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La Educación
Número: (120) I
Año: 1995

It is worth noting that, within the Inter-American System, the year 1995 marks the beginning of a new era for the Organization of American States that will be characterized by, among other things, the importance that the Member States assign to cooperation for development in order to confront the challenges of the next century and assure a significant contribution to the definition and treatment of the most pertinent themes on the contemporary agenda. Within this setting, different events have come together to help build the foundation for integral action.

In June of 1993, the General Assembly adopted the Managua Protocol in Nicaragua. The Managua Protocol not only includes reforms to the Charter of the OAS, but redefines the mission of the Organization in the field of Inter-American cooperation for development and establishes the creation of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI). CIDI will be the voice of “the policies, the programs and the measures of action as they relate to cooperation for integral development, within the framework of the general policy and the priorities defined by the General Assembly.”

Following this line of action, in order to advance the preparations for implementing the Managua Protocol, an Extraordinary General Assembly of Inter-American Cooperation for Development (AGECID) was held in Mexico City in February of 1994. At that time, a general policy framework was adopted as a guideline for formulating strategic plans to define some of the fundamental characteristics of the new system of cooperation for development.

For their part, the governments of the American States reaffirmed their political will to strengthen their capacity to serve the OAS in areas of major relevance to the Inter-American agenda and, as they committed themselves at the Summit of the Americas (Miami 1994), to meet new demands by considering, in the case that they have not already done so, the ratification of the reforms of the Charter of the OAS through the Protocols of Cartagena de Indias, Washington and Managua. With this reaffirmation, the decisions made by the General Assembly to implement the reform of cooperation activities for development have been further encouraged.

The reform of Article 93 of the Charter of the OAS, which is included in the Protocol of Managua, establishes that the CIDI “has the purpose of promoting cooperation between the Member States to attain integral development, and in particular, to contribute to the elimination of extreme poverty, according to the rules of the Charter and especially those set forth in Chapter VII of the same in the economic, social, educational, cultural and scientific and technological fields.” With this purpose established, the General Assembly defined the mission of CIDI and, consequently, that of the new system of cooperation foreseen by AGECID, in the framework of implementing the new council.

It is important to note that this new mission assigns the OAS the role of promotor agent and that, according to its declaration, cooperation is an act that will be carried out between the Member States of the Organization. The AGECID, whose mission is defined by the General Assembly, has had to propose a new concept of cooperation for development that surpasses the traditional concept of technical assistance—presumed to be a one-way transferral of resources—as well as a conventional interpretation of horizontal cooperation—presumed to be a more restrictive form, such as “South-South” cooperation—between countries in the process of development. The concept of the partnership for development, as established by the AGECID, signals the need to transcend the concept of assistance cooperation, recognizing that, with cooperative action, all of the Member States should participate, independent of their level of development. This participation should signify benefits for all, especially since the cooperation aims to identify efficient policies, strategies, and programs to confront the global problems and the priorities of the Inter-American agenda. Finally, due to the high quality of human resources and available technical resources, it is necessary to abandon the old stategies of technical cooperation.

Stemming from this concept, the AGECID established a general policy framework that allows for the identification of the following objectives for implementation of a partnership for development:
  • Implementation of the concept of joint cooperation, understood as an hemispheric effort to mobilize and articulate resources to complement the initiatives and policies determined by each country;
  • Strengthening of the capacity of the OAS to act as a(n):
a) Forum for Inter-American dialogue to promote the development of the Member States;
b) Catalyzing agent that supports the increase of cooperation possibilities and takes advantage of the existing financial, technical and human resources in the Member States and in the institutions that promote activities related to cooperation for development;
c) Promoter entity for the articulation and coordination of programs among the organizations of the Inter-American system and the global, regional and subregional organizations that are in charge of cooperation activities to promote the development of the countries of the Hemisphere;
d) Instrument to facilitate the exchange of experiences and specialized information in the priority fields and themes of cooperation for development, as well as to act as a clearinghouse for offers and requests for technical cooperation;
e) Promoter agent to channel support for the development and training of human resources in the Member States;
f) Mobilizing agent of additional financial resources for development that considers the participation of the Member States and the Permanent Observer countries, and that stimulates at the same time international organizations and other governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions;
g) Support mechanism for flexible programs and projects that respond to specific problems and initiatives, by means of multinational efforts that allow for the participation of the public and private sectors of various Member States; and
h) Mechanism to support national projects when they can significantly impact the development of the country in question, particularly when they allow more active participation in multinational programs and projects, when they favor the participation of other international cooperation organs—including financial institutions—or if the projects benefit the other Member States.

In this context, as required by the Charter of the OAS and the General Rules as they relate to the responsibilities of the General Secretariat, the Secretary General submitted a document on April 6 entitled “A New Vision of the OAS” for consideration by the Permanent Council. It included a plan of action for the Secretariat and outlined the future direction of the OAS regarding the critical themes and topics of the contemporary agenda.

In this process of transformation, education is called upon to play a central role. As the Secretary General affirmed in the inauguration of the XXVI Ordinary Session of the Inter-American Council for Education, Science and Culture (CIECC) “schools must take on their civic duty and become the source of a vast democratic conscience. At the same time that access by all to basic education is assured, secondary education must be linked to the labor market and the contribution of higher education to main national priorities must be ensured...the OAS will continue to generate ideas and strategies in the fields of education, culture, science and technology. It will act as a catalyst for innovative and renewed initiatives. The disciplines to which CIECC has devoted its efforts will serve as a basis for fulfilling the political mandates conferred upon the Organization.”
The Editor

1. The term “Cooperación Solidaria para el Desarrollo” was adopted by the Extraordinary General Assembly of Inter-American Cooperation for Development (AGECID), held in Mexico City in February 1994. By using this term, the General Assembly wanted to establish that the concept and practice of cooperation within the OAS should surpass the traditional methods of technical assistance, and be based on the development of ways in which horizontal cooperation could include all the Member States of the Organization, independent of both their level of development and the nature and magnitude of their offers and demands to participate in the cooperation action. The term “Cooperación Solidaria para el Desarrollo” was originally translated to English as “Partnership for Development” and this translation has since been used for all official documents of the OAS.