VOTE OF APPRECIATION TO THE PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT OF COLOMBIA
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
That the thirty-eighth regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States was held in the Republic of Colombia from June 1 to 3, 2008, and noting the warm welcome extended by the people and Government of Colombia; and
That, during this regular session of the General Assembly, the delegations expressed their deep gratitude to His Excellency Fernando Araújo Perdomo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, for the skill with which he steered the discussions, which led to the adoption of important declarations and resolutions on high-priority issues on the hemispheric agenda,
To express its appreciation to His Excellency Álvaro Uribe Vélez, President of the Republic of Colombia, and particularly to the people of Medellín, for their warm and generous hospitality and for the contribution they have made to the success of the thirty-eighth regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS).
To convey its gratitude and congratulations to His Excellency Fernando Araújo Perdomo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, for his able leadership as President of the thirty-eighth regular session of the General Assembly.
To express its appreciation and gratitude to Ambassador Camilo Ospina, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Colombia to the OAS, and to the members of the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the OAS; to Mrs. Adriana Mejía, Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and officials from the Colombian foreign ministry; to the municipal officials of Medellín; and to the departmental officials of Antioquia, whose efficiency, dedication, and professionalism contributed to the success of the thirty-eighth regular session of the General Assembly.
Additionally, to express regret for the tragic loss of human life that occurred recently in Comuna 13, Medellín, Department of Antioquia, as a result of the ravages of nature, and to offer its most sincere condolences to the victims and their families, as well as to the officials and people of Medellín.
AG/RES. 2437 (XXXVIII-O/08)
GUIDELINES FOR THE PROGRAM-BUDGET OF THE ORGANIZATION FOR 2009
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
The proposed program-budget of the Organization of American States (OAS) for fiscal year 2009, presented by the Secretary General on April 1, 2008 (AG/CP/INF.573/08 corr. 2);
The Annual Report of the Secretary General for 2007, issued on May 27, 2008 (AG/doc.4873/08);
The report by the Chair of the Subcommittee on Administrative and Budgetary Matters of the Preparatory Committee of the General Assembly on the proposed program-budget for 2009 (AG/CP/doc.753/08); and
The annual report of the Board of External Auditors (CP/doc.4310/08), presented to the Permanent Council on May 9, 2008;
RECALLING that the Secretary General, in his address to the Permanent Council in December 2005, defined four priority areas: human rights, democracy and good governance, integral development, and multidimensional security, and that these areas have since been known as “the four pillars” of the Organization;
NOTING that, at its thirty-fourth special session, the General Assembly, through resolution AG/RES. 1 (XXXIV-E/07), approved the methodology for calculating the scale of quota assessments to finance the Regular Fund of the Organization for 2009;
That resolution AG/RES. 2353 (XXXVII-O/07) instructed the General Secretariat to submit to the Preparatory Committee a proposed program-budget for the Regular Fund for 2009, at a level for which the Secretary General can demonstrate available financing, but not to exceed US$87.5 million;
That, in accordance with Articles 54 and 55 of the OAS Charter, the General Assembly approves the program-budget of the Organization and establishes the basis for setting the quota that each government is to contribute to the maintenance of the Organization, taking into account the ability to pay of the respective countries and their determination to contribute in an equitable manner;
That the Organization is mandated to give preference to priorities defined by its members, within the limits of its available resources;
That, pursuant to the salary policy of parity with the United Nations established in resolution AG/RES. 1319 (XXV-O/95) and Article 40 of the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (General Standards), the Secretary General adjusted the General Secretariat’s 2008 basic salary scales, and increased the post adjustment for the Washington, D.C., area; and
That, in accordance with Article 60.b of the OAS Charter, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Administrative and Budgetary Matters of the Preparatory Committee transmitted to the General Assembly a report on the proposed program-budget of the Organization for 2009 (AG/CP/doc.753/08), along with recommendations; and
BEARING IN MIND:
That, under Article 12.d of the General Standards, “[i]t is the responsibility of the Secretary General … [t]o redistribute the functions of existing dependencies, incorporating some into others or dividing or subdividing them, whenever necessary for the greater efficiency of the services and better execution of the programs, provided that no increase in the expenditures budgeted for those services or programs is involved”;
That, on February 12, 2008, the Secretary General issued Executive Order No. 08-01, “Structure of the General Secretariat”;
