Exchanging Experiences, Expanding Opportunities

OAS Assistant Secretary General Calls on Countries and International Organizations to Support the Inter-American Social Protection Network

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, today participated alongside high-level authorities from the Mexican government in the inauguration of the Technical Consolidation Meeting of the Inter-American Social Protection Network (IASPN) being held in Mexico City until this Friday, August 12.

Alongside Ambassador Ramdin in the opening ceremony were Salvador Escobedo Zoletto, National Coordinator of the “Programa Oportunidades” by Mexico’s Secretariat for Social Development, and Ambassador José Antonio Zabalgoitia Trejo, Director General of Regional Organizations and Mechanisms in Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Ramdin highlighted that the IASPN seeks to become “a mechanism of hemispheric cooperation in fighting poverty and inequity and to foster the transfer of successful experiences and analyses of the main challenges confronting social protection strategies.”

The high-level OAS official placed emphasis on the need for collaboration among the inter-American institutions to support the IASPN. “Within the inter-American system, we all work together towards the same goals, promoting peace, stability, prosperity, and security in our societies by eliminating obstacles to equality, inclusion and justice,” he said.

The Assistant Secretary General reiterated that the support for the IASPN should be considered a strategic investment for the construction of peace and conflict resolution.

The Mexican representatives, for their part, called for joint work in the framework of the Network to create a practical community that will strengthen the design of public policy to guarantee the provision of a social protection system that contributes to economic growth with social equality and citizen participation.

The meeting in Mexico City is organized by the OAS Office for the Promotion and Strengthening of Social Protection in the Department of Social Development and Employment, with the collaboration of Mexico’s Secretariat for Social Development and the support of the country’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs. Participants at the three-day meeting include high-level authorities from the social development ministries and agencies of the hemisphere, along with international organizations and representatives from civil society, academia and the private sector.

The meeting’s objective is to announce and validate a new operative stage of the IASPN, and it will feature the presentation of diverse components and mechanisms developed for exchanging ideas and conducting a dialogue on networking for technical cooperation, and to present future perspectives on the network through the use of such components.

In the framework of the meeting, participants will seek to develop a technical dialogue regarding the challenges of South-South cooperation, the strategic partnerships with international agencies in matters of social protection, the use of virtual communication and educational tools for cooperation, public-private collaboration, and joint work with other sector forums and collaboration networks.

Since its launch, the Network has grown in its role of promoting the exchange and transfer of experiences and knowledge on social protection among its members, and as a community for local practice and learning. It was established through a decision by the Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Social Development at their meeting in 2008, and received its mandates from the 2009 Summit of the Americas, when the Heads of State adopted the commitment to support it with the goal of “exchanging information on policies, experiences, programs and best practices” and to strengthen the “efforts to reduce inequality and social disparities and reduce extreme poverty.”

Additional information:

August 10, 2011
Reference: E-793/11