Organización de los estados americanos oea/Ser. G consejo permanente cp/acta 1257/00

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El PRESIDENTE: We will now move to item 4 on the order of business, the oral report by the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) on the Commission’s twenty-eighth regular session, held in Trinidad and Tobago in October, and on the meeting of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), held two weeks ago here in Washington. I give the floor to Mr. David Beall, the Executive Secretary of CICAD.

El SECRETARIO EJECUTIVO DE LA CICAD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I have a couple of reasons for being brief, the most important of which is the fact that the schedule that I am talking about has arrived at a time when brevity is dominant in everything.
Let me first refer to the meeting of the Commission in Trinidad and Tobago and the election of Trinidad and Tobago as Chair and Venezuela as Vice Chair for the coming year. There are a couple of things of overriding interest, and I want to start with displacement. We had an intense but productive and realistic discussion of the theme, which is extremely complex and encompasses many causes and effects. Obviously, not all of this has to do with drugs, but the bottom line for the delegates was getting at realities in a way that unites the Hemisphere to face a common hemispheric problem.
On the basis of this problem, we are working under the concept of shared responsibility. In the long run, we want to remove the idea of a safe haven for those who, in every sense of the word, are transgressing the laws and the borders of member states.
We are working with a definition that includes displacement of ideas through culture; displacement of money; displacement of drugs; displacement of people; and many other contexts. We will attempt to create a series of scenarios that will be presented to the CICAD plenary in May, with the objective of convoking a specialized meeting, probably at a very high level, to continue the issue and to recommend a specific path for solution.
I want to emphasize that the discussion was both intense and very realistic, and I think we have made a beginning, but I do not want to go beyond that. It was a beginning.
I think the other major point to emerge from the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago was the MEM itself. Once again, I am talking about the compression of time that we now face as we come to the end of the process. This was a key meeting for the plenary, because it was the first time that the plenary came directly into the process. As you know, the plenary will consider the national reports and the hemispheric report in December. Up to now, the experts have been doing the work. Thus, the meeting in Trinidad represented an opportunity for us to, in effect, begin a crossover so that the Commission will be fully briefed and fully familiar with the work and the methodology of the experts in December when all of this product arrives simultaneously.
We split the discussion into two sections, one on the state of the MEM and one on the actual work for December. A key factor in all this is the sense of identity that the MEM is acquiring. The second factor was the need for the Commission to begin considering possibilities coming out of the MEM. Once again, the MEM is not an end in itself, it is a means; the end is improved cooperation and coordination through specific actions. At the end of the analysis, you have recommendations that constitute specific expressions of better coordination and cooperation on this common theme.
The Commission had a very basic need for a lot of its questions to be answered. The experts spent so much time working on their reports that there are a multitude of rules and adopted behaviors that the Commission needs to understand as it begins to read these final reports.
We also had a strong need to communicate our recognition of how all of these steps come together in a very precise order—the series of negotiating steps that led to a final design and acceptance for the MEM, then to its implementation, then to the groups of experts doing their actual work, all in increasingly narrow timeframes, to the point where the last meeting of experts to produce the final report occurs only two weeks before the Commission needs those reports.
We spent about three hours on the state of the MEM for people to understand that it is still new territory, a new system with new ideas behind it. We needed to emphasize that because everything that we are talking about takes place in a context. We have a context from the past, and we are now trying to establish a multilateral cooperative effort in the Hemisphere with an entirely new philosophical basis.
The countries looking at the current status of the MEM as it comes to completion are interested in what it is producing. They’re also interested in reviewing its methodology and indicators, which are complicated, and in renewing the process. Several countries expressed the need for more in-depth evaluation. That depth will come through a maturation process in time and in making the indicators increasingly sophisticated.
Eventually, the Commission hit upon a metaphor to describe what is taking place. The Commission’s focus on the current first-round effort is like taking a photo of countries’ work in the Hemisphere. We are establishing a point of reference. The deeper evaluation will come with a comparison between this photo, taken with data from 1999 and 2000, and another set of data that will come perhaps in 2001 or in some other time frame. It is essential that we have a point of reference, and that is what the current MEM effort is doing. We are setting the base.
This discussion began to focus on future problems for the Commission. The experts produced the reports, but the Commission will have to defend, support, and promote it. The Commission has spent some time thinking about marketing and its needs.
The Commission looked at the significance of the identity of the MEM. The significance can be described in four ways. First, it commands the full participation of all the countries in the Hemisphere, which is significant in itself. Second, it is a transparent process, meaning that all of its information is available to all participants at all times. Third, it was designed to be flexible—to evolve with time—because the problem is going to change. Fourth, it is ordered and has a plan. It was agreed to in advance; the countries know what is going to happen before the machinery begins to work. I think that is very useful, but it also causes problems, and I want to illustrate that.
