May 20, 2009 News
While conceding that OAS (Organisation of American States) forums were partly talk shops is Assistant General Secretary Albert Ramdin is of the view that they were important.
According to Ramdin, agreeing to do something is always the easy part but when it comes to actual implementation their needs to be a genuine commitment backed with the adequate resources.
He noted that he partly agreed with the critics that the forums were talk shops saying that “we don’t need any more declarations or agreements…we do have many of them already.”
According to Ramdin there is a consensus on what needs to be done. “We don’t need to rephrase what we already know.”
He emphasized, however, that he did not believe that the forums such as the upcoming OAS General Assembly were talk shops.
He added that they were a necessary encounter between leaders. “Without that ability of dialogue many issues would not have been resolved.”
He noted that the issues ventilated might not immediately translate into concrete benefits for the people, but generally work out in the long term.
“In the absence of such a dialogue we would have had many more problems.”
He noted that often persons only remember that groups meet and nothing comes out of it immediately, but what if we did not meet.
He emphasized, however, that forum where leaders and Ministers meet must be more meaningful for people. “It has to become much more effective…it has to impact on the lives of people in a positive way.”
Ramdin added that Governments need embedded within their national development policies the mandate that they have adopted and allocate the necessary resources.
He added also that international donor agencies also need to create windows aimed at assisting countries at achieving their mandates. “That is what we need at this point…better coordination.”
Ramdin added that there needs to be greater coordination between the various foreign affairs meetings and finance ministers meeting adding that many times foreign affairs ministers would meet and it does not filter down to the finance arm of the various governments.
He urged also that at a national level there be special implementation committees/authorities established to facilitate the realizing of the mandates.
The OAS will be holding its General Assembly in two weeks and a follow up to the Summit of Americas among other issues.
Albert Ramdin was elected OAS Assistant Secretary General on June 7, 2005, and took office on July 19. The Surinamese diplomat has had a distinguished career in public service at the national and international level, serving before his election to the OAS as Ambassador at Large and Special Adviser to the Government of the Republic of Suriname on Western Hemispheric Affairs.
Born in Suriname on February 27, 1958, Ramdin received his education in Paramaribo and in The Netherlands, at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University, where he studied geography of developing countries with specialization in social and economic problems of smaller economies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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