchase modems, routers, network cards and network software for their new network system, which will allow them to connect to the Internet.
Also, RedHUCyT sponsored the Second Central-American Workshop on Network Security as well as a Security Seminar for governmental institutions. SENACyT, the Panamanian National Secretariat for Science and Technology, coordinated both events.
The Information on Science and Technology Project, INFOCyT, a subproject of RedHUCyT, expanded its activities in the region with the inclusion of El Salvador to the list of countries that host the system. Currently, INFOCyT is hosted in Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala with a mirror site at the OAS. These projects were funded by CIDI through RedHUCyT.
Metrology, Standards, Accreditation, and Quality
The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) requires a technical infrastructure to facilitate trade and commerce in the Hemisphere. The activities carried out in the framework of the projects related to metrology, standards, accreditation, and quality, are contributing, in a considerable manner, to obtain this infrastructure needed.
In the framework of the project "Physical and Chemical Metrology for the Americas. Developing and Establishing Measurement Capabilities within the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM)," from November 1999 to March 2000 the following activities were carried out:
In the framework of the project "Standardization, Accreditation, and Quality for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises," IAAC (inter-American Accreditation Cooperation) activities were supported:
CITEL has continued to make progress in promoting the use of common, coordinated standards, particularly in the telecommunications management network, signaling systems, intelligent networks, wireless mobile services, and interconnection systems. Similarly, CITEL remains very busy in connection with the coordinated use of the radio spectrum. These activities are seen as essential ways to ensure greater economy in the introduction of new services that will ensure the interoperability of member states’ telecommunications networks.
During 1999 great strides were made towards compliance with the mandates received from the Summit of the Americas by implementing the following activities:
Major Activities Foreseen for the year 2000:
The CITEL annual report to the General Assembly notes that CITEL, which has 244 associate members, approved a recommendation urging member states to declare the Internet a priority for providing all their citizens equal access to information and knowledge.
FOSTERING THE DEVELOPMENT OF MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZE ENTERPRISES
The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT)
The YABT focuses on helping young people develop self-esteem, obtain technical and business training, and gain greater access to the financial and technological resources. Programs for 2000 include:
The Virtual Office for the Inter-Summit Property Systems Initiative set up in partnership with USAID is continually maintained in order to share information and promote dialogue on the property registration theme.
On October 20 to 22, 1999, the Central American Workshop on Property Registry Reform was held in Antigua, Guatemala. The main topics of the meeting were: reform process/modernization of public registries in Central America; land administration acquisition management; integration of land and cadastral information systems; Guatemala's Property Registration System Modernization Program; Costa Rica's Property Registration System Modernization Program; Active Geodesic Network in Central America as a tool to spur development of the private sector; and legal cadastre and cadastre based on parcels. The Office of Summit Follow- up made a presentation in order to illustrate the background of the property registration mandate. This event was sponsored by the Property Registry of Guatemala with the World Bank and the USAID providing financing for participants (officials, technical experts and donor staff) from all the Central American nations and Panama. The agenda, presentations and final report are available via the Virtual Office. www.landnetamericas.org
Third Regular Session in Washington, DC
On January 20-21 2000 the Executive Committee of the CIM held their Third Regular Session in Washington, DC. Arising from the mandates of the Summit of the Americas, one of the focal points of the agenda was the presentation of a draft document by CIM entitled "Inter-American Program to Promote the Rights of Women and Gender Equity" in preparation for the Meeting of the Ministers, or authorities at the highest level responsible for policies affecting women in the member States. This document highlights the participation by women in power and decision-making structures and education, elimination of violence against women, and the eradication of poverty as the four priority strategic areas which would be pursued through national and multi-national projects to promote women’s rights and gender equity.
Additional lines of action pertaining to women that were outlined and were included in this document are as follows: legal and institutional framework, work, health, national institutions responsible for the advancement of women, migration and women in areas of conflict, and regional cooperation.