Once you begin executing a plan, it is impossible to go back and change it. New issues arise, and sometimes there is an interest in having an instantaneous response. But the design of the data-collecting machinery does not respond to that particular issue. So while it’s a forward-looking mechanism, it is also true that because it is all agreed in advance, it is difficult to simply throw in the very latest consideration.
But these four words—participation, transparency, flexibility, and order—identify the MEM and, I hope, will develop its identification in the public eye as time goes forward. If I had to add a fifth word, by the way, it would be “public.” The fact that these reports are going to be public will strengthen the reports and their reception on the long run.
As a footnote we could have done this separately by identifying a high-powered and high-priced firm of consultants and having them write the report for us. We could have spent a lot more money and received a glossier report, but we would have had neither participation nor agreement. It would have been a radically different situation.
The discussion ended up emphasizing that at this point, the MEM is not the best, but it’s a first effort and a good one. It’s also important that the commissions recognize that this is a risk.
Our other discussion was on the work for December. Having absorbed everything from the initial discussion, some thinking began to emerge on what this will mean for the future. The delegates emphasized the fact that this will be a permanent process; that it will be done in a credible way; and that—though it may seem minor, but it is not—we will have to train the people who work with the questionnaires, because precision is all important. The experts have a difficult time dealing with responses that are ambiguous, so training is needed at both ends.
In looking ahead to December, the Commission began to think about its own plan for presenting this to the Summit. There is a great deal of information; some of the recommendations, especially at the hemispheric level, are significant, and the manner of delivery to the Summit is going to be important. So, they will be thinking about that and working on it in December.
This is a technical point, but should the MEM continue to move into the future, we will have to make an adjustment to the Statute, and we discussed that as well.
I want to focus for just one second on the Mexican encapsulation of what we are going to do in December, because I believe that it presents, in very brief order, the heart of all this. We are going to present the documents nationally, then the hemispheric report, and we will be discussing them all. The purpose, of course, is consideration and approval. Then the meeting will move into a discussion on the follow-up to all this, both by CICAD and by the states. We’ll then evaluate the process since Santiago and the experience of the experts. In other words, we’ll look at what the experts, those who receive the end product of all the negotiations, believe is necessary for the future. Then, of course, as I mentioned earlier, there will be a period of direct consideration of how we will transform this into a presentation that makes sense in the context of the Summit.
That was at the end of October, and then two weeks ago we finished the last meeting of the experts. At that meeting, the experts reviewed everything that they had done, particularly the second round of country comments on the drafts, and put the reports into what they believe is their final state for presentation to the Commission. In addition, on the basis of all the work thus far and consolidating everything that has been done, the experts drafted the hemispheric report. So those two products, one consisting of 34 national reports and one consisting of the hemispheric deal, are ready.
The group of experts was able to meet its commitments, they worked hard, and they had no extra time. In fact, although we had wanted to begin the discussion of their own recommendations for the process during this meeting, there simply was no time to do it. I hope that experts are going to be included on national delegations for the December meeting, and I have written a letter to this effect. If the commissioners have questions, the experts would be the best source for answers.
The product that the Summit called for in April 1998 is now ready, and we are down to the point of deciding exactly how to deliver it. We are on schedule, and I think we have a realistic product, but the point I made about marketing and about credibility is basic. We will have to not only defend ourselves but promote ourselves in the context that I signaled. This is not an effort aimed at headlines; rather, it is aimed at making progress. We will take it to the next step, and I hope to have an opportunity to report to you on that later.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you very much, Mr. Beall, for that comprehensive oral report.
The floor is open to delegations who may wish to comment. I recognize the distinguished Representative of Colombia.
El REPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DE COLOMBIA: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
Para Colombia resulta de gran satisfacción la culminación de la ronda de prueba del Mecanismo de Evaluación Multilateral. Por eso a través del señor David Beall, Secretario Ejecutivo de la CICAD, queremos expresar a la Comisión y al Grupo de Expertos Gubernamentales encargado de adelantar la evaluación la más sincera felicitación por el trabajo desarrollado en cumplimiento del mandato presidencial expresado en la Segunda Cumbre de las Américas celebrada en la ciudad de Santiago, Chile, en 1998.
Para mi país la creación de este mecanismo tuvo una especial importancia. Significa el reconocimiento internacional sobre la naturaleza transnacional del problema de las drogas el cual exige un tratamiento multilateral.
