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Kevin Casas-Zamora, PhD Secretary for Political Affairs October 24, 2013 Strategic Vision of the OAS Secretariat for Political Affairs.

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Presentation on theme: "Kevin Casas-Zamora, PhD Secretary for Political Affairs October 24, 2013 Strategic Vision of the OAS Secretariat for Political Affairs."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kevin Casas-Zamora, PhD Secretary for Political Affairs October 24, 2013 Strategic Vision of the OAS Secretariat for Political Affairs

2 1.What does the SPA do? 2.What are the SPAs general and specific objectives? 3.How is it organized? 4.What are the priorities for each department? 5.Our guiding principle. Structure of the presentation

3 The SPA is an instrument that supports OAS member States to improve the quality of their democratic governance. – What do we understand by democratic governance? The ability of political institutions to process social demands and conflicts in peaceful ways that are also fully respectful of the Rule of Law and of citizens civil and political rights. – What does this entail within the OAS context? Moving towards a work agenda that focuses on the defense of the Inter- American Democratic Charter, particularly Titles I, II, IV, V and VI. What does the SPA do?

4 To consolidate the gains made in the Americas in terms of the adoption of basic democratic features, mainly: free, transparent, fair, and periodic elections; and civilian control of government institutions. To deal with complex (and in many cases new) threats to democracy, such as: – Political disenchantment – Erosion of checks and balances – Political exclusion of certain social groups – Political contexts inimical to fair democratic competition – Persistence and/or emergence of intrastate and interstate conflicts – Diminished legitimacy due to poor performance of government institutions A democracy-strengthening agenda: What for?

5 To promote the exchange of good practices in areas such as political dialogue, social consensus-building, conflict resolution, and institutional design geared towards generating sustainable and shared prosperity. To evolve from a minimum and procedural definition of democracy towards a more systemic characterization, which places at its core the daily protection of basic rights. A democracy-strengthening agenda: What for?

6 Turn the SPA into a reference point in the Hemispheres debates and policy processes on carefully selected practice areas with the potential to improve democratic governance of the member States, such as: – Improvement of the quality of electoral competition, political reform, strengthening of representative institutions, exchange of best practices in public management, e-government, civil registry and the right to identity. Occupy those niches where there is demand for cooperation and in which the OAS is or can become the default option for any member State. Improve the links of the SPA with the governments of OAS member States to identify and even anticipate their cooperation requests on issues related to the quality of democratic governance. Specific objectives

7 Enhance the density and quality of the alliances forged by the SPA with other public and private institutions working in the field of democracy promotion. Identify potential synergies with other bodies within the OAS to jointly develop relevant cross-program initiatives and projects. Turn the SPA into a well integrated, very professional, technically robust, rigorously recruited, and highly motivated team that is able to assist member States and add real value to them. Bottom line: We seek a leaner, meaner, more connected, more service-oriented SPA that is more in tune with the regions new democratic agenda. Specific objectives

8 SPAs structure SPA Executive Office (3) AMS (10)DECO (17) Technical Electoral Cooperation Electoral Studies Electoral Observation DSDSM (111, includes MAPP and AZ Bel/Guat) Special Missions Information System on Political Events Peace Fund Mediation and Dialogue Representative Institutions DEPM (20) E-Government Civil Registry (PUICA) MECIGEP Access to Information and Open Government

9 Total 2012: US$21, Total 2013*: US$13, SPA Expenditures by funding source *Total as of 30/sep 2013

10 SPA Expenditures by area

11 A graphic representation of the SPA: Concentric circles

12 3 sections (Electoral Cooperation; Electoral Observation Missions; Electoral Studies) A very robust and well-regarded electoral observation operation Highly motivated team Abundant expertise accumulated Standardized and sophisticated operational processes Good links with electoral authorities and parties throughout the region Valuable efforts to identify new factors affecting electoral competition (gender equality, political finance, media coverage) Very strong and creative electoral cooperation programs Training efforts throughout the Americas Technical cooperation with electoral authorities Certification of electoral procedures (ISO) There is limited competition in the region DECO: An overview

13 Redesigning electoral observation to adapt it to new democratic challenges and new financial contexts. Placing more emphasis on the follow-up to recommendations derived from EOMs, and a stronger relation between these and electoral cooperation efforts. Including EOMs, one of the key tasks of the OAS, in the Regular Fund. DECO: Priorities

14 5 sections (Special Missions; Information System on Political Events; Peace Fund; Mediation and Dialogue; and Program to Strengthen Representative Institutions) A large, robust, well-regarded and successful Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OEA) A small but effective civilian confidence-building Mission in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala A good information system on political events and trends in LAC – Very useful to inform institutional response to potential or actual crises DSDSM: An overview

15 Continue contributing to achieve peace in Colombia through MAPP/OEA. Strengthening the work of the SPA in legislative and political reform issues. DSDSM: Priorities

16 4 sections (e-Government; PUICA; MECIGEP; Access to Information and Open Government) Two of the jewels of the OAS – A solid and renowned e-Government program – A great program on the right to identity (PUICA) An emerging program with great potential to enhance the quality of public administration in LAC (Inter-American Cooperation Mechanism for Effective Public Management - MECIGEP) DEPM: An overview

17 Launching MECIGEP. Contributing to the modernization of local government management in the Hemisphere. Securing PUICAs financial sustainability and the expansion of its operations. DEPM: Priorities

18 Add value to the OAS member States! The key question: Will anyone outside the OAS walls notice and/or lose out if we stopped doing this project? Our guiding principle

19 Citizens of the 26 countries where the Organization has deployed EOMs over 51 years. Victims of the conflict in Colombia. Millions of citizens from 18 countries that received their birth certificates and identity cards thanks to the work of PUICA. Citizens from the 120 municipalities benefited by the efficient and transparent local governments program. Legislators from Parliaments in more than 20 member States, in which cooperation agreements have led to legislative modernization. Yes, for example…

20 Thank you.

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