Embassy of Jamaica, Washington, DC

Organization of American States

Interesting Facts
The Organization of American States (OAS) brings together the nations of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation on democratic values, defend common interests and debate the major issues facing the region and the world.

Jamaica at the Organization of American States

Organization of American Sates

The Ambassador of Jamaica also serves as Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).

The Organization of American States (OAS), which has its headquarters in Washington DC, is the primary political multilateral forum in the hemisphere with the main objectives of maintaining peace and stability, preserving and consolidating democracy, protecting human rights, and promoting economic and social development.

Jamaica has been a member of the OAS since 1969, collaborating with the other 33 Member States to achieve the above mentioned objectives and works closely and coordinates its positions with its CARICOM partners.

In working towards these objectives, Jamaica firmly upholds the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention in the affairs of Member States. These principles are clearly articulated in the OAS Charter.

The OAS has remained actively involved in supporting Member States, at their request, with electoral observation missions and in mediating political crises and disputes.

The Ambassador and staff of the Permanent Mission of Jamaica attend meetings of the OAS and its subsidiary bodies to represent Jamaica’s interests and give support, where necessary, to the requests of other Member States.

Some of the issues on which Jamaica has recently played an active role and has a strong interest are:

  • Strengthening the capacity of the OAS to assist Member States affected by natural disasters – The Permanent Representative of Jamaica, Ambassador Gordon Shirley served as Chair of the body in which these discussions were held and chaired the negotiations which created a new Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction.
  • The partnership for development programme of the OAS – Jamaica attaches great importance to the development agenda of the OAS and particularly to meeting the needs of small states. We have benefited over the years from the OAS technical assistance projects and programmes. For the 2005-2006 period, Ambassador Gordon Shirley served as the Chair of the Permanent Executive Committee of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CEPCIDI) which reviews the development cooperation programmes.

Jamaica also attaches importance to the scholarship and training programmes of the OAS, from which a number of Jamaica nationals have benefited. These include undergraduate and graduate studies as well as professional development courses.

Jamaica firmly holds the view that the eradication of poverty must remain a high priority for the OAS. Democracy and social and economic and social development are inextricably linked – one cannot be sustained without the other. To this end, Jamaica supports the ongoing negotiations for the preparation of a Social Charter for the Americas, which will focus on actions to eliminate poverty and promote social inclusion/justice. The Social Charter will also complement the Democratic Charter adopted by the OAS in 2001.

The multidimensional aspects of security – Bearing in mind that security threats can no longer be viewed in terms of armed conflict, Jamaica has strongly supported the position that the OAS must address security issues from a multidimensional perspective, encompassing economic, social, health and environmental issues such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic which can affect the security and stability of a state.

Haiti – Jamaica appreciates the important role that the OAS has played in Haiti. In order to support the strengthening of democracy in Haiti, it is imperative for the international community to continue its support of Haiti, and to assist the Government with the implementation of policies and programmes that are geared towards the generation of employment and the elimination of extreme poverty. In this regard, the role of the international donor community, the OAS and the UN through MINUSTAH will continue to be of importance.

Through the participation of Ministers, Experts and Governmental representatives, as appropriate, Jamaica also participates in the relevant OAS fora in areas such as culture, education, social development, sustainable development, labour and in the fight against corruption, drug abuse and drug trafficking, terrorism, and violence against women.

Jamaica also participates in the Summits of the Americas process, which represents an opportunity for the Member States to meet periodically at the highest level of Heads of Government/State to define common positions for a hemispheric agenda.

Organization of American States
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