Desde los años setenta Colombia ha promovido internacionalmente los principios de responsabilidad compartida, integralidad en el tratamiento del problema y cooperación internacional. Por ello reconoció en la negociación, aprobación y puesta en marcha de este instrumento la aceptación en el Hemisferio de estos principios fundamentales que hoy rigen las acciones para enfrentar el problema de las drogas en todas sus manifestaciones.
No obstante, mi Gobierno sabe que el mecanismo se encuentra en una etapa embrionaria y, como tal, tiene aspectos que pueden corregirse y mejorarse tanto en su concepción como en el proceso desarrollado. Por ello, consideramos no menos importante la etapa de revisión del proceso que se cumplirá en los próximos días durante el primer período extraordinario de sesiones de la CICAD, cuando también se considerarán los informes nacionales y el hemisférico. La profundidad de las rectificaciones y mejoras que se le introduzcan permitirán que se convierta en un instrumento efectivo de cooperación para fortalecer las acciones contra las drogas en la región.
Nos congratulamos por este gran avance, que es un resultado del consenso y que le ha dado al Hemisferio una posición de liderazgo en el mundo para enfrentar el problema desde una perspectiva global y, sobre todo, con la cooperación como principal herramienta de acción.
Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you, Ambassador Ramos. The Representative of Trinidad and Tobago has the floor.
My delegation thanks Mr. David Beall for his oral presentation on the XX Regular Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), which was held in Port-of-Spain in October. As host of the meeting, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago was pleased to welcome the member states of the OAS to Port-of-Spain.
We also express our gratitude to those General Secretariat staff who assisted our governmental authorities with the preparations for the meeting and whose contribution in no small way ensured the smooth functioning and success of the meeting.
Allow me to express Trinidad and Tobago’s appreciation to those member states who supported Mr. Lancelot Selman, our candidate, for Chairman of CICAD. We also extend our congratulations to the Government of Venezuela, whose candidate was elected Vice Chair of the Commission at that meeting.
Mr. Chairman, CICAD is an area of cooperation of special significance for Trinidad and Tobago. Whilst government has embarked on a series initiatives at the national level, we recognize that national efforts in this area can have but limited effect. Drug trafficking is among those pressing issues that constitute transnational challenges. These issues have no passports and are difficult, if not impossible, for states to solve alone. It is for this reason that Trinidad and Tobago values greatly its membership in CICAD and participates in its program of activities.
We are very heartened by the work completed to date on the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), and we wish at this time to express our unwavering support for the work conducted on it. We look forward to the meeting in December, the evaluation of the progress achieved by the MEM, as well as the implementation of the recommendations emanating therefrom. We concur with Mr. Beall that the ingredients of participation, transparency, flexibility, and order will, indeed, enhance the functioning of the MEM.
At this time allow me to express the appreciation of my government to the Executive Secretariat for the cooperation we have received in other CICAD activities; namely, demand reduction, supply reduction, and institution building.
Trinidad and Tobago has consistently supported adequate financing for CICAD, and we will state this at next week’s special meeting of the Permanent Council when we will consider the priorities of the Organization.
Finally, I wish to state that we are ready to cooperate with other OAS member states with a view to exchange information or engage in joint activities that could assist in eradicating the menace of drug trafficking from our hemisphere.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you very much for that important statement by the host member state of the meeting. I give the floor to the Representative of Ecuador.
Mi Delegación quiere dejar constancia, en primer término, de su reconocimiento al importante informe presentado por el señor Secretario Ejecutivo de la CICAD. Al mismo tiempo quiere reiterar el criterio del Gobierno del Ecuador acerca de la importancia de este mecanismo multilateral de evaluación sobre los esfuerzos que se realizan para enfrentar el flagelo de la producción y distribución de la droga. En este sentido hace suyos los conceptos expresados por el distinguido señor Embajador de Colombia y quienes me han precedido en el uso de la palabra.
Gracias, señor Presidente.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you, Ambassador Peñaherrera. The distinguished Representative of Antigua and Barbuda has the floor.
El REPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DE ANTIGUA Y BARBUDA: Thank you very kindly, Mr. Chairman. Let me thank you for inviting Mr. Beall here this morning to render an oral report. I thank Mr. Beall for sharing tidbits of a very important meeting with us. We congratulate CICAD for what we believe was a very successful regular session last October in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. We believe that quite a lot of work still remains to be done.