That the General Assembly, convened in special session on March 26, 2008, adopted, in resolution AG/RES. 1 (XXXV-E/08), the provisions of Executive Order No. 08-01, which established the Secretariat for Legal Affairs and the Secretariat for External Relations;
That resolution AG/RES. 1 (XXXV-E/08), “Establishment of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs and the Secretariat for External Relations,” authorized the Secretary General to effect all the transfers of resources among the chapters of the Organization’s 2008 program-budget that are needed in order to implement the establishment of the two new secretariats in line with the structure of the General Secretariat contemplated in Executive Order No. 08-01, on the understanding that the transfers shall not entail an increase in total budgetary outlays;
That Article 120 of the OAS Charter stipulates that in selecting the personnel of the General Secretariat, first consideration shall be given to efficiency, competence, and integrity; but at the same time, in the recruitment of personnel of all ranks, importance shall be given to the necessity of obtaining as wide a geographic representation as possible;
That the Secretary General is urged to continue his work to establish policies of gender equity and equality in the workplace and to make each manager accountable for the application of these policies;
That it is important to maintain a culture of austerity, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and prudence in the use, execution, and management of the Organization’s resources;
That Article 90 of the General Standards stipulates the required information to be included in the proposed program-budget upon submission to the Preparatory Committee, and that it is necessary to allow member states the time to review and analyze the budget proposal; and
That on May 9, 2008, the Permanent Council agreed to include, in all resolutions that may have budgetary implications, a statement confirming the availability of resources required to fund the mandate, to wit:
“To request the (organ concerned) to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth regular session on the implementation of this resolution, the execution of which shall be subject to the availability of financial resources in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources,”
I. PROGRAM-BUDGET FOR 2009
To instruct the Permanent Council, through the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs (CAAP), to continue consideration of the proposed program-budget of the Organization of American States (OAS) for fiscal year 2009, and to instruct the CAAP to present a report thereon to the Council prior to September 15, 2008.
To instruct the Permanent Council to convene a special session of the General Assembly to be held prior to September 30, 2008, to approve the program-budget of the Organization for 2009, including its overall budget level, appropriations by chapter and subprogram, and sources of financing, and to establish the overall budget level for 2010.
II. GENERAL PROVISIONS
ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL
Whereas the General Secretariat is instructed by the terms of this resolution to endeavor to obtain a balanced distribution of human and material resources among the priority areas of the Organization in accordance with its four pillars, it is further resolved:
a. To request the General Secretariat to present its administrative and financial management reports to the CAAP on a quarterly basis. These reports are intended to serve as a comprehensive management guide to the strategic allocation of resources and to report on the General Secretariat’s compliance with mandates of the General Assembly that address policies affecting administration and management, as well as to show progress in attaining austerity, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and prudence in the use of the Organization’s resources. The reports should include, inter alia, the following components:
A discussion and analysis of the report at the management level that summarizes the financial situation of the General Secretariat; and
ii. Detailed financial reports, including budgetary execution of the Regular Fund and the voluntary, specific, service (including indirect cost recovery – ICR), and trust funds.
b. To request the General Secretariat to provide the following reports on a semiannual basis: reports on other administrative aspects of the General Secretariat, such as the impact of human resource policies on geographic representation and gender equity and equality; performance evaluations of General Secretariat staff; the human resource plan; post audits; personnel funded by specific funds; contracting mechanisms; travel expense control measures; and any others requested by the CAAP.
c. To request the General Secretariat to provide the following reports on an annual basis: a comprehensive report regarding the resources allocated for compliance with the mandates of the member states of the Organization, listed by effective date, object of expenditure (e.g., travel, contracts), and responsible area of the Secretariat, taking into account the four pillars of the Organization; a report on the activities of the Offices of the General Secretariat in the Member States; a report on the income generated through the rental of conference rooms and the Hall of the Americas; and a report on fundraising for external resources to support the activities of the Organization and other contributions to building maintenance and improvements.
