Saturday, September 17, 2005

Summit of the Americas Meeting This November

Courtesy of Joan Masters.

06 September 2005
Argentina Meeting To Focus on Policies for Summit of the Americas

Buenos Aires hosting preparatory meeting for November summit

By Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer


Washington -- Representatives of the Western Hemisphere's 34 democracies will meet September 7-9 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to continue work on adopting policies for job creation to fight poverty and strengthen democratic governance in the region, which is the theme of the November Summit of the Americas.

The meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) will set forth the strategies to promote job creation in the Americas. Those strategies are to be included in the summit's final declaration and in a "plan of action."

The Fourth Summit of the Americas will be held November 4-5 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. One final SIRG meeting is scheduled for November 1-2 in Argentina, before the summit opens. The SIRG, which holds about four regular meetings each year, was created following the first Summit of the Americas, which took place in Miami in 1994, to monitor implementation of summit mandates and to prepare reports for the region's foreign ministers.

The Organization of American States (OAS), the home of the summit's secretariat, says representatives of civil society will attend the SIRG meeting. Civil society representatives will offer recommendations on the Mar del Plata summit's theme, and on problems confronting indigenous peoples and people of African descent in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. Members of civil society also will raise issues relating to human rights and employment.

The OAS is responsible for acting as the "institutional memory" for the Summit of the Americas process and for performing preparatory work for future summits. The OAS also chairs the so-called "Joint Summit Working Group," which brings together international and inter-American agencies in support of summit mandates.

U.S. National Summit Coordinator John Maisto has said the summit declaration in Mar del Plata should be "action-oriented and forward-looking," focusing on measures that leaders can take within the context of issues such as debt, deficits and global forces beyond their control. (See related article.)

"It serves no purpose to focus on problems. We need to focus on solutions," said Maisto, who is also the U.S. permanent representative to the OAS.

In March 25 remarks at a Civil Society Task Force "Summit in Focus" program in Washington, Maisto said the summit declaration needs to stress the central role of the private sector in job creation. The appropriate role of government is not to create jobs but to create the conditions that promote job creation by the private sector and to ensure that citizens are given equal opportunities, he said.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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