Skip to main content
Select Source:

OAS

OAS (est. 1948).The United States joined with the twenty Latin American nations to form the Organization of American States in 1948. During the 1970s, the English‐speaking Caribbean nations were added, and Canada became a member in 1990. The OAS was established to resolve regional disputes and to promote democracy, human rights, and social and economic progress. The OAS charter also codified the nonintervention pledge of Franklin D. Roosevelt's “Good Neighbor” policy of the 1930s. The charter did, however, permit collective action by a two‐thirds majority.

During the Cold War, the United States largely bypassed the OAS, because Latin Americans refused to compromise the nonintervention principle in the name of anticommunism. Acting unilaterally, the United States covertly destabilized allegedly Communist governments in Guatemala (1954), Brazil (1964), and Chile (1970–73), and invaded the Dominican Republic (1965). At the time of the U.S. military involvement in the Dominican Republic, President Lyndon B. Johnson publicly repudiated the OAS charter, declaring in the Johnson Doctrine that the United States would not permit the establishment of a Communist government in the western hemisphere. During the 1980s, the Reagan administration withheld financial support from the OAS because members refused to support U.S. guerrilla warfare against the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. OAS members also condemned President George Bush's invasion of Panama (1989). To be sure, during 1960s, two‐thirds of the Latin American nations had followed the U.S. lead and supported sanctions against Fidel Castro's Cuba, because the Cuban revolutionary meddled in the affairs of his neighbors. But by the mid‐1970s, the majority of OAS members began to lift those sanctions.

In the post–Cold War era, the United States has shown renewed interest in the OAS on issues of democracy and human rights. In 1991, members developed a basis of action for when popularly elected leaders are overthrown, and the OAS subsequently imposed economic sanctions against Haiti when President Jean‐Bertrand Aristide was forcibly removed from office by the Haitian military. In 1994, the United States again acted unilaterally in restoring President Aristide to power by military means, although the OAS did not formally denounce the intervention.
[See also Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the; Cuba, U.S. Military Involvement in; Haiti, U.S. Military Involvement in; Inter‐American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance; Nicaragua, U.S. Military Involvement in; Panama, U.S. Military Involvement in.]

Bibliography

G. Pope Atkins , Latin America in the International Political System, 1977; 3rd. ed. 1995.
Gaddis Smith , The Last Years of the Monroe Doctrine, 1945–1993, 1994.

Stephen G. Rabe

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oas

"OAS." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oas

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

OAS

OAS (Organisation de l'Armée Secrète) French terrorist group opposed to Algerian independence. Disaffected army officers and French settlers in Algeria founded the OAS after President Charles De Gaulle `opened negotiations with Algerian nationalists. Acts of terrorism in France and Algeria failed to prevent Algeria gaining independence in 1962.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oas-0

"OAS." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oas-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

OAS

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oas-0

"OAS." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oas-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

OAS

OAS Abbreviation of Organization of American States

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oas

"OAS." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oas

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

OAS

OAS Military offensive air support
• on active service
• Physics optical absorption spectroscopy
• Organisation de l'armée secrète (French: Secret Army Organization; opposed Algerian independence)
Organization of American States

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oas

"OAS." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oas

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

OAS

OAS

PROFILE
HISTORY
STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY
FIGHTING TERRORISM
FOSTERING HEMISPHERIC SECURITY AND PROTECTING THE DEMOCRATIC STATE
HUMAN RIGHTS: THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION
FIGHTING CORRUPTION
COMBATING DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING
PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FREE TRADE
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
ORGANIZATION
SPECIALIZED ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER ENTITIES
THE U.S. AND THE OAS
U.S. ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT THE SPECIAL SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

Last Updated: March 2008

Official Name:

Organization of American States

Editor's Note: The information for this article is reprinted from the OAS Fact Sheet 2005 available through the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Additional information available in 2007 has been added by the editor where applicable.

PROFILE

Established: April 14, 1890, as the International Union of American Republics. Became the Pan American Union in 1910, then the Organization of American States in 1948 with the adoption of the OAS Charter in Bogotá, Colombia.

Purposes: To strengthen peace and security in the hemisphere; promote representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; and promote economic, social, and cultural development.

Members: 35-Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Cuba is a member, although its present government has been excluded from participation since 1962 for incompatibility with the principles of the inter-American system.

Permanent observers: 60-Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Yemen.

Languages: (official) English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Principal organs: General Assembly, Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers, Permanent Council, Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the General Secretariat.

Specialized organizations: Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN), Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII), Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Other entities: Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD), Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), Justice Studies Center, Inter-American Juridical Committee (IAJC), Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), Inter-American Defense College (IADC), Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

HISTORY

The Organization of American States, the oldest regional international organization in the world, traces its origins to the Congress of Panama, convoked by Simon Bolivar in 1826 and attended by representatives from Central and South America. That congress drafted the Treaty of Perpetual Union, League and Confederation, signed by the delegates but ratified only by Gran Colombia (today's Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela).

Hemispheric countries continued the discussion of an inter-American system during the rest of the 19th century. The first concrete step was taken in 1889, when the First International Conference of American States convened in Washington, DC. On April 14, 1890, delegates created the International Union of American Republics “for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial information.” They also established the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics in Washington as the Union's secretariat, with the participation of 18 Western Hemisphere nations, including the United States. In 1910, the Commercial Bureau became the Pan American Union, and American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $5 million to construct a permanent headquarters in Washington, DC, which is today the historic OAS building on 17th Street & Constitution Avenue, N.W.

The experience of World War II convinced hemispheric governments that unilateral action could not ensure the territorial integrity of the American nations in the event of extra-continental aggression. To meet the challenges of global conflict in the postwar world and to contain conflicts within the hemisphere, they adopted a system of collective security, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) signed in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro.

The OAS Charter was adopted at the Ninth International Conference of American States in Bogotá, Colombia in 1948. It reaffirmed the fundamental rights and duties of states, proclaimed the goals of the new organization, and established its organs and agencies. That conference also approved the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement (Pact of Bogotá) and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The OAS Charter proclaims the organization to be a regional agency within the UN system.

The basic objectives of the OAS, as laid out in its Charter, are to strengthen peace and security; promote the effective exercise of representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; seek solutions to political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise; promote, by cooperative action, economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural development; and limit conventional weapons so as to devote greater resources to economic and social development.

Concern over slow economic development led the United States and 19 other OAS members to establish the Inter-American Development Bank in 1959. This reflected concern that the World Bank, which included Latin American countries in its list of eligible borrowers, was preoccupied with infrastructure and not sufficiently attuned to the need for “social” lending as well as industrial and agricultural aid. In 1960, the OAS adopted the Act of Bogotá, which called for a hemisphere-wide commitment to economic and social development. This set the stage for OAS support for the Alliance for Progress.

The 1948 OAS Charter has been amended four times: by the 1967 Protocol of Buenos Aires, which went into effect in February 1970; by the 1985 Protocol of Cartagena, which took effect in November 1988; by the 1993 Protocol of Managua, which took effect in March 1996; and by the 1992 Protocol of Washington, which took effect in September 1997.

The Buenos Aires Protocol created the annual General Assembly and gave equal status to the Permanent Council; the Economic and Social Council; and the Council for Education, Science, and Culture. The Cart-agena Amendments strengthened the role of the Secretary General; provided procedures to facilitate peaceful settlement of disputes; removed obstacles, involving border disputes, to the entry of Belize and Guyana; and called for strengthening economic and social development by taking measures to increase trade, enhance international financial cooperation, diversify exports, and promote export opportunities.

The Managua Protocol created the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) to replace the Economic and Social Council and the Council for Education, Science, and Culture. The key objectives of CIDI are to serve as a forum for technical policy-level discussions on matters related to development, to be a catalyst and promoter of development activities in response to mandates from the Summits of the Americas, and to strengthen a hemispheric partnership among OAS countries to promote cooperation for development and to help eliminate extreme poverty in the hemisphere.

Ratification of the Washington Protocol made the OAS the first regional political organization to permit suspension of a member whose democratically constituted government is overthrown by force. This protocol also amended the OAS Charter to include the eradication of extreme poverty as one of the organization's essential purposes.

The OAS helps preserve democracy by mobilizing the hemisphere in the face of threats to democratic rule. It acted under the mandate of General Assembly Resolution 1080 (1991) to support democracy in Haiti, Peru, Guatemala, and Paraguay. It also provides development and other assistance designed to strengthen democratic institutions, observe elections, promote human rights, increase trade, fight drugs, and protect the environment.

On September 11, 2001, the OAS adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter, designed to strengthen and preserve representative democracy in the hemisphere. The Democratic Charter prescribes steps to be taken in the event of an unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order or the unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order of a member state.

The OAS was the first international organization to condemn the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. In 2001-02, as a hemispheric response against terrorism, OAS members successfully negotiated the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism (CICTE), which was opened for signature at the June 2002 OAS General Assembly. It entered into force on July 9, 2003, and provides for increased law enforcement cooperation against terrorism.

In recent years, OAS member states have successfully negotiated major international agreements to curb hemispheric arms trafficking, provide for transparency in conventional weapons acquisition, combat corruption, fight narcotics and money laundering, and define fair telecommunications standards. OAS contributions in the fields of international law, juridical cooperation, and facilitation of regional trade have been substantial and have provided the basis for effective observance of a host of regional treaties concluded since 1889. Information on treaties, conventions, and other inter-American legal instruments is available from the Secretariat of Legal Affairs at the OAS website at http://www.oas.org.

The OAS is implementing important portions of the Action Plans from the Summits of the Americas held in Miami (1994); Santiago, Chile (1998); Quebec City, Canada (2001); and Mar del Plata, Argentina (2005), as well as a Special Summit in Monterrey, Mexico (2004). The Santiago Summit assigned the OAS Secretariat responsibility for maintaining records and serving as the institutional memory of the summit process. The Mar del Plata summit focused on the theme of “Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance.” The OAS Secretariat's website is http://www.summit-americas.org.

STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY

The United States is committed to strengthening and working with the OAS, the premier multilateral forum for dealing with political issues in the Western Hemisphere. This reflects the U.S. Government's determination to promote a program of “relevant multilateralism” that engages multilateral diplomacy to resolve regional problems that threaten the democratic and economic security of the peoples of the Americas, and to reinforce our bilateral and multilateral relationships with our hemispheric neighbors and between our shared hemispheric agenda and the rest of the world.

The promotion of peace, democracy, and good governance are core OAS concerns. The OAS adopted the flagship Inter-American Democratic Charter on September 11, 2001, in the shadow of the terrorist attacks against the United States.

Article 1 states: “The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it.”

The Democratic Charter defines the essential elements of representative democracy in very specific terms, including: respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; holding free and fair elections; a pluralistic system of political parties and organizations; separation of powers; independence of the branches of government; freedom of expression and of the press; and constitutional subordination of all state institutions to the legally constituted civilian authority.

In the event that one of the OAS members should fail to uphold the essential elements of democratic life, the Democratic Charter allows a member state or the Secretary General to request an immediate convocation of the Permanent Council to consider the facts, deploy diplomatic efforts, or use other political mediation. If there is a clear interruption of democratic order, or if an undemocratic alteration is not remedied, the document calls for a General Assembly that may, among other things, suspend the offending government from the inter-American system, which requires a two-thirds vote of the member states.

At the 2005 OAS General Assembly-hosted by the United States for the first time since 1974 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida under the theme “Delivering the Benefits of Democracy”-¥Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated: “The Democratic Charter must become the core of a principled, effective multilateralism for the Americas. Together, we must insist that leaders who are elected democratically have a responsibility to govern democratically.”

The Declaration of Florida-and Resolutions 2154 and 2251, adopted at the 2005 and 2006 General Assemblies, respectively-mark an important multilateral commitment to advance the hemisphere's democratic agenda. Building on previous achievements of the inter-American community to address threats to democracy - Resolution 1080, the Washington Protocol and the Quebec Summit - the declaration and the accompanying resolutions empower and give the Secretary General a new mandate to develop initiatives to strengthen implementation of the Democratic Charter to proactively address threats to democracy.

In recent years, the OAS has invoked Resolution 1080, the Washington Protocol, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter on multiple occasions to support representative democracy in situations where republican government was threatened, including Haiti (1991), Peru (1992), Guatemala (1993), Paraguay (1996), and Venezuela (2002). With each new crisis, the OAS has strengthened its resolve to find peaceful, constitutional solutions to key political crises in the hemisphere.

The OAS has become the leading Election Observation organization in the hemisphere since its first 1990 mission to Nicaragua. The Organization has successfully observed presidential, legislative, regional and special elections throughout the hemisphere. Representing a multilateral organization, OAS observers are often able to establish closer relationships with and gain greater access to political and electoral institutions than other observer groups. The OAS, in addition, has the institutional capacity to organize larger electoral missions and keep observers on the ground longer than other organizations.

In 2006, the newly formed OAS Secretariat for Political Affairs (SPA), led by former Argentine Foreign Minister Dante Caputo, wholly committed to a tripartite program of democracy promotion, good governance, and crisis prevention in the hemisphere. The SPA consists of a tripartite division into a Department for the Promotion of Democracy, Department for the Promotion of Governance, and a Department for Crisis Prevention and Special Missions.

The Secretariat for Political Affairs coordinates the OAS electoral missions, develops projects to consolidate democratic governance through cooperative work with legislatures and governments, political parties, grassroots civic development and civil society organizations. The SPA also provides advice and assistance in the modernization of electoral laws, civil and electoral registries, and civil administration. Finally, the SPA develops and manages crisis-prevention, peace-building, crisis resolution, and post-conflict recovery programs to hemispheric countries, including boundary dispute negotiation and a program for humanitarian demining in Central America and the Andean region.

Another means of strengthening democracy is the Justice Studies Center of the Americas, established by the November 1999 Special General Assembly. This center fulfills an important goal of the 1998 Santiago Summit and is the result of close consultations among Ministers of Justice, Attorneys General, and others interested in this initiative. The Center is located in Chile, and its primary task is to promote reform in the justice sector throughout the hemisphere, focusing in the first stage on criminal justice issues.

FIGHTING TERRORISM

OAS Foreign Ministers were meeting in Lima, Peru, on September 11, 2001, to adopt and sign the new Inter-American Democratic Charter. Their response to the terrorist attacks was an immediate condemnation and a focus on a united hemispheric response. They met again in Washington, DC. On September 21, 2001, to approve a resolution calling on member states to take effective measures to combat terrorism. At Brazil's initiative, the 22 signatories of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, known as the Rio Treaty, met and declared that an attack against one member is an attack against all and committed themselves to providing mutual assistance in the war against terrorism. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the assembled ministers: “We, the united democracies of the Western Hemisphere, join the world in the global campaign against terrorism. We have pledged to deny terrorists and their networks the ability to operate within our territories. We have resolved to hold to account all those responsible for aiding, financing, and otherwise supporting and harboring terrorists.”

The Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), reinvigorated in the wake of the September 11 attacks, met in Washington, DC on January 28-29, 2002, where Attorney General John Ashcroft headed the U.S. delegation. Delegates approved a work plan for CICTE to coordinate steps to prevent and combat terrorism in the hemisphere.

OAS members began negotiation of the text of the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism in November 2001, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and a text was agreed upon in March 2002. The Convention commits state parties to endeavor to become party to ten international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism (listed in the Convention), consistent with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373. The Convention also commits state parties to take certain measures to prevent, combat, and eradicate the financing of terrorism and to deny safe haven to suspected terrorists.

The Treaty further requires that the terrorist acts covered under the specified international conventions and protocols be criminalized as predicate crimes to money laundering. The Convention provides for enhanced cooperation in a number of areas, including exchanges of information, border control measures, and law enforcement actions.

Opened for signature in June 2002, the OAS convention entered into force internationally on July 10, 2003, 30 days after the sixth signatory deposited its instrument of ratification. The Convention entered into force internationally on July 10, 2003, after six countries became party. On October 7, 2005, the U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to the President's ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism. On November 2, 2005, President Bush signed the instrument of ratification.

The United States deposited the instrument of ratification at the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington, D.C. in a ceremony on November 15, 2005, and became party to the Convention 30 days thereafter in accordance with the Convention's terms.

The Convention is a powerful indication of this region's resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms, enhancing hemispheric security by improving regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism, denying safe haven to terrorists, and by facilitating the exchange of information, technical assistance, and training in a wide number of complex areas, including the prevention and eradication of terrorist financing, the improvement of border and customs controls, and the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist acts.

FOSTERING HEMISPHERIC SECURITY AND PROTECTING THE DEMOCRATIC STATE

In 1991, the 21st OAS General Assembly began examining security issues ranging from proliferation and arms transfers to “cooperation for hemispheric security.” In 1995 the 25th General Assembly instructed the Permanent Council to establish the Committee on Hemispheric Security, which created the region's first permanent forum for the consideration of arms control, defense, nonproliferation, and security issues. The Committee on Hemispheric Security is composed of 34 member states and has a chairman and 3 vice-chairs that are elected for a 12-month period.

Since 1991, the OAS has built an impressive record of achievement in the development of confidence-and security-building measures (CSBMs). These security accomplishments include: the March 1994 Buenos Aires governmental experts’ meeting on CSBMs (the first regional dialogue on CSBMs); the November 10, 1995, “Declaration of Santiago on Confidence and Security Building Measures;” the February 1998 “Declaration of San Salvador;” the “2003 Miami Declaration on Confidence and Security Building Measures,” a regional roster of CSBMs Experts; the world's first Register of Antipersonnel Landmines (APL); and two path breaking conventions: the 1999 Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisition, which entered into force in November 2002, and the 1998 Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.

In 2002-03, OAS member states undertook a comprehensive review of the hemispheric security architecture, culminating in a Special Conference on Security that took place in Mexico in October 2003. The Declaration on Security in the Americas provides a practical guide for resolving interstate border tensions, lowering pressure for arms spending, promoting democratic norms, and fostering a climate of confidence, trust, transparency, and cooperation in our Hemisphere. In addition, the OAS has been active in preventive diplomacy. The OAS, with technical support from PAIGH, has provided cartographers, facilitators, conciliators, offered its good offices, and brokered agreements to resolve disputes between Belize and Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and El Salvador and Honduras.

The OAS has been involved in many conflict resolution and national reconciliation activities, such as disarmament and demobilization in Colombia.

HUMAN RIGHTS: THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION

Located in Washington, DC, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is distinguished from other multilateral organizations’ human rights entities by its political autonomy. Its seven commission members are elected in their own right, not as representatives of governments. IACHR autonomy is further enhanced by its prerogative to initiate human rights investigations without the approval of the Secretary General or the Permanent Council. In response to a Santiago Summit initiative, in 1998 the IACHR established a Special Rappor-teur for Freedom of Expression, with a mandate to support and promote freedom of the press.

Human rights in the inter-American system are based on the 1948 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights. The United States signed the American Convention on Human Rights in 1977, but has not yet ratified it.

The IACHR and Inter-American Court of Human Rights-located in San Jose, Costa Rica-give the OAS an active and, at times, forceful role in promoting and protecting human rights. Through private persuasion and published reports on human rights infringements, the IACHR has been instrumental in improving OAS members’ human rights practices and has helped to resolve conflicts. The IACHR's annual report has chapters on human rights problems in general, details regarding individual cases, and country status reports. The IACHR also publishes special reports, which have been effective in challenging abuses in specific countries. From 1990-94, special on-site reports on Haiti kept the international spotlight focused on the dire human rights situation there and were praised by local and international organizations. The IACHR played a key role in the 1989 release of almost 2,000 political prisoners held by the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION

The 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas plan of action charged the OAS with finding a hemispheric approach to fight corruption. The Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, negotiated under OAS auspices during 1995-96, is the world's first comprehensive multilateral anticorruption agreement. The Convention entered into force on March 6, 1997, when Paraguay and Bolivia became the first countries to deposit their instruments of ratification. A total of 29 countries, including the United States, have now ratified or acceded to the Convention. The Convention provides for institutional development and enforcement of anticorruption measures by fostering mutual legal assistance, technical cooperation, extradition, and seizure of assets. The OAS Permanent Council's Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs has a Probity and Ethics Working Group that focuses on promoting effective implementation of the Convention. The OAS Department of International Legal Affairs (ILA) carries out activities, including workshops funded by the U.S., to assist member states in developing the preventive measures provided for in the Convention and in implementing anti-corruption activities specified in the Country Report recommendations published by the Committee of Experts to the Follow-up Mechanism of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESISIC). The first Country Reports were published on Argentina, Colombia, Nicaragua and Paraguay. In September 2006, the U.S. provided a grant to the OAS, in the amount of $1,042,750, to establish an Inter-American Anti-Corruption Fund to support OAS member states in fulfilling their commitments under the Convention. Twenty-seven OAS Member States, including the U.S., are parties to the Follow-up Mechanism.

