Dialogue with Permanent Observers – OASGA 2020

Ambassador Trujillo addresses the dialogue with Permanent Observer countries at the OAS General Assembly, October 19, 2020.

Remarks by
Ambassador Carlos Trujillo
Dialogue with Permanent Observers
OAS General Assembly
October 19, 2020

Thank you Ambassador Marks. I am honored to be with you today. I would like to thank the Secretary General for his remarks and for his commitment to ensure that Permanent Observers have the voice they deserve at this year’s OAS General Assembly, given the situation we are all facing in the midst of a continuing global pandemic.

Our dialogue today is vital to informing the work as we look to create a more vibrant and efficient OAS. We note the important contributions of Permanent Observers in the work of the OAS and welcome your thoughts as we look to the future.

We also thank you for coming to the virtual platform to discuss how we can coordinate on the critical issues facing the hemisphere.

As we all know, permanent observers have made historic efforts in providing funding support for electoral observation and cooperation efforts and we thank the Secretariat for its report outlining your outstanding work. Your generosity has been vital in advancing critical OAS functions, which rely greatly if not entirely on voluntary funding support.

We would also like to recognize the excellent work carried out by the OAS in organizing more regular donor coordination meetings.

It is important that we continue to work together to identify the areas in which there is the greatest need for the people of the Americas, and coordinate our shared efforts.

The OAS should be proud of the excellent work carried out by the OAS Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO) responsible for OAS electoral observation and technical cooperation efforts.

These missions, however, are paid entirely with voluntary contributions with only a handful of member states and permanent observers providing support. As the top contributor to this vital OAS function, we appreciate the support provided by Permanent Observers whose generosity makes possible this critical OAS function in our efforts to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in the Americas.

It is imperative that all member states do their share in providing the voluntary donor support necessary for OAS to be able to continue to carry out its electoral observation and technical cooperation efforts.

They represent a core function of this institution, and we must all work together and recommit to providing the resources necessary to enable OAS to continue to build on its record of success in this critical area.

We, of course, also recognize that there are other areas where permanent observers can make critical contributions, including human rights and security. We have all noted the important issues facing our region, including free and fair elections in Venezuela and democracy in Nicaragua.

We would welcome further discussion on how we can support our shared goals for the hemisphere and I look forward to our discussion today.

Let me close with one consideration made more relevant in today’s COVID context. Taiwan has made significant contributions to our regional response to COVID-19 through hospital-to-hospital consultations, the sharing of best practices, and the provision of millions of units of personal protective equipment to support the efforts of first responders all across the region.

In light of Taiwan’s demonstrated commitment to advancing our shared democratic values, and its decades of humanitarian and development assistance for our region including $500,000 to support the OAS-led Venezuela humanitarian response, the U.S. encourages member states to consider the utility of a Taiwan role as a potential permanent observer here at the OAS.

Mr. Chairman, only by working together and building programs funded by mutual support of all members can the OAS reach its full potential. Once again, we extend our deep appreciation for joining us here today.

Thank you.