Assistant Secretary General Speech


November 15, 2018 - Washington, DC

Mr. Luis Ubiñas, President;

PADF Board Trustees;

Ms. Katie Taylor, PADF Executive Director;

Management and Staff

Good morning;

It is a pleasure, to join you in my capacity as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and to welcome all of you to the Annual Meeting of the Pan American Development Foundation on behalf of the Organization of American States.

As I look around the room, it gives me great pleasure to see so many friends and partners from throughout the region who represent the private sector in our hemisphere. This is a testament to PADF’s work under the able leadership of Executive Director, Katie Taylor. I commend all of you and thank you for your invaluable contribution.

Last May, the Board of Trustees held its Mid-Year Meeting in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. On that occasion, I had the opportunity to participate in field visits to PADF projects focused on urban community development. I was fortunate to witness these programs first-hand, and I was deeply impressed by the impact of PADF’s programs on vulnerable communities.

We visited neighborhoods that were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake but are now thriving thanks to PADF’s Community Driven Urban Development work.

We heard the testimonies of several beneficiaries, including nascent entrepreneurs whose lives were transformed due to the PADF programs which have created thousands of jobs and generated sustainable revenue streams for the country.

With funding from USAID, we are now collaborating on three new programs, known as “PIOs” . Although these programs only started earlier this year, we have already helped 12,000 people to live in safe environments and have given 4,000 children access to clean water and sanitation. These are all examples that continue to make us at the OAS appreciative of our affiliation with PADF, which started more than 60 years ago.

In recent years, the Hemisphere has made great strides to advance social and economic development. Overall poverty levels in Latin America and the Caribbean have notably declined over the last decade. While this is a step in the right direction, the countries of our Hemisphere still face significant challenges on many fronts. Corruption, poverty, limited access to education, discrimination and mass migration have placed undue burden on countries and led to greater economic and social challenges.

The OAS is committed to working towards a more secure, prosperous, and equitable future for the hemisphere and so much remains to be done! We must continue to work together to find innovative ways to reduce inequality, improve resilience to natural disasters, and expand nutrition and access to clean water.

The work that PADF does in all of these areas is vitally important. PADF’s program in Central America is helping to strengthen democracy and advance human rights in the countries of the Northern Triangle. The OAS is particularly pleased to see the PADF’s partnership with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the implementation of this program. PADF is also executing sound projects in the Caribbean with respect to citizen security and building community resilience. I am proud of the work that PADF is undertaking to help support peace and prosperity in the Americas.

I commend the PADF’s Trustees and staff for your commitment to the OAS and to its principles. Your work is indicative of the importance of multi-sectoral cooperation– whether through community-led development, public-private partnerships, or citizen engagement.

Let us continue to address the myriad challenges facing our region. As OAS Assistant Secretary General and PADF’s Vice Chairman, I remain committed to supporting our common goals.

Thank you.