COMBATING DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING

The OAS narcotics program was launched at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Traffic in Narcotic Drugs in April 1986--the first Western Hemisphere meeting to deal with all aspects of the drug problem. In accordance with the program of action adopted at that meeting, the OAS General Assembly in November 1986 created the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), which meets twice a year to direct the program and assess the drug situation in the hemisphere. Originally composed of 11 member governments, the commission has been expanded to 34 because of growing interest in the program and concern about the drug problem. The first projects were implemented in 1988. The program has identified five priority lines of action: development of domestic and international law, establishment of an inter-American drug information system, demand reduction, alternative development, and strengthening national drug commissions. CICAD's website is http://www.cicad.oas.org. In 1996, the OAS produced a counter-narcotics strategy that will guide collective actions in the 21st century, and in 1999, it established a multilateral evaluation mechanism (MEM), as mandated by the Santiago Summit of the Americas. Under the MEM, experts evaluate individual country submissions documenting efforts to combat drug abuse and trafficking; the first full round of evaluations was published in January 2003. The OAS also has produced internationally acclaimed model legislation on precursor chemicals and money laundering control.

PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FREE TRADE

The Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) was created in 1996 when the Protocol of Managua charter amendments entered into force. CIDI replaced the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (CIES) and the Inter-American Council for Education, Science, and Culture (CIECC). CIDI is responsible for coordinating OAS development and technical cooperation activities in a partnership intended to attract financial support from donor countries, international development institutions, and other sources. CIDI's Permanent Executive Committee (CEPCIDI), the Inter-American Committee on Education, the Inter-American Committee on Culture, the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS), the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology (COMCYT), the Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP), and other committees and ministerial-level meetings and their subgroups provide guidance and evaluation to the OAS secretariat on relevant policies, projects, and other activities. They also bring together technical and policymaking officials from the hemisphere to agree on joint priorities and initiatives. CIDI ministerials have been tasked by the Summit of the Americas with follow-up the implementation of initiatives in their specific fields.

On November 15, 1999, a Special General Assembly adopted the Statute of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD). Created as the result of a U.S. initiative, the IACD will maximize use of existing resources, improve the management and delivery of technical cooperation, and better position the OAS to attract additional external resources to finance technical cooperation. The IACD's management board, composed of nine elected member states, provides operational guidance, while policy guidance comes from CIDI in both its annual and sectoral ministerial level meetings, from CIDI's executive committee and subsidiary bodies. IACD's statutes entered into force on January 1, 2000. Members elected in 2006 to serve on the Management Board are the United States, Argentina, Bahamas, Colombia, El Salvador, Grenada, Mexico Nicaragua and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Secretary General appointed Ambassador Alfonso Quiñonez to the position of Executive Secretary for Integral Development and Director General of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development and the CIDI ratified his appointment on May 22, 2006.

CIDI's Special Multilateral Fund, known by its Spanish acronym FEM-CIDI, is composed of the voluntary contributions of the member states. While a member state is free to decide the level of its commitment, once a pledge is made to this fund, the country is legally obligated to pay the amount pledged, and a country is not allowed to request projects unless it has pledged by the deadline established.

The projects presented must receive a favorable evaluation (conducted by outside experts) in order to be considered for funding. Projects chosen to be funded are those that receive the highest evaluation scores within their individual sectoral accounts. Horizontal cooperation funds (provided by Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the U.S.) provide further assistance to lesser developed and smaller economies.

The OAS Scholarships and Training Program awards an average of 360 graduate fellowships each year. There also is a small undergraduate scholarship program, available only to students from Caribbean and Central American nations. A third program finances travel to training courses offered by member states. Although these scholarships have to date been financed by the OAS Regular Fund (assessed quota payments by member states), a Capital Fund for Scholarships and Training has been established to attract outside funding.

For 25 years, the OAS has helped member states incorporate environmental considerations into development projects. International development institutions have recognized the organization's in-house expertise and leadership role, and a number of these institutions have undertaken cooperative initiatives with the OAS or contracted the organization to serve as an executing agency for their environmental projects. The biggest boost for the OAS’ environmental efforts came at the 1996 Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development, held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The Santa Cruz Declaration and Plan of Action gave the OAS a strong mandate to coordinate follow-up to those decisions. At the policy level, this takes place through the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS), a meeting of government officials within the framework of CIDI. At the technical level, this occurs in the Inter-Agency Task Force, a group of representatives of technical cooperation agencies such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, UN programs, and U.S. and Canadian aid and environmental agencies. The OAS Secretariat's Unit for Sustainable Development and the Environment has a website at http://www.oas.org/usde; the Unit for Science and Technology has one at http://www.redhucyt.oas.org/ocyt.

The 1999 OAS General Assembly created a committee on civil society participation to develop mechanisms to accredit representatives from civil society and non-governmental organizations in OAS activities. The committee completed a set of guidelines, which the Permanent Council approved in December 1999. The OAS has a long history of cooperation with civil society organizations, which has been enhanced by the Summit of the Americas consultative process. Non-governmental organizations have made significant contributions to the work of the IACHR, the Sustainable Development and Environment Unit, the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, and CIDI. The new OAS civil society guidelines are designed to complement, but not modify the rules governing CIDI, its inter-American committees, and other inter-American specialized conferences and organizations. The guidelines establish an accreditation process similar to that used within the UN system.

The OAS trade unit, in cooperation with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), provides technical support to the negotiating groups created by the Miami Summit process to deal with issues involved in the creation of a Free Trade Area in the Americas (FTAA). The trade unit also has sponsored training courses on trade issues for officials from Latin American and Caribbean countries, held at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The OAS’ highly regarded trade information service, known as SICE, provides trade data and information on trade agreements, investment treaties and national regulations, as well as business directories and other sources of contacts, in a data bank at http://www.sice.oas.org. SICE also manages the FTAA website at http://www.ftaa-alca.org, in addition to the FTAA's Secure Document Distribution Service.

The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), which has active private sector participation, provides an impartial forum for resolving issues of keen commercial interest, such as coordination of standards and radio frequency spectrum use. In response to a Santiago Summit mandate, CITEL is developing best practices guidelines for universal service and interconnection and working to reduce standards-based trade barriers. One particularly important CITEL accomplishment was the endorsement in October 1999 of the Inter-American Mutual Recognition Agreement for the Assessment of Conformity of Telecommunications Equipment, also a Santiago Summit initiative. CITEL is a semiautonomous entity that reports to the OAS General Assembly through the Permanent Council. CITEL's website is http://www.citel.oas.org.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

Member states participated in the first OAS Trafficking in Persons Experts meeting in Margarita Island, Venezuela, March 14-17, 2006. The meeting yielded a number of positive recommendations and conclusions that were considered by the OAS Meeting of Ministers of Justice (REMJA VI) in April 2006 in Santo Domingo. OAS member states agreed to the importance of establishing anti-trafficking procedures and programs focusing on prevention initiatives, victim protection, prosecution of traffickers, and mechanisms for exchange of information and experiences. In an effort to ensure that discussions continue in an integrated and crosscutting approach, member states have agreed to encourage additional discussion in the Committee on Hemispheric Security. Anti-trafficking in persons programs, such as capacity building and awareness training are managed through the Department for the Prevention of Threats against Public Security's OAS coordinator. The official website is http://www.oas.org/atip.

ORGANIZATION

The General Secretariat is the permanent and central organ of the OAS, executing programs and policies decided upon by the General Assembly and the two councils. Directed by the Secretary General, it occupies a key position within the inter-American system and serves the entire organization and all member states. The Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General are elected by the General Assembly for 5-year terms. They can be reelected once and cannot be succeeded by a person of the same nationality.

Senior secretariat officials appointed by the Secretary General include the assistant secretaries for legal affairs and management, the director general of the development agency (IACD), the executive secretaries of the commission of women (CIM) and the drug abuse control commission (CICAD), the directors of various units, including trade and promotion of democracy, and the executive director of the human rights commission. Secretariat personnel conduct the activities of all the OAS units and serve as the staff for the commissions, councils, and other bodies.

The staff of the General Secretariat is composed of personnel chosen mainly from the member states, with consideration given to geographic representation. Staff members are considered international civil servants. The OAS Secretariat also maintains a small office in many member states.

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the OAS. It holds a regular session each year, either in one of the member states or at headquarters in Washington, DC. In special circumstances, and with the approval of two-thirds of the member states, the Permanent Council can convoke a special session of the General Assembly. Delegations are usually headed by foreign ministers. In addition to deliberating on current issues, the General Assembly approves the program-budget; sets the bases for fixing member-state quota assessments; establishes measures for coordinating the activities of the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS; and determines the general standards that govern the operation of the General Secretariat. General Assembly decisions usually take the form of resolutions, which must be approved by a majority of all members (two-thirds for agenda, budget, and certain other questions).

A consultation meeting of foreign ministers can be called by any member state, either “to consider problems of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States” (as stated in the OAS Charter) or to serve as an organ of consultation in cases of armed attack or other threats to international peace and security (per the Rio Treaty). In either case, the request must be directed to the Permanent Council of the OAS, which decides by absolute majority vote if the meeting is to be called. In cases between member states, the affected parties are excluded from voting. Should an armed attack take place within the territory of an American state or within the Western Hemisphere security zone defined by the Rio Treaty, a meeting of consultation is held without delay. Until the ministers of foreign affairs can assemble, the Permanent Council is empowered to act as a provisional organ of consultation and make decisions.

The Permanent Council, composed of ambassadors representing each member state, usually meets every two weeks throughout the year in Washington, DC. The council, its standing committees, and special working groups conduct the day-to-day business of the OAS, which involves implementing mandates from the General Assemblies, designing and assessing activities to promote democracy and strengthen human rights, considering requests from members, debating and approving resolutions on current issues, and dealing with reports from subsidiary organs.

In an emergency, a special session of the council can be called immediately by its chairman or at the request of any member. The chair rotates every three months, in alphabetical order. Unlike the UN Security Council, no member can exercise a veto in the Permanent Council. OAS members place great importance on obtaining consensus before decisions are made. The Permanent Council also serves provisionally as the organ of consultation (for meetings of foreign ministers) and every year acts as the preparatory committee for the General Assembly.

The Inter-American Council for Integral Development meets annually at the ministerial level; its subsidiary entities meet more frequently. CIDI also convokes ministerial-level sectoral meetings in areas such as labor, education, social development, sustainable development and culture to consider specialized issues in the priority areas of the Strategic Plan.

SPECIALIZED ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER ENTITIES

Much important inter-American business is conducted by separate entities, some of which are independent, some fully or partially funded by the OAS, and others consisting simply of periodic hemispheric meetings which receive support from the OAS Secretariat. Subjects covered include agriculture, labor, copyrights, private international law, highways, ports and harbors, railways, telecommunications, health and sanitation, statistics, travel, child welfare, women's issues, Indian affairs, and tourism. The conferences are attended by high-level officials and technical experts to further inter-American cooperation in these fields.

The Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN), founded in 1927 and headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, is concerned with the problems of minors and families, including trafficking, child labor, commercial sexual exploitation, international abduction of minors by one of their parents, and war-affected children. It serves as a center for social action and programs in the fields of health, education, social legislation, legislation on adoptions, social service, and statistics. IIN has contributed extensively to international jurisprudence in the field of family law; the most recent example of this work is model legislation on international adoption. IIN's website is http://www.iin.oas.org.

The Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), established in 1928, was the first international organization focusing on women's issues. It works to extend the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of women in the hemisphere. Now concerned with women's integration into development and decision-making processes, domestic violence, trafficking in persons, and women's human rights, CIM research and seminars have focused on women and politics, women and employment, violence against women and most recently HIV/AIDS. The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) was drafted under the auspices of the CIM. It was opened for signature at the OAS General Assembly in 1994 and has been signed by 32 OAS members. In April 2000, the CIM ministerial approved the Inter-American Program on the Promotion of Women's Human Rights and Gender Equity and Equality. CIM's website is http://www.oas.org/cim.

The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) is an entity of the Organization of American States of the OAS. Its statutes were recently adopted during the a special session of the OAS General Assembly. Under the statutes, the Board's central role is to provide the OAS and its member states with technical, educational and consultancy services on matters related to military and defense issues in the hemisphere in order to contribute to the fulfillment of the OAS Charter.

The IADB has as one of its principal organizations the Inter-American Defense College, established in 1962. The College is the preeminent hemispheric institution dedicated to developing and providing opportunities to military officers and civilian officials from OAS member states for advanced academic courses related to military and defense issues, the inter-American system and related disciplines. Over the past decade 20% of the student enrollment has been civilians. Instruction is based on distinguished speakers from throughout the hemisphere who are experts on matters of defense in the Americas.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the first of the regional development banks, was established in 1959 to provide lending attuned to the development needs of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to nations of the hemisphere, 15 European nations plus Japan and Israel are now members, but only Latin American and Caribbean members are eligible borrowers. The IDB's ordinary capital window provides development funds at market-related terms, while its Fund for Special Operations offers financing at concessional terms for projects in countries classified as economically less developed. The bank's website is http://www.iadb.org.

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), founded in 1942 and head-quartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, assists member states in promoting agricultural health and food safety, strengthening national agricultural institutional systems, and building trade capacity in agricultural commodities.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), created in 1902, has served as the Western Hemisphere arm of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) since 1948. It coordinates hemispheric efforts to combat disease and promote physical and mental health. It has contributed significantly to eradicating communicable diseases and promoting improved sanitation and health conditions. PAHO's website is http://www.paho.org.

IICA supports efforts to increase agricultural productivity, employment opportunities in rural sectors, and rural participation in development activities. IICA also has an excellent record in preventing the spread of threatening animal and plant diseases and in helping members develop sustainable methods of food production. Policy direction comes from ministers of agriculture in each member country, who form the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA). IICA's website is http://www.iica.int.

The Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), headquartered in Mexico City, encourages the coordination, standardization, and publication of regional geographic, historical, cartographic, and geophysical studies. Member countries receive information and technical assistance for the sustainable development of their natural resources. PAIGH also assists member countries in identifying risks posed by natural disasters and has provided technical expertise to assist in mapping disputed borders between member countries.

Established in 1928, PAIGH preserves and documents historical data through research and publication. It also facilitates cooperative relationships between U.S. agencies and other countries in such vital areas as aviation safety and natural disaster mitigation. The organization is in the initial phase of developing a “global map of the Americas” which will assist in the decision making process within the countries of the hemisphere. PAIGH's website is http://www.ipgh.org.

The Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII), created by the Patzcuaro Convention in 1940 and headquartered in Mexico City, initiates, coordinates, and directs research to promote better understanding of the health, education, and economic and social problems of Indian populations. It provides a forum for government representatives to discuss approaches to address the many challenges facing indigenous communities in the Americas. The U.S. withdrew from the IAII in December 2000.

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is a quasi-public international organization that, although created by the OAS in 1962, receives more than half its financial support from U.S. corporations and other private sources. Intended to serve as a social service partner for corporations operating in Latin American and the Caribbean, PADF has channeled more than $100 million into development projects that mobilize private sector support in recipient countries. It also coordinates disaster relief. The PADF qualifies for charitable donations under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). PADF's website is http://www.padf.org.

THE U.S. AND THE OAS

The U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS) is headed by Acting U.S. Permanent Representative J. Robert Manzanares. The OAS is the premier multilateral forum in the Western Hemisphere. Its 35 members are countries from North, South, and Central America, the Caribbean, and Canada. The charter of the OAS states that its basic objectives are to:

  • strengthen peace and security;
  • promote the effective exercise of representative democracy;
  • ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members;
  • provide for common action in the event of aggression;
  • seek solutions to political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise;
  • promote, by cooperative action, economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural development; and
  • limit conventional weapons so as to devote greater resources to economic and social development.

As a member of the OAS, the United States is committed to strengthening and working with the organization. This reflects the U.S. Government's determination to make optimal use of multilateral diplomacy to resolve regional problems and to engage its neighbors on topics of hemispheric concern.

OAS and U.S. Officials

Secretary General: Jose Miguel Insulza (Chile), assumed charge May 26, 2005.

Address:
Organization of American States
17th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
(tel. 202-458-3000) website: http://www.oas.org
U.S. Interim Representative to the
OAS—Mr. J. Robert Manzanares, on January 1, 2007.

Address:
U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS
WHA/USOAS, Rm. 5914
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
(tel. 202-647-9376)

U.S.ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT THE SPECIAL SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

November 1, 2005

At the Fourth Summit of the Americas, President Bush joined the other 33 democratically elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere in addressing common 21st Century challenges. In particular, the leaders focused on:

  • Creating decent job opportunities, especially for the region's poor;
  • Creating conditions to achieve sustained economic growth through greater trade and development;
  • Fighting poverty; and
  • Strengthening democratic governance and institutions.

The President encouraged his fellow leaders to make the strategic leap from commitment to achievement, and emphasized that words must lead to tangible results. President Bush and the United States will continue to lead and work for greater prosperity, security, and opportunity for the people of this hemisphere. At the Summit the President specifically raised the following programs for the hemisphere.

Infrastructure Facility Of The Americas: President Bush made available funds to launch a new institution to assess infrastructure project proposals from private and public sponsors. The Facility will promote high-return, job-creating projects by providing assessments and advice on: (1) engineering feasibility; (2) economic feasibility; (3) financial structure; and (4) public concession tendering, legal matters, and implementation.

United States and Uruguay Sign Bilateral Investment Treaty: The agreement demonstrates U.S. commitment to create new economic opportunities together with those countries in the hemisphere that are willing to help themselves by implementing sound economic policies. The United States is Uruguay's largest trading partner, and the stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Uruguay was $533 million in 2004.

Central American and Caribbean Fund: The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will invite proposals from qualified private sector fund managers to organize a Central America and Caribbean Fund that could reach $135 million. The Fund will invest predominately in companies operating in the following countries: Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Opportunity Zones: President Bush urged Heads of State to join him in developing Opportunity Zones in five to be identified countries. These programs through public and private cooperatives, encourage new business ownership opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged citizens.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Reform: The President called for the shareholders of the IDB to implement measures that will better employ the bank's assets, encourage accountability and performance, and address the debt sustainability of the poorest countries in the region, including through grants and debt relief.

Private Sector Disaster Relief: The President announced that three distinguished private sector leaders—Steven S Reinemund, Robert W. Lane and Maria Elena Lagomasino—have agreed to launch a nationwide effort to encourage private donations for relief and reconstruction in response to the three recent hurri-canes that struck Central America.

Protecting Children: President Bush announced strong American support for a significantly expanded effort over the next four years in Latin America and the Caribbean to remove children from exploitative work and provide them with educational opportunities. In support of the above goals, the United States Department of Labor has committed $16 million to continue and expand our fight against the worst forms of child labor in the Americas.

Commerce, Industry And Economy Ministerial On Competitiveness: President Bush recommended that the OAS convene the first ever joint Commerce, Industry and Economy Ministerial to bring high-level officials together to focus on competitiveness. This unprecedented meeting will identify concrete actions that governments may take alone, or in concert, to enhance the region's ability to compete more successfully in the global marketplace.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2009. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2009. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/oas-2

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2009. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/oas-2

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

OAS

OAS

Last Updated: March 2006

Official Name:
Organization of American States


Editor's note: The information for this article is reprinted from the OAS Fact Sheet 2005 available through the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.



PROFILE

Established:

April 14, 1890, as the International Union of American Republics. Became the Pan American Union in 1910, then the Organization of American States in 1948 with the adoption of the OAS Charter in Bogota, Colombia.

Purposes:

To strengthen peace and security in the hemisphere; promote representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; and promote economic, social, and cultural development.

Members:

35—Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba*, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

*Cuba is a member, although its present government has been excluded from participation since 1962 for incompatibility with the principles of the inter-American nsystem.

Permanent observers:

60—Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Yemen.

Official languages:

English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Principal organs:

General Assembly, Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers, Permanent Council, Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the General Secretariat.

Specialized organizations:

Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN), Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII), Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Other entities:

Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD), Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), Justice Studies Center, Inter-American Juridical Committee (IAJC), Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), Inter-American Defense College (IADC), Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

Budget (2002):

Regular fund (operations): $76.0 million, financed mainly by assessed contributions from all members. The U.S. share is 59%. Voluntary funds: $8.4 million, financed by contributions from all member states (the U.S. provided $5.5 million). Specific funds: $52 million, contributed by some member states (the U.S. provided $25 million), some permanent observers, international financial institutions, and development agencies.


HISTORY

The Organization of American States, the oldest regional international organization in the world, traces its origins to the Congress of Panama, convoked by Simon Bolivar in 1826 and attended by representatives from Central and South America. That congress drafted the Treaty of Perpetual Union, League and Confederation, signed by the delegates but ratified only by Gran Colombia (today's Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela).

Hemispheric countries continued the discussion of an inter-American system during the rest of the 19th century. The first concrete step was taken in 1889, when the First International Conference of American States convened in Washington, DC. On April 14, 1890, delegates created the International Union of American Republics "for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial information." They also established the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics in Washington as the Union's secretariat, with the participation of 18 Western Hemisphere nations, including the United States. In 1910, the Commercial Bureau became the Pan American Union, and American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $5 million to construct a permanent headquarters in Washington, DC, which is today the OAS building.

