The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Secretary of State for International Cooperation for Ibero-America and President of the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID), Jesús Gracia, signed a memorandum of understanding whereby both organizations will strengthen their cooperation in the field of human resources training and the promotion of dialogue in the field.
The signing took place at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, in a ceremony in which the OAS and AECID authorities highlighted the extensive and fruitful relationship of collaboration between the two entities and the importance of advancing and further strengthening this strategic partnership, which, they consider, will benefit the member countries of the OAS. The agreement between the OAS and the AECID is especially focused in the areas of crisis prevention and peace-building, human rights, electoral systems and processes, legal and judicial development, citizen and multidimensional security, and governments and civil society.
Secretary General Insulza said the memorandum signed today with the Spanish entity is in line with the objectives of the OAS. "We are currently in an intense period of debate within the Organization on the areas in which we will put more emphasis, and I have no doubt that the area of education and development will continue to occupy an important place," he said. In particular, the leader of the OAS highlighted the scholarship program of the institution, which has almost 50 years of existence, as well as the various online and presence training programs and those related to the improvement of public administration.
The leader of the hemispheric Organization recalled that in recent years the government of Spain had contributed $700,000 in scholarships and professional development programs. As part of this renewed cooperation, they are expected to develop over 20 seminars, meetings and workshops on key issues on which the OAS focuses its work, including electoral process, the fight against drug abuse, migration and the protection of victims of violence. "This signing formalizes an existing commitment and strengthens our bonds of friendship that are important and deep-rooted and that we hope to maintain and to grow over the coming years," he said.
For his part, Secretary of State Gracia alluded to the importance Spain assigns to the OAS, "an organism that has the desire for integration and the ability to promote the principles of democracy and respect for human rights and of political cooperation as well as more specific issues for their countries in terms of development cooperation."
The Spanish authority said the agreement signed today is focused on the main lines of work of Spanish cooperation with the countries of Latin America, "a mature cooperation, in which we take advantage of sharing languages and the opportunity to have similar identities and cultures to work in those areas where we are most effective for the benefit of our citizens.”
Finally, the representative of the Spanish government said that as part of the agreement, a component of triangular cooperation will be included, which seeks to identify "how we can bring the experiences of our country from one place to another across the Atlantic, and how to use the knowledge we have accumulated over time."
The signing ceremony was also attended by the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin; the Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Jorge Hevia; and representatives of the member countries of the hemispheric institution.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.