On a number of occasions my delegation has repeated that in order for the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) to be considered a success, it must come to the attention of the public, certainly of the decision-making public in several capitals. For that reason, Mr. Chairman, we wonder whether Mr. Beall could tell us this morning whether a public relations strategy is in place and if so, the kind of costs that strategy might incur. We’d also like to know what measurements he will have in place to determine whether the strategy is a success. We think Mr. Beall could easily answer these two questions, and we also believe that they are necessary if the MEM is to be considered a success in the final analysis.
Thank you very much, sir.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you, Ambassador. I will allow Mr. Beall a few moments to think about the answers to your two questions, and I give the floor to the Representative of Mexico.
El REPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DE MÉXICO: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Deseo también agradecer al señor David Beall, Secretario Ejecutivo de la CICAD, por la presentación de su informe, tanto sobre el último período ordinario de sesiones como sobre la evolución que ha tenido el Grupo de Expertos Gubernamentales.
Como él lo ha destacado, se trata de un primer ejercicio de evaluación. Habría que resaltar que algo en que ha sobresalido la OEA en los últimos años, además de las temáticas de derechos humanos, cooperación y promoción de la democracia, es por la CICAD. Este es un aspecto muy importante que debemos tener en cuenta.
Este ejercicio, que deberá convertirse en un esfuerzo anual, constante y permanente, lleva a la conclusión de que la evaluación multilateral es la única vía legítima para abordar la problemática de las drogas y fomentar la cooperación entre los Estados. De ahí la importancia del primer período extraordinario de sesiones de la CICAD, que se llevará a cabo dentro de quince días, en donde se adoptarán tanto los informes anuales como el informe hemisférico.
Quiero llamar la atención al Secretario Ejecutivo de la CICAD, señor David Beall, respecto a que la CICAD deberá decidir cuáles partes de los informes nacionales se publicarán y cuáles no. Esta es una decisión que deberán determinar los Estados, así como debe ocurrir sobre el informe hemisférico.
Muchas gracias.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you, Ambassador. Forgive my interruption. I give the floor to Mr. Beall to respond to the questions from the representatives of Antigua and Barbuda and Mexico.
El SECRETARIO EJECUTIVO DE LA CICAD: Regarding a public relations strategy, tomorrow I will be sending the Commission members a menu of possible actions to make this effort function in public as well as officially. I do not know how much that will cost; it will depend on what the Commission actually ends up deciding.
Frankly, I think we will need continuing involvement by the Commission. I would not be surprised if that would involve some travel to capitals by the leadership of the Commission. It will certainly involve a good deal of time spent with the media and with leading public information centers, both governmental and nongovernmental. It is very important to continuously look at the public aspect of this process. We will not be able simply to release the report, hold a press conference, and think that we have established something clearly in the mind of the public.
When I made my earlier remarks, I mentioned the context in which we are working. We are trying to change that context, and to do so we are going to have to communicate effectively over a period of time with the public, but I think the Commission will be prepared to do that.
Although I cannot estimate the cost, I will be able to after the December meeting. Once the Commission makes some basic decisions on how it chooses to execute its public information strategy, I will know approximately how much it will cost—and it will have a cost to it.
The larger part of the cost, however, will not be financial; it will be human. The Commission itself will need to dedicate a significant amount of its own time, through speaking channels that it designates, to this work. That will be the most significant area of cost, but it is also the most significant area of benefit.
How will we know it is a success? There are two answers; one is internal and the other is external. In an internal sense, there is much evidence within CICAD that this is already a success. For example, the simple process of going through these working steps has accelerated the passage of national legislation and strengthened national institutions. I am speaking specifically of the national drug commissions and the production of integrated national plans. National plans by themselves do not give you the progress you want, but I think national plans are the base upon which the rest is built. The fact that we have a national plan does not prevent us from making mistakes, but it makes mistakes a lot easier to correct, and it makes staying on course a lot easier.
The external criteria has two parts. One is public, which we have already discussed. The other, which is key, is the Summit itself, and I made an oblique reference to it in my remarks. We are returning to the Summit with the product that it asked for. The Summit requested the MEM in three very brief paragraphs, and we are responding with a complete set of evaluations and recommendations. We will have to see how the Summit reacts to that. In other words, a central, external criteria for judging success is the reaction of the presidents and prime ministers when CICAD’s membership delivers the product that the Summit called for. We will get that answer in April. Once again, I think that is an important reason for CICAD to think of exactly how this is done in April.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you very much. I trust that Mr. Beall’s response answers the questions put by the two permanent representatives. There being no further comments, the Chair suggests that the Council take note of the oral report of the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) and the remarks made by the delegations in response. As per normal practice, this verbal report will be included in the annual report of CICAD to the General Assembly; therefore, the Council will consider this issue again.


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