About Us

The Department of International Affairs coordinates civil society participation in OAS activities and manages the registration process of civil society organizations in the OAS, coordinates the activities regarding the participation of civil society in the Summit process, and provides technical support to the Committee on Inter-American Summits Management and Civil Society Participation in OAS Activities (CISC)

The OAS, through the Committee on Inter-American Summits Management and Civil Society Participation in OAS Activities (CISC), the General Secretariat, and the Summits of the Americas Secretariat, has developed a number of initiatives to create opportunities for participation and discussion and to report on Summit policy developments in the inter-American system. For example: 

·     Regional forums/discussions organized by CSOs, with technical support from the OAS Summits of the Americas Secretariat, to afford opportunities for policy-making and for implementation and follow-up to the Summit mandates.

·     Presentation of proposals and recommendations resulting from a series of national and regional consultations held by CSOs on topics on the hemispheric agenda, covering social, political, economic, and cultural issues.

·     Establishment of strategic networks of CSOs, governments, and inter-American and international organizations to exchange information and provide feedback on implementation and follow-up of the Summit mandates.

·     Institutionalization of discussions between CSOs and high-ranking national officials from ministries of foreign affairs to exchange views on policy design and fulfillment of mandates.

·     Holding of special meetings with civil society during meetings of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) to exchange information on the Summit process.

The OAS performs its functions through its organs, entities, units, and specialized organizations, in whose different programs and projects the CSOs can participate.  The Organization has established three mechanisms to facilitate CSO participation in its activities: registration, special invitations, and cooperation agreements.

Registration, as set out in Permanent Council resolution CP/RES. 759 (1217/99), “Guidelines for the Participation of Civil Society Organizations in OAS Activities,” provides CSOs with an opportunity to be part of the hemispheric network of organizations working in the various thematic areas of interest to the member states and to have access to information on political, economic, and social processes under way in the OAS, which are part of the inter-American agenda.

The second mechanism for participation is a special invitation to a meeting, special conference, or ministerial-level meeting. Under this option, the CSO would send a letter indicating that it wished to participate in a meeting or special conference.  Should its request be approved, the organization in question would be granted observer status and be classified as a special guest.

Cooperation agreements were established by resolution AG/RES. 57 (I/O-71), “Standards on Cooperative Relations between the Organization of American States and the United Nations, Its Specialized Agencies, and Other National and International Organizations.” The OAS, through its General Secretariat and its departments, offices, and technical secretariats, concludes cooperation agreements on the development and implementation of activities in all work areas of the Organization.

For more information regarding civil society participation in OAS activities, please contact:

Department of International Affairs
17th Street & Constitution, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Tel.: 202.458.6072 Fax: 202.458.6319
Email: civilsociety@oas.org