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The 42nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), the annual gathering of foreign ministers, will take place in the historic city of Cochabamba, Bolivia June 3-5, 2012.

The General Assembly will include several unique features as well as a number of fundamental elements found in each of these meetings. First, the fundamentals. The General Assembly is the highest-level decision-making body for the OAS. During the year, a full range of initiatives and proposals are put forward by the member states. At the General Assembly, these proposals, in the form of resolutions, are discussed, modified, and either approved or rejected. Those accepted become the mandates or instructions to the OAS General Secretariat and its related entities for the coming year. The General Assembly also includes opportunities for dialogue on the important issues of the moment among the senior members of the country delegations. A final element of the fundamental structure of the General Assembly is the opportunity for representatives of the 60-plus observer countries of the OAS, officials of international organizations, and individuals from civil society to express their opinions and participate in General Assembly events.

The unique features of this General Assembly will be the in-depth treatment of the theme "Food Security with Sovereignty in the Americas," the Assembly's proximity to the recent Summit of the Americas, and the venue. The food security theme is closely tied to the OAS commitment to promoting integral development through a range of antipoverty and development programs. Trends in modernizing and increasing food production underscore the conviction that hunger is unacceptable in the Americas.

The second unique feature of this General Assembly is that it is the first such meeting to be held since the April 2012 Sixth Summit of the Americas. The Summit will guide the hemispheric agenda as leaders express their priorities. As Summits are held only every three years, this year's General Assembly will have the opportunity to address implementation of the most recent mandates emanating from the highest levels of government.

Finally, a unique feature is that this General Assembly will be the first to be held in Cochabamba. President Evo Morales Ayma and Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca will welcome the delegates to this agriculturally-rich region that, before arrival of the Spaniards in 1542, was farmed by Inca, Tupuraya, Mojocoya, Omereque, and Tiwanaku indigenous communities.

We look forward to a positive and lively discussion at the OAS General Assembly on where we are and where we are headed in our community of nations In the Americas.

--Jose Miguel Insulza

OAS Secretary General

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Title Annotation:Organization of American States
Author:Insulza, Jose Miguel
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2012
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