Chairing the Preparatory Committee for the upcoming 50th General Assembly session, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) says it is especially significant as the Assembly also coincides with Jamaica’s 50th anniversary as an OAS member state.
Her Excellency Audrey Marks, the Permanent Representative, shared that Minister of State, Senator the Hon. Leslie Campbell will lead Jamaica’s delegation to the 50th regular session of the General Assembly.
“Facing the Challenges of COVID-19 in the Hemisphere: A Collaborative Approach to Address Vulnerabilities and Build Resilience in Times of Crisis, based on the Four Pillars of the OAS” is the theme for the October 20 to 21 session. Bringing together the member states’ Foreign Ministers in the highest decision-making body of the OAS, the event will this time be held as a virtual gathering – via teleconferencing technology, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The General Assembly’s decisions will serve as a guide for the activities and priorities of the regional body during the coming year. The Assembly is in charge of defining the policies and mandates of the OAS, as well as the structure and functions of its subsidiary organs.
In addition to such others as are assigned to it under the OAS Charter, the General Assembly’s principal powers include deciding on the general action and policies of the Organization; determining the structure and functions of its organs, agencies, and entities among themselves, and such activities with those of the other institutions of the inter-American system; strengthening and coordinating cooperation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies; and adopting the program-budget of the Organization and determining the quotas of the member states.
During discussions, each member state has the right to cast a vote. The decisions of the Assembly are usually adopted by the majority, but in certain cases, the rules require a two-thirds vote. The tradition of the OAS is to adopt resolutions by consensus.
During this Assembly, member states will elect members of the decentralized and autonomous agencies of the OAS, among them the Inter-American Juridical Committee, Justice Studies Center of the Americas, Administrative Tribunal, and the Board of External Auditors.
This will be the sixth regular session of the OAS General Assembly to be held with Secretary-General Luis Almagro.
Prior to the Assembly, on Monday, October 19 at 9:00am (EDT), Ambassador Marks will moderate a “Dialogue of the Heads of Member states the Secretary-General, and Assistant Secretary-General with Permanent Observers, representatives, At this event, the highest authorities of the OAS will exchange points of view on the COVID-19 pandemic, human rights, democracy, and security – among other issues – with representatives of civil society organizations, the private sector and other social actors from the Hemisphere.