First Hemispheric Ministerial Meeting on Gender equity
The "Meeting of Ministers or of the highest-ranking Authorities Responsible for the Advancement of Women in the Member States", will be held in Washington D.C., in April 27 – 28, 2000. This groundbreaking Ministerial is being coordinated by CIM in compliance with Resolution "Status of Women in the Americas and Strengthening and Modernization of the Inter-American Commission of Women", approved by the XXIX General Assembly of the OAS. The agenda of the meeting will include the adoption of the draft Inter-American Program on Promotion of Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality, which will subsequently be presented for adoption to the regular session of the General Assembly of the OAS in June 2000; and the recommendations for the Third Summit of the Americas.
Follow-up to Summit of the Americas
The Government of Nicaragua, the responsible coordinator of the initiative of women for the Summit of the Americas, requested technical assistance from the CIM to prepare the system to monitor the implementation of that topic in all the countries of the Americas. The Permanent Secretariat of the CIM coordinated the preparation of the draft follow-up document presented by the Government of Nicaragua to the November 1999 meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG). The document contains six chapters: (i) strengthening national mechanisms for gender equity; (ii) equal rights for women; (iii) status of women in the Americas; (iv) women's health policy; (v) eradication of poverty and discrimination; and (vi) problems detected in fulfilling the mandates and suggestions for overcoming them.
At the meeting of the Executive Committee concern was expressed about compliance with the commitments of the Summits, and it was remarked that it had not yet been possible to obtain the financing needed for such compliance. It was noted that it was of the utmost importance to include the subject of the Summits in the Ministerial Meeting. There was also an exchange of ideas on measures that might be undertaken to make more significant progress, and it was proposed to focus attention on a few basic points (a system of indicators, strengthening of the national mechanisms and of the CIM) and to insist on a comprehensive approach to the subject of women in the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas. The General Secretariat was asked to prepare an information document on the activities carried on in the hemisphere in the field of women for presentation to the meeting of Ministers and in follow-up to the Summit.
CIM subregional meeting held in Montevideo
Within the framework of the Seed Fund project on Strategic subregional development to implement the priority areas of the CIM and fully incorporate women into 21st-century society, the Meeting of Delegates and Experts from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay was held in Montevideo, Uruguay on November 8-9, 1999. Over 200 women representing the political, public, private sectors and civil society attended this CIM subregional meeting to identify common problems and ways to work together through cooperation mechanisms among the countries in the subregion. At the close of the meeting, the Delegates to the CIM signed the Montevideo Declaration, which was presented to the meeting of the Presidents of MERCOSUR, Bolivia, and Chile held in December 1999.
Women’s Economic Summit of the Americas (Buenos Aires, November, 1999)
The Inter-American Commission of Women co-hosted the Women’s Economic Summit of the Americas, held November 11-13, 1999 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. More than 350 women business, professional, and entrepreneurial leaders from throughout the Americas attended the event, to explore and share strategies for expanding women’s business and trade capabilities in the Hemisphere. As a follow-up to the 1998 Vital Voices for Democracy in Montevideo, the Summit extended further the business and entrepreneurial relationships established at that time.
The Summit also provided information on the Latin American market and its growth areas; data on women as a market in the region; a basic "primer" on trade pacts and their impact on women’s capacity to do business within the region and globally; training in the use of technology to increase an enterprise’s cross-border business capabilities, and more practical sessions that will link participants with business opportunities in the Hemisphere. The event was co-chaired by César Gaviria, Secretary General of the OAS; Ana Kessler, Minister for Small Business Administration in Argentina; and Aida Alvarez, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration. Special attention was given to the issue of microenterprises. Through the organizers, CIM obtained grants for three participants from Haiti, Honduras and Peru.
New ProjectsFollow-up to OAS Convention of Belém do Pará: Study of the Impact of the "Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence Against Women."