The experience of World War II convinced hemispheric governments that unilateral action could not ensure the territorial integrity of the American nations in the event of extra-continental aggression. To meet the challenges of global conflict in the postwar world and to contain conflicts within the hemisphere, they adopted a system of collective security, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) signed in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro.

The OAS Charter was adopted at the Ninth International Conference of American States in Bogota, Colombia in 1948. It reaffirmed the fundamental rights and duties of states, proclaimed the goals of the new organization, and established its organs and agencies. That conference also approved the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement (Pact of Bogota) and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The OAS Charter proclaims the organization to be a regional agency within the UN system.

The basic objectives of the OAS, as laid out in its Charter, are to strengthen peace and security; promote the effective exercise of representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; seek solutions to political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise; promote, by cooperative action, economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural development; and limit conventional weapons so as to devote greater resources to economic and social development.

Concern over slow economic development led the United States and 19 other OAS members to establish the Inter-American Development Bank in 1959. This reflected concern that the World Bank, which included Latin American countries in its list of eligible borrowers, was preoccupied with infrastructure and not sufficiently attuned to the need for "social" lending as well as industrial and agricultural aid. In 1960, the OAS adopted the Act of Bogota, which called for a hemisphere-wide commitment to economic and social development. This set the stage for OAS support for the Alliance for Progress.

The 1948 OAS Charter has been amended four times: by the 1967 Protocol of Buenos Aires, which went into effect in February 1970; by the 1985 Protocol of Cartagena, which took effect in November 1988; by the 1993 Protocol of Managua, which took effect in March 1996; and by the 1992 Protocol of Washington, which took effect in September 1997.

The Buenos Aires Protocol created the annual General Assembly and gave equal status to the Permanent Council; the Economic and Social Council; and the Council for Education, Science, and Culture. The Cartagena Amendments strengthened the role of the Secretary General; provided procedures to facilitate peaceful settlement of disputes; removed obstacles, involving border disputes, to the entry of Belize and Guyana; and called for strengthening economic and social development by taking measures to increase trade, enhance international financial cooperation, diversify exports, and promote export opportunities.

The Managua Protocol created the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) to replace the Economic and Social Council and the Council for Education, Science, and Culture. The key objectives of CIDI are to serve as a forum for technical policy level discussions on matters related to development, to be a catalyst and promoter of development activities in response to mandates from the Summits of the Americas, and to strengthen a hemispheric partnership among OAS countries to promote cooperation for development and to help eliminate extreme poverty in the hemisphere.

Ratification of the Washington Protocol made the OAS the first regional political organization to permit suspension of a member whose democratically constituted government is overthrown by force. This protocol also amended the Charter to include the eradication of extreme poverty as one of the organization's essential purposes.

The OAS helps preserve democracy by mobilizing the hemisphere in the face of threats to democratic rule. It acted under the mandate of General Assembly Resolution 1080 (1991) to support democracy in Haiti, Peru, Guatemala, and Paraguay. It also provides development and other assistance designed to strengthen democratic institutions, observe elections, promote human rights, increase trade, fight drugs, and protect the environment.

On September 11, 2001, the OAS adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter, designed to strengthen and preserve representative democracy in the hemisphere, which prescribes steps to be taken in the event of an unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order or the unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order of a member state. In April 2002, the OAS took action under the Inter-American Democratic Charter to support democracy in Venezuela, which continued through May 2003.

The OAS was the first international organization to condemn the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. In 2001-02, as a hemispheric response against terrorism, OAS members successfully negotiated the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, which was opened for signature at the June 2002 OAS General Assembly. It entered into force on July 9, 2003, and provides for increased law enforcement cooperation against terrorism.

In recent years, OAS member states have successfully negotiated major international agreements to curb hemispheric arms trafficking, provide for transparency in conventional weapons acquisition, combat corruption, fight narcotics and money laundering, and define fair telecommunications standards. OAS contributions in the fields of international law, juridical cooperation, and facilitation of regional trade have been substantial and have provided the basis for effective observance of a host of regional treaties concluded since 1889. Information on treaties and other inter-American legal issues is available from the Secretariat of Legal Affairs at the OAS website at http://www.oas.org.

The OAS is implementing important portions of the Action Plans from the Summits of the Americas held in Miami (1994); Santiago, Chile (1998); Quebec City, Canada (2001); and Monterrey, Mexico (2004). The Santiago Summit assigned the OAS Secretariat responsibility for maintaining records and serving as the institutional memory of the summit process. Argentina will host the Fourth Summit of the Americas in November 2005. The OAS Secretariat's website is http://www.summit-americas.org.


U.S. POLICY TOWARD THE OAS

The United States is committed to strengthening and working with the OAS. This reflects the U.S. Government's determination to make optimal use of multilateral diplomacy to resolve regional problems and to engage its neighbors on topics of hemispheric concern. As President George W. Bush said in a speech at the OAS on April 17, 2001:

"The OAS has an important role to play in these common goals. In lands where liberty is threatened by corruption, drugs and human rights abuses, the OAS is helping combat these destructive forces. Along borders where tensions run high, the OAS helps build confidence and avoid crises. And in lands where freedom's hold is fragile, the OAS is there to strengthen it."

The OAS is the premier multilateral forum for dealing with political issues in the Western Hemisphere. Participation in the organization enables the United States to rally international support for key U.S. political objectives. In addition to its work to strengthen and promote democracy and respect for human rights, the OAS provides valuable support on two highly important issues: trade and drugs. The OAS has refocused its trade efforts to promote free trade and economic integration. Its Trade Unit and the Foreign Trade Information System (SICE) provide valuable technical support to the working groups dealing with the creation of a hemispheric free trade area, to which OAS governments committed themselves at the Summits of the Americas.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter is the focal point of OAS efforts to maintain, support, strengthen, and defend democracy in the Western Hemisphere. As Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the OAS General Assembly on June 9, 2003: "The Inter-American Democratic Charter we adopted nearly 2 years ago in Lima is the purest expression of our common conviction that democracy is the only legitimate form of government and that our people deserve nothing less."

The OAS has successfully reformed its operations to be more effective, both by significant staff cuts and position level realignments and by restructuring the Secretariat to deal with the hemisphere's new priorities. The OAS has decreased its staff by 20% since 1995 and maintained a no-growth budget for 7 consecutive years. Despite these constraints, the OAS has augmented programs supporting priority interests of the hemisphere, such as democracy, human rights, trade, and the environment, by reducing or eliminating programs of lower priority. More reforms are envisioned in the areas of personnel evaluation, budgetary priorities, financial management, and conference capabilities.

OAS and U.S. Officials

Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza (Chile), assumed charge May 26, 2005.

Address:
Organization of American States
17th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
(tel. 202-458-3000)
website: http://www.oas.org

U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador John F. Maisto, sworn in July 31, 2003.

Address:
U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS
WHA/USOAS, Rm. 5914
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
(tel. 202-647-9376)


STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY

The promotion of peace and democracy are core OAS concerns. The OAS Unit for Promotion of Democracy (UPD) is entirely dedicated to building, strengthening, and preserving democracy. Charter amendments, the new Inter-American Democratic Charter, and Resolution 1080 also enable the OAS to help preserve democracy by mobilizing the hemisphere in the face of threats to democratic rule in a member state.

The 1991 OAS General Assembly created an unprecedented automatic mechanism, known as Resolution 1080, to deter illegal action against democratically elected governments. This resolution requires the Secretary General to convene the Permanent Council and then hemispheric foreign ministers within 10 days after a coup or other interruption of a legitimate, elected government. Resolution 1080 has been used four times: following the coup in Haiti in 1991, the "auto-coups" in Peru in 1992 and Guatemala in 1993, and the threat to the Government of Paraguay in 1996.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter defines the essential elements of representative democracy in very specific terms, including: respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; holding free and fair elections; a pluralistic system of political parties and organizations; separation of powers; independence of the branches of government; freedom of expression and of the press; and constitutional subordination of all state institutions to the legally constituted civilian authority.

In the event that one of the OAS members should fail to uphold the essential elements of democratic life, the document allows any member state or the Secretary General to trigger a response by the OAS, calling for the immediate convocation of the Permanent Council to consider the facts, deploy diplomatic efforts, or use other political mediation. If there is a clear interruption of democratic order, or if an undemocratic alteration is not remedied, the document calls for a General Assembly that may, among other things, suspend the offending government from the inter-American system, which requires a two-thirds vote of the member states.

The first formal use of the Inter-American Democratic Charter occurred in April 2002, when Secretary General Gaviria invoked Article 20 of the Charter to convoke the Permanent Council to perform a collective assessment of the situation in Venezuela, The Permanent Council condemned the alteration of constitutional order and convened a special session of the General Assembly under the Democratic Charter on April 18, 2002.

At that meeting, OAS foreign ministers agreed upon a resolution using the provisions of the Democratic Charter for the purpose of reinforcing democratic institutions in Venezuela. It calls upon the Venezuelan government to respect the essential elements of representative democracy and the rule of law while redoubling its efforts toward national dialogue and national reconciliation. The resolution focuses a regional spotlight on the state of Venezuela's democratic institutions and procedures, while pledging the OAS's continued attention and support. The OAS Secretary General formed a Group of Friends (Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, and the United States) to assist him in dealing with the Venezuelan government and the opposition Democratic Coordinating Committee (CD). On May 29, the Government and the CD signed the OAS dialogue table agreement, setting the framework for a recall referendum as allowed by the Venezuelan constitution, and replacing the dialogue table with a "permanent liaison" mechanism.

In recent years, the existence of Resolution 1080 and the Washington Protocol (that permits suspension of a member whose democratically elected government is overthrown by force) has enabled the OAS to bring hemispheric pressure to bear in situations where democratic governments were threatened, and the OAS successfully encouraged constitutional solutions in a number of problematic circumstances.

The OAS intervened quickly after indications of potential coups or other challenges to democracy in several Latin American countries, by dispatching Secretary General Gaviria and passing strong resolutions in the Permanent Council. The new Inter-American Democratic Charter provides the OAS with a "toolbox" of preventive and remedial measures that it can use to reinforce democratic institutions throughout the Hemisphere.

In Peru, President Fujimori's April 5, 1992, announcement of extra-constitutional measures led to the second use of Resolution 1080. The OAS Permanent Council called for the immediate "reinstatement of democratic institutions and respect for human rights under the rule of law." The hemisphere's foreign ministers met on April 13, called for the reestablishment of democratic institutional order in Peru, and asked the Secretary General to head a small mission of foreign ministers to Peru to bring about a dialogue between the government and other political forces.

In May 1992, President Fujimori attended the OAS foreign ministers' meeting on Peru, held in the Bahamas, where he undertook to call elections for a constituent congress to exercise legislative powers and to draft a new constitution. The OAS sent over 200 observers to monitor those elections, held November 22, 1992, as well as a small team for the municipal elections on January 29, 1993. OAS foreign ministers closed their meeting on Peru in December 1992, in view of expected continued OAS assistance to modernize electoral procedures in Peru.

Following the flawed April 2000 elections in Peru, the OAS General Assembly took action in response to the political crisis in that country. OAS election monitoring mission head Eduardo Stein reported that the elections had not been carried out in accordance with international standards. In June, the OAS foreign ministers concluded that "the credibility of both the process and the outcome of those elections has been undermined by persisting reports of irregularities" and agreed to send OAS Secretary General Gaviria and Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy to Peru to establish a dialogue on reforming the country's democratic institutions.

The OAS mission met with government officials, members of the opposition, and civil society representatives in late June and developed 29 recommendations intended to craft a road-map for national reform and the restoration of fair electoral procedures, the judiciary, and a free press.

President Fujimori first agreed to hold new elections and later resigned. The momentum established by the OAS dialogue helped open the way to new elections and a return to democracy. Free and fair elections were held in April and June 2001, and the OAS provided expertise to the national electoral authorities and sent observation groups to monitor the elections.

The OAS is one of the leading organizations in the hemisphere in election observation. Representing a multilateral organization, OAS observers are often able to establish closer relationships with and gain greater access to political and electoral institutions than other observer groups. The OAS, in addition, has the institutional capacity to organize larger electoral missions and keep observers on the ground longer than other organizations.

The 1990 Nicaraguan elections were the first observed by the OAS in a systematic way. OAS monitoring of that election helped increase confidence in the process and encouraged all parties to accept the final results. While the OAS, at the request of the host government concerned, had previously sent small teams of elections observers throughout the hemisphere, the magnitude and scope of the mission in Nicaragua—more than 433 observers and an OAS presence 6 months before the elections and for weeks afterward—pointed to a need to institutionalize OAS support for democracy.

In 2003, the OAS sent electoral observation missions to Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala, and Venezuela. These missions, comprised of experienced observers from many countries and equipped with the ability to conduct "quick counts" on Election Day, render impartial judgments widely accepted by voters and governments throughout the hemisphere.

The OAS established the Unit for Promotion of Democracy (UPD) in 1990. In addition to overseeing the organization's electoral missions, the UPD also administers small country programs to improve democratic institutions and processes in response to requests from more than a dozen member states. These programs seek to improve democratic governance, for example, by facilitating the dissemination and exchange of knowledge about democratic values and political systems and the exchange of experiences among institutions and experts on themes related to the promotion of democracy. The UPD provides advice and assistance in modernizing or reforming electoral laws, civil registries, administrations, and processes. The UPD also develops and manages peace-building programs and provides support to societies in post-conflict situations. It supports programs of humanitarian demining in Central America and the Andean region and provides special advisory services and support to recently installed governments. The UPD's website is http://www.oas.org/upd.

Another means of strengthening democracy is the Justice Studies Center of the Americas, established by the November 1999 Special General Assembly. This center fulfills an important goal of the 1998 Santiago Summit and is the result of close consultations among Ministers of Justice, Attorneys General, and others interested in this initiative. The Center is located in Chile, and its primary task is to promote reform in the justice sector throughout the hemisphere, focusing in the first stage on criminal justice issues.


FIGHTING TERRORISM

OAS Foreign Ministers were meeting in Lima, Peru, on September 11, 2001, to adopt and sign the new Inter-American Democratic Charter. Their response to the terrorist attacks was an immediate condemnation and a focus on a united hemispheric response. They met again in Washington, DC. On September 21, 2001, to approve a resolution calling on member states to take effective measures to combat terrorism. At Brazil's initiative, the 22 signatories of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, known as the Rio Treaty, met and declared that an attack against one member is an attack against all and committed themselves to providing mutual assistance in the war against terrorism. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the assembled ministers: "We, the united democracies of the Western Hemisphere, join the world in the global campaign against terrorism. We have pledged to deny terrorists and their networks the ability to operate within our territories. We have resolved to hold to account all those responsible for aiding, financing, and otherwise supporting and harboring terrorists."

The Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), reinvigorated in the wake of the September 11 attacks, met in Washington, DC on January 28-29, 2002, where Attorney General John Ashcroft headed the U.S. delegation. Delegates approved a work plan for CICTE to coordinate steps to prevent and combat terrorism in the hemisphere and action plans on border controls and control of financial flows. CICTE is chaired by Uruguay and is staffed by personnel provided by member countries; funding is provided by contributions from member states and permanent observers. A small CICTE secretariat was created in January 2002 and includes personnel seconded from Uruguay, Mexico, and the U.S.

OAS members began negotiation of the text of the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism in November 2001, and a text was agreed upon in March 2002. Opened for signature in June 2002, the OAS convention entered into force on July 9, 2003, 30 days after the sixth signatory deposited its instrument of ratification. It is presently before the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. The OAS convention enhances hemispheric security by improving regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism, by denying safe haven to terrorists, and by facilitating the exchange of information, technical assistance, and training in a wide number of complex areas, including the prevention and eradication of terrorist financing, the improvement of border and customs controls, and the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist acts.


HEMISPHERIC SECURITY

In 1991, the 21st OAS General Assembly began examining security issues ranging from proliferation and arms transfers to "cooperation for hemispheric security." In 1995 the 25th General Assembly instructed the Permanent Council to establish the Committee on Hemispheric Security, which created the region's first permanent forum for the consideration of arms control, defense, nonproliferation, and security issues. The Committee on Hemispheric Security is composed of 34 member states and has a chairman and 3 vice-chairs that are elected for a 12-month period.

Since 1991, the OAS has built an impressive record of achievement in the development of confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs). These security accomplishments include: the March 1994 Buenos Aires governmental experts' meeting on CSBMs (the first regional dialogue on CSBMs); the November 10, 1995, "Declaration of Santiago on Confidence and Security Building Measures;" the February 1998 "Declaration of San Salvador;" the "2003 Miami Declaration on Confidence and Security Building Measures," a regional roster of CSBMs Experts; the world's first Register of Antipersonnel Landmines (APL); and two path breaking conventions: the 1999 Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisition, which entered into force in November 2002, and the 1998 Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials. In 2002-03, OAS member states undertook a comprehensive review of the hemispheric security architecture, culminating in a Special Conference on Security that took place in Mexico in October 2003. The Declaration on Security in the Americas provides a practical guide for resolving interstate border tensions, lowering pressure for arms spending, promoting democratic norms, and fostering a climate of confidence, trust, transparency, and cooperation in our Hemisphere.

In addition, the OAS has been active in preventive diplomacy. For example, from 1999 to 2003, the OAS, with technical support from PAIGH, has provided cartographers, facilitators, conciliators, offered its good offices, and brokered agreements to resolve disputes between Belize and Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and El Salvador and Honduras.

The OAS has been involved in many conflict resolution and national reconciliation activities, such as disarmament and demobilization in Colombia.


HUMAN RIGHTS: THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION

Located in Washington, DC, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is distinguished from other multilateral organizations' human rights entities by its political autonomy. Its seven commission members are elected in their own right, not as representatives of governments. IACHR autonomy is further enhanced by its prerogative to initiate human rights investigations without the approval of the Secretary General or the Permanent Council. In response to a Santiago Summit initiative, in 1998 the IACHR established a Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, with a mandate to support and promote freedom of the press.

Human rights in the inter-American system are based on the 1948 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights. The United States signed the American Convention on Human Rights in 1977, but has not yet ratified it.

The IACHR and Inter-American Court of Human Rights—located in San Jose, Costa Rica—give the OAS an active and, at times, forceful role in promoting and protecting human rights. Through private persuasion and published reports on human rights infringements, the IACHR has been instrumental in improving OAS members' human rights practices and has helped to resolve conflicts. The IACHR's annual report has chapters on human rights problems in general, details regarding individual cases, and country status reports. The IACHR also publishes special reports, which have been effective in challenging abuses in specific countries. From 1990-94, special on-site reports on Haiti kept the international spotlight focused on the dire human rights situation there and were praised by local and international organizations. The IACHR played a key role in the 1989 release of almost 2,000 political prisoners held by the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. In 1999, on the 30th anniversary of the American Declaration, the OAS and member states began an evaluation of the inter-American human rights system to determine how best to further strengthen it.

Presently the IACHR's membership is: Chairman: Jose Zalaquett (Chile); First Vice-Chair: Clare Kamau Roberts (Antigua & Barbuda); First Vice-Chair: Susana Villaran (Peru); Evelio Fernandez Arevalos (Paraguay); Paulo Sergio Pinheiro (Brazil); Freddy Gutierrez Trejo (Venezuela); and Florentin Melendez (El Salvador). The IACHR's website is http://www.oas.org/cidh.


FIGHTING CORRUPTION

The 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas plan of action charged the OAS with finding a hemispheric approach to fight corruption. The Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, negotiated under OAS auspices during 1995-96, is the world's first comprehensive multilateral anticorruption agreement. The Convention entered into force on March 6, 1997, when Paraguay and Bolivia became the first countries to deposit their instruments of ratification. A total of 29 countries, including the United States, have now ratified or acceded to the Convention. The Convention provides for institutional development and enforcement of anticorruption measures by fostering mutual legal assistance, technical cooperation, extradition, and seizure of assets. The OAS Permanent Council's Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs has a Probity and Ethics Working Group that focuses on promoting effective implementation of the Convention.

The OAS Department of Legal Affairs carries out activities, including workshops funded by the U.S., to assist member states in developing the preventive measures provided for in the Convention. Government experts met to develop a monitoring mechanism for the Convention; in May 2002, the Committee of Experts approved a questionnaire and the timetable for the first round of evaluations of country performance under the Convention. In 2003, the Follow-up Mechanism to monitor implementation of the convention by the states parties to it began its first round of country reviews with publication of the first report on Argentina. Subsequent reports on Colombia, Nicaragua, and Paraguay are under preparation. Twenty-seven OAS Member States, including the U.S., are parties to the Follow-up Mechanism.


