Background Notes: OAS

PA/PC Source: Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs Date: Sep 15, 19919/15/91 Category: Country Data Region: South America, Central America, Caribbean, North America Subject: Travel, History, International Organizations, Trade/Economics, OAS, Human Rights, Terrorism, Narcotics, Democratization, Environment [TEXT] September 1991 Official Name: Organization of American States


Headquarters: Washington, DC. 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 to 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, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.* * With the entry of Canada (1990), Belize (1991), and Guyana (1991), all sovereign states of the Western Hemisphere are OAS members. Cuba is a member, although its present government has been excluded from participation since 1962 for incompatibility with the principles of the OAS Charter. Permanent Observers: 28--Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, European Community, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, and Tunisia. Official Languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Principal Organs: General Assembly; Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers; Permanent Council; Inter-American Economic and Social Council; Inter-American Council for Education, Science, and Culture; Inter-American Juridical Committee; Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; and the General Secretariat. Specialized Organizations: Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM); Inter-American Children's Institute (IACI); 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 Court of Human Rights; Inter- American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD); Inter-American Defense Board; Inter-American Defense College; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). Budget (1991): Regular fund (operations): $63 million, financed by assessed contributions from all members. The US share, originally 66%, will drop to 59% by 1994. Voluntary funds (technical cooperation and assistance): $23 million, financed by contributions from all member states (the US provided $10 million), some permanent observers, international financial institutions, and development agencies.


The Organization of American States, the oldest 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 a "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, and the first concrete step was taken in 1889, when the First International Conference of American States convened in Washington, DC. Delegates agreed to create, on April 14, 1890, the International Union of American Republics, "for the prompt collection and distribution of commercial information." The agreement 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. Despite progress toward regional solidarity, it became clear that unilateral action could not ensure the territorial integrity of the American nations in the event of extra-continental aggression, such as occurred in World War II. To meet the challenges of global conflict in the post-war world, nations of the hemisphere adopted a system of collective security, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) signed in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro. This served as a model for the 1948 North Atlantic Treaty. 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 the organs and agencies which comprise it. The ninth 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 it to be a regional agency within the UN system. 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, an OAS "Committee of 21" produced the Act of Bogota, which called for a hemisphere-wide commitment to economic and social development. That set the stage for OAS support for the Alliance for Progress. The 1948 OAS Charter has been amended twice: by the 1967 Protocol of Buenos Aires, which went into effect in February 1970, and by the 1985 Protocol of Cartagena, which took effect in November 1988. The first 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 second group of amendments strengthened the role of the Secretary General, provided procedures for facilitating peaceful settlement of disputes, removed obstacles to the entry of Belize and Guyana, and called for strengthening economic and social development by measures to increase trade, enhance international financial cooperation, diversify exports, and promote export opportunities. The basic objectives of the OAS, as laid out in its charter, are to strengthen peace and security; to promote the effective exercise of representative democracy; to ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes among members; to provide for common action in the event of aggression; to seek solutions to political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise; to promote by cooperative action, economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural development; and to limit conventional weapons so as to devote greater resources to economic and social development. Peace and democracy are thus core OAS concerns. OAS election observation in Nicaragua in 1989-90, in Haiti in 1990-91, and in El Salvador, Paraguay, and Suriname in 1991 are important manifestations of this role. In Nicaragua, the OAS took primary responsibility for the voluntary repatriation and resettlement of the former Nicaraguan Resistance, in accordance with the terms of the verification commission established by Central American presidents. OAS contributions in the fields of international law, juridical cooperation, legal development, 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. As it enters its second century, the OAS has deepened its efforts to promote and consolidate democracy. A Democracy Development Unit and highly successful election observation missions set the stage for broadened human rights work, a regional program to fight drug abuse and trafficking, and the first hemisphere-wide environmental action plan. The OAS is also playing a supportive role in trade expansion and hemispheric development in association with President Bush's Enterprise for the Americas Initiative (EAI). The EAI received enthusiastic backing at the June 1991 OAS General Assembly: a resolution declared the EAI to be a positive new approach to trade, investment, and external debt and mandated OAS support in trade and in coordination with the Inter-American Development Bank.