As of 1999, the fifth anniversary of the Convention, 29 of the 34 OAS member states had ratified the Convention of Belém do Pará. It remains the only regional instrument that addresses and protects the rights of women victims of violence, and has been the catalyst for legislation, educational programs, innovative law enforcement approaches, and training programs. The project will review each member state’s compliance with the Convention by addressing not only criminal law, procedures, law enforcement, sentencing, and corrections, but also health services, social services, victim assistance programs, crime prevention measures, and awareness campaigns that have been introduced in the past five years. In April, 2000, a major meeting of experts on violence against women will analyze the results of the research and make additional recommendations for effective implementation to the member states. The Inter-American Commission of Women will coordinate this meeting with its international partners: UNIFEM, the UNDP, the UNFPA, PAHO, ECLAC, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Inter-American Dialogue.International Trafficking in Women and Children in the Americas: Research on trafficking in women and children for purposes of labor and sexual exploitation.
This project is being developed in partnership with the International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI) of De Paul University (Chicago, Illinois). On the basis of its experience in the field of human rights, the IHRLI is selecting seven or eight pilot countries. Suggested are Argentina, Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, and Venezuela. With the assistance of two or three NGOs in the field, data will be compiled by country. Experts from the region, including experts from the selected countries, will be chosen to participate in analyzing the collected data. At a meeting hosted by the Commission and held in Washington, D.C., data will be reviewed and discussed and recommendations will be made. The results of these deliberations will be presented to the delegates of the Commission at the biennial Assembly of Delegates in November 2000. These findings will provide the basis for recommendations to the member States for action, and will be published and distributed throughout the Hemisphere. The Commission will also coordinate this project with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Children’s Institute.
CIM Campaign: Women and Education in the Americas of the 21st Century
At the Second Summit of the Americas, the governments became committed to "ensure access to and improve the quality of education’ and to eliminate "all forms of discrimination against women". With the purpose of contributing to an understanding of the problems facing education from a gender perspective, CIM undertook the preparation of the project Women and Education in the Americas of the 21st Century. The project’s objective is to implement a hemispheric campaign to promote women’s education in the hemisphere in collaboration with the CIM Principal Delegate in each country.
The campaign is made up of the following materials for raising public awareness:
The Special Committee on Summits Management held a meeting on February 18, 2000, in which it reviewed the activities carried out in the pursuit of this initiative. Representatives of indigenous peoples were able to voice their views on the subject. In particular, the presentations referred to the transversal nature of participation by indigenous peoples in the deliberations on the agenda for the Summit and the importance of taking this sector of society’s views into account in all areas. Similarly, the representatives of civil society highlighted the importance of the proceedings of the Working Group on the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Populations, and insisted on continuing the established process by which indigenous representatives are enabled to participate in the discussions on that Declaration.
Updates to the resolutions approved at the October meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS):
1. Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network:
The first meeting of the Network Council took place in Miami, in December 1999, with the financial support of FEMCIDI and the technical support of the USDE. On this occasion the focal points designated by the member states of the OAS agreed on the criteria for Council membership and on the composition and selection of the first Advisory Council and Executive Committee. Among the other important resolutions approved was the definition of the terms of reference for various working groups, including one to develop a long-term strategy for financial sustainability.
2. Hemispheric Network of Officials and Experts in Environmental Law and in their Application and Enforcement:
Pursuant to the resolution of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development, CIDI/CIDS/Res. 4 (11-O/99), National Focal Points from governments throughout the Americas met in Miami on December 8 - 10, 1999, to review and approve the framework and work plan for a new Inter-American Forum on Environmental Law (FIDA).
This new Forum was conceived at the 1996 Summit of the Americas for Sustainable Development in Santa Cruz Bolivia as a hemispheric network of officials and experts in environmental law, enforcement and compliance, working in coordination with the OAS to:
The OAS Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment has worked together with the OAS Secretariat for Legal Affairs to develop a blueprint for the network through consultation with interested parties.
National Focal Points and representatives of 22 OAS member states were present in Miami to review and approve the proposed structure and work plan for FIDA. The Focal Points met over the course of three days and examined the Bolivia Summit commitment, reviewed subsequent OAS resolutions and working documents, and studied the input received during the OAS/USDE consultation process. The Focal Points discussed priorities for environmental law and policy development in the region in light of their own national experiences, and considered the comparative advantage of meeting these priorities through a regional forum for cooperative action. With the approval of a structure and initial two-year action plan, the OAS/USDE has been tasked with raising the necessary funds and giving life to FIDA over the next two years. Participants discussed the importance of continuing to engage member states through the National Focal Points and through Permanent Missions to the OAS.
