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

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En consecuencia, haríamos bien en pedirle esa gestión al Secretario General, pero al mismo tiempo, en respaldarlo con una decisión de nuestro Consejo Permanente. Eso le daría más eco a su llamado y atraería una mayor atención sobre el Secretario General de parte de los Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno reunidos en México.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you, Ambassador. The distinguished Representative of Grenada has the floor.
Each member state present in this meeting has been aware throughout the year of the financial status of the Organization. Any number of reasons could be given for why member states are not current in their arrears. I think each member state is aware of why its government is not current; therefore, our debate seems to be a ritual.
I agree with the U.S. Ambassador that we should look at our mandates, program base, and resources. That may be one solution. However, in support of the proposal made by the distinguished Ambassador of Mexico, my delegation proposes that the Secretary General be requested to make contact with each member state that is not current in its arrears, request of them an indication, within ten days, of their intent to meet their obligations for 2000, and report to the Council.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you, Ambassador Antoine. The distinguished Representative of Barbados has the floor.
Mr. Chairman, there is an expression that literally translates in English “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” I feel I am in some kind of time warp; the only difference is that I am not sitting on the other side, as I used to sit as an alternate 19 years ago. But this is the same perennial problem about the financial crisis of the Organization.
I will not necessarily agree with my distinguished colleague from the United States that the OAS is living above its means.
I would like us to undertake a serious self-examination of what kind of OAS we, the member states, want. Over the last 14 years since I left Washington, I have seen many mandates heaped upon the Organization, but few remedies for the financing of such mandates. I have also seen that we have not addressed the bases of financing of the Organization. I do not think that the financing of this organization should be driven by the desirability of any member state to reduce its quota contributions but rather, realistically, by our priorities. I have not seen the priorities of the organization for a ten-year period with a five-year review process and an effort to cause the financing of such priorities. We have to look at this realistically.
I believe also that if we reduce an organization’s staff from 1,700 in 1976 to 550 today, and priorities still have not been established, we as representatives have failed our member states. We have not addressed the issue of structuring our future priorities in a way that our heads of government at the Summit can contribute to the debate. They can give directives with regard to the establishment of a proper funding mechanism for the OAS as part of the broad inter-American system.
We just completed a meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG), and there was all of this concern about implementing the mandates of the first two summits. That tells us again that we are very weak at convincing our heads that we need adequate resources to fund our commitments at the political level. I think that we must show more political will in addressing this issue, and it is a little difficult to tell staff members that they should be committed to a cause that they themselves must question if, indeed, at this time of the year we are still worrying about how they will be paid for the holiday season.
I would also like to suggest that it might be useful and timely to revisit the whole issue of financing the Organization and to work assiduously at seeing how it could be fitted into some part of the Summit agenda. In that way, we would not mislead our own leaders in Quebec City into thinking that they can heap more mandates upon the OAS without providing the adequate and appropriate resources to ensure that they be implemented.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you, Ambassador King. I recognize the Representative of Antigua and Barbuda.
I know it might be inequitable for me to take the floor a second time, but there have been some remarks regarding addressing the problem. I wish to remind delegations that a Herculean effort was undertaken by the Alternate Representative of Mexico as Vice Chair of the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs (CAAP) in the 1998-99 and 1999-June 2000 periods. Countless hours were spent in addressing the question of quota payments and budget reform.
An underlying problem was correctly identified by the distinguished Permanent Representative of the United States. There is a disequilibrium, an over-reliance upon a single member state to meet so large a portion of the budget, to the extent that any default by that member state leads to the kind of crisis that we are now experiencing. But there is no political will to solve that underlying problem; there is no agreement that there will be a greater sharing of the burden.
The distinguished Representative of Chile talked about the size of the OAS budget being no more than that of a small university in the United States. Mr. Chairman, I believe your predecessor, the former Permanent Representative of Canada, used to point out that the OAS budget is smaller than that of the secondary school system of Prince George’s County, the neighbor of Washington, D.C. Eighty million dollars simply cannot do the task that we intend for it to do. But having only one member state contribute 60 percent of the budget provides for a recurring crisis whenever that member states does not pay its quota in full and on time. That is the underlying problem that will not and cannot be addressed.