2. Quotas and statutory adjustments
To instruct the Permanent Council to consider the recommendations of the Board of External Auditors, presented in document CP/doc.4310/08, with regard to the need for a periodic adjustment of quota income to the Organization’s expenditure level.
To request the General Secretariat to prepare, at the end of each fiscal period, beginning with 2008, a report containing the following information:
The fiscal year’s actual disbursements for statutory adjustments of staff salaries implemented as a result of the Organization’s use of “smart parity” (as reported in document CP/CAAP-2848/06 corr. 1), in accordance with the recommendations of the International Civil Service Commission;
The variation between actual disbursements as per subparagraph (i) above and estimated costs of statutory adjustments of staff salaries; and
Suggestions as to the manner in which to regularly address financing of the variations between real costs and estimated costs.
To request the Permanent Council to consider, in a special meeting to be held prior to December 15, 2008, the information thus provided and to convene, prior to January 31, 2009, a special session of the General Assembly to adopt, if appropriate, those decisions that may be required.
To request the General Secretariat to promote, through the Secretariat for External Relations and as part of its fundraising efforts, support for implementation of the mandates of the General Assembly.
To request the General Secretariat to prepare and present to the Permanent Council a comprehensive fundraising strategy for the Organization that responds to the mandates and priorities of the OAS.
4. Payment of quotas
a. To reiterate to member state governments the need to continue to pay their quotas and their arrears pursuant to resolution AG/RES. 1757 (XXX-O/00), “Measures to Encourage the Timely Payment of Quotas,” as modified by resolution AG/RES. 2157 (XXXV-O/05).
b. To extend the mandate of the Permanent Council to evaluate the existing measures and to consider new measures aimed at encouraging the timely payment of quotas, and to complete its report thereon for the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth regular session.
5. Fiscal year of the Organization
To request that the General Secretariat, along with the external auditors and the Board of External Auditors, examine the feasibility of establishing a new fiscal cycle for the budgetary and financial operations of the OAS and present a report with recommendations to the Permanent Council prior to the thirty-ninth regular session of the General Assembly.
6. Strategic planning and evaluation
To instruct the Secretary General:
To pursue existing efforts to modernize the General Secretariat and to improve and promote a culture of austerity, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and prudence in the use of the resources of the General Secretariat’s operations;
To continue, in consultation with the member states, the implementation of a planning process that identifies strategic objectives, evaluates programs and projects that respond to the mandates issued by the political bodies, except those financed by the Special Multilateral Fund of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (FEMCIDI), taking into account the comparative advantages of the Organization, and allocates available budgetary resources to achieve key OAS objectives;
To present an annual report that provides a clear link between the use of resources and the results achieved in a manner that is useful to member states; and
To request the Secretary General to conduct, in the second half of 2008 and in consultation with the member states, an evaluation of the indirect cost recovery policy for the purpose of assessing the impact and effectiveness of its application.
7. Human resource policies
To urge the Secretary General to continue implementing an action plan that modernizes human resource policies and that includes transparent hiring procedures, sound personnel management and performance evaluation methodology, trust appointments, and equitable geographic distribution, as well as gender balance at all levels of the OAS and to present a comprehensive report and recommendations to the Permanent Council by January 31, 2009.
a. Trust Appointments
To request the Secretary General to study the General Secretariat’s policy on trust appointments, placing particular emphasis on its applicability to director-level positions of a highly technical nature, where appointment through competition is more appropriate and in the best interests of the Organization.