COMBATING DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING

The OAS narcotics program was launched at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Traffic in Narcotic Drugs in April 1986—the first Western Hemisphere meeting to deal with all aspects of the drug problem. In accordance with the program of action adopted at that meeting, the OAS General Assembly in November 1986 created the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), which meets twice a year to direct the program and assess the drug situation in the hemisphere. Originally composed of 11 member governments, the commission has been expanded to 34 because of growing interest in the program and concern about the drug problem. The first projects were implemented in 1988. The program has identified five priority lines of action: development of domestic and international law, establishment of an inter-American drug information system, demand reduction, alternative development, and strengthening national drug commissions. CICAD's website is http://www.cicad.oas.org.

In 1996, the OAS produced a counternarcotics strategy that will guide collective actions in the 21st century, and in 1999, it established a multilateral evaluation mechanism (MEM), as mandated by the Santiago Summit of the Americas. Under the MEM, experts evaluate individual country submissions documenting efforts to combat drug abuse and trafficking; the first full round of evaluations was published in January 2003. The OAS also has produced internationally acclaimed model legislation on precursor chemicals and money laundering control.


PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FREE TRADE

The Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) was created in 1996 when the Protocol of Managua charter amendments entered into force. CIDI replaced the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (CIES) and the Inter-American Council for Education, Science, and Culture (CIECC). CIDI is responsible for coordinating OAS development and technical cooperation activities in a partnership intended to attract financial support from donor countries, international development institutions, and other sources. CIDI's Permanent Executive Committee (CEPCIDI), the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS), the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology (COMCYT), the Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP), and other committees and ministerial-level meetings and their subgroups provide guidance and evaluation to the OAS secretariat on relevant policies, projects, and other activities. They also bring together technical and policymaking officials from the hemisphere to agree on joint priorities and initiatives.

On November 15, 1999, a Special General Assembly adopted the Statute of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD). Created as the result of a U.S. initiative, the IACD will maximize use of existing resources, improve the management and delivery of technical cooperation, and better position the OAS to attract additional external resources to finance technical cooperation. The IACD's management board, composed of nine elected member states, provides operational guidance, while policy guidance comes from CIDI in both its annual and sectoral ministerial level meetings, from CIDI's executive committee and subsidiary bodies. IACD's statutes entered into force on January 1, 2000. On April 25, 2003, OAS member governments elected Argentina, Barbados, Canada, El Salvador, the United States, Grenada, Guatemala, Peru, and St. Lucia to the management board.

In April 2000, CIDI confirmed Ronald Scheman (U.S.) as the first Director General of IACD. Information about CIDI is available on its website at http://www.cidi.oas.org/cidi.asp.

CIDI's Special Multilateral Fund, known by its Spanish acronym FEMCIDI, is composed of the voluntary contributions of the member states. While a member state is free to decide the level of its commitment, once a pledge is made to this fund, the country is legally obligated to pay the amount pledged, and a country is not allowed to request projects unless it has pledged by the deadline established.

The projects presented must receive a favorable evaluation (conducted by outside experts) in order to be considered for funding. Projects chosen to be funded are those that receive the highest evaluation scores within their individual sectoral accounts. Horizontal cooperation funds (provided by Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the U.S.) provide further assistance to lesser developed and smaller economies.

The OAS Scholarships and Training Program awards an average of 360 graduate fellowships each year. There also is a small undergraduate scholarship program, available only to students from Caribbean and Central American nations. A third program finances travel to training courses offered by member states. Although these scholarships have to date been financed by the OAS Regular Fund (assessed quota payments by member states), a Capital Fund for Scholarships and Training has been established to attract outside funding.

For 25 years, the OAS has helped member states incorporate environmental considerations into development projects. International development institutions have recognized the organization's in-house expertise and leadership role, and a number of these institutions have undertaken cooperative initiatives with the OAS or contracted the organization to serve as an executing agency for their environmental projects. The biggest boost for the OAS' environmental efforts came at the 1996 Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development, held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The Santa Cruz Declaration and Plan of Action gave the OAS a strong mandate to coordinate follow-up to those decisions. At the policy level, this takes place through the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS), a meeting of government officials within the framework of CIDI. At the technical level, this occurs in the Inter-Agency Task Force, a group of representatives of technical cooperation agencies such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, UN programs, and U.S. and Canadian aid and environmental agencies. The OAS Secretariat's Unit for Sustainable Development and the Environment has a website at http://www.oas.org/usde; the Unit for Science and Technology has one at http://www.redhucyt.oas.org/ocyt.

The OAS Secretariat, working with member states and with a wide variety of civil society organizations from throughout the hemisphere developed the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-making for Sustainable Development in response to an initiative from the Bolivia summit. This strategy, approved in April 2000, lays out recommendations and examples of ways for governments to consult with civil society on key development efforts. It is based on 3 years of pilot projects, studies and consultation throughout the hemisphere. Other Bolivia Summit initiatives the OAS is helping to implement include the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) and the Inter-American Forum on Environmental Law (FIDA). IABIN brings together government experts and representatives from civil society and nongovernmental organizations to share electronically species population data and to cooperate in specific projects. FIDA, a network on environmental law and enforcement, will focus initially on studies and information exchange on legal aspects of water policy and of trade, investment, and the environment.

The 1999 OAS General Assembly created a committee on civil society participation to develop mechanisms to accredit representatives from civil society and non-governmental organizations in OAS activities. The committee completed a set of guidelines, which the Permanent Council approved in December 1999. The OAS has a long history of cooperation with civil society organizations, which has been enhanced by the Summit of the Americas consultative process. Non-governmental organizations have made significant contributions to the work of the IACHR, the Sustainable Development and Environment Unit, the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, and CIDI. The new OAS civil society guidelines are designed to complement, but not modify the rules governing CIDI, its inter-American committees, and other inter-American specialized conferences and organizations. The guidelines establish an accreditation process similar to that used within the UN system.

The OAS trade unit, in cooperation with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), provides technical support to the negotiating groups created by the Miami Summit process to deal with issues involved in the creation of a Free Trade Area in the Americas (FTAA). The trade unit also has sponsored training courses on trade issues for officials from Latin American and Caribbean countries, held at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The OAS' highly regarded trade information service, known as SICE, provides trade data and information on trade agreements, investment treaties and national regulations, as well as business directories and other sources of contacts, in a data bank at http://www.sice.oas.org. SICE also manages the FTAA website at http://www.ftaa-alca.org, in addition to the FTAA's Secure Document Distribution Service.

The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), which has active private sector participation, provides an impartial forum for resolving issues of keen commercial interest, such as coordination of standards and radio frequency spectrum use. In response to a Santiago Summit mandate, CITEL is developing best practices guidelines for universal service and interconnection and working to reduce standards-based trade barriers. One particularly important CITEL accomplishment was the endorsement in October 1999 of the Inter-American Mutual Recognition Agreement for the Assessment of Conformity of Telecommunications Equipment, also a Santiago Summit initiative. CITEL is a semiautonomous entity that reports to the OAS General Assembly through the Permanent Council. CITEL's website is http://www.citel.oas.org.


ORGANIZATION

The General Secretariat is the permanent and central organ of the OAS, executing programs and policies decided upon by the General Assembly and the two councils. Directed by the Secretary General, it occupies a key position within the inter-American system and serves the entire organization and all member states. The Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General are elected by the General Assembly for 5-year terms. They can be reelected once and cannot be succeeded by a person of the same nationality.

Senior secretariat officials appointed by the Secretary General include the assistant secretaries for legal affairs and management, the director general of the development agency (IACD), the executive secretaries of the commission of women (CIM) and the drug abuse control commission (CICAD), the directors of various units, including trade and promotion of democracy, and the executive director of the human rights commission. Secretariat personnel conduct the activities of all the OAS units and serve as the staff for the commissions, councils, and other bodies.

The staff of the General Secretariat is composed of personnel chosen mainly from the member states, with consideration given to geographic representation. Staff members, numbering about 550, are considered international civil servants. The OAS Secretariat also maintains a small office in many member states.

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the OAS. It holds a regular session each year, either in one of the member states or at headquarters in Washington, DC. In special circumstances, and with the approval of two-thirds of the member states, the Permanent Council can convoke a special session of the General Assembly. Delegations are usually headed by foreign ministers.

In addition to deliberating on current issues, the General Assembly approves the program-budget; sets the bases for fixing member-state quota assessments; establishes measures for coordinating the activities of the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS; and determines the general standards that govern the operation of the General Secretariat. General Assembly decisions usually take the form of resolutions, which must be approved by a majority of all members (two-thirds for agenda, budget, and certain other questions).

A consultation meeting of foreign ministers can be called by any member state, either "to consider problems of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States" (as stated in the OAS Charter) or to serve as an organ of consultation in cases of armed attack or other threats to international peace and security (per the Rio Treaty). In either case, the request must be directed to the Permanent Council of the OAS, which decides by absolute majority vote if the meeting is to be called.

In cases between member states, the affected parties are excluded from voting. Should an armed attack take place within the territory of an American state or within the Western Hemisphere security zone defined by the Rio Treaty, a meeting of consultation is held without delay. Until the ministers of foreign affairs can assemble, the Permanent Council is empowered to act as a provisional organ of consultation and make decisions.

The Permanent Council, composed of ambassadors representing each member state, usually meets every 2 weeks throughout the year in Washington, DC. The council, its standing committees, and special working groups conduct the day-to-day business of the OAS, which involves implementing mandates from the General Assemblies, designing and assessing activities to promote democracy and strengthen human rights, considering requests from members, debating and approving resolutions on current issues, and dealing with reports from subsidiary organs.

In an emergency, a special session of the council can be called immediately by its chairman or at the request of any member. The chair rotates every 3 months, in alphabetical order. Unlike the UN Security Council, no member can exercise a veto in the Permanent Council. OAS members place great importance on obtaining consensus before decisions are made. The Permanent Council also serves provisionally as the organ of consultation (for meetings of foreign ministers) and every year acts as the preparatory committee for the General Assembly.

The Inter-American Council for Integral Development meets annually at the ministerial level; its subsidiary entities meet more frequently. CIDI also convokes ministerial-level sectoral meetings in areas such as labor and education to consider specialized issues in the priority areas of the Strategic Plan.


SPECIALIZED ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER ENTITIES

Much important inter-American business is conducted by separate entities, some of which are independent, some fully or partially funded by the OAS, and others consisting simply of periodic hemispheric meetings which receive support from the OAS Secretariat. Subjects covered include agriculture, labor, copyrights, private international law, highways, ports and harbors, railways, telecommunications, health and sanitation, statistics, travel, child welfare, women's issues, Indian affairs, and tourism. The conferences are attended by high-level officials and technical experts to further inter-American cooperation in these fields.

The Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN) , founded in 1927 and headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, is concerned with the problems of minors and families, including trafficking, child labor, commercial sexual exploitation, international abduction of minors by one of their parents, and war-affected children. It serves as a center for social action and programs in the fields of health, education, social legislation, legislation on adoptions, social service, and statistics. IIN has contributed extensively to international jurisprudence in the field of family law; the most recent example of this work is model legislation on international adoption. IIN's website is http://www.iin.org.uy.

The Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) , established in 1928, was the first international organization focusing on women's issues. It works to extend the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of women in the hemisphere. Now concerned with women's integration into development and decision-making processes, domestic violence, trafficking in persons, and women's human rights, CIM research and seminars have focused on women and politics, women and employment, and violence against women. The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) was drafted under the auspices of the CIM. It was opened for signature at the OAS General Assembly in 1994 and has been signed by 31 OAS members. In April 2000, the CIM ministerial approved the Inter-American Program on the Promotion of Women's Human Rights and Gender Equity and Equality. CIM's website is http://www.oas.org/CIM/default.htm.

The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) was created in 1942 to plan and coordinate collective hemispheric defense. In 1993, it arranged for training by the U.S. Department of Defense of a team of 15 demining instructors from Latin American nations, who, in turn, instructed members of the Nicaraguan military on techniques for removing thousands of land mines left in the countryside as a result of civil conflict during the 1980's. The IADB demining programs were extended to Honduras and Costa Rica in 1995 and 1996; demining began in Guatemala in 1997. The IADB's website is http://www.jid.org.

The Inter-American Defense College (IADC) , supervised by the IADB, enhances military professionalism and promotes regional military cooperation. The college usually trains about 60 students per year, most of whom are field-grade officers, who attain leadership positions in their respective services.

Other entities in the inter-American system are financed outside the OAS budget. Except for the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), which relies heavily on private sector contributions and a small subsidy from the OAS, and the IDB, which has significant financial support from non-hemispheric members, the U.S. quota assessment for these entities is, as for the OAS itself, roughly 59%.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) , the first of the regional development banks, was established in 1959 to provide lending attuned to the development needs of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to nations of the hemisphere, 15 European nations plus Japan and Israel are now members, but only Latin American and Caribbean members are eligible borrowers. The IDB's ordinary capital window provides development funds at market-related terms, while its Fund for Special Operations offers financing at concessional terms for projects in countries classified as economically less developed. The bank's website is http://www.iadb.org.

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) , founded in 1942 and headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, assists member states in promoting agricultural health and food safety, strengthening national agricultural institutional systems, and building trade capacity in agricultural commodities.

IICA supports efforts to increase agricultural productivity, employment opportunities in rural sectors, and rural participation in development activities. IICA also has an excellent record in preventing the spread of threatening animal and plant diseases and in helping members develop sustainable methods of food production. Policy direction comes from ministers of agriculture in each member country, who form the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA). IICA's website is http://www.iica.int.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) , created in 1902, has served as the Western Hemisphere arm of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) since 1948. It coordinates hemispheric efforts to combat disease and promote physical and mental health. It has contributed significantly to eradicating communicable diseases and promoting improved sanitation and health conditions. PAHO's website is http://www.paho.org.

The Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH) , headquartered in Mexico City, encourages the coordination, standardization, and publication of regional geographic, historical, cartographic, and geophysical studies. Member countries receive information and technical assistance for the sustainable development of their natural resources. PAIGH also assists member countries in identifying risks posed by natural disasters and has provided technical expertise to assist in mapping disputed borders between member countries.

Established in 1928, PAIGH preserves and documents historical data through research and publication. It also facilitates cooperative relationships between U.S. agencies and other countries in such vital areas as aviation safety and natural disaster mitigation. PAIGH's website is http://www.ipgh.org.mx.

The Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII) , created by the Patzcuaro Convention in 1940 and headquartered in Mexico City, initiates, coordinates, and directs research to promote better understanding of the health, education, and economic and social problems of Indian populations. It provides a forum for government representatives to discuss approaches to address the many challenges facing indigenous communities in the Americas. The U.S. withdrew from the IAII in December 2000.

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is a quasi-public international organization that, although created by the OAS in 1962, receives more than half its financial support from U.S. corporations and other private sources. Intended to serve as a social service partner for corporations operating in Latin American and the Caribbean, PADF has channeled more than $100 million into development projects that mobilize private sector support in recipient countries. It also coordinates disaster relief. The PADF qualifies for charitable donations under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).


U.S. ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT THE SPECIAL SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

November 1, 2005

At the Fourth Summit of the Americas, President Bush joined the other 33 democratically elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere in addressing common 21st Century challenges. In particular, the leaders focused on:

  • Creating decent job opportunities, especially for the region's poor;
  • Creating conditions to achieve sustained economic growth through greater trade and development;
  • Fighting poverty; and
  • Strengthening democratic governance and institutions.

The President encouraged his fellow leaders to make the strategic leap from commitment to achievement, and emphasized that words must lead to tangible results.

President Bush and the United States will continue to lead and work for greater prosperity, security, and opportunity for the people of this hemisphere. At the Summit the President specifically raised the following programs for the hemisphere:

Infrastructure Facility Of The Americas:

President Bush made available funds to launch a new institution to assess infrastructure project proposals from private and public sponsors. The Facility will promote high-return, job-creating projects by providing assessments and advice on: (1) engineering feasibility; (2) economic feasibility; (3) financial structure; and (4) public concession tendering, legal matters, and implementation.

United States and Uruguay Sign Bilateral Investment Treaty:

The agreement demonstrates U.S. commitment to create new economic opportunities together with those countries in the hemisphere that are willing to help themselves by implementing sound economic policies. The United States is Uruguay's largest trading partner, and the stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Uruguay was $533 million in 2004.

Central American and Caribbean Fund:

The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will invite proposals from qualified private sector fund managers to organize a Central America and Caribbean Fund that could reach $135 million. The Fund will invest predominately in companies operating in the following countries: Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Opportunity Zones:

President Bush urged Heads of State to join him in developing Opportunity Zones in five to be identified countries. These programs through public and private cooperatives, encourage new business ownership opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged citizens.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Reform:

The President called for the shareholders of the IDB to implement measures that will better employ the bank's assets, encourage accountability and performance, and address the debt sustainability of the poorest countries in the region, including through grants and debt relief.

Private Sector Disaster Relief:

The President announced that three distinguished private sector leaders—Steven S Reinemund, Robert W. Lane and Maria Elena Lagomasino—have agreed to launch a nationwide effort to encourage private donations for relief and reconstruction in response to the three recent hurricanes that struck Central America.

Protecting Children:

President Bush announced strong American support for a significantly expanded effort over the next four years in Latin America and the Caribbean to remove children from exploitative work and provide them with educational opportunities. In support of the above goals, the United States Department of Labor has committed $16 million to continue and expand our fight against the worst forms of child labor in the Americas.

Commerce, Industry And Economy Ministerial On Competitiveness:

President Bush recommended that the OAS convene the first ever joint Commerce, Industry and Economy Ministerial to bring high-level officials together to focus on competitiveness. This unprecedented meeting will identify concrete actions that governments may take alone, or in concert, to enhance the region's ability to compete more successfully in the global marketplace.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/oas-1

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/oas-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

OAS

OAS

Last Updated: March 2007

Official Name:
Organization of American States

Editor’s Note: The information for this article is reprinted from the OAS Fact Sheet 2005 available through the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Additional information available in 2006 has been added by the editor where applicable.

PROFILE

HISTORY

U.S. POLICY TOWARD THE OAS

STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY

FIGHTING TERRORISM

HEMISPHERIC SECURITY

HUMAN RIGHTS: THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION

FIGHTING CORRUPTION

COMBATING DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING

PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FREE TRADE

ORGANIZATION

SPECIALIZED ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER ENTITIES

U.S. ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT THE SPECIAL SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS : November 1, 2005

PROFILE

Established: April 14, 1890, as the International Union of American Republics. Became the Pan American Union in 1910, then the Organization of American States in 1948 with the adoption of the OAS Charter in Bogota, Colombia.

Purposes: To strengthen peace and security in the hemisphere; promote representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; and promote economic, social, and cultural development.

Members: 35—Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

*Cuba is a member, although its present government has been excluded from participation since 1962 for incompatibility with the principles of the inter-American nsystem.

Permanent observers: 60—Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Yemen.

Official languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Principal organs: General Assembly, Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers, Permanent Council, Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the General Secretariat.

Specialized organizations: Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN), Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII), Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Other entities: Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD), Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), Justice Studies Center, Inter-American Juridical Committee (IAJC), Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), Inter-American Defense College (IADC), Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

Budget (2002): Regular fund (operations): $76.0 million, financed mainly by assessed contributions from all members. The U.S. share is 59%. Voluntary funds: $8.4 million, financed by contributions from all member states (the U.S. provided $5.5 million). Specific funds: $52 million, contributed by some member states (the U.S. provided $25 million), some permanent observers, international financial institutions, and development agencies.

HISTORY

The Organization of American States, the oldest regional international organization in the world, traces its origins to the Congress of Panama, convoked by Simon Bolivar in 1826 and attended by representatives from Central and South America. That congress drafted the Treaty of Perpetual Union, League and Confederation, signed by the delegates but ratified only by Gran Colombia (today’s Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela).

Hemispheric countries continued the discussion of an inter-American system during the rest of the 19th century. The first concrete step was taken in 1889, when the First International Conference of American States convened in Washington, DC. On April 14, 1890, delegates created the International Union of American Republics “for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial information.” They also established the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics in Washington as the Union’s secretariat, with the participation of 18 Western Hemisphere nations, including the United States. In 1910, the Commercial Bureau became the Pan American Union, and American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $5 million to construct a permanent headquarters in Washington, DC, which is today the OAS building.

The experience of World War II convinced hemispheric governments that unilateral action could not ensure the territorial integrity of the American nations in the event of extra-continental aggression. To meet the challenges of global conflict in the postwar world and to contain conflicts within the hemisphere, they adopted a system of collective security, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) signed in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro.

The OAS Charter was adopted at the Ninth International Conference of American States in Bogota, Colombia in 1948. It reaffirmed the fundamental rights and duties of states, proclaimed the goals of the new organization, and established its organs and agencies. That conference also approved the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement (Pact of Bogota) and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The OAS Charter proclaims the organization to be a regional agency within the UN system.

The basic objectives of the OAS, as laid out in its Charter, are to strengthen peace and security; promote the effective exercise of representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; seek solutions to political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise; promote, by cooperative action, economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural development; and limit conventional weapons so as to devote greater resources to economic and social development.