The suggestion that the political will is absent and so forth is really a subterfuge, Mr. Chairman. That is not the problem, with all due respect. I believe that the distinguished Alternate Representative of Mexico, having examined the problem for two consecutive years, knows precisely where the problems lies and how it can be solved. In fact, she has proposed many solutions to the problem, but there has been no attempt on the part of member states to accept the sharing of the burden in a more equitable fashion. Ambassador King of Barbados is quite right; this is going to continue to occur. It will never cease, provided that the method of payment continues to be 60 percent reliance upon the United States, and that is the source of the problem.
Forgive me for taking the floor a second time, but having heard several representatives indicate the need to address the problem, I thought that we might just put our finger right on the problem. Thank you very much.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you, Ambassador. I recognize the Representative of Saint Lucia.
My delegation wishes to associate itself with the comments of the distinguished representatives of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and others who have underscored the problem as a direct result of the nonpayment of quota allocations. My government makes every effort to honor its financial commitments to this organization in a timely manner and will find great difficulty in having to pay any interest that will occur if the line of credit is established, as proposed.
My delegation is therefore not in a position to support this draft resolution in its present form. We will support the Mexican proposal for further political consultation on this issue.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you very much. The distinguished Representative of Colombia has the floor.
El REPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE DE COLOMBIA: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
No estoy de acuerdo en que se expida alguna resolución o que se acuda al mecanismo de que el Secretario General tenga que ir donde los señores presidentes que se encuentran reunidos en México con ocasión de la posesión del nuevo Jefe de Estado de ese país.
Esta mañana, en la reunión informal se debatió ampliamente la situación y queda muy claro que, en general, esta situación es muy fácil de solucionar. Dos de los países adeudan el 90% o tres el 95%. Eso quiere decir que los demás países estamos al día. No hay necesidad de molestar a nuestros presidentes y recordarles deudas que no tienen.
Los países que tienen las deudas mayoritarias ya han manifestado la forma en que van a cumplirle a la OEA. Por lo tanto, creo que con una buena gestión del Secretario General, de manera privada, con estos dos o tres países será fácil solucionar esta situación. Las gestiones realizadas por la administración han dado resultados y algunos países que estaban muy atrasados en sus cuotas han pagado durante el transcurso de este año. Por lo tanto creo que este trance no llegará a generar una crisis que justifique ahora la expedición de una resolución.
De suerte que con la muy buena voluntad de estos países vamos a poder solucionar esto y salir de las cuentas que tenemos pendientes para fin de año, que ha sido una situación crónica y recurrente, pero que no puede dar lugar a una gran crisis, como aquí se ha planteado.
Así que, simplemente, queremos reiterarle a esos países que hagan el esfuerzo necesario para agilizar el proceso en sus congresos o ante las autoridades presupuestales para que estos pagos se hagan prontamente.
Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
El PRESIDENTE: Thank you very much, Ambassador, for your reflections.
I think we have had a very rich debate and exchange of views on a very important subject. It is clear to the Chair that we are not in any condition to approve the resolution as proposed. There are any number of ways of looking at the solution.
Let me first say that the close-down option is not a solution. It would be the bitterest of ironies for this Chair to be presiding over an organization that will close itself down because of a financial crisis, given the position that my country has consistently taken in its approach to its own payments and indeed to this issue.
That said, we in our craft engage in quiet diplomacy, as it seems to be the most effective recourse for problems. When that fails, we move on to public diplomacy in an attempt to force constructive quiet diplomacy.
I think the suggestions put forward are relevant, particularly that of our distinguished colleague from Mexico at the beginning of our debate that the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General—indeed the Secretariat—work as hard as they possibly can to resolve this crisis. The root of the problem is the failure on the part of several member states to make quota payments.
At the same time, there should be a very clear sign that if the quiet approach does not work, then perhaps a more vocal approach would represent a solution. I think the Council is signaling that.
Mr. Harding has given us a date of December 10. We have a meeting of the Council devoted to one subject, priorities, on December 8, and a letter on this subject will reach all permanent representatives soon, I hope. I am continuing with some consultations on that letter. That is not to say that we cannot discuss this particular crisis on December 8 in conjunction with our priorities. This goes in the direction of what Ambassador King was saying and allows some time for the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General to undertake their consultations, to make their démarche, and to engage in what we know they can do. Then we will look at this again on December 8.
The Chair would be loath to hold a separate Council meeting on this for a very simple reason. As we sit here, this meeting costs $5,300. We have to be mindful of our costs. Self-examination, as suggested by Ambassador King, is useful in the context of trying to define our priorities, perhaps by different means; we will do that on December 8. But the Chair suggests that also on the December 8 we retomar this subject in the wake of the work that the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General, and their dedicated staff will undertake.
