The Organization of American States, or OAS, is an inclusive, hemispheric organization, the oldest international organization in the world, uniting nearly a billion people in the Caribbean and South, Central and North America. Its purpose is to achieve among its members “an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence."
It is the premier, most inclusive political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Americas whose member states have made an explicit commitment to uphold democracy, respect human rights, and cooperate on matters of security and development.
Speaking at the 45th General Assembly in mid-June, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “Together, we are working to realize a vision for the Americas where countries share responsibilities, cooperate as equals, and advance common interests and values. ... The OAS is integral to this future. We can all take enormous pride in the example that the Americas have set for the entire world.”
Deputy Secretary Blinken emphasized the Hemisphere’s great strides in recent years, stating:
“In this young century, the hemisphere has seen significant – even transformational – change from exclusive to inclusive societies, from authoritarian to democratic governments, from closed to open economies. The Americas are peaceful, overwhelmingly democratic, and increasingly prosperous.”
The Deputy Secretary emphasized the importance of OAS reform, noting:
“We must strengthen responsible stewardship and good governance in our own national governments and within the OAS, including its associated and constituent offices. This means shaping a more focused and fortified secretariat that faithfully reflects the Strategic Vision statement, advances an agenda for reform, and refocuses on the OAS’s core thematic pillars. And it means taking a stand against corruption and acts of betrayal by public officials in our own countries that undermine democratic institutions and the sacred trust of our people.”
“In this time of change, the founding principles of the organization remain as enduring and as relevant as the day the OAS Charter was first drafted,” said Deputy Secretary Blinken. “We remain committed to those bedrock principles and ideals of democracy, security, and development for all of our citizens.”