Concern over slow economic development led the United States and 19 other OAS members to establish the Inter-American Development Bank in 1959. This reflected concern that the World Bank, which included Latin American countries in its list of eligible borrowers, was preoccupied with infrastructure and not sufficiently attuned to the need for “social” lending as well as industrial and agricultural aid. In 1960, the OAS adopted the Act of Bogota, which called for a hemisphere-wide commitment to economic and social development. This set the stage for OAS support for the Alliance for Progress.

The 1948 OAS Charter has been amended four times: by the 1967 Protocol of Buenos Aires, which went into effect in February 1970; by the 1985 Protocol of Cartagena, which took effect in November 1988; by the 1993 Protocol of Managua, which took effect in March 1996; and by the 1992 Protocol of Washington, which took effect in September 1997.

The Buenos Aires Protocol created the annual General Assembly and gave equal status to the Permanent Council; the Economic and Social Council; and the Council for Education, Science, and Culture. The Cart-agena Amendments strengthened the role of the Secretary General; provided procedures to facilitate peaceful settlement of disputes; removed obstacles, involving border disputes, to the entry of Belize and Guyana; and called for strengthening economic and social development by taking measures to increase trade, enhance international financial cooperation, diversify exports, and promote export opportunities.

The Managua Protocol created the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) to replace the Economic and Social Council and the Council for Education, Science, and Culture. The key objectives of CIDI are to serve as a forum for technical policy level discussions on matters related to development, to be a catalyst and promoter of development activities in response to mandates from the Summits of the Americas, and to strengthen a hemispheric partnership among OAS countries to promote cooperation for development and to help eliminate extreme poverty in the hemisphere.

Ratification of the Washington Protocol made the OAS the first regional political organization to permit suspension of a member whose democratically constituted government is overthrown by force. This protocol also amended the Charter to include the eradication of extreme poverty as one of the organization’s essential purposes.

The OAS helps preserve democracy by mobilizing the hemisphere in the face of threats to democratic rule. It acted under the mandate of General Assembly Resolution 1080 (1991) to support democracy in Haiti, Peru, Guatemala, and Paraguay. It also provides development and other assistance designed to strengthen democratic institutions, observe elections, promote human rights, increase trade, fight drugs, and protect the environment.

On September 11, 2001, the OAS adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter, designed to strengthen and preserve representative democracy in the hemisphere, which prescribes steps to be taken in the event of an unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order or the unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order of a member state. In April 2002, the OAS took action under the Inter-American Democratic Charter to support democracy in Venezuela, which continued through May 2003.

The OAS was the first international organization to condemn the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. In 2001-02, as a hemispheric response against terrorism, OAS members successfully negotiated the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, which was opened for signature at the June 2002 OAS General Assembly. It entered into force on July 9, 2003, and provides for increased law enforcement cooperation against terrorism.

In recent years, OAS member states have successfully negotiated major international agreements to curb hemispheric arms trafficking, provide for transparency in conventional weapons acquisition, combat corruption, fight narcotics and money laundering, and define fair telecommunications standards. OAS contributions in the fields of international law, juridical cooperation, and facilitation of regional trade have been substantial and have provided the basis for effective observance of a host of regional treaties concluded since 1889. Information on treaties and other inter-American legal issues is available from the Secretariat of Legal Affairs at the OAS website at http://www.oas.org.

The OAS is implementing important portions of the Action Plans from the Summits of the Americas held in Miami (1994); Santiago, Chile (1998); Quebec City, Canada (2001); and Monterrey, Mexico (2004). The Santiago Summit assigned the OAS Secretariat responsibility for maintaining records and serving as the institutional memory of the summit process. Argentina will host the Fourth Summit of the Americas in November 2005. The OAS Secretariat’s website is http://www.summit-americas.org.

U.S. POLICY TOWARD THE OAS

The United States is committed to strengthening and working with the OAS. This reflects the U.S. Govern-ment’s determination to make optimal use of multilateral diplomacy to resolve regional problems and to engage its neighbors on topics of hemispheric concern. As President George W. Bush said in a speech at the OAS on April 17, 2001:

“The OAS has an important role to play in these common goals. In lands where liberty is threatened by corruption, drugs and human rights abuses, the OAS is helping combat these destructive forces. Along borders where tensions run high, the OAS helps build confidence and avoid crises. And in lands where freedom’s hold is fragile, the OAS is there to strengthen it.”

The OAS is the premier multilateral forum for dealing with political issues in the Western Hemisphere. Participation in the organization enables the United States to rally international support for key U.S. political objectives. In addition to its work to strengthen and promote democracy and respect for human rights, the OAS provides valuable support on two highly important issues: trade and drugs. The OAS has refocused its trade efforts to promote free trade and economic integration. Its Trade Unit and the Foreign Trade Information System (SICE) provide valuable technical support to the working groups dealing with the creation of a hemispheric free trade area, to which OAS governments committed themselves at the Summits of the Americas.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter is the focal point of OAS efforts to maintain, support, strengthen, and defend democracy in the Western Hemisphere. As Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the OAS General Assembly on June 9, 2003: “The Inter-American Democratic Charter we adopted nearly 2 years ago in Lima is the purest expression of our common conviction that democracy is the only legitimate form of government and that our people deserve nothing less.”

The OAS has successfully reformed its operations to be more effective, both by significant staff cuts and position level realignments and by restructuring the Secretariat to deal with the hemisphere’s new priorities. The OAS has decreased its staff by 20% since 1995 and maintained a no-growth budget for 7 consecutive years. Despite these constraints, the OAS has augmented programs supporting priority interests of the hemisphere, such as democracy, human rights, trade, and the environment, by reducing or eliminating programs of lower priority. More reforms are envisioned in the areas of personnel evaluation, budgetary priorities, financial management, and conference capabilities.

OAS and U.S. Officials

Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza (Chile), assumed charge May 26, 2005.

Address:
Organization of American States
17th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
(tel. 202-458-3000)
website: http://www.oas.org

U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador John F. Maisto, sworn in July 31, 2003.

Address:
U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS
WHA/USOAS, Rm. 5914
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
(tel. 202-647-9376)

STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY

The promotion of peace and democracy are core OAS concerns. The OAS Unit for Promotion of Democracy (UPD) is entirely dedicated to building, strengthening, and preserving democracy. Charter amendments, the new Inter-American Democratic Charter, and Resolution 1080 also enable the OAS to help preserve democracy by mobilizing the hemisphere in the face of threats to democratic rule in a member state.

The 1991 OAS General Assembly created an unprecedented automatic mechanism, known as Resolution 1080, to deter illegal action against democratically elected governments. This resolution requires the Secretary General to convene the Permanent Council and then hemispheric foreign ministers within 10 days after a coup or other interruption of a legitimate, elected government. Resolution 1080 has been used four times: following the coup in Haiti in 1991, the “auto-coups” in Peru in 1992 and Guatemala in 1993, and the threat to the Government of Paraguay in 1996.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter defines the essential elements of representative democracy in very specific terms, including: respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; holding free and fair elections; a pluralistic system of political parties and organizations; separation of powers; independence of the branches of government; freedom of expression and of the press; and constitutional subordination of all state institutions to the legally constituted civilian authority.

In the event that one of the OAS members should fail to uphold the essential elements of democratic life, the document allows any member state or the Secretary General to trigger a response by the OAS, calling for the immediate convocation of the Permanent Council to consider the facts, deploy diplomatic efforts, or use other political mediation. If there is a clear interruption of democratic order, or if an undemocratic alteration is not remedied, the document calls for a General Assembly that may, among other things, suspend the offending government from the inter-American system, which requires a two-thirds vote of the member states.

The first formal use of the Inter-American Democratic Charter occurred in April 2002, when Secretary General Gaviria invoked Article 20 of the Charter to convoke the Permanent Council to perform a collective assessment of the situation in Venezuela, The Permanent Council condemned the alteration of constitutional order and convened a special session of the General Assembly under the Democratic Charter on April 18, 2002.

At that meeting, OAS foreign ministers agreed upon a resolution using the provisions of the Democratic Charter for the purpose of reinforcing democratic institutions in Venezuela. It calls upon the Venezuelan government to respect the essential elements of representative democracy and the rule of law while redoubling its efforts toward national dialogue and national reconciliation. The resolution focuses a regional spotlight on the state of Venezuela’s democratic institutions and procedures, while pledging the OAS’s continued attention and support. The OAS Secretary General formed a Group of Friends (Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, and the United States) to assist him in dealing with the Venezuelan government and the opposition Democratic Coordinating Committee (CD). On May 29, the Government and the CD signed the OAS dialogue table agreement, setting the framework for a recall referendum as allowed by the Venezuelan constitution, and replacing the dialogue table with a “permanent liaison” mechanism.

In recent years, the existence of Resolution 1080 and the Washington Protocol (that permits suspension of a member whose democratically elected government is overthrown by force) has enabled the OAS to bring hemispheric pressure to bear in situations where democratic governments were threatened, and the OAS successfully encouraged constitutional solutions in a number of problematic circumstances.

The OAS intervened quickly after indications of potential coups or other challenges to democracy in several Latin American countries, by dispatching Secretary General Gaviria and passing strong resolutions in the Permanent Council. The new Inter-American Democratic Charter provides the OAS with a “toolbox” of preventive and remedial measures that it can use to reinforce democratic institutions throughout the Hemisphere.

In Peru, President Fujimori’s April 5, 1992, announcement of extra-constitutional measures led to the second use of Resolution 1080. The OAS Permanent Council called for the immediate “reinstatement of democratic institutions and respect for human rights under the rule of law.” The hemisphere’s foreign ministers met on April 13, called for the reestablishment of democratic institutional order in Peru, and asked the Secretary General to head a small mission of foreign ministers to Peru to bring about a dialogue between the government and other political forces.

In May 1992, President Fujimori attended the OAS foreign ministers’ meeting on Peru, held in the Bahamas, where he undertook to call elections for a constituent congress to exercise legislative powers and to draft a new constitution. The OAS sent over 200 observers to monitor those elections, held November 22, 1992, as well as a small team for the municipal elections on January 29, 1993. OAS foreign ministers closed their meeting on Peru in December 1992, in view of expected continued OAS assistance to modernize electoral procedures in Peru.

Following the flawed April 2000 elections in Peru, the OAS General Assembly took action in response to the political crisis in that country. OAS election monitoring mission head Eduardo Stein reported that the elections had not been carried out in accordance with international standards. In June, the OAS foreign ministers concluded that “the credibility of both the process and the outcome of those elections has been undermined by persisting reports of irregularities” and agreed to send OAS Secretary General Gaviria and Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy to Peru to establish a dialogue on reforming the country’s democratic institutions.

The OAS mission met with government officials, members of the opposition, and civil society representatives in late June and developed 29 recommendations intended to craft a road-map for national reform and the restoration of fair electoral procedures, the judiciary, and a free press.

President Fujimori first agreed to hold new elections and later resigned. The momentum established by the OAS dialogue helped open the way to new elections and a return to democracy. Free and fair elections were held in April and June 2001, and the OAS provided expertise to the national electoral authorities and sent observation groups to monitor the elections.

The OAS is one of the leading organizations in the hemisphere in election observation. Representing a multilateral organization, OAS observers are often able to establish closer relationships with and gain greater access to political and electoral institutions than other observer groups. The OAS, in addition, has the institutional capacity to organize larger electoral missions and keep observers on the ground longer than other organizations.

The 1990 Nicaraguan elections were the first observed by the OAS in a systematic way. OAS monitoring of that election helped increase confidence in the process and encouraged all parties to accept the final results. While the OAS, at the request of the host government concerned, had previously sent small teams of elections observers throughout the hemisphere, the magnitude and scope of the mission in Nicaragua—more than 433 observers and an OAS presence 6 months before the elections and for weeks afterward—pointed to a need to institutionalize OAS support for democracy.

In 2003, the OAS sent electoral observation missions to Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala, and Venezuela. These missions, comprised of experienced observers from many countries and equipped with the ability to conduct “quick counts” on Election Day, render impartial judgments widely accepted by voters and governments throughout the hemisphere.

The OAS established the Unit for Promotion of Democracy (UPD) in 1990. In addition to overseeing the organization’s electoral missions, the UPD also administers small country programs to improve democratic institutions and processes in response to requests from more than a dozen member states. These programs seek to improve democratic governance, for example, by facilitating the dissemination and exchange of knowledge about democratic values and political systems and the exchange of experiences among institutions and experts on themes related to the promotion of democracy. The UPD provides advice and assistance in modernizing or reforming electoral laws, civil registries, administrations, and processes. The UPD also develops and manages peace-building programs and provides support to societies in post-conflict situations. It supports programs of humanitarian demining in Central America and the Andean region and provides special advisory services and support to recently installed governments. The UPD’s website is http://www.oas.org/upd.

Another means of strengthening democracy is the Justice Studies Center of the Americas, established by the November 1999 Special General Assembly. This center fulfills an important goal of the 1998 Santiago Summit and is the result of close consultations among Ministers of Justice, Attorneys General, and others interested in this initiative. The Center is located in Chile, and its primary task is to promote reform in the justice sector throughout the hemisphere, focusing in the first stage on criminal justice issues.

FIGHTING TERRORISM

OAS Foreign Ministers were meeting in Lima, Peru, on September 11, 2001, to adopt and sign the new Inter-American Democratic Charter. Their response to the terrorist attacks was an immediate condemnation and a focus on a united hemispheric response. They met again in Washington, DC. On September 21, 2001, to approve a resolution calling on member states to take effective measures to combat terrorism. At Brazil’s initiative, the 22 signatories of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, known as the Rio Treaty, met and declared that an attack against one member is an attack against all and committed themselves to providing mutual assistance in the war against terrorism. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the assembled ministers: “We, the united democracies of the Western Hemisphere, join the world in the global campaign against terrorism. We have pledged to deny terrorists and their networks the ability to operate within our territories. We have resolved to hold to account all those responsible for aiding, financing, and otherwise supporting and harboring terrorists.”

The Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), reinvigo-rated in the wake of the September 11 attacks, met in Washington, DC on January 28-29, 2002, where Attorney General John Ashcroft headed the U.S. delegation. Delegates approved a work plan for CICTE to coordinate steps to prevent and combat terrorism in the hemisphere and action plans on border controls and control of financial flows. CICTE is chaired by Uruguay and is staffed by personnel provided by member countries; funding is provided by contributions from member states and permanent observers. A small CICTE secretariat was created in January 2002 and includes personnel seconded from Uruguay, Mexico, and the U.S.

OAS members began negotiation of the text of the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism in November 2001, and a text was agreed upon in March 2002. Opened for signature in June 2002, the OAS convention entered into force on July 9, 2003, 30 days after the sixth signa-tory deposited its instrument of ratification. It is presently before the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. The OAS convention enhances hemispheric security by improving regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism, by denying safe haven to terrorists, and by facilitating the exchange of information, technical assistance, and training in a wide number of complex areas, including the prevention and eradication of terrorist financing, the improvement of border and customs controls, and the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist acts.

HEMISPHERIC SECURITY

In 1991, the 21st OAS General Assembly began examining security issues ranging from proliferation and arms transfers to “cooperation for hemispheric security.” In 1995 the 25th General Assembly instructed the Permanent Council to establish the Committee on Hemispheric Security, which created the region’s first permanent forum for the consideration of arms control, defense, non-proliferation, and security issues. The Committee on Hemispheric Security is composed of 34 member states and has a chairman and 3 vice-chairs that are elected for a 12-month period.

Since 1991, the OAS has built an impressive record of achievement in the development of confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs). These security accomplishments include: the March 1994 Buenos Aires governmental experts’ meeting on CSBMs (the first regional dialogue on CSBMs); the November 10, 1995, “Declaration of Santiago on Confidence and Security Building Measures;” the February 1998 “Declaration of San Salvador;” the “2003 Miami Declaration on Confidence and Security Building Measures,” a regional roster of CSBMs Experts; the world’s first Register of Antipersonnel Landmines (APL); and two path breaking conventions: the 1999 Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisition, which entered into force in November 2002, and the 1998 Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials. In 2002-03, OAS member states undertook a comprehensive review of the hemispheric security architecture, culminating in a Special Conference on Security that took place in Mexico in October 2003. The Declaration on Security in the Americas provides a practical guide for resolving interstate border tensions, lowering pressure for arms spending, promoting democratic norms, and fostering a climate of confidence, trust, transparency, and cooperation in our Hemisphere.

In addition, the OAS has been active in preventive diplomacy. For example, from 1999 to 2003, the OAS, with technical support from PAIGH, has provided cartographers, facilitators, conciliators, offered its good offices, and brokered agreements to resolve disputes between Belize and Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and El Salvador and Honduras.

The OAS has been involved in many conflict resolution and national reconciliation activities, such as disarmament and demobilization in Colombia.

HUMAN RIGHTS: THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION

Located in Washington, DC, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is distinguished from other multilateral organizations’ human rights entities by its political autonomy. Its seven commission members are elected in their own right, not as representatives of governments. IACHR autonomy is further enhanced by its prerogative to initiate human rights investigations without the approval of the Secretary General or the Permanent Council. In response to a Santiago Summit initiative, in 1998 the IACHR established a Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, with a mandate to support and promote freedom of the press.

Human rights in the inter-American system are based on the 1948 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights. The United States signed the American Convention on Human Rights in 1977, but has not yet ratified it.

The IACHR and Inter-American Court of Human Rights—located in San Jose, Costa Rica—give the OAS an active and, at times, forceful role in promoting and protecting human rights. Through private persuasion and published reports on human rights infringements, the IACHR has been instrumental in improving OAS members’ human rights practices and has helped to resolve conflicts. The IACHR’s annual report has chapters on human rights problems in general, details regarding individual cases, and country status reports. The IACHR also publishes special reports, which have been effective in challenging abuses in specific countries. From 1990-94, special on-site reports on Haiti kept the international spotlight focused on the dire human rights situation there and were praised by local and international organizations. The IACHR played a key role in the 1989 release of almost 2,000 political prisoners held by the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. In 1999, on the 30th anniversary of the American Declaration, the OAS and member states began an evaluation of the inter-American human rights system to determine how best to further strengthen it.

Presently the IACHR’s membership is: Chairman: Jose Zalaquett (Chile); First Vice-Chair: Clare Kamau Roberts (Antigua & Barbuda); First Vice-Chair: Susana Villaran (Peru); Evelio Fernandez Arevalos (Paraguay); Paulo Sergio Pinheiro (Brazil); Freddy Gutierrez Trejo (Venezuela); and Florentin Melendez (El Salvador). The IACHR’s website is http://www.oas.org/cidh.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION

The 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas plan of action charged the OAS with finding a hemispheric approach to fight corruption. The Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, negotiated under OAS auspices during 1995-96, is the world’s first comprehensive multilateral anticorruption agreement. The Convention entered into force on March 6, 1997, when Paraguay and Bolivia became the first countries to deposit their instruments of ratification. A total of 29 countries, including the United States, have now ratified or acceded to the Convention. The Convention provides for institutional development and enforcement of anticorruption measures by fostering mutual legal assistance, technical cooperation, extradition, and seizure of assets. The OAS Permanent Council’s Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs has a Probity and Ethics Working Group that focuses on promoting effective implementation of the Convention.

The OAS Department of Legal Affairs carries out activities, including workshops funded by the U.S., to assist member states in developing the preventive measures provided for in the Convention. Government experts met to develop a monitoring mechanism for the Convention; in May 2002, the Committee of Experts approved a questionnaire and the timetable for the first round of evaluations of country performance under the Convention. In 2003, the Follow-up Mechanism to monitor implementation of the convention by the states parties to it began its first round of country reviews with publication of the first report on Argentina. Subsequent reports on Colombia, Nicaragua, and Paraguay are under preparation. Twenty-seven OAS Member States, including the U.S., are parties to the Follow-up Mechanism.

In September 2006, the Department of State announced a grant to the Organization of American States (OAS), in the amount of $1,042,750, to establish an Inter-American Anti-Corruption Fund to support OAS member states in fulfilling their commitments under the 1996 Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

The fund will assist member countries in implementing anti-corruption activities specified in the Country Report recommendations published by the Committee of Experts to the Follow-Up Mechanism of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESICIC).

The MESICIC is a major step in strengthening and improving cooperation in the fight against corruption at the hemispheric level. It follows up on commitments made by the States Parties to the Convention, facilitating technical and advisory cooperation activities, the exchange of information, experiences and best practices, and harmonization of legislation to promote honest governance, greater transparency, and accountability.

The fund will support initiatives, including developing national plans of action, that will have a practical impact in assisting countries interested in the development of comprehensive programs to combat corruption in their national territory.