The US is committed to the OAS as the pre-eminent hemispheric institution. This reflects the US Government's determination to make optimal use of multilateral diplomacy to resolve regional problems and to engage our neighbors on topics of hemispheric concern. President Bush told the OAS foreign ministers in 1989 that, Latin America and the Caribbean are reaching out to the US, as I hope we are to you, in a new partnership--a partnership based on, as I said earlier, mutual respect, and I would add now, mutual responsibility. The most elemental and historic US interest in the Western Hemisphere--shared by virtually all hemisphere states--is to prevent military, political, or other intervention by states outside the hemisphere. A second fundamental interest shared by the US and other nations is the maintenance of peace among the states of the hemisphere. The OAS provides a means to promote the consolidation of democracy with due regard for the charter principle of non-intervention. All OAS members share a common concern for democracy, economic development, and human rights. Major US interests and objectives in the hemisphere coincide with the goals and work of the OAS: the promotion and strengthening of democracy and human rights, drug control, environmental protection, legal development, economic assistance and technical cooperation, trade, and economic integration and development. In 1990, for the first time since 1982, the US was able to pay its full assessed quota to the OAS. For FY 1992, the Administration seeks not only full funding of the US quota assessment to the OAS but also funds to pay the balance of US arrears. If appropriated, arrears payments will be made in roughly equal installments over the next 4 years.


Secretary Baker told the 1989 OAS General Assembly that, "We have it in our power to create, here, in the Americas, the world's first completely democratic hemisphere." OAS monitoring of the election process in Nicaragua contributed decisively to the outcome of the February 1990 elections and enhanced the prospects for a just and lasting peace in Central America. While the OAS, at the request of the host government concerned, has sent small teams of elections observers throughout the hemisphere, the magnitude and scope of the mission in Nicaragua--433 observers and an OAS presence 6 months before the elections and for weeks afterward-- suggested the need to institutionalize OAS support for democracy. To develop lessons learned in these observations, the OAS Secretary General set up a democracy unit in the OAS Secretariat. Although its resources are limited, the unit has made an enviable beginning toward building peace and democracy in some of the region's most difficult circumstances. The 1991 General Assembly created an unprecedented automatic mechanism to deter illegal action against democratically elected governments. The Assembly authorized 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. For election observation, the OAS creates an infrastructure which provides communications, housing, transportation, data- handling capabilities, and a parallel voting tabulation system, with observers in all election districts. This network also serves observers sent by the UN and other groups. In Haiti, at the end of 1990, the OAS fielded the largest single contingent of foreign observers--a group of 202 observers from 22 countries, including many Caribbean nations. The effort benefited from one of the newest members of the OAS-- Canada, which sent the head of the Quebec electoral council to coordinate the observation activity. As in Nicaragua, OAS observers stayed through the inauguration. In El Salvador's March 1991 assembly elections, the UN declined to send observers because of its mediating role, and the OAS was the only intergovernmental organization present. OAS officers worked with the electoral commission and the competing political parties to prepare the elections, and 160 observers from OAS member states helped assure equitable treatment for all.


