Past Initiative News

OAS Supports Member States in High Level Segment of COP 20 on Climate Change

Friday, December 12, 2014
The Organization of American States (OAS) is taking part in the twentieth Conference of the Parties (COP20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which brings together Ministers and Senior Authorities to advance toward the achievement of a global climate agreement.

The OAS delegation is headed by Hugo de Zela, Chief of Staff of the General Secretariat of the institution. The participation of the OAS in the High Level Meeting supports the leadership of Peru and the commitment that OAS member states assumed in the General Assembly of Asunción to take advantage of COP 20 as a step toward ensuring the success of COP 21, which will be held in Paris in December, 2015.

During his participation in COP 20, Ambassador De Zela highlighted “the efforts the OAS is coordinating in the implementation of the commitments made on sustainable development and climate change to counteract the adverse effects of climate change on the people of the Americas.” Ambassador De Zela recalled that the OAS is “the hemispheric political forum that acts in favor of the well-being with justice and social inclusion of the peoples of the Americas.” He added that “the multilateral mechanism facilitates technical cooperation and dialogue in the Inter-American system for the prevention and management of the tensions derived from climate change in the member states.”

In his address, the Chief of Staff mentioned concrete examples of these changes, such as the melting of the Andean glaciers, which illustrate how the adverse effects of climate change affect areas surrounding the four pillars of the OAS-human rights, democracy, security, and development -, and highlighted that “the future we want is different than the one we have today, and involves leading countries like Peru, France and many other key actors in society who have taken and continue to take the lead, and of course involves an OAS committed to sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights at the highest level.”

De Zela explained that the member states of the OAS are going through a process of definition of “the post-2015 sustainable development agenda for the Americas” by reviewing a new Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development (PIDS) set to be approved in Honduras in 2015. “The PIDS will be a critical instrument in meeting the needs of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean with respect to the adverse effects of climate change, particularly with regard to the most vulnerable states of the Hemisphere,” he said.

During COP20, the OAS was present at the “Voices for Climate” Fair, supporting four events in collaboration with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), the World Wildlife Fund, ESAN University and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). These activities promoted knowledge management on climate change, integrated landscape management, best practices in integrated water resources and the benefits derived from productive use of renewable energy as an engine of growth with low carbon emissions.

The OAS delegation was made up of officials Maximiliano Campos, who is also a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Pablo Zuñiga, OAS representative in Peru; and Juan Cruz Monticelli and Rosangela Arbieto, from the Department of Sustainable Development.

Since the entry into force of the UNFCCC in 1994, the General Secretariat of the OAS has held the status of Permanent Observer in the deliberations of the Convention and strongly supports dialogue and cooperation between and with member states in order to reduce concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions and promote adaptation to climate change with the full participation of all interested voices. Peru is the third member state of the OAS to host this conference since the entry into force of the UNFCCC, after Argentina (1998 and 2004), and Mexico (in 2010).

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at