COMBATING DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING

The OAS narcotics program was launched at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Traffic in Narcotic Drugs in April 1986—the first Western Hemisphere meeting to deal with all aspects of the drug problem. In accordance with the program of action adopted at that meeting, the OAS General Assembly in November 1986 created the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), which meets twice a year to direct the program and assess the drug situation in the hemisphere. Originally composed of 11 member governments, the commission has been expanded to 34 because of growing interest in the program and concern about the drug problem. The first projects were implemented in 1988. The program has identified five priority lines of action: development of domestic and international law, establishment of an inter-American drug information system, demand reduction, alternative development, and strengthening national drug commissions. CICAD’s website is http://www.cicad.oas.org.

In 1996, the OAS produced a counter-narcotics strategy that will guide collective actions in the 21st century, and in 1999, it established a multilateral evaluation mechanism (MEM), as mandated by the Santiago Summit of the Americas. Under the MEM, experts evaluate individual country submissions documenting efforts to combat drug abuse and trafficking; the first full round of evaluations was published in January 2003. The OAS also has produced internationally acclaimed model legislation on precursor chemicals and money laundering control.

PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FREE TRADE

The Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) was created in 1996 when the Protocol of Managua charter amendments entered into force. CIDI replaced the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (CIES) and the Inter-American Council for Education, Science, and Culture (CIECC). CIDI is responsible for coordinating OAS development and technical cooperation activities in a partnership intended to attract financial support from donor countries, international development institutions, and other sources. CIDI’s Permanent Executive Committee (CEPCIDI), the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS), the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology (COMCYT), the Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP), and other committees and ministerial-level meetings and their subgroups provide guidance and evaluation to the OAS secretariat on relevant policies, projects, and other activities. They also bring together technical and policymaking officials from the hemisphere to agree on joint priorities and initiatives.

On November 15, 1999, a Special General Assembly adopted the Statute of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD). Created as the result of a U.S. initiative, the IACD will maximize use of existing resources, improve the management and delivery of technical cooperation, and better position the OAS to attract additional external resources to finance technical cooperation. The IACD’s management board, composed of nine elected member states, provides operational guidance, while policy guidance comes from CIDI in both its annual and sectoral ministerial level meetings, from CIDI’s executive committee and subsidiary bodies. IACD’s statutes entered into force on January 1, 2000. On April 25, 2003, OAS member governments elected Argentina, Barbados, Canada, El Salvador, the United States, Grenada, Guatemala, Peru, and St. Lucia to the management board.

In April 2000, CIDI confirmed Ronald Scheman (U.S.) as the first Director General of IACD. Information about CIDI is available on its website at http://www.cidi.oas.org/cidi.asp.

CIDI’s Special Multilateral Fund, known by its Spanish acronym FEMCIDI, is composed of the voluntary contributions of the member states. While a member state is free to decide the level of its commitment, once a pledge is made to this fund, the country is legally obligated to pay the amount pledged, and a country is not allowed to request projects unless it has pledged by the deadline established.

The projects presented must receive a favorable evaluation (conducted by outside experts) in order to be considered for funding. Projects chosen to be funded are those that receive the highest evaluation scores within their individual sectoral accounts. Horizontal cooperation funds (provided by Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the U.S.) provide further assistance to lesser developed and smaller economies.

The OAS Scholarships and Training Program awards an average of 360 graduate fellowships each year. There also is a small undergraduate scholarship program, available only to students from Caribbean and Central American nations. A third program finances travel to training courses offered by member states. Although these scholarships have to date been financed by the OAS Regular Fund (assessed quota payments by member states), a Capital Fund for Scholarships and Training has been established to attract outside funding.

For 25 years, the OAS has helped member states incorporate environmental considerations into development projects. International development institutions have recognized the organization’s in-house expertise and leadership role, and a number of these institutions have undertaken cooperative initiatives with the OAS or contracted the organization to serve as an executing agency for their environmental projects. The biggest boost for the OAS’ environmental efforts came at the 1996 Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development, held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The Santa Cruz Declaration and Plan of Action gave the OAS a strong mandate to coordinate follow-up to those decisions. At the policy level, this takes place through the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS), a meeting of government officials within the framework of CIDI. At the technical level, this occurs in the Inter-Agency Task Force, a group of representatives of technical cooperation agencies such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, UN programs, and U.S. and Canadian aid and environmental agencies. The OAS Secretariat’s Unit for Sustainable Development and the Environment has a website at http://www.oas.org/usde; the Unit for Science and Technology has one at http://www.redhucyt.oas.org/ocyt.

The OAS Secretariat, working with member states and with a wide variety of civil society organizations from throughout the hemisphere developed the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-making for Sustainable Development in response to an initiative from the Bolivia summit. This strategy, approved in April 2000, lays out recommendations and examples of ways for governments to consult with civil society on key development efforts. It is based on 3 years of pilot projects, studies and consultation throughout the hemisphere. Other Bolivia Summit initiatives the OAS is helping to implement include the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) and the Inter-American Forum on Environmental Law (FIDA). IABIN brings together government experts and representatives from civil society and nongovernmental organizations to share electronically species population data and to cooperate in specific projects. FIDA, a network on environmental law and enforcement, will focus initially on studies and information exchange on legal aspects of water policy and of trade, investment, and the environment.

The 1999 OAS General Assembly created a committee on civil society participation to develop mechanisms to accredit representatives from civil society and non-governmental organizations in OAS activities. The committee completed a set of guidelines, which the Permanent Council approved in December 1999. The OAS has a long history of cooperation with civil society organizations, which has been enhanced by the Summit of the Americas consultative process. Non-governmental organizations have made significant contributions to the work of the IACHR, the Sustainable Development and Environment Unit, the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, and CIDI. The new OAS civil society guidelines are designed to complement, but not modify the rules governing CIDI, its inter-American committees, and other inter-American specialized conferences and organizations. The guidelines establish an accreditation process similar to that used within the UN system.

The OAS trade unit, in cooperation with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), provides technical support to the negotiating groups created by the Miami Summit process to deal with issues involved in the creation of a Free Trade Area in the Americas (FTAA). The trade unit also has sponsored training courses on trade issues for officials from Latin American and Caribbean countries, held at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The OAS’ highly regarded trade information service, known as SICE, provides trade data and information on trade agreements, investment treaties and national regulations, as well as business directories and other sources of contacts, in a data bank at http://www.sice.oas.org. SICE also manages the FTAA website at http://www.ftaa-alca.org, in addition to the FTAA’s Secure Document Distribution Service.

The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), which has active private sector participation, provides an impartial forum for resolving issues of keen commercial interest, such as coordination of standards and radio frequency spectrum use. In response to a Santiago Summit mandate, CITEL is developing best practices guidelines for universal service and interconnection and working to reduce standards-based trade barriers. One particularly important CITEL accomplishment was the endorsement in October 1999 of the Inter-American Mutual Recognition Agreement for the Assessment of Conformity of Telecommunications Equipment, also a Santiago Summit initiative. CITEL is a semiautonomous entity that reports to the OAS General Assembly through the Permanent Council. CITEL’s website is http://www.citel.oas.org.

ORGANIZATION

The General Secretariat is the permanent and central organ of the OAS, executing programs and policies decided upon by the General Assembly and the two councils. Directed by the Secretary General, it occupies a key position within the inter-American system and serves the entire organization and all member states. The Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General are elected by the General Assembly for 5-year terms. They can be reelected once and cannot be succeeded by a person of the same nationality.

Senior secretariat officials appointed by the Secretary General include the assistant secretaries for legal affairs and management, the director general of the development agency (IACD), the executive secretaries of the commission of women (CIM) and the drug abuse control commission (CICAD), the directors of various units, including trade and promotion of democracy, and the executive director of the human rights commission. Secretariat personnel conduct the activities of all the OAS units and serve as the staff for the commissions, councils, and other bodies.

The staff of the General Secretariat is composed of personnel chosen mainly from the member states, with consideration given to geographic representation. Staff members, numbering about 550, are considered international civil servants. The OAS Secretariat also maintains a small office in many member states.

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the OAS. It holds a regular session each year, either in one of the member states or at headquarters in Washington, DC. In special circumstances, and with the approval of two-thirds of the member states, the Permanent Council can convoke a special session of the General Assembly. Delegations are usually headed by foreign ministers.

In addition to deliberating on current issues, the General Assembly approves the program-budget; sets the bases for fixing member-state quota assessments; establishes measures for coordinating the activities of the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS; and determines the general standards that govern the operation of the General Secretariat. General Assembly decisions usually take the form of resolutions, which must be approved by a majority of all members (two-thirds for agenda, budget, and certain other questions).

A consultation meeting of foreign ministers can be called by any member state, either “to consider problems of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States” (as stated in the OAS Charter) or to serve as an organ of consultation in cases of armed attack or other threats to international peace and security (per the Rio Treaty). In either case, the request must be directed to the Permanent Council of the OAS, which decides by absolute majority vote if the meeting is to be called.

In cases between member states, the affected parties are excluded from voting. Should an armed attack take place within the territory of an American state or within the Western Hemisphere security zone defined by the Rio Treaty, a meeting of consultation is held without delay. Until the ministers of foreign affairs can assemble, the Permanent Council is empowered to act as a provisional organ of consultation and make decisions.

The Permanent Council, composed of ambassadors representing each member state, usually meets every 2 weeks throughout the year in Washington, DC. The council, its standing committees, and special working groups conduct the day-to-day business of the OAS, which involves implementing mandates from the General Assemblies, designing and assessing activities to promote democracy and strengthen human rights, considering requests from members, debating and approving resolutions on current issues, and dealing with reports from subsidiary organs.

In an emergency, a special session of the council can be called immediately by its chairman or at the request of any member. The chair rotates every 3 months, in alphabetical order. Unlike the UN Security Council, no member can exercise a veto in the Permanent Council. OAS members place great importance on obtaining consensus before decisions are made. The Permanent Council also serves provisionally as the organ of consultation (for meetings of foreign ministers) and every year acts as the preparatory committee for the General Assembly.

The Inter-American Council for Integral Development meets annually at the ministerial level; its subsidiary entities meet more frequently. CIDI also convokes ministerial-level sectoral meetings in areas such as labor and education to consider specialized issues in the priority areas of the Strategic Plan.

SPECIALIZED ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER ENTITIES

Much important inter-American business is conducted by separate entities, some of which are independent, some fully or partially funded by the OAS, and others consisting simply of periodic hemispheric meetings which receive support from the OAS Secretariat. Subjects covered include agriculture, labor, copyrights, private international law, highways, ports and harbors, railways, telecommunications, health and sanitation, statistics, travel, child welfare, women’s issues, Indian affairs, and tourism. The conferences are attended by high-level officials and technical experts to further inter-American cooperation in these fields.

The Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) , founded in 1927 and headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, is concerned with the problems of minors and families, including trafficking, child labor, commercial sexual exploitation, international abduction of minors by one of their parents, and war-affected children. It serves as a center for social action and programs in the fields of health, education, social legislation, legislation on adoptions, social service, and statistics. IIN has contributed extensively to international jurisprudence in the field of family law; the most recent example of this work is model legislation on international adoption. IIN’s website is http://www.iin.org.uy.

The Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) , established in 1928, was the first international organization focusing on women’s issues. It works to extend the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of women in the hemisphere. Now concerned with women’s integration into development and decision-making processes, domestic violence, trafficking in persons, and women’s human rights, CIM research and seminars have focused on women and politics, women and employment, and violence against women. The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) was drafted under the auspices of the CIM. It was opened for signature at the OAS General Assembly in 1994 and has been signed by 31 OAS members. In April 2000, the CIM ministerial approved the Inter-American Program on the Promotion of Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equity and Equality. CIM’s website is http://www.oas.org/CIM/default.htm.

The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) was created in 1942 to plan and coordinate collective hemispheric defense. In 1993, it arranged for training by the U.S. Department of Defense of a team of 15 demining instructors from Latin American nations, who, in turn, instructed members of the Nicaraguan military on techniques for removing thousands of land mines left in the countryside as a result of civil conflict during the 1980’s. The IADB demining programs were extended to Honduras and Costa Rica in 1995 and 1996; demining began in Guatemala in 1997. The IADB’s website is http://www.jid.org.

The Inter-American Defense College (IADC) , supervised by the IADB, enhances military professionalism and promotes regional military cooperation. The college usually trains about 60 students per year, most of whom are field-grade officers, who attain leadership positions in their respective services.

Other entities in the inter-American system are financed outside the OAS budget. Except for the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), which relies heavily on private sector contributions and a small subsidy from the OAS, and the IDB, which has significant financial support from non-hemispheric members, the U.S. quota assessment for these entities is, as for the OAS itself, roughly 59%.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) , the first of the regional development banks, was established in 1959 to provide lending attuned to the development needs of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to nations of the hemisphere, 15 European nations plus Japan and Israel are now members, but only Latin American and Caribbean members are eligible borrowers. The IDB’s ordinary capital window provides development funds at market-related terms, while its Fund for Special Operations offers financing at concessional terms for projects in countries classified as economically less developed. The bank’s website is http://www.iadb.org.

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) , founded in 1942 and headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, assists member states in promoting agricultural health and food safety, strengthening national agricultural institutional systems, and building trade capacity in agricultural commodities.

IICA supports efforts to increase agricultural productivity, employment opportunities in rural sectors, and rural participation in development activities. IICA also has an excellent record in preventing the spread of threatening animal and plant diseases and in helping members develop sustainable methods of food production. Policy direction comes from ministers of agriculture in each member country, who form the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA). IICA’s website is http://www.iica.int.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) , created in 1902, has served as the Western Hemisphere arm of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) since 1948. It coordinates hemispheric efforts to combat disease and promote physical and mental health. It has contributed significantly to eradicating communicable diseases and promoting improved sanitation and health conditions. PAHO’s website is http://www.paho.org.

The Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH) , headquartered in Mexico City, encourages the coordination, standardization, and publication of regional geographic, historical, cartographic, and geophysical studies. Member countries receive information and technical assistance for the sustainable development of their natural resources. PAIGH also assists member countries in identifying risks posed by natural disasters and has provided technical expertise to assist in mapping disputed borders between member countries.

Established in 1928, PAIGH preserves and documents historical data through research and publication. It also facilitates cooperative relationships between U.S. agencies and other countries in such vital areas as aviation safety and natural disaster mitigation. PAIGH’s website is http://www.ipgh.org.mx.

The Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII) , created by the Patzcuaro Convention in 1940 and headquartered in Mexico City, initiates, coordinates, and directs research to promote better understanding of the health, education, and economic and social problems of Indian populations. It provides a forum for government representatives to discuss approaches to address the many challenges facing indigenous communities in the Americas. The U.S. withdrew from the IAII in December 2000.

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is a quasi-public international organization that, although created by the OAS in 1962, receives more than half its financial support from U.S. corporations and other private sources. Intended to serve as a social service partner for corporations operating in Latin American and the Caribbean, PADF has channeled more than $100 million into development projects that mobilize private sector support in recipient countries. It also coordinates disaster relief. The PADF qualifies for charitable donations under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

U.S. ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT THE SPECIAL SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS : November 1, 2005

At the Fourth Summit of the Americas, President Bush joined the other 33 democratically elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere in addressing common 21st Century challenges. In particular, the leaders focused on:

  • Creating decent job opportunities, especially for the region’s poor;
  • Creating conditions to achieve sustained economic growth through greater trade and development;
  • Fighting poverty; and
  • Strengthening democratic governance and institutions.

The President encouraged his fellow leaders to make the strategic leap from commitment to achievement, and emphasized that words must lead to tangible results.

President Bush and the United States will continue to lead and work for greater prosperity, security, and opportunity for the people of this hemisphere. At the Summit the President specifically raised the following programs for the hemisphere:

Infrastructure Facility Of The Americas: President Bush made available funds to launch a new institution to assess infrastructure project proposals from private and public sponsors. The Facility will promote high-return, job-creating projects by providing assessments and advice on: (1) engineering feasibility; (2) economic feasibility; (3) financial structure; and (4) public concession tendering, legal matters, and implementation.

United States and Uruguay Sign Bilateral Investment Treaty: The agreement demonstrates U.S. commitment to create new economic opportunities together with those countries in the hemisphere that are willing to help themselves by implementing sound economic policies. The United States is Uruguay’s largest trading partner, and the stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Uruguay was $533 million in 2004.

Central American and Caribbean Fund: The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will invite proposals from qualified private sector fund managers to organize a Central America and Caribbean Fund that could reach $135 million. The Fund will invest predominately in companies operating in the following countries: Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Opportunity Zones: President Bush urged Heads of State to join him in developing Opportunity Zones in five to be identified countries. These programs through public and private cooperatives, encourage new business ownership opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged citizens.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Reform: The President called for the shareholders of the IDB to implement measures that will better employ the bank’s assets, encourage accountability and performance, and address the debt sustainability of the poorest countries in the region, including through grants and debt relief.

Private Sector Disaster Relief: The President announced that three distinguished private sector lead-ers—Steven S Reinemund, Robert W. Lane and Maria Elena Lagomasino—have agreed to launch a nationwide effort to encourage private donations for relief and reconstruction in response to the three recent hurricanes that struck Central America.

Protecting Children: President Bush announced strong American support for a significantly expanded effort over the next four years in Latin America and the Caribbean to remove children from exploitative work and provide them with educational opportunities. In support of the above goals, the United States Department of Labor has committed $16 million to continue and expand our fight against the worst forms of child labor in the Americas.

Commerce, Industry And Economy Ministerial On Competitiveness: President Bush recommended that the OAS convene the first ever joint Commerce, Industry and Economy Ministerial to bring high-level officials together to focus on competitiveness. This unprecedented meeting will identify concrete actions that governments may take alone, or in concert, to enhance the region’s ability to compete more successfully in the global marketplace.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2008. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2008. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/oas-0

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2008. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/oas-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

OAS

OAS

November 2004

Official Name:
Organization of American States


Editor's note: The information for this article is reprinted from OAS: Background Information available through the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.



PROFILE

Established: April 14, 1890, as the International Union of American Republics. Became the Pan American Union in 1910, then the Organization of American States in 1948 with the adoption of the OAS Charter in Bogota, Colombia.

Purposes: To strengthen peace and security in the hemisphere; promote representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; and promote economic, social, and cultural development.

Members: 35—Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba*, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela. *Cuba is a member, although its present government has been excluded from participation since 1962 for incompatibility with the principles of the inter-American system.

Permanent observers: 59—Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Yemen.

Official languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Principal organs: General Assembly, Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers, Permanent Council, Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the General Secretariat.

Specialized organizations: Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN), Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII), Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Other entities: Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD), Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), Justice Studies Center, Inter-American Juridical Committee (IAJC), Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), Inter-American Defense College (IADC), Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

Budget (2002): Regular fund (operations): $76.0 million, financed mainly by assessed contributions from all members. The U.S. share is 59%. Voluntary funds: $8.4 million, financed by contributions from all member states (the U.S. provided $5.5 million). Specific funds: $52 million, contributed by some member states (the U.S. provided $25 million), some permanent observers, international financial institutions, and development agencies.


HISTORY

The Organization of American States, the oldest regional international organization in the world, traces its origins to the Congress of Panama, convoked by Simon Bolivar in 1826 and attended by representatives from Central and South America. That congress drafted the Treaty of Perpetual Union, League and Confederation, signed by the delegates but ratified only by Gran Colombia (today's Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela).

Hemispheric countries continued the discussion of an inter-American system during the rest of the 19th century. The first concrete step was taken in 1889, when the First International Conference of American States convened in Washington, DC. On April 14, 1890, delegates created the International Union of American Republics "for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial information." They also established the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics in Washington as the Union's secretariat, with the participation of 18 Western Hemisphere nations, including the United States. In 1910, the Commercial Bureau became the Pan American Union, and American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $5 million to construct a permanent headquarters in Washington, DC, which is today the OAS building.

The experience of World War II convinced hemispheric governments that unilateral action could not ensure the territorial integrity of the American nations in the event of extra-continental aggression. To meet the challenges of global conflict in the postwar world and to contain conflicts within the hemisphere, they adopted a system of collective security, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) signed in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro.

The OAS Charter was adopted at the Ninth International Conference of American States in Bogota, Colombia in 1948. It reaffirmed the fundamental rights and duties of states, proclaimed the goals of the new organization, and established its organs and agencies. That conference also approved the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement (Pact of Bogota) and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The OAS Charter proclaims the organization to be a regional agency within the UN system.

The basic objectives of the OAS, as laid out in its Charter, are to strengthen peace and security; promote the effective exercise of representative democracy; ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; provide for common action in the event of aggression; seek solutions to political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise; promote, by cooperative action, economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural development; and limit conventional weapons so as to devote greater resources to economic and social development.

Concern over slow economic development led the United States and 19 other OAS members to establish the Inter-American Development Bank in 1959. This reflected concern that the World Bank, which included Latin American countries in its list of eligible borrowers, was preoccupied with infrastructure and not sufficiently attuned to the need for "social" lending as well as industrial and agricultural aid. In 1960, the OAS adopted the Act of Bogota, which called for a hemisphere-wide commitment to economic and social development. This set the stage for OAS support for the Alliance for Progress.