Peaceful settlement of disputes is central to the OAS under its own mandate and is consistent with the UN Charter. In border conflict situations, beyond actual intervention, the very existence of the OAS and the possibility that it might take action tends to have a chilling effect on any unilateral resort to force. For example, in 1981, -- Peru and Ecuador announced a cessation of their border conflict at an OAS meeting convened for the purpose of considering that conflict; -- In 1988, a naval incident between Colombia and Venezuela was defused following a public appeal by the OAS Secretary General and special sessions of the Permanent Council; and -- In 1989, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago died in a shooting incident between a Trinidadian fishing trawler and a Venezuelan National Guard patrol boat. At the request of the two governments, the OAS Secretary General appointed three experts, whose recommendations led to a solution accepted by both sides. In the 1960s and 1970s, OAS peace-keeping took several forms: -- In 1964, in response to proof of Cuban support for revolutionary groups in Venezuela, the OAS voted that members should break diplomatic relations with Cuba; -- In the Dominican Republic in May 1965, the OAS played the central peace-keeping role, creating an Inter-American peace force for the first time. After successful elections in June 1966, the force was withdrawn; -- The OAS provided the framework and impetus for resolution of a 1969 border conflict (called the "Soccer War") between Honduras and El Salvador, including border- inspection forces in 1969-70 and for the 4 years following a recurrence of tensions in 1976; and -- In 1978, the OAS responded to Costa Rican allegations of border violations by Nicaragua by creating a committee of civilian observers to monitor the border. In 1978, the OAS also sought to arrange the peaceful departure of dictator Anastasio Somoza from Nicaragua and his replacement by a democratic government, but the effort failed in the face of Somoza's determination to stay in power. The following year, however, as armed resistance against Somoza mounted, an OAS resolution called for replacement of the Somoza regime by a democratic government.
The OAS convened a meeting of foreign ministers when Manuel Noriega annulled Panama's May 1989 elections. Although the OAS did not succeed in obtaining Noriega's departure from power, the Panama case showed that the OAS could be used by member governments to communicate their collective concerns to a broader public. September 1 was the constitutionally established date for the transfer of presidential power in Panama and was recognized as such by the foreign ministers. On August 31, 1989, Acting US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger delivered a detailed statement to the Permanent Council. That statement, together with OAS actions--including a sharply critical report by the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights, which characterized the Noriega regime as "devoid of constitutional legitimacy"-- contributed significantly to the international isolation of the Noriega regime and, subsequently, to recognition of the legitimacy of the elected government of President Endara.
During the tense pre-election period in 1989, OAS monitoring in Nicaragua contributed decisively to the outcome of the February 25, 1990, elections. The presence of impartial OAS observers gave voters confidence and made it impossible for the results to be ignored. The success of the OAS observation program was due to a number of factors, including the trust extended it by the people of Nicaragua, the high standards of the technical infrastructure the OAS put in place with support from other members of the OAS family of organizations--the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)--and the support of OAS member states in providing observers, technical experts, and advisers. The United States contributed $3.5 million and technical advice. Members of the US Congress joined legislators from other hemisphere countries as observers. In response to requests from incoming President Chamorro and outgoing President Ortega, Secretary General Baena Soares kept OAS observers in Nicaragua after the election. Meanwhile, he and UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar negotiated terms of reference for their organizations to implement the joint verification and support commission (CIAV) called for by the Central American presidents to verify compliance with the Tela and subsequent agreements. Under CIAV auspices, the OAS stayed on to assist 23,000 former combatants (with about 70,000 dependents) and to protect their human rights. All sides often call upon OAS representatives to resolve local disputes.


Located in Washington, DC, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has been called the conscience of the hemisphere. It 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. 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; ratification is under study. 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 both 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, individual cases, and country status reports. The IACHR also publishes special reports, which have been effective in challenging abuses in Panama, Nicaragua, Cuba, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Suriname, Haiti, and Paraguay, among others. Its 1983 special report on human rights abuses in Cuba is the most comprehensive of any private or international monitoring agency. The IACHR played a key role in the 1989 release of almost 2,000 political prisoners held by the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. The IACHR's membership as of January 1992 is: Dr. Patrick L. Robinson (Jamaica); Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza (Honduras); Dr. Oscar Lujan Fappiano (Argentina); Alvaro Tirado Mejia (Colombia); Dr. Marco Tulio Bruni Celli (Venezuela); Dr. Oliver H. Jackman (Barbados); and Prof. W. Michael Reisman (USA).


The OAS narcotics program was launched at the first Western Hemisphere meeting to deal with all aspects of the drug problem-- the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Traffic in Narcotic Drugs, held in April 1986. 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 22 because of growing interest in the program and concern for the drug problem. The first projects were implemented in 1988. The program has identified five priority lines of action: Legal development for domestic and international law, education for prevention, mobilization of the private sector, establishment of an inter- American drug information system, and training. The program has produced notable results: -- At the April 1990 Ministerial Meeting on Narcotics in Ixtapa, Mexico, top officials from throughout the hemisphere, including US Attorney General Thornburgh, took several actions in the area of legal development, including approval of model regulations on the control of precursor and essential chemicals and the establishment of a group of experts to draft model legislation on money laundering and the seizure of assets derived from trafficking. -- Senior education officials of all OAS governments approved a plan of action for regional cooperation in drug abuse prevention education at a meeting in Quito, Ecuador, in June 1990. Elements of the plan are now being implemented. -- CICAD's efforts to mobilize private groups and community organizations to fight drug abuse and trafficking were boosted by the first multilateral teleconference on public and private sector cooperation for drug abuse prevention campaigns, carried live to 12 countries by INTELSAT in May 1990.


