As an Engaged Civil Society Organization, GFDD/Funglode Joins Hemispheric Efforts Towards Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Democracy

June 22, 2017

As a civil society organization registered to the Organization of American States (OAS), GFDD-Funglode participated at the 47th General Assembly, celebrated June 19-21, 2017 in Cancún, México. The Foundation has attended this annual event in the past as part of its institutional mission to foster collaboration and exchange between the Dominican Republic and the Western Hemisphere.

This year’s General Assembly brought together hundreds of
member’s delegations and civil society organizations from all over the region, under one theme: “Strengthening Dialogue and Concerted Action for Prosperity”.

GFDD/Funglode attended the official dialogue between the heads of delegations, the OAS Secretary General, and the OAS Assistant Secretary General, with civil society representatives and other social actors, including the participation of workers and the private sector. This meeting took
place at the Universal Ballroom of the Moon Palace Arena Convention Center. Participants discussed topics of interest divided into three main segments: Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law; Integral Development and Prosperity in the Hemisphere; and Multidimensional Security. More than twenty coalitions of representatives of civil society organizations shared their statements with the General Assembly. A report of the results of each discussion including agreed-upon proposals was
distributed to the Delegations prior to the Intergovernmental Panels of the General Assembly.

Secretary General of the OAS Luis Almagro noted in his welcoming remarks, “A democratic society is a permanent
construction. In our continent, democracy faces important challenges. Dialogue and working together with civil society is key to our democracy”.

During this session, civil society organizations demanded from the OAS and its member states more public policies and concrete actions towards respecting human rights, providing quality public services for all, reducing vulnerabilities, inequalities, and discriminations, creating decent jobs, and enhancing socioeconomic
development in the region. Representatives of civil society as well as other social actors and the private sector also emphasized the importance of following through with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, promoting entrepreneurship, and guaranteeing better partnerships between public and private entities.

In addition, GFDD/Funglode joined several parallel activities held during the General Assembly, including a high-level dialogue on the rule of law and
environmental justice titled: “Strong institutions, peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development”. This event was organized by the Mexican Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación Mexicana), the General Secretary of the OAS and its Sustainable Development department. Claudia De Windt, Chief, Environmental Law, Policy and Good Governance, OAS, moderated this discussion with speakers including Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortiz Mena, Justice of the
Supreme Court of Mexico and OAS Good Will Ambassador for Environmental Justice; Ricardo Lorenzetti, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Argentina, OAS Good Will Ambassador for Environmental Justice and Chair of the UN Environment High Level Advisory Council on Environmental Justice; and Roberto de Figueiredo Caldas, Judge, President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. GFDD-Funglode( supported this event by promoting it alongside other civil society organizations accredited by the

“A dialogue between executive and legislative powers is key to promoting environmental rule of law and strong institutions for sustainable development in the Hemisphere. This is an historic moment for the Americas and for the role of the OAS as it is the first time that we are assuming the existence of environmental conflicts as part of our judiciary and legal systems; it’s a reality and thus understanding its impact on our nation’s
well-being and our region’s sustainable development is crucial”, said Lorenzetti.

Environmental rule of law is understood as a legal framework of procedural and substantive rights and obligations that incorporates the principles of ecologically sustainable development in the rule of law. Strengthening environmental rule of law is  key to the protection, conservation, and restoration of environmental integrity. Legal experts have agreed that the
environmental rule of law is indispensable in ensuring just and sustainable development outcomes and in guaranteeing fundamental rights for a healthy environment.

GFDD-Funglode also attended the panel discussion on Integral Development and Prosperity in the Hemisphere, where it shared a statement calling on the OAS to create a permanent consultancy council with civil society to follow up on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Global
Sustainable Agenda.

About the OAS
The Organization of American States (OAS) is the world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890. That meeting approved the establishment of the International Union of American Republics, and set the stage for the weaving of a web of provisions and institutions
that came to be known as the Inter-American System, the oldest international institutional system. The Organization was established to achieve among its member states—as stipulated in Article 1 of the Charter—"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." Today, the OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the
Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere. In addition, it has granted permanent observer status to 69 states, as well as to the European Union (EU). The Organization uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes, based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development.

About the General Assembly
The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) and comprises the delegations of all the member states. The mechanisms, policies, actions, and mandates of the Organization are determined by the General Assembly, and its functions are defined in Chapter IX of the OAS Charter.

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