If this is agreeable to the Council, that is how we will proceed. Thank you.


El PRESIDENTE: We move to item 7. I am pleased to welcome Mr. Brian Ward, Chairman of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IACI), as well as its Director General, Dr. Alejandro Bonasso. I ask for a little bit of quiet in the room, if we can manage it. [Pausa.] Order, please; order.
I again extend a welcome to Mr. Brian Ward, the Chairman of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, as well as its Director General of that Institute, Dr. Alejandro Bonasso, who will present the document entitled “Advancing the Issues of Children in the Americas: Framework in Preparation for the Third Summit of the Americas.” This document, CP/doc.3376/00, is presented in compliance with operative paragraphs 2 and 4 of resolution AG/RES. 1752 (XXX-O/00). Mr. Ward, you have the floor.
El PRESIDENTE DEL CONSEJO DIRECTIVO DEL INSTITUTO INTERAMERICANO DEL NIÑO: Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Assistant Secretary General, representatives, permanent observers, ladies and gentlemen:
I am trying to think of any other topic of debate at this Council that I would rather not follow than the one that preceded me. But turning challenge to opportunity, I suggest that the Council may find in my report examples of significant work on an important population in our countries, as well as of good value for money. These examples represent 1.9 percent of the OAS budget that is worthy of the support of member states.
In Mexico City in October last year, a number of individuals known to many of you came together to issue a manifesto for children that included the following appeal:
We call upon the governments of Latin America, the Caribbean, as well as the world community to make a prime political, social, and economic objective to improve the living conditions of the population and to ensure that the best interests of children be a guiding principle within forums of public policy, including those made during periods of crisis, emergency, or structural adjustment.
Ladies and gentlemen, the theme of my presentation this year is “Children Have Friends in High Places.” It is complemented beautifully by the presence of so many young people in your beautiful headquarters of the OAS. It is appropriate that these young people be in high places with their friends, who include writers, philosophers, Nobel laureates, leaders of the Americas, ambassadors, senators, politicians, and officials.
Children are dependent as a population group, and they quickly feel the impact of civil strife and socioeconomic and political crises in the Americas. Children are dependent, neither holding power nor official representation. They remain, however, a universal concern of the people of the Americas, and friends of children have opportunities this year to make a real difference.
On behalf of Alejandro Bonasso, who is the Director General of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, the IACI Directing Council, and myself, I would like to express my appreciation for this opportunity to address the Permanent Council for the third time.
At our first presentation to the Permanent Council in September 1998, we emphasized that childhood and youth are permanent features of our societies. Approximately 40 percent of the population of our region is composed of people under the age of 18. We outlined for you the status of the health and well-being of children in the Hemisphere.
Some facts inspire hope and promise, some are of serious concern, and, frankly, some are tragic reminders that the most disadvantaged of our societies are children under the age of 18 and those who care for them. We link the success of the goals of the OAS, such as democracy, respect for human rights, the eradication of poverty and discrimination, and expanded economic integration to the health, well-being, and participation of children and youth. We stress that good policies for children define the future for societies as a whole.
In our second presentation to the Permanent Council, one year ago today, we analyzed the Plan of Action of the Santiago Summit of the Americas and the implicit mandates important to children and youth, and we described how the IACI was able to implement initiatives in support of these mandates. For example, under the section “The Preservation and Strengthening of Justice, Democracy, and Human Rights,” the IACI introduced initiatives to combat the commercial and sexual exploitation of children and adolescents and then implemented the regional information systems. For the eradication of poverty and discrimination, the IACI encouraged reforms to eliminate all forms of domestic violence against women and children. In all of these areas, the Institute took action.
At the conclusion of our presentation last year, the Permanent Council asked the Institute to examine how the issues that affect children and youth cut across broader socioeconomic and political issues that are relevant to strengthening democracy, promoting prosperity, eradicating poverty and discrimination, and guaranteeing sustainable development and human security. The Permanent Council suggested that it would be appropriate to have children and youth issues incorporated horizontally in a multisectoral theme into the Summit of the Americas.
The General Assembly in Windsor asked the Institute to examine specific issues and recommend practical courses of action for members in the OAS.
Today, we have come to tell you the accomplishments of the Institute over the past year, as described in our annual report, and to describe the input we have provided to the OAS Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management (CEGCI) regarding the inclusion of children in its deliberations.