3. Reducing Vulnerability to Natural Dangers in the Americas:
Supporting member states in reducing their vulnerability to natural disasters includes chairing working groups dealing directly with policy and technical aspects of assessing the vulnerability of member states. These activities include organizing and presenting workshops and consultative meetings, and preparing reports for consideration by CIDI and the Permanent Council. In addition, hemispheric plans for disaster reduction for the education and transportation sectors have been put in place with public and private sector support, and hemispheric conferences are being organized for presentation this year with collaboration from the United Nations system, regional and bilateral institutions and the private sector. Moreover technical cooperation activities continuing using external funds dealing with vulnerability reduction in small island developing states in the Caribbean (SIDS), small valleys in Central America, and the education and transportation sectors.
4. Inter-American Strategy for Public Participation in Decision-Making for Sustainable Development:
(Please see the initiative on Civil Society)
5. Climate Change:
Several of the delegates to the CIDS requested that the role of the OAS in the topic of climate change should focus on technical assistance and capacity building for member States in the area of adaptation to climate change. Specifically, delegates considered that the Secretariat could promote the exchange of information and experiences through convening technical conferences and workshops and attempt to secure external funding for its activities in this area. In addition, the delegates called on the Secretariat to continue technical support of Caribbean countries in preparing to cope with the impacts of climate change, through vulnerability assessment, and adaptive planning. The delegates of the small island states requested the Secretariat to keep itself up to date on the climate change debate at the international and regional levels in order to support the Caribbean region activities in this area.
In accordance to the mandates of AG/RES. 1674, Climate Change in the Americas, CIDI will report to the thirtieth regular session of the General Assembly on the implementation of this resolution.
During 2000, USDE will continue with the implementation of the Caribbean: Planning for Adaptation to Global Climate Change (CPACC) Project. In the context of this project, the USDE will support several training events to improve public awareness on the issues of climate change, specially, for private sector and media from the Caribbean.
In addition, the USDE will consult Caribbean member states and regional institutions on a strategy to establish a permanent institutional capacity in the Caribbean to address Climate Change issues. Subsequent to the consultation, the USDE could develop a proposal for the establishment of a regional climate change center.
Natural Hazard Vulnerability:
March 20-22, 2000 Charleston, South Carolina Vulnerability Assessment Techniques Workshop The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center in Charleston, South Carolina will host this workshop co-sponsored by the OAS Unit for Sustainable Development. Participants will identify and evaluate techniques to assess natural hazard vulnerability for use in development planning and project implementation. They will also identify gaps in existing knowledge and learn where new or better assessment techniques are needed.
The Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development was established at a Special OAS General Assembly held November 15, 1999. This new OAS Agency, coming under the auspices of CIDI, began operations on January 1, 2000. The Executive Secretariat will remain part of the OAS General Secretariat and is expected to provide a more integrated approach to cooperation and development within the inter-American system as a whole. The Agency is specifically designed to complement, at the operational level, the Organization’s role in policy dialogue and the convocation of high-level meetings on hemispheric development issues. In addition to its principal emphasis on the planning and implementing of cooperation projects, it will give very high priority to promoting institutional strengthening in the Member States, human resource development through training and fellowships, and mobilization of additional human and financial resources for inter-American cooperation.
The Agency elected its first board of directors on February 22. Nine countries were elected to the board: Costa Rica, Antigua and Barbuda, Nicaragua, Canada, and Mexico to two-year terms while Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela and Argentina will each serve one year. The board members were elected as the Permanent Executive Committee of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CEPCIDI) convened in special session.
During the forthcoming Fifth CIDI Ministerial Meeting which will be held in Washington D.C. on April 13-14, delegates will consider how the Agency can become an instrument for effective support of the Summits Plans of Action.[SIRG/2000/XVIII/tracker.htm][SIRG/2000/XVIII/tracker.htm]