For 25 years, the OAS has actively assisted member states to 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 OAS to serve as an executing agency for their environmental projects. During the 1960s, OAS technical services concentrated on the survey, evaluation, and development of natural resources. In the 1970s, the scope was expanded to include the principal components of regional development such as socio-economic analysis, preparation of regional strategies for development, project formulation, environmental management, and institutional development. In the 1980s, special emphasis was placed upon multinational projects involving the management and conservation of natural resources, preservation of tourism areas and national parks, development of river basins and border regions, and mitigation of natural hazards. The 1991 General Assembly approved the first hemispheric program of action for environmental protection. It provides a non- binding framework that identifies objectives and recommends specific measures to member states for regional cooperation.


The General Secretariat is the permanent and central organ of the OAS, executing programs and policies decided upon by the General Assembly and the three 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 re- elected only once and cannot be succeeded by a person of the same nationality. Senior secretariat officials appointed by the Secretary General include the executive secretaries of CIES, CIECC (see below), and the drug abuse control commission (CICAD), the legal adviser, the assistant secretary for management, and the executive director of the human rights commission. Secretariat personnel conduct the activities of the Democracy Development Unit 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 700, selected on the basis of competence, experience, and integrity, are considered international civil servants. The OAS Secretariat also maintains a small office in each member state. 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 and 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 vote of all members (two-thirds for agenda, budget, and certain other questions). A Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs can be called by any member state, either "to consider problems of an urgent nature and of common interest to the American States" (OAS Charter) or to serve as an organ of consultation in cases of armed attack or other threats to international peace and security (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 most recent meeting of consultation was called at Venezuela's initiative in May 1989 to deal with Noriega's annulment of Panama's May 7 elections. OAS Foreign Ministers met on four occasions and sent a three-member commission to Panama to attempt to restore democracy in Panama, but Noriega resisted all efforts. The Permanent Council, composed of ambassadors representing each member state, usually meets every 2 weeks throughout the year in Washington, DC. The council, its four standing committees, and special working groups conduct the day- to-day business of the OAS, which involves 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. Many OAS members place great importance upon obtaining consensus before decisions are made; thus council sessions are often delayed by behind-the-scenes negotiations over the precise content of decisions. 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 Economic and Social Council (CIES), founded in 1945, is one of the permanent organs under provisions of the 1948 charter. It promotes cooperation among the nations of the Americas in pursuit of rapid economic and social development. The council meets yearly at the ministerial level and also can meet in special session. CIES has two committees--the Permanent Executive Committee (CEPCIES) and the Special Committee for Consultation and Negotiation (CECON). CEPCIES, created in 1974, holds several regular meetings a year and can hold special meetings as well. One key aspect of its functions is reviewing technical assistance projects and other activities. Another is its advance review and discussion of issues to be raised at the annual CIES meeting. CECON, established in 1970, is designed to serve as an instrument of consultation and negotiation between the United States and other member states. It meets in regular session at least once a year and can hold consultative meetings to address important and urgent problems in the field of trade. The most recent meetings of CECON considered subjects such as US trade policy measures and proposals which affect Latin America and the Caribbean, the US Generalized System of Preferences, the Export Enhancement Program of the US Department of Agriculture, Panama Canal tolls, development of a plan of action to control trade of dangerous toxic products, and the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative. CIES oversees a program of technical assistance provided to member countries by the OAS Secretariat. For example, in recent years, the council has implemented projects involving the strengthening of financial administration for development; tourism development; trade development and facilitation; non- formal skills training for employment; assisting the development and productivity of medium, small, and "micro" businesses; development of border regions and river basins; natural resources development and environmental management; and planning to mitigate damage caused by natural disasters. In addition, nine inter-American centers located in five countries provide training ranging from development of statistical capability to capital market development. The CIES secretariat's expertise enables it to multiply the assistance funds donated by member governments with external financial resources from several European donors, the Inter- American Development Bank, UN Development Program, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the private sector. CIES manages the OAS trade information service known as SICE, which uses private sector, USAID, and member government contributions to make trade information available in a coherent, easy-to-use data bank. Designed to promote economic growth through trade facilitation, SICE consists of 13 databases, which include current trade statistics, import tariffs, trade regulations, and lists of potential buyers and sellers. The Inter-American Council for Education, Science, and Culture (CIECC) was established by the OAS Charter. Changes were introduced to the organization's technical assistance activities as a result of the 1967 meeting of the hemisphere's presidents in Punta del Este, Uruguay. In 1968, the resolution of Maracay created the Inter-American Council