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Dr. Kevin Casas-Zamora Secretary for Political Affairs CAJP - December 2012 Proposals to Strengthen the Secretariat for Political Affairs Insert date here.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Kevin Casas-Zamora Secretary for Political Affairs CAJP - December 2012 Proposals to Strengthen the Secretariat for Political Affairs Insert date here."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Kevin Casas-Zamora Secretary for Political Affairs CAJP - December 2012 Proposals to Strengthen the Secretariat for Political Affairs Insert date here

2 1.A common narrative for the SPA 2.Specific objectives 3.The SPAs structure, departments and priorities 4.Our instruments of choice Structure of the presentation

3 The SPA is an instrument to help the OAS member states improve the quality of their democratic governance – How do we understand democratic governance? The ability of their political institutions to process social demands and conflicts in peaceful ways that are also fully respectful of the rule of law and the citizens civil and political rights. – What does this entail in the OAS context? The promotion of a broad democratic agenda mostly, albeit not exclusively, centered around Titles I, IV, and V of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. A common narrative

4 To consolidate the gains made in the Americas in terms of the adoption of basic democratic features, mainly free and fair elections and civilian control of government institutions. To pay increased attention to new and more sophisticated threats to democracy, such as: – Political dissafection – Erosion of checks and balances – Political exclusion of certain social groups – Political contexts inimical to fair democratic competition – Diminished legitimacy due to poor performance of goverment institutions To shift from an understanding of democracy as a series of procedures and events, to a more systemic understanding of democracy as a way of life. Democracy promotion-agenda: What for?

5 Turn the SPA into a reference point in the Hemispheres debates and policy processes on a few carefully selected practice areas with potential high value added for the member states, such as: – Electoral observation, political reform, strengthening of representative institutions, e-government, civil registry, inter alia. Occupy those niches where there is demand for assistance and where the OAS is or can become the default option for any member state. Objectives I

6 Improve the links of the SPA with the OAS member states governments so as to identify and even anticipate their requests for assistance on issues related to the quality of democratic governance. 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 synergies with other bodies within the OAS to develop relevant cross-program initiatives and projects. Turn the SPA into a well integrated, very professional, technically robust, rigourously recruited, and highly motivated team able to assist member states and add real value to them. Bottom line: We seek a leaner, meaner, more connected, more service-oriented SPA. Objectives II

7 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? The guiding principle

8 Note: The SPA employs about 50 professionals (100+ if Colombias MAPP ground personnel are included). SPA Structure Executive Office Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO) Department for Sustainable Democracy and Special Missions (DSDSM) Department of Effective Public Management (DEPM) Administrative Unit

9 A graphic representation of the SPA: Concentric circles Hard core of democratic Governance Free and fair elections (DECO) Second ring of democratic governance Quality of democratic institutions and Conditions for political stability (DSDSM) Outer ring of democratic governance Conditions for democratic legitimacy (DEPM)

10 3 Units (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 pay attention to new factors affecting electoral competition (gender equality, political finance, media coverage) Very strong and creative electoral cooperation programs Training efforts throughout the Americas Technical assistance to electoral authorities Certification of electoral procedures There is very limited competition in the region DECO: What is in there?

11 A thorough evaluation of what we do and a reflection on trends of electoral observation in LAC, given new threats and a new financial context. DECO: The priority

12 4 units (Special Missions; Information System on Democratic Governance; Peace Fund and Conflict Resolution; and Program to Strengthen Representative Institutions) A large, robust, well regarded and successful special mission in Colombia – Very broad, yet evolving mandate A good information system on political events and trends in LAC – Very useful to inform institutional response to potential or actual crises (e.g. Paraguay) DSDSM: What is in there?

13 Put the support of legislatures and political reform in LAC at the core of the SPAs work DSDSM: The priority

14 4 programs (e-Government; PUICA; MECIGEP; Transparency and Access to Information) Two of the jewels of the OAS – A robust, forward-looking, well regarded e-Government program Support for local governments, e-Procurement, virtual campus – A great program on the unsung right to identity (PUICA) 5 million+ identity cards delivered in Haiti Technical support for civil registries in Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, etc. An emerging program with great potential to enhance the quality of public administration in LAC (Interamerican Cooperation Mechanism for Efective Public Management - MECIGEP) DEPM: What is in there?

15 Institutionalize a voluntary peer-review system on the quality of public administration. DEPM: The priority

16 1.Practitioners networks (presential and virtual) – Take advantage of OAS convening power – Promote political dialogue and cooperation – Facilitate cross-fertilization and dissemination of good practices 2.Knowledge management – SPA as reference point and clearing house on priority issues – Making available information as much as people 3.Voluntary peer-review-cum-knowledge sharing systems – Some successful experiences at OAS (CICAD and Inter-American Convention against Corruption) – Key instrument at OECD 4.On-line training – Multiply OAS interaction with public sector and civil society in the Hemisphere – Potentially able to generate a revenue stream Our instruments to assist member States

17 This vision is a work in progress. The input from member states is not just welcome but essential. We also need your financial support to turn the SPA into the OAS beating heart. A few final thoughts

18 Thank you.

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