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March 14, 2024
ParlAmericas proposal for enhanced engagement with the OAS welcomed by Member States

Today, at the headquarters of the Organization of American States, a ParlAmericas parliamentary delegation participated in the Joint Special Meeting with the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs and the Committee on Inter-American Summits Management and Civil Society Participation in OAS Activities (CISC) on the topic of Legislative Cooperation. During the Joint Special Meeting, ParlAmericas put forth a proposal to serve as a roadmap for continued enhanced parliamentary engagement with the OAS that was embraced by all Member States.

Twenty-two parliamentarians representing 17 national legislatures from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada participated in the three-day delegation to Washington, D.C., which concluded with the Special Joint Meeting. It included speakers of parliaments from the region and various members of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors and Network Executive Committees. The delegation was led by Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas.

In advance of the Special Joint Meeting, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, submitted a letter welcoming ParlAmericas’ proposal as a foundation for advancing parliamentary participation in the OAS in the immediate future, recognizing the ideas outlined in the proposal as starting points for realizing their vision articulated in the OAS Legislative Engagement Act.

Earlier in the week, the ParlAmericas delegation had a productive meeting with the senators about ways to build upon ParlAmericas’ institutional integration with the OAS.

The program for the delegation also included an exchange with OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro on the state of democracy in the region. The Secretary General reaffirmed ParlAmericas’ role as the permanent inter-parliamentary organization in the Inter-American System.

During their time in Washington, D.C., the delegation also held dialogues with officials from different OAS Executive Secretariats, bilateral meetings with representatives from the United States Congress, and a panel with Washington-based partners: the United States Congress House Democracy Partnership (HDP), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the International Republican Institute (IRI).

The program provided parliamentarians with an opportunity to learn more about the work of the OAS and discuss issues of shared interest being prioritized by regional stakeholders, namely security and transnational crime, democracy and the rule of law, gender equality and human rights, migration, climate change, and economic development. The delegation was further an opportunity to optimize parliamentary participation at the OAS through ParlAmericas, and to action ParlAmericas’ reaffirmed mandate to foster the participation of parliamentarians as an integral part of the Summits of the Americas process. A resounding conclusion of the delegation was the affirmation that parliamentary diplomacy serves as an important safeguard for democracy in the hemisphere.

Members of the delegation

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas
The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas
Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), Second Vice-President of ParlAmericas
Senator Javier Macaya Danús (Chile), Second Vice-President of ParlAmericas
Member of the Chamber of Deputies Margarita Stolbizer (Argentina)
His Honour Arthur E. Holder (Barbados), Speaker of the House of Assembly
The Honourable Carolyn Trench Sandiford (Belize), President of the Senate
Senator Peter Boehm (Canada)
Member of Parliament Anthony Rota (Canada)
Senator Germán Blanco Álvarez (Colombia)
Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado Ramírez (Costa Rica)
The Honourable Joseph T. Isaac (Dominica), Speaker of the House of Assembly
Ricardo de los Santos Polancos (Dominican Republic), President of the Senate
Member of the Chamber of Deputies Nelsa Shoraya Suárez Ariza (Dominican Republic)
Senator Carlos Manuel Gómez Ureña (Dominican Republic)
Senator José del Castillo Saviñon (Dominican Republic)
Henry Kronfle (Ecuador), Speaker of the National Assembly
Member of Congress Andrea Villagrán Antón (Guatemala)
Member of Congress Yessica Rosselli Amuruz Dulanto (Peru)
The Honourable Alvina Reynolds (Saint Lucia), President of the Senate
The Honourable Marinus Bee (Suriname), Speaker of the National Assembly