OAS Secretary General inaugurates the First Extraordinary Meeting of the Inter-American Commission on Sustainable Development (CIDS)

Friday, July 24, 2015

On June 29, at OAS headquarters, Secretary General, Luis Almagro, opened a two-day event in which OAS Member States debated the issues to be addressed at the Meeting of Ministers and High-level Authorities for Sustainable Development in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in October 2015. The meeting was organized by the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) and benefited from the participation of environmental and foreign affairs representatives.

The following are some of the most salient topics addressed by the Inter-American Commission for Sustainable Development (CIDS): climate change and disaster risk management, soil management and ecosystems, water resource management, sustainable energy management, and good governance for sustainable development. The conclusions of the debates will comprise the content for the Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development that OAS Member States are slated to approve in Tegucigalpa in October.

In his inaugural address, Secretary General Almagro thanked those present for their participation and stated that, “Environmental sustainability is one of the key areas of focus for my administration to give life to the slogan ‘More Rights for More People’.” During his remarks, Almagro maintained that, “The legacy of this generation cannot be polluted air, soil, and rivers, irreversible global warming and climate change, depleted natural resources, quite the opposite.” The OAS chief urged the region’s countries to work with conviction on a sustainability paradigm founded on immediate rights. He underscored how important social aspects are for development. He also pointed to how much more difficult it is for the poorest countries, with limited financial, human, and natural resources, to move towards more inclusive and sustainable forms of development.

In this context, the Secretary General declared that, “This is the scenario in which the OAS adds value and can make a difference. This meeting is a tangible example of the OAS’s ability to call on members to dialogue about global issues and challenges and develop hemispheric solutions to these challenges.” In his remarks, he also reiterated the importance of each Member State in the organization: “Here, each Member State has a powerful voice. Here, all ideas are assigned the same value, regardless of the social or economic station of whomever is proposing them. The principles of inclusion, participation, and equality must be respected.”

CIDS is a subsidiary body of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) that aims to promote Inter-American dialogue on sustainable development, propose OAS policy framing on the matter, and promote the development and implementation of the Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development, as well as guide the coordination and follow-up of the various decisions stemming from the Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development.