Multinational: Programs & Policies

MN: OAS

Last updated: July 29, 2014

Organization of American States

The Organization of American States (OAS) brings together the 35 independent countries 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 67 other states and the European Union.

Among its many activities, the OAS addresses issues related to international law, trade, and treaties. “Through its Secretariat for Legal Affairs, the Organization supports activities geared toward the standardization and harmonization of laws on public and private international law in the member states, including the legal aspects of economic integration in the regional context.”

OAS’s Office of Competitiveness, Innovation and Technology supports the efforts of OAS member states in advancing “the economic growth of the region by promoting public policy dialogue, capacity building, the exchange of successful experiences and the development of cooperation initiatives and technical documents on key issues of competitiveness and innovation.” OAS science and technology initiatives appear to focus primarily on environmental, competitiveness, and educational initiatives.

Environmental policies are addressed through six OAS initiatives. “The Organization carries out several mandates designed to protect biodiversity, strengthen environmental law, manage water resources, raise awareness on climate change, and promote sustainability, among others.” The goal of the Environmental Law, Policy, and Goverance Program is “to contribute to good environmental governance, by supporting the development and strengthening of environmental laws, policies, and institutions, as the foundation for sustainable development in the region.”

Although most OAS activities are unrelated to regulatory testing issues, their role in trade, treaties, and environmental law suggests they may become more involved in this issue in the future. A past project did address the Sound Management of Chemicals. The OAS also provides a database on environmental legislation in the Americas.