To request the Secretary General to develop a succession plan for replacing or reappointing staff members to director-level positions to ensure continuity and consistency of service, and to present to the Permanent Council his recommendations for any necessary changes to the General Standards.
b. Geographic representation
To urge the Secretary General to continue to develop a human resource policy that fully takes into account the principle of geographic representation in accordance with Article 120 of the Charter of the Organization of American States.
c. Gender equity and equality
To urge the Secretary General to continue the progress made in implementing gender equity and equality policies in the workplace and to make each Secretary and Director accountable for the application of these policies.
To urge the Secretary General to redouble his efforts to achieve the objective of having women occupy 50 percent of posts in each grade level in the OAS organs, agencies, and entities, in particular at the P-5 grade level and above, and to attain gender balance at all levels of the OAS.
d. Persons with disabilities
To request the Secretary General to promote human resource policies that are not discriminatory for reasons of disability and that ensure equal opportunity for all.
8. Offices of the General Secretariat in the Member States
Whereas the General Secretariat is instructed by the terms of this resolution to promote and maintain a culture of austerity, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and prudence in the use, execution, and management of OAS resources, it is further resolved:
To request the Secretary General to ensure that each of the Offices of the General Secretariat in the Member States has reasonable staffing based on workload and objectives and is funded within available resources;
To request the General Secretariat to continue the process of streamlining and improving the management, oversight, and internal control of the Offices of the General Secretariat in the Member States, and to ensure that these Offices work in a coordinated manner to increase their efficiency and capacity to deliver the mandates of the Organization and its attainment of the expected results;
To request the General Secretariat to pursue partnership agreements with other local, regional, and international organizations to offer services and engage in cooperative endeavors with them and to collect fees for those services, and to further consider additional cooperative arrangements to reinforce and enhance the quality of services to be delivered to the member states; and
To request the General Secretariat to submit to the Permanent Council by December 1 of each year a report containing a strategy and annual work plan for each Office. The report shall comply with the uniform guidelines established by the Secretary General and should indicate progress made in achieving the preceding year’s objectives. In addition, it should lay out the objectives for the coming year. Where appropriate, the report should address any opportunities to consolidate the financial, human, and material resources in a way that may enhance OAS objectives.
9. Establishment of a structured budget-preparation process
To request the General Secretariat to implement a budget-preparation process in order to conduct, prior to the start of the discussion and approval cycle of the proposed program-budget for 2010, the necessary consultations with the department heads and the member states in order to gather and present the data and reports that may be required at the onset of the cycle of meetings of the Subcommittee on Administrative and Budgetary Matters, and to present a preliminary budget outline to the CAAP by March 15, 2009.
To reiterate to the General Secretariat the need to adhere strictly to the scheduled dates for presentation of the proposed program-budget and accompanying information, as required by Article 90 of the General Standards.
To request the General Secretariat to examine the possibility of advancing the delivery date of the report of the Board of External Auditors to allow member states to take it into consideration at the very beginning of the drafting process of the program-budget resolution.
10. Foundations created by the General Secretariat
To instruct the General Secretariat to report to the Permanent Council on the foundations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other private entities created by the General Secretariat by providing a list of these as of December 31, 2008. This list should be presented to the Permanent Council by no later than May 1, 2009.
To instruct the General Secretariat to inform the CAAP about the General Secretariat’s participation in the creation of any new foundations, NGOs, and other private entities.
To request the General Secretariat to review current procedures for its participation in the creation and support of foundations, NGOs, and other such entities, and to make appropriate amendments, if necessary, to carry out oversight processes of the General Secretariat’s activities with those foundations, particularly when they use the name of the OAS to raise funds, and to present a report to the Permanent Council before the thirty-ninth regular session of the General Assembly.