for Education, Science and Culture (CIECC) to advance regional integration and contribute to the development of the member countries. It has managed to remain free of extraneous political issues and has concentrated on the technical work entrusted to it, for which it has an annual budget of $27 million. CIECC meets annually at ministerial level (ministers of education) to discuss and approve the policies for the work of the council. The 1988 meeting called for an in-depth evaluation of the goals, objectives, and achievements of the resolution of Maracay at its 20-year anniversary. Starting in 1990, CIECC began to implement the new priority multinational projects in basic education, education for work, materials technology, biotechnology and food, environment and natural resources, micro-electronics and informatics, preservation and use of cultural heritage, and cultural policies. Apart from the multinational aspect, these projects must have a strong training component and seek to build the infrastructure of the country. CIECC manages an efficient$8 million annual graduate fellowship program. More than 80,000 Latin American and Caribbean students have benefited from CIECC and related fellowship programs. The program effectively has created a network of specialists working in government or cooperation agencies, as well as in private business.
Specialized Organizations and Other Entities
Much important inter-American business is conducted under 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, 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 (IACI), with headquarters in Montevideo, Uruguay, is concerned with the problems of mothers, adolescents, and families, including growing numbers of "street children." It serves as a center for social action, programs in the fields of health, education, social legislation, legislation on adoptions, social service, and statistics. IACI 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. The Inter-American Commission on 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. Since its founding, women have gained full political rights in every member country. Now concerned with women's integration into development and decision-making processes, recent CIM research and seminars have focused on women and politics (1988), women and employment (1989), and violence against women (1990). The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) was created during World War II to plan and coordinate collective hemispheric defense. It advises the OAS on defense matters and has coordinated peace- keeping operations. 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, most of whom are field-grade officers who attain leadership positions in their respective services. In 1991, the college opened its doors for the first time to students from all OAS member states, whether or not they are signatories of the Rio Treaty. Other entities in the inter-American system are financed outside the OAS budget. Except for the Pan American Development Foundation, which relies heavily on private-sector contributions, and the IDB, which has significant financial support from non- hemispheric members, the US quota assessment is roughly 60%, or similar to that for the OAS. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the first of the regional development banks, was established in 1959 as a result of deliberations in the OAS 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 for economic or social development when lending on conventional terms is not appropriate to conditions of the country and/or project. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, assists member states in promoting rural development to advance the well-being and progress of entire populations. By strengthening national agricultural institutional systems, IICA supports member state efforts to increase agricultural productivity, employment opportunities in rural sectors, and rural participation in development activities. IICA has an excellent record in preventing the spread of threatening animal and plant diseases in the hemisphere and in helping members develop food production. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) is also the Western Hemisphere arm of the UN World Health Organization (WHO). It works closely with member countries to coordinate 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 throughout the hemisphere. The Pan American Institute for Geography and History (PAIGH) encourages the coordination and standardization of information and publicizing geographic, historical, cartographic, and geophysical studies in the Americas. Member countries receive information and technical assistance to locate and develop their natural resources. It preserves and documents historical data through research and publication. It also facilitates cooperative relationships between US agencies and other countries in such vital areas as aviation safety. The Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII), headquartered in Mexico City, initiates, coordinates, and directs research to promote better understanding of the health, education, economic, and social problems of Indian populations. It provides technical assistance for programs of Indian community development, trains personnel in agriculture and marketing, and provides scientific information on present-day Indians of the Americas. It thus serves as an excellent vehicle for cooperation among countries of the hemisphere with substantial Indian populations. The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is a unique quasi-public international organization, which although it was created by the OAS, receives more than half its financial support largely from US corporations and other private sources. PADF has channeled more than $100 million into development projects which mobilize private sector support in recipient countries. It also coordinates disaster relief. The PADF qualifies for charitable donations under the US Internal Revenue Code Section 201(c)(3). It receives a small grant from the OAS as well as funds from the US Agency for International Development.
OAS and US Officials
Secretary General: Joao Clemente Baena Soares (Brazil), elected to second 5-year term in 1988. Assistant Secretary General: Christopher R. Thomas (Trinidad and Tobago), elected to 5-year term in 1990. Address: Organization of American States, 17th St. and Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006. Tel. 202-458-3000. US Permanent Representative to the OAS: Ambassador Luigi R. Einaudi, sworn in November 9, 1989. Address: US Permanent Mission to the OAS, ARA/USOAS, Room 6494, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20520. Tel. 202-647- 9376.(###)