The 1948 OAS Charter has been amended four times: by the 1967 Protocol of Buenos Aires, which went into effect in February 1970; by the 1985 Protocol of Cartagena, which took effect in November 1988; by the 1993 Protocol of Managua, which took effect in March 1996; and by the 1992 Protocol of Washington, which took effect in September 1997.

The Buenos Aires Protocol created the annual General Assembly and gave equal status to the Permanent Council; the Economic and Social Council; and the Council for Education, Science, and Culture. The Cartagena Amendments strengthened the role of the Secretary General; provided procedures to facilitate peaceful settlement of disputes; removed obstacles, involving border disputes, to the entry of Belize and Guyana; and called for strengthening economic and social development by taking measures to increase trade, enhance international financial cooperation, diversify exports, and promote export opportunities.

The Managua Protocol created the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) to replace the Economic and Social Council and the Council for Education, Science, and Culture. The key objectives of CIDI are to serve as a forum for technical policy level discussions on matters related to development, to be a catalyst and promoter of development activities in response to mandates from the Summits of the Americas, and to strengthen a hemispheric partnership among OAS countries to promote cooperation for development and to help eliminate extreme poverty in the hemisphere.

Ratification of the Washington Protocol made the OAS the first regional political organization to permit suspension of a member whose democratically constituted government is overthrown by force. This protocol also amended the Charter to include the eradication of extreme poverty as one of the organization's essential purposes.

The OAS helps preserve democracy by mobilizing the hemisphere in the face of threats to democratic rule. It acted under the mandate of General Assembly Resolution 1080 (1991) to support democracy in Haiti, Peru, Guatemala, and Paraguay. It also provides development and other assistance designed to strengthen democratic institutions, observe elections, promote human rights, increase trade, fight drugs, and protect the environment.

On September 11, 2001, the OAS adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter, designed to strengthen and preserve representative democracy in the hemisphere, which prescribes steps to be taken in the event of an unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order or the unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order of a member state. In April 2002, the OAS took action under the Inter-American Democratic Charter to support democracy in Venezuela, which continued through May 2003.

The OAS was the first international organization to condemn the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. In 2001-02, as a hemispheric response against terrorism, OAS members successfully negotiated the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, which was opened for signature at the June 2002 OAS General Assembly. It entered into force on July 9, 2003, and provides for increased law enforcement cooperation against terrorism.

In recent years, OAS member states have successfully negotiated major international agreements to curb hemispheric arms trafficking, provide for transparency in conventional weapons acquisition, combat corruption, fight narcotics and money laundering, and define fair telecommunications standards. OAS contributions in the fields of international law, juridical cooperation, and facilitation of regional trade have been substantial and have provided the basis for effective observance of a host of regional treaties concluded since 1889. Information on treaties and other inter-American legal issues is available from the Secretariat of Legal Affairs at the OAS website at http://www.oas.org.

The OAS is implementing important portions of the Action Plans from the Summits of the Americas held in Miami (1994); Santiago, Chile (1998); Quebec City, Canada (2001); and Monterrey, Mexico (2004). The Santiago Summit assigned the OAS Secretariat responsibility for maintaining records and serving as the institutional memory of the summit process. Argentina will host the Fourth Summit of the Americas in November 2005. The OAS Secretariat's website is http://www.summit-americas.org.


U.S. POLICY TOWARD THE OAS

The United States is committed to strengthening and working with the OAS. This reflects the U.S. Government's determination to make optimal use of multilateral diplomacy to resolve regional problems and to engage its neighbors on topics of hemispheric concern. As President George W. Bush said in a speech at the OAS on April 17, 2001:

"The OAS has an important role to play in these common goals. In lands where liberty is threatened by corruption, drugs and human rights abuses, the OAS is helping combat these destructive forces. Along borders where tensions run high, the OAS helps build confidence and avoid crises. And in lands where freedom's hold is fragile, the OAS is there to strengthen it."

The OAS is the premier multilateral forum for dealing with political issues in the Western Hemisphere. Participation in the organization enables the United States to rally international support for key U.S. political objectives. In addition to its work to strengthen and promote democracy and respect for human rights, the OAS provides valuable support on two highly important issues: trade and drugs. The OAS has refocused its trade efforts to promote free trade and economic integration. Its Trade Unit and the Foreign Trade Information System (SICE) provide valuable technical support to the working groups dealing with the creation of a hemispheric free trade area, to which OAS governments committed themselves at the Summits of the Americas.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter is the focal point of OAS efforts to maintain, support, strengthen, and defend democracy in the Western Hemisphere. As Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the OAS General Assembly on June 9, 2003: "The Inter-American Democratic Charter we adopted nearly 2 years ago in Lima is the purest expression of our common conviction that democracy is the only legitimate form of government and that our people deserve nothing less."

The OAS has successfully reformed its operations to be more effective, both by significant staff cuts and position level realignments and by restructuring the Secretariat to deal with the hemisphere's new priorities. The OAS has decreased its staff by 20% since 1995 and maintained a no-growth budget for 7 consecutive years. Despite these constraints, the OAS has augmented programs supporting priority interests of the hemisphere, such as democracy, human rights, trade, and the environment, by reducing or eliminating programs of lower priority. More reforms are envisioned in the areas of personnel evaluation, budgetary priorities, financial management, and conference capabilities.

OAS and U.S. Officials

Acting Secretary General—Luigi R. Einaudi (U.S.) , elected Assistant Secretary General to a 5-year term in 2000; assumed charge October 15, 2004, when Secretary General Miguel Angel Rodriguez resigned.

Organization of American States
17th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
(tel. 202-458-3000)
website: http://www.oas.org

U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS—Ambassador John F. Maisto , sworn in July 31, 2003.

U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS
WHA/USOAS, Rm. 5914
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
(tel. 202-647-9376)


STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY

The promotion of peace and democracy are core OAS concerns. The OAS Unit for Promotion of Democracy (UPD) is entirely dedicated to building, strengthening, and preserving democracy. Charter amendments, the new Inter-American Democratic Charter, and Resolution 1080 also enable the OAS to help preserve democracy by mobilizing the hemisphere in the face of threats to democratic rule in a member state.

The 1991 OAS General Assembly created an unprecedented automatic mechanism, known as Resolution 1080, to deter illegal action against democratically elected governments. This resolution requires the Secretary General to convene the Permanent Council and then hemispheric foreign ministers within 10 days after a coup or other interruption of a legitimate, elected government. Resolution 1080 has been used four times: following the coup in Haiti in 1991, the "auto-coups" in Peru in 1992 and Guatemala in 1993, and the threat to the Government of Paraguay in 1996.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter defines the essential elements of representative democracy in very specific terms, including: respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; holding free and fair elections; a pluralistic system of political parties and organizations; separation of powers; independence of the branches of government; freedom of expression and of the press; and constitutional subordination of all state institutions to the legally constituted civilian authority.

In the event that one of the OAS members should fail to uphold the essential elements of democratic life, the document allows any member state or the Secretary General to trigger a response by the OAS, calling for the immediate convocation of the Permanent Council to consider the facts, deploy diplomatic efforts, or use other political mediation. If there is a clear interruption of democratic order, or if an undemocratic alteration is not remedied, the document calls for a General Assembly that may, among other things, suspend the offending government from the inter-American system, which requires a two-thirds vote of the member states.

The first formal use of the Inter-American Democratic Charter occurred in April 2002, when Secretary General Gaviria invoked Article 20 of the Charter to convoke the Permanent Council to perform a collective assessment of the situation in Venezuela, The Permanent Council condemned the alteration of constitutional order and convened a special session of the General Assembly under the Democratic Charter on April 18, 2002.

At that meeting, OAS foreign ministers agreed upon a resolution using the provisions of the Democratic Charter for the purpose of reinforcing democratic institutions in Venezuela. It calls upon the Venezuelan government to respect the essential elements of representative democracy and the rule of law while redoubling its efforts toward national dialogue and national reconciliation. The resolution focuses a regional spotlight on the state of Venezuela's democratic institutions and procedures, while pledging the OAS's continued attention and support. The OAS Secretary General formed a Group of Friends (Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, and the United States) to assist him in dealing with the Venezuelan government and the opposition Democratic Coordinating Committee (CD). On May 29, the Government and the CD signed the OAS dialogue table agreement, setting the framework for a recall referendum as allowed by the Venezuelan constitution, and replacing the dialogue table with a "permanent liaison" mechanism.

In recent years, the existence of Resolution 1080 and the Washington Protocol (that permits suspension of a member whose democratically elected government is overthrown by force) has enabled the OAS to bring hemispheric pressure to bear in situations where democratic governments were threatened, and the OAS successfully encouraged constitutional solutions in a number of problematic circumstances.

The OAS intervened quickly after indications of potential coups or other challenges to democracy in several Latin American countries, by dispatching Secretary General Gaviria and passing strong resolutions in the Permanent Council. The new Inter-American Democratic Charter provides the OAS with a "toolbox" of preventive and remedial measures that it can use to reinforce democratic institutions throughout the Hemisphere.

In Peru, President Fujimori's April 5, 1992, announcement of extra-constitutional measures led to the second use of Resolution 1080. The OAS Permanent Council called for the immediate "reinstatement of democratic institutions and respect for human rights under the rule of law." The hemisphere's foreign ministers met on April 13, called for the reestablishment of democratic institutional order in Peru, and asked the Secretary General to head a small mission of foreign ministers to Peru to bring about a dialogue between the government and other political forces.

In May 1992, President Fujimori attended the OAS foreign ministers' meeting on Peru, held in the Bahamas, where he undertook to call elections for a constituent congress to exercise legislative powers and to draft a new constitution. The OAS sent over 200 observers to monitor those elections, held November 22, 1992, as well as a small team for the municipal elections on January 29, 1993. OAS foreign ministers closed their meeting on Peru in December 1992, in view of expected continued OAS assistance to modernize electoral procedures in Peru.

Following the flawed April 2000 elections in Peru, the OAS General Assembly took action in response to the political crisis in that country. OAS election monitoring mission head Eduardo Stein reported that the elections had not been carried out in accordance with international standards. In June, the OAS foreign ministers concluded that "the credibility of both the process and the outcome of those elections has been undermined by persisting reports of irregularities" and agreed to send OAS Secretary General Gaviria and Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy to Peru to establish a dialogue on reforming the country's democratic institutions.

The OAS mission met with government officials, members of the opposition, and civil society representatives in late June and developed 29 recommendations intended to craft a road-map for national reform and the restoration of fair electoral procedures, the judiciary, and a free press.

President Fujimori first agreed to hold new elections and later resigned. The momentum established by the OAS dialogue helped open the way to new elections and a return to democracy. Free and fair elections were held in April and June 2001, and the OAS provided expertise to the national electoral authorities and sent observation groups to monitor the elections.

The OAS is one of the leading organizations in the hemisphere in election observation. Representing a multilateral organization, OAS observers are often able to establish closer relationships with and gain greater access to political and electoral institutions than other observer groups. The OAS, in addition, has the institutional capacity to organize larger electoral missions and keep observers on the ground longer than other organizations.

The 1990 Nicaraguan elections were the first observed by the OAS in a systematic way. OAS monitoring of that election helped increase confidence in the process and encouraged all parties to accept the final results. While the OAS, at the request of the host government concerned, had previously sent small teams of elections observers throughout the hemisphere, the magnitude and scope of the mission in Nicaragua—more than 433 observers and an OAS presence 6 months before the elections and for weeks afterward—pointed to a need to institutionalize OAS support for democracy.

In 2003, the OAS sent electoral observation missions to Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala, and Venezuela. These missions, comprised of experienced observers from many countries and equipped with the ability to conduct "quick counts" on Election Day, render impartial judgments widely accepted by voters and governments throughout the hemisphere.

The OAS established the Unit for Promotion of Democracy (UPD) in 1990. In addition to overseeing the organization's electoral missions, the UPD also administers small country programs to improve democratic institutions and processes in response to requests from more than a dozen member states. These programs seek to improve democratic governance, for example, by facilitating the dissemination and exchange of knowledge about democratic values and political systems and the exchange of experiences among institutions and experts on themes related to the promotion of democracy. The UPD provides advice and assistance in modernizing or reforming electoral laws, civil registries, administrations, and processes. The UPD also develops and manages peace-building programs and provides support to societies in post-conflict situations. It supports programs of humanitarian demining in Central America and the Andean region and provides special advisory services and support to recently installed governments. The UPD's website is http://www.oas.org/upd.

Another means of strengthening democracy is the Justice Studies Center of the Americas, established by the November 1999 Special General Assembly. This center fulfills an important goal of the 1998 Santiago Summit and is the result of close consultations among Ministers of Justice, Attorneys General, and others interested in this initiative. The Center is located in Chile, and its primary task is to promote reform in the justice sector throughout the hemisphere, focusing in the first stage on criminal justice issues.


FIGHTING TERRORISM

OAS Foreign Ministers were meeting in Lima, Peru, on September 11, 2001, to adopt and sign the new Inter-American Democratic Charter. Their response to the terrorist attacks was an immediate condemnation and a focus on a united hemispheric response. They met again in Washington, DC. On September 21, 2001, to approve a resolution calling on member states to take effective measures to combat terrorism. At Brazil's initiative, the 22 signatories of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, known as the Rio Treaty, met and declared that an attack against one member is an attack against all and committed themselves to providing mutual assistance in the war against terrorism. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the assembled ministers: "We, the united democracies of the Western Hemisphere, join the world in the global campaign against terrorism. We have pledged to deny terrorists and their networks the ability to operate within our territories. We have resolved to hold to account all those responsible for aiding, financing, and otherwise supporting and harboring terrorists."

The Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), reinvigorated in the wake of the September 11 attacks, met in Washington, DC on January 28-29, 2002, where Attorney General John Ashcroft headed the U.S. delegation. Delegates approved a work plan for CICTE to coordinate steps to prevent and combat terrorism in the hemisphere and action plans on border controls and control of financial flows. CICTE is chaired by Uruguay and is staffed by personnel provided by member countries; funding is provided by contributions from member states and permanent observers. A small CICTE secretariat was created in January 2002 and includes personnel seconded from Uruguay, Mexico, and the U.S.

OAS members began negotiation of the text of the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism in November 2001, and a text was agreed upon in March 2002. Opened for signature in June 2002, the OAS convention entered into force on July 9, 2003, 30 days after the sixth signatory deposited its instrument of ratification. It is presently before the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. The OAS convention enhances hemispheric security by improving regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism, by denying safe haven to terrorists, and by facilitating the exchange of information, technical assistance, and training in a wide number of complex areas, including the prevention and eradication of terrorist financing, the improvement of border and customs controls, and the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist acts.


HEMISPHERIC SECURITY

In 1991, the 21st OAS General Assembly began examining security issues ranging from proliferation and arms transfers to "cooperation for hemispheric security." In 1995 the 25th General Assembly instructed the Permanent Council to establish the Committee on Hemispheric Security, which created the region's first permanent forum for the consideration of arms control, defense, nonproliferation, and security issues. The Committee on Hemispheric Security is composed of 34 member states and has a chairman and 3 vice-chairs that are elected for a 12-month period.

Since 1991, the OAS has built an impressive record of achievement in the development of confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs). These security accomplishments include: the March 1994 Buenos Aires governmental experts' meeting on CSBMs (the first regional dialogue on CSBMs); the November 10, 1995, "Declaration of Santiago on Confidence and Security Building Measures;" the February 1998 "Declaration of San Salvador;" the "2003 Miami Declaration on Confidence and Security Building Measures," a regional roster of CSBMs Experts; the world's first Register of Antipersonnel Landmines (APL); and two path breaking conventions: the 1999 Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisition, which entered into force in November 2002, and the 1998 Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials. In 2002-03, OAS member states undertook a comprehensive review of the hemispheric security architecture, culminating in a Special Conference on Security that took place in Mexico in October 2003. The Declaration on Security in the Americas provides a practical guide for resolving interstate border tensions, lowering pressure for arms spending, promoting democratic norms, and fostering a climate of confidence, trust, transparency, and cooperation in our Hemisphere.

In addition, the OAS has been active in preventive diplomacy. For example, from 1999 to 2003, the OAS, with technical support from PAIGH, has provided cartographers, facilitators, conciliators, offered its good offices, and brokered agreements to resolve disputes between Belize and Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and El Salvador and Honduras.

The OAS has been involved in many conflict resolution and national reconciliation activities, such as disarmament and demobilization in Colombia.


HUMAN RIGHTS: THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION

Located in Washington, DC, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is distinguished from other multilateral organizations' human rights entities by its political autonomy. Its seven commission members are elected in their own right, not as representatives of governments. IACHR autonomy is further enhanced by its prerogative to initiate human rights investigations without the approval of the Secretary General or the Permanent Council. In response to a Santiago Summit initiative, in 1998 the IACHR established a Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, with a mandate to support and promote freedom of the press.

Human rights in the inter-American system are based on the 1948 American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights. The United States signed the American Convention on Human Rights in 1977, but has not yet ratified it.

The IACHR and Inter-American Court of Human Rights—located in San Jose, Costa Rica—give the OAS an active and, at times, forceful role in promoting and protecting human rights. Through private persuasion and published reports on human rights infringements, the IACHR has been instrumental in improving OAS members' human rights practices and has helped to resolve conflicts. The IACHR's annual report has chapters on human rights problems in general, details regarding individual cases, and country status reports. The IACHR also publishes special reports, which have been effective in challenging abuses in specific countries. From 1990-94, special on-site reports on Haiti kept the international spotlight focused on the dire human rights situation there and were praised by local and international organizations. The IACHR played a key role in the 1989 release of almost 2,000 political prisoners held by the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. In 1999, on the 30th anniversary of the American Declaration, the OAS and member states began an evaluation of the inter-American human rights system to determine how best to further strengthen it.

Presently the IACHR's membership is: Chairman: Jose Zalaquett (Chile); First Vice-Chair: Clare Kamau Roberts (Antigua & Barbuda); First Vice-Chair: Susana Villaran (Peru); Evelio Fernandez Arevalos (Paraguay); Paulo Sergio Pinheiro (Brazil); Freddy Gutierrez Trejo (Venezuela); and Florentin Melendez (El Salvador). The IACHR's website is http://www.oas.org/cidh.


FIGHTING CORRUPTION

The 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas plan of action charged the OAS with finding a hemispheric approach to fight corruption. The Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, negotiated under OAS auspices during 1995-96, is the world's first comprehensive multilateral anticorruption agreement. The Convention entered into force on March 6, 1997, when Paraguay and Bolivia became the first countries to deposit their instruments of ratification. A total of 29 countries, including the United States, have now ratified or acceded to the Convention. The Convention provides for institutional development and enforcement of anticorruption measures by fostering mutual legal assistance, technical cooperation, extradition, and seizure of assets. The OAS Permanent Council's Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs has a Probity and Ethics Working Group that focuses on promoting effective implementation of the Convention.

The OAS Department of Legal Affairs carries out activities, including workshops funded by the U.S., to assist member states in developing the preventive measures provided for in the Convention. Government experts met to develop a monitoring mechanism for the Convention; in May 2002, the Committee of Experts approved a questionnaire and the timetable for the first round of evaluations of country performance under the Convention. In 2003, the Follow-up Mechanism to monitor implementation of the convention by the states parties to it began its first round of country reviews with publication of the first report on Argentina. Subsequent reports on Colombia, Nicaragua, and Paraguay are under preparation. Twenty-seven OAS Member States, including the U.S., are parties to the Follow-up Mechanism.


COMBATING DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING

The OAS narcotics program was launched at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Traffic in Narcotic Drugs in April 1986—the first Western Hemisphere meeting to deal with all aspects of the drug problem. In accordance with the program of action adopted at that meeting, the OAS General Assembly in November 1986 created the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), which meets twice a year to direct the program and assess the drug situation in the hemisphere. Originally composed of 11 member governments, the commission has been expanded to 34 because of growing interest in the program and concern about the drug problem. The first projects were implemented in 1988. The program has identified five priority lines of action: development of domestic and international law, establishment of an inter-American drug information system, demand reduction, alternative development, and strengthening national drug commissions. CICAD's website is http://www.cicad.oas.org.

In 1996, the OAS produced a counter-narcotics strategy that will guide collective actions in the 21st century, and in 1999, it established a multilateral evaluation mechanism (MEM), as mandated by the Santiago Summit of the Americas. Under the MEM, experts evaluate individual country submissions documenting efforts to combat drug abuse and trafficking; the first full round of evaluations was published in January 2003. The OAS also has produced internationally acclaimed model legislation on precursor chemicals and money laundering control.


PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FREE TRADE

The Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) was created in 1996 when the Protocol of Managua charter amendments entered into force. CIDI replaced the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (CIES) and the Inter-American Council for Education, Science, and Culture (CIECC). CIDI is responsible for coordinating OAS development and technical cooperation activities in a partnership intended to attract financial support from donor countries, international development institutions, and other sources. CIDI's Permanent Executive Committee (CEPCIDI), the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS), the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology (COMCYT), the Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP), and other committees and ministerial-level meetings and their subgroups provide guidance and evaluation to the OAS secretariat on relevant policies, projects, and other activities. They also bring together technical and policymaking officials from the hemisphere to agree on joint priorities and initiatives.

On November 15, 1999, a Special General Assembly adopted the Statute of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD). Created as the result of a U.S. initiative, the IACD will maximize use of existing resources, improve the management and delivery of technical cooperation, and better position the OAS to attract additional external resources to finance technical cooperation. The IACD's management board, composed of nine elected member states, provides operational guidance, while policy guidance comes from CIDI in both its annual and sectoral ministerial level meetings, from CIDI's executive committee and subsidiary bodies. IACD's statutes entered into force on January 1, 2000. On April 25, 2003, OAS member governments elected Argentina, Barbados, Canada, El Salvador, the United States, Grenada, Guatemala, Peru, and St. Lucia to the management board.

In April 2000, CIDI confirmed Ronald Scheman (U.S.) as the first Director General of IACD. Information about CIDI is available on its website at http://www.cidi.oas.org/cidi.asp.

CIDI's Special Multilateral Fund, known by its Spanish acronym FEMCIDI, is composed of the voluntary contributions of the member states. While a member state is free to decide the level of its commitment, once a pledge is made to this fund, the country is legally obligated to pay the amount pledged, and a country is not allowed to request projects unless it has pledged by the deadline established.

The projects presented must receive a favorable evaluation (conducted by outside experts) in order to be considered for funding. Projects chosen to be funded are those that receive the highest evaluation scores within their individual sectoral accounts. Horizontal cooperation funds (provided by Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the U.S.) provide further assistance to lesser developed and smaller economies.

The OAS Scholarships and Training Program awards an average of 360 graduate fellowships each year. There also is a small undergraduate scholarship program, available only to students from Caribbean and Central American nations. A third program finances travel to training courses offered by member states. Although these scholarships have to date been financed by the OAS Regular Fund (assessed quota payments by member states), a Capital Fund for Scholarships and Training has been established to attract outside funding.

For 25 years, the OAS has helped member states incorporate environmental considerations into development projects. International development institutions have recognized the organization's in-house expertise and leadership role, and a number of these institutions have undertaken cooperative initiatives with the OAS or contracted the organization to serve as an executing agency for their environmental projects. The biggest boost for the OAS' environmental efforts came at the 1996 Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development, held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The Santa Cruz Declaration and Plan of Action gave the OAS a strong mandate to coordinate follow-up to those decisions. At the policy level, this takes place through the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS), a meeting of government officials within the framework of CIDI. At the technical level, this occurs in the Inter-Agency Task Force, a group of representatives of technical cooperation agencies such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, UN programs, and U.S. and Canadian aid and environmental agencies. The OAS Secretariat's Unit for Sustainable Development and the Environment has a website at http://www.oas.org/usde; the Unit for Science and Technology has one at http://www.redhucyt.oas.org/ocyt.

The OAS Secretariat, working with member states and with a wide variety of civil society organizations from throughout the hemisphere developed the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-making for Sustainable Development in response to an initiative from the Bolivia summit. This strategy, approved in April 2000, lays out recommendations and examples of ways for governments to consult with civil society on key development efforts. It is based on 3 years of pilot projects, studies and consultation throughout the hemisphere. Other Bolivia Summit initiatives the OAS is helping to implement include the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) and the Inter-American Forum on Environmental Law (FIDA). IABIN brings together government experts and representatives from civil society and nongovernmental organizations to share electronically species population data and to cooperate in specific projects. FIDA, a network on environmental law and enforcement, will focus initially on studies and information exchange on legal aspects of water policy and of trade, investment, and the environment.

The 1999 OAS General Assembly created a committee on civil society participation to develop mechanisms to accredit representatives from civil society and non-governmental organizations in OAS activities. The committee completed a set of guidelines, which the Permanent Council approved in December 1999. The OAS has a long history of cooperation with civil society organizations, which has been enhanced by the Summit of the Americas consultative process. Non-governmental organizations have made significant contributions to the work of the IACHR, the Sustainable Development and Environment Unit, the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, and CIDI. The new OAS civil society guidelines are designed to complement, but not modify the rules governing CIDI, its inter-American committees, and other inter-American specialized conferences and organizations. The guidelines establish an accreditation process similar to that used within the UN system.

The OAS trade unit, in cooperation with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), provides technical support to the negotiating groups created by the Miami Summit process to deal with issues involved in the creation of a Free Trade Area in the Americas (FTAA). The trade unit also has sponsored training courses on trade issues for officials from Latin American and Caribbean countries, held at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The OAS' highly regarded trade information service, known as SICE, provides trade data and information on trade agreements, investment treaties and national regulations, as well as business directories and other sources of contacts, in a data bank at http://www.sice.oas.org. SICE also manages the FTAA website at http://www.ftaa-alca.org, in addition to the FTAA's Secure Document Distribution Service.

The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), which has active private sector participation, provides an impartial forum for resolving issues of keen commercial interest, such as coordination of standards and radio frequency spectrum use. In response to a Santiago Summit mandate, CITEL is developing best practices guidelines for universal service and interconnection and working to reduce standards-based trade barriers.

One particularly important CITEL accomplishment was the endorsement in October 1999 of the Inter-American Mutual Recognition Agreement for the Assessment of Conformity of Telecommunications Equipment, also a Santiago Summit initiative. CITEL is a semiautonomous entity that reports to the OAS General Assembly through the Permanent Council. CITEL's website is http://www.citel.oas.org.


ORGANIZATION

The General Secretariat is the permanent and central organ of the OAS, executing programs and policies decided upon by the General Assembly and the two councils. Directed by the Secretary General, it occupies a key position within the inter-American system and serves the entire organization and all member states. The Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General are elected by the General Assembly for 5-year terms. They can be reelected once and cannot be succeeded by a person of the same nationality.

Senior secretariat officials appointed by the Secretary General include the assistant secretaries for legal affairs and management, the director general of the development agency (IACD), the executive secretaries of the commission of women (CIM) and the drug abuse control commission (CICAD), the directors of various units, including trade and promotion of democracy, and the executive director of the human rights commission. Secretariat personnel conduct the activities of all the OAS units and serve as the staff for the commissions, councils, and other bodies.

The staff of the General Secretariat is composed of personnel chosen mainly from the member states, with consideration given to geographic representation. Staff members, numbering about 550, are considered international civil servants. The OAS Secretariat also maintains a small office in many member states.

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the OAS. It holds a regular session each year, either in one of the member states or at headquarters in Washington, DC. In special circumstances, and with the approval of two-thirds of the member states, the Permanent Council can convoke a special session of the General Assembly. Delegations are usually headed by foreign ministers.

In addition to deliberating on current issues, the General Assembly approves the program-budget; sets the bases for fixing member-state quota assessments; establishes measures for coordinating the activities of the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS; and determines the general standards that govern the operation of the General Secretariat. General Assembly decisions usually take the form of resolutions, which must be approved by a majority of all members (two-thirds for agenda, budget, and certain other questions).

A consultation meeting of foreign ministers can be called by any member state, either "to consider problems of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States" (as stated in the OAS Charter) or to serve as an organ of consultation in cases of armed attack or other threats to international peace and security (per the Rio Treaty). In either case, the request must be directed to the Permanent Council of the OAS, which decides by absolute majority vote if the meeting is to be called.

In cases between member states, the affected parties are excluded from voting. Should an armed attack take place within the territory of an American state or within the Western Hemisphere security zone defined by the Rio Treaty, a meeting of consultation is held without delay. Until the ministers of foreign affairs can assemble, the Permanent Council is empowered to act as a provisional organ of consultation and make decisions.

The Permanent Council, composed of ambassadors representing each member state, usually meets every 2 weeks throughout the year in Washington, DC. The council, its standing committees, and special working groups conduct the day-to-day business of the OAS, which involves implementing mandates from the General Assemblies, designing and assessing activities to promote democracy and strengthen human rights, considering requests from members, debating and approving resolutions on current issues, and dealing with reports from subsidiary organs.

In an emergency, a special session of the council can be called immediately by its chairman or at the request of any member. The chair rotates every 3 months, in alphabetical order. Unlike the UN Security Council, no member can exercise a veto in the Permanent Council. OAS members place great importance on obtaining consensus before decisions are made. The Permanent Council also serves provisionally as the organ of consultation (for meetings of foreign ministers) and every year acts as the preparatory committee for the General Assembly.

The Inter-American Council for Integral Development meets annually at the ministerial level; its subsidiary entities meet more frequently. CIDI also convokes ministerial-level sectoral meetings in areas such as labor and education to consider specialized issues in the priority areas of the Strategic Plan.


SPECIALIZED ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER ENTITIES

Much important inter-American business is conducted by separate entities, some of which are independent, some fully or partially funded by the OAS, and others consisting simply of periodic hemispheric meetings which receive support from the OAS Secretariat. Subjects covered include agriculture, labor, copyrights, private international law, highways, ports and harbors, railways, telecommunications, health and sanitation, statistics, travel, child welfare, women's issues, Indian affairs, and tourism. The conferences are attended by high-level officials and technical experts to further inter-American cooperation in these fields.

The Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN) , founded in 1927 and headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, is concerned with the problems of minors and families, including trafficking, child labor, commercial sexual exploitation, international abduction of minors by one of their parents, and war-affected children. It serves as a center for social action and programs in the fields of health, education, social legislation, legislation on adoptions, social service, and statistics. IIN has contributed extensively to international jurisprudence in the field of family law; the most recent example of this work is model legislation on international adoption. IIN's website is http://www.iin.org.uy.

The Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) , established in 1928, was the first international organization focusing on women's issues. It works to extend the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of women in the hemisphere. Now concerned with women's integration into development and decision-making processes, domestic violence, trafficking in persons, and women's human rights, CIM research and seminars have focused on women and politics, women and employment, and violence against women. The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) was drafted under the auspices of the CIM. It was opened for signature at the OAS General Assembly in 1994 and has been signed by 31 OAS members. In April 2000, the CIM ministerial approved the Inter-American Program on the Promotion of Women's Human Rights and Gender Equity and Equality. CIM's website is http://www.oas.org/CIM/default.htm.

The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) was created in 1942 to plan and coordinate collective hemispheric defense. In 1993, it arranged for training by the U.S. Department of Defense of a team of 15 demining instructors from Latin American nations, who, in turn, instructed members of the Nicaraguan military on techniques for removing thousands of land mines left in the countryside as a result of civil conflict during the 1980s. The IADB demining programs were extended to Honduras and Costa Rica in 1995 and 1996; demining began in Guatemala in 1997. The IADB's website is http://www.jid.org.

The Inter-American Defense College (IADC) , supervised by the IADB, enhances military professionalism and promotes regional military cooperation. The college usually trains about 60 students per year, most of whom are field-grade officers, who attain leadership positions in their respective services.

Other entities in the inter-American system are financed outside the OAS budget. Except for the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), which relies heavily on private sector contributions and a small subsidy from the OAS, and the IDB, which has significant financial support from non-hemispheric members, the U.S. quota assessment for these entities is, as for the OAS itself, roughly 59%.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) , the first of the regional development banks, was established in 1959 to provide lending attuned to the development needs of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to nations of the hemisphere, 15 European nations plus Japan and Israel are now members, but only Latin American and Caribbean members are eligible borrowers. The IDB's ordinary capital window provides development funds at market-related terms, while its Fund for Special Operations offers financing at concessional terms for projects in countries classified as economically less developed. The bank's website is http://www.iadb.org.

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) , founded in 1942 and headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, assists member states in promoting agricultural health and food safety, strengthening national agricultural institutional systems, and building trade capacity in agricultural commodities.

IICA supports efforts to increase agricultural productivity, employment opportunities in rural sectors, and rural participation in development activities. IICA also has an excellent record in preventing the spread of threatening animal and plant diseases and in helping members develop sustainable methods of food production. Policy direction comes from ministers of agriculture in each member country, who form the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA). IICA's website is http://www.iica.int.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) , created in 1902, has served as the Western Hemisphere arm of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) since 1948. It coordinates hemispheric efforts to combat disease and promote physical and mental health. It has contributed significantly to eradicating communicable diseases and promoting improved sanitation and health conditions. PAHO's website is http://www.paho.org.

The Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH) , headquartered in Mexico City, encourages the coordination, standardization, and publication of regional geographic, historical, cartographic, and geophysical studies. Member countries receive information and technical assistance for the sustainable development of their natural resources. PAIGH also assists member countries in identifying risks posed by natural disasters and has provided technical expertise to assist in mapping disputed borders between member countries.

Established in 1928, PAIGH preserves and documents historical data through research and publication. It also facilitates cooperative relationships between U.S. agencies and other countries in such vital areas as aviation safety and natural disaster mitigation. PAIGH's website is http://www.ipgh.org.mx.

The Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII) , created by the Patzcuaro Convention in 1940 and headquartered in Mexico City, initiates, coordinates, and directs research to promote better understanding of the health, education, and economic and social problems of Indian populations. It provides a forum for government representatives to discuss approaches to address the many challenges facing indigenous communities in the Americas. The U.S. withdrew from the IAII in December 2000.

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is a quasi-public international organization that, although created by the OAS in 1962, receives more than half its financial support from U.S. corporations and other private sources. Intended to serve as a social service partner for corporations operating in Latin American and the Caribbean, PADF has channeled more than $100 million into development projects that mobilize private sector support in recipient countries. It also coordinates disaster relief. The PADF qualifies for charitable donations under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).


U.S. ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT THE SPECIAL SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

January 13, 2004

"Two years ago in this city, world leaders formed the Monterrey Consensus. We pledged to work for government that is responsive to the basic needs of every human being… and for policies that promote opportunity for all…. To realize our common vision, we must set goals that are specific and measurable. In doing so, we will affirm our determination to succeed and give hope to millions. Together we will implement the Monterrey Consensus, lift all of our nations, and show the world that free societies and free markets can deliver real benefits for all of our citizens." — President George W. Bush January 12, 2004 Monterrey, Mexico

Presidential Action

President Bush came to the Summit to urge Leaders to strengthen the foundations for democracy and economic growth in the hemisphere by taking action to promote democracy and good governance, to spur private sector-led growth and reduce poverty, and to improve health and education.

To intensify the fight against corruption, Leaders agreed to: Strengthen a "culture of transparency" in the Americas; Deny safe haven to corrupt officials; Promote transparency in public financial management; and Hold consultations if adherence to their transparency and anti-corruption objectives is "compromised to a serious degree" in any Summit country.

To spur growth and reduce poverty, Leaders agreed to: Reduce significantly the time and cost of starting a business by the next Summit in 2005; Endorse the Inter-American Development Bank's goal of tripling the credit it provides for small and medium-sized businesses by 2007; Cut by at least half the cost of sending remittances by 2008; Strengthen property rights by the next Summit in 2005; and Reaffirm support for completing the Free Trade Area of the Americas on schedule, by January 2005.

To improve health and education, Leaders agreed to: Provide HIV/AIDS antiretroviral therapy to all who need it, with a focus on treating at least 600,000 individuals by 2005; and Improve the quality of education by publishing school system performance reports by the 2005 Summit.

Fighting Corruption

Anticorruption and Transparency: The World Bank has identified corruption as "the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development," cutting growth rates by 0.5 to 1 percent annually. Recognizing that transparency is an essential element of well-functioning democracies and market economies, the Leaders, at U.S. urging, committed to: Strengthen a "culture of transparency" in the Americas; "Deny safe haven to corrupt officials, those who corrupt them, and their assets"; and Promote transparency in "public financial management, in government transactions and procurement processes and contracts."

In a significant step, Summit Leaders agreed to hold consultations if adherence to their shared transparency and anticorruption objectives, as articulated in the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, is "compromised to a serious degree" in any of the Summit countries. Reflecting the fact that transparency is integral to democracy, this new commitment parallels an existing commitment to hold consultations in the event of a breakdown of the democratic process in any Summit country.

Today's commitments advance President Bush's efforts to implement a robust international transparency and anticorruption agenda. Specifically, he has: Signed a Presidential Proclamation to bar corrupt officials from entering the United States; Agreed to return to Peru over $20 million that had been hidden in the United States by former Peruvian intelligence chief Montesinos and his associates.

Montesinos is now serving a jail sentence in Peru for his crimes, including corruption; Approved assistance for a pilot project in Nicaragua to strengthen its law enforcement capacity and promote civil society involvement in anti-corruption efforts; Conditioned Millennium Challenge Account eligibility on a demonstrated commitment to fight corruption; and Obtained strong transparency and anti-corruption commitments at last year's G-8 and APEC Summits.

Spurring Private Sector-Led Growth

Reducing the time and cost of starting a business: Starting a business in the Western Hemisphere takes longer than in any region in the world. Recognizing that small and medium-sized businesses are the primary engines of economic growth and job creation, at U.S. urging, Leaders agreed to "reduce significantly" the time and cost of starting a business by the next Summit of the Americas in 2005.

Increasing access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses: Lack of credit is a serious obstacle to business formation and growth. The Leaders supported the Inter-American Development Bank's goal of tripling the credit it provides for small and medium-sized businesses through local banking systems by 2007.

Lowering the cost of remittances: Remittances, the money sent by migrants to their families and friends living abroad, have tripled in the last six years and totaled more than $32 billion in the Western Hemisphere in 2002 — more than four times official development assistance flows to the region. Yet, the region is losing approximately $4 billion a year due to high remittance transfer fees, averaging 12.5 percent. Leaders committed to creating the conditions to cut by at least half the cost of remittance transfers by 2008.

Securing Property Rights: A fair and well functioning property rights system is the foundation for a market economy. Currently, approximately half of all property in some of the region's countries is not officially recorded. Leaders agreed to: Ensure "enforceable, efficient, transparent, comprehensive and equitable rules governing property contracts;" Improve or promote policies and regulations governing "the transfer of property, property registries, the use of property as collateral, and the rights and responsibilities of debtors and creditors;" and Take "concrete actions" regarding these measures by the next Summit of the Americas in Argentina in 2005.

Promoting Financial Stability: Leaders committed to continue working to promote macroeconomic stability and reduce financial vulnerability. They noted with satisfaction efforts to explore financial instruments, such as growth-indexed bonds, which can minimize the vulnerability of developing countries to economic shocks and downturns. Growth-indexed bonds would allow governments to pay smaller amounts of interest if growth is below expectations and would pay more when growth is exceeding expectations.

Expanding Trade: President Bush and the other Leaders welcomed recent progress made on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) at the November, 2003 FTAA Ministerial in Miami, endorsed the Miami framework, and reaffirmed the agreed timetable of completing negotiations by January 2005. The FTAA will establish the world's largest free trade area — with 34 countries, almost 800 million consumers, and a $13 trillion GDP. The Leaders also reaffirmed their shared interest in advancing the World Trade Organization's Doha negotiations.

The President's goal for free and fair trade throughout the hemisphere is reinforced by complementary bilateral and subregional free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations: Our free trade agreement with Chile entered into force on January 1, 2004. The Administration recently concluded FTA negotiations with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and is working to complete agreement with Costa Rica. This past fall, the Administration announced its intent to begin FTA negotiations with the Dominican Republic,

Panama, and four Andean countries — Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. These in-process FTAs, combined with those already in effect (i.e., Canada, Mexico, and Chile), will cover 68 percent of the GDP of America's neighbors.

Improving Health and Education

HIV/AIDS: More than two million people are now living with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the estimated 200,000 that contracted HIV in the past year. The Leaders agreed to intensify prevention, care and treatment programs and committed to provide antiretroviral therapy to all who need it, with a focus on treating at least 600,000 individuals by 2005.

President Bush has led international efforts to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic and has tripled U.S. spending on HIV/AIDS: The President's $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief targets the most afflicted countries: Guyana and Haiti in the Western Hemisphere, and 12 countries in Africa. In June 2003, President Bush and Brazil's President Lula da Silva launched a joint venture to improve HIV/AIDS treatment, care, and prevention in Portuguese-speaking Africa.

Education: Leaders agreed on the urgent need to reform school systems in Latin America. Almost half of the students in the region who enter primary school fail to reach fifth grade, and only about 30 percent finish secondary school. On international achievement tests, the best school systems in the region fall in the bottom quartile.

Leaders committed to improve accountability in education, including by publishing performance assessments of their educational systems by the next Summit of the Americas. To support this effort, the United States will: Provide assistance to develop ten model Educational Performance Reports in the Western Hemisphere, focusing on Venezuela, Peru, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, and regional reports on Central America and the Hemisphere as a whole. Continue supporting education programs in the region. The United States invested $53 million in education programs in the region last year.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2006. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2006. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/oas

"OAS." Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2006. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/oas

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.