In February 2000 we had the honor of inaugurating Mr. Alejandro Bonasso as the new Director General of the Institute. Mr. Bonasso had been President of the National Institute for Minors in Uruguay since 1995 and has a long-time commitment to the IACI as the Uruguayan Delegate on the Directing Council. Mr. Bonasso will be taking the opportunity of his stay here in Washington to meet with ambassadors of the OAS early next week.
In June 2000, Canada was pleased to host the Seventy-sixth Regular Meeting of the Institute’s Directing Council in Ottawa. The Director General presented his strategic plan for 2000-2004 to the directors and it was approved. The Plan emphasizes five categories of necessary attention: political, technical, organizational, communications, and budget. The Director General also highlighted the importance of finding external funding, improving communications, and increasing the profile of the Institute here in Washington.
This meeting also had significant participation of civil society organizations working in the Americas on children’s issues. Representatives from Central, North, and South America and the Caribbean were invited to give presentations and to engage in debate with the directors of the Institute and other civil society organizations. We intend to make civil society participation a regular feature of future Directing Council meetings.
At the end of August the IACI and the First Lady of El Salvador hosted the Meeting for Children of the First Ladies of Central America, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Panama in San Salvador. The Meeting’s objective included the creation of a regional information system based on the IACI systems that will offer query services on documents, organizations, projects, laws, child-related Internet sites, and other references of interest on this subject. The Meeting concluded with an important declaration by the First Ladies of Central America on the need to cooperate regionally to permit access to quality information.
Also in August, the Institute actively participated in a regional meeting on child’s rights in the Americas at Canada’s University of Victoria International Child Rights Education Institute. Here, respected international and national experts, professionals, and policy makers influential to the realization of children’s rights determined the need for regional capacity-building on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In October we participated in the Fifth Ministerial Meeting on Children and Social Policy in the Americas, in Kingston, Jamaica. The Meeting was hosted by the Caribbean subregion and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and chaired by Jamaica’s Special Children Ambassador, Marjorie Taylor, who is the Vice Chair of the IACI. The meeting served as an important event because it outlined and set the agenda for the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in 2001 for follow-up to the World Summit for Children (WSC + 10). The Special Session will take place in New York in September this year. One hundred and twenty children and adolescents from governments across the Americas participated as full partners in this meeting. Many of your representatives on the IACI Directing Council were in attendance, demonstrating their expertise and excellence in the field.
The heads of state of the governments of the 21 Ibero-American countries met in Panama City, Panama, this November to promote programs and actions that guarantee children’s rights, well-being, and integral development. Many of the representatives to the IACI Directing Council were in attendance, as was our Director General. We have been active in strengthening relationships in many countries with regard to the signing of cooperative agreements throughout the Americas. We established the Inter-American Preparatory Committee for Children’s Issues for the 2001 Summit. It is an interactive and virtual policy development initiative as mandated by the Windsor General Assembly.
A number of events in the coming year are of great importance to us and to you as representatives of your national governments. The OAS General Assembly has declared 2001 the Inter-American Year of the Child and the Adolescent, and the IACI is facilitating this process.
This week, members of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) discussed the content of the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas as it pertains to children and youth. For the first time, the Summit will explicitly include directions and actions that speak to children’s and youth issues, and I will speak more about this in a moment.
The next IACI Directing Council meeting will be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in May. Many of your representatives on the Directing Council will be involved in the 10-year review of the World Summit for Children in September that I referred to earlier.
Let me move to more immediate issues. Last year the Permanent Council recommended that the IACI examine the issues of children and youth in a multisectoral manner and asked us to advise on the best way in which to address them. With the approval of our Directing Council, a two-pronged approach was recommended. The IACI set up the Inter-American Preparatory Committee that I mentioned as a tool for directors and others to advise governments on the means of realizing children’s rights. It is an instrument that synthesizes the key issues before children and youth in the Americas and provides possible policies to address them. It is a tool to advise governments regarding the Third Summit of the Americas. We anticipate the release of the final report of the Inter-American Preparatory Committee shortly.
We also developed a document, with the assistance of academics, researchers, civil society organizations, inter-American officials, and agencies, that mapped children’s issues according to the framework of the Americas in a multisectoral way. We are specially grateful to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Red Cross, and the OAS’s Unit for Social Development and Education (USDE) for their assistance in producing this paper.
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