11. Civil society organizations
To request the General Secretariat to continue providing to the CAAP a report on the foundations, civil society organizations, and other private entities that carry out projects with specific funds, and to provide details on their areas of activity.
To instruct the General Secretariat to reinforce the measures that ensure compliance with the rule established by the Permanent Council which requires that all tickets paid for by the Regular Fund, FEMCIDI, specific funds, and trust funds administered by the General Secretariat, be purchased in economy class, except for travel by the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General, and the Chair of the Permanent Council, and to report to the Permanent Council on a quarterly basis on any instances of noncompliance with that rule.
13. Conference and meeting services
a. To reiterate to the General Secretariat the need to expand its review of the Organization’s interpretation and translation services to include the whole area of conference and meeting services, and to present to the Permanent Council for consideration, through the CAAP, by September 30, 2008, a comprehensive plan that thoroughly analyzes current services and needs and makes recommendations as to the most efficient and cost-effective means of delivering these services, at headquarters and away from headquarters, taking into consideration member states’ requirements and overall needs and limitations of the Organization in fulfilling its mandates.
b. To encourage the representatives of the member states who attend and/or who preside over meetings of the Permanent Council and its subcommittees and working groups, to observe the scheduled starting and ending times of the meetings, in order to maximize the use of interpretation services that are available during the meetings scheduled in the calendar of conferences, and in order to avoid paying for unused interpretation services for time periods scheduled for such meetings.
c. To request the Secretary General to prepare reports on monetary losses incurred further to nonobservance of meetings’ scheduled times and to report to the Permanent Council and all political bodies twice a year.
To maintain the sum of US$150 a day for the honoraria paid to members of the following bodies entitled to such payment: Administrative Tribunal, Board of External Auditors, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Inter-American Juridical Committee, and Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
15. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
To extend the budgetary authorization to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to cover payments to members of the Commission for special services, in keeping with Article 21 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, up to a maximum of US$1,000 per month per member. This budgetary measure shall be taken without prejudice to the right to the payment of honoraria, as provided by the General Assembly in paragraph II.B.14 of this resolution.
16. Inter-American Court of Human Rights
To extend the budgetary authorization to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to cover the payment of emoluments to judges of the Court, set in accordance with Article 17 of the Statute of the Court, up to a maximum of US$1,000 per month per judge. This budgetary measure shall be taken without prejudice to Article 26 of the Statute of the Court and without prejudice to the right to the payment of honoraria, as provided by the General Assembly in paragraph II.B.14 of this resolution.
17. Program-budget for 2010
In accordance with Article 94 of the General Standards, the General Secretariat shall submit to the Preparatory Committee a proposed program-budget for the year 2010 that is consistent with the overall budget level approved by the General Assembly at the special session convened in the second half of 2008 for the purpose of approving the program-budget of the Organization for 2009.
The budget proposal for 2010 shall be consistent with the objective of maintaining a culture of austerity, efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and prudence in the use, execution, and management of the Organization’s resources.
The total expenditure for object 1 should not exceed 64.38 percent of the 2010 Regular Fund program-budget, plus any statutory increases that may be required.
To reiterate that all resolutions submitted to the General Assembly that require Regular Fund financing must be accompanied by a statement from the CAAP on the availability of funds.
e. To request the General Secretariat to establish a mechanism by which resolutions that have financial implications and are being proposed to the General Assembly for action are considered by the CAAP in a timely manner.
f. To acknowledge that the absence of such a mechanism presents difficulties in the process of planning, drafting, and approving the budget in an orderly and efficient manner.
g. To entrust the Permanent Council with examining the possibility of establishing prudent time limits for the presentation and analysis of resolutions with budgetary implications that will allow the CAAP to advise whether these may be included in the budget to be submitted to the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth regular session and future sessions.
18. International Public Sector Accounting Standards
a. To instruct the General Secretariat to continue studying the viability of implementing the International Public Sector Accounting Standards, starting with the fiscal year beginning on January 1, 2009, and in subsequent periods, and to report the General Secretariat’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Permanent Council through the CAAP. To that end, after consideration by the Permanent Council of the CAAP’s recommendations, the Permanent Council is authorized to adopt, with immediate effect, such amendments to the General Standards as may be necessary, ad referendum of the General Assembly.
b. To instruct the General Secretariat to take the necessary measures to ensure that financial and budgetary reports presented to the CAAP are consistent with the guidelines provided in the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
c. To instruct the General Secretariat to develop an appropriate mechanism to consult on this matter with the CAAP and to report periodically on the progress of this endeavor.
19. Cost-control measures
To instruct the General Secretariat to intensify its ongoing initiative aimed at controlling operating expenditures. This initiative should identify all cost mitigation and cost reduction opportunities and determine specific cost-control measures in the use of meeting, conference, and office resources and/or the purchase of inputs and materials.
To instruct the General Secretariat to highlight in the quarterly resource management reports presented to the Permanent Council examples of savings and efficiencies achieved through the implementation of these measures.
20. Communications strategy
o instruct the General Secretariat to formulate and implement a comprehensive communications strategy that showcases the Organization’s activities and its results in an accessible, transparent, and up-to-date manner.
21. Integrated real property strategy
To instruct the General Secretariat to propose a real property strategy and investment plan to maximize the potential of the real estate of the OAS. The plan should take into account the financing required for urgent repairs, maintenance, renovation, and management of the Organization’s physical space.
To develop a strategy to fund certain energy-efficient upgrades.
To present a report and recommendations to the Permanent Council for consideration and decision by February 27, 2009.
THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
The Organization of American States (OAS) is the world's oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890. At that meeting the establishment of the International Union of American Republics was approved. The Charter of the OAS was signed in Bogotá in 1948 and entered into force in December 1951. The Charter was subsequently amended by the Protocol of Buenos Aires, signed in 1967, which entered into force in February 1970; by the Protocol of Cartagena de Indias, signed in 1985, which entered into force in November 1988; by the Protocol of Managua, signed in 1993, which entered into force on January 29, 1996; and by the Protocol of Washington, signed in 1992, which entered into force on September 25, 1997. The OAS currently has 35 member states. In addition, the Organization has granted permanent observer status to 60 states, as well as to the European Union.
The essential purposes of the OAS are: to strengthen peace and security in the Hemisphere; to promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of nonintervention; to prevent possible causes of difficulties and to ensure peaceful settlement of disputes that may arise among the member states; to provide for common action on the part of those states in the event of aggression; to seek the solution of political, juridical, and economic problems that may arise among them; to promote, by cooperative action, their economic, social, and cultural development; and to achieve an effective limitation of conventional weapons that will make it possible to devote the largest amount of resources to the economic and social development of the member states.
The Organization of American States accomplishes its purposes by means of: the General Assembly; the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs; the Councils (the Permanent Council and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development); the Inter-American Juridical Committee; the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; the General Secretariat; the specialized conferences; the specialized organizations; and other entities established by the General Assembly.
The General Assembly holds a regular session once a year. Under special circumstances it meets in special session. The Meeting of Consultation is convened to consider urgent matters of common interest and to serve as Organ of Consultation under the Inter American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty), the main instrument for joint action in the event of aggression. The Permanent Council takes cognizance of such matters as are entrusted to it by the General Assembly or the Meeting of Consultation and implements the decisions of both organs when their implementation has not been assigned to any other body; it monitors the maintenance of friendly relations among the member states and the observance of the standards governing General Secretariat operations; and it also acts provisionally as Organ of Consultation under the Rio Treaty. The General Secretariat is the central and permanent organ of the OAS. The headquarters of both the Permanent Council and the General Secretariat are in Washington, D.C.
MEMBER STATES: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, The Bahamas (Commonwealth of), Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica (Commonwealth of), Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.