St. Maarten accepted as associate Paho member

POSTED: 09/18/12 12:40 PM

GREAT BAY/WASHINGTON– St.Maarten, Aruba and Curacao were admitted as associate members of the Pan American Health Organization (Paho) during the 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference, which began yesterday at Paho headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The conference runs until the Friday and this category of membership will enable the three countries to participate directly in Paho activities. Associate members have the right to participate in governing bodies meetings, albeit with no vote; to participate with voice and vote in technical commissions or committees; to have access to all of Paho’s technical cooperation services and to receive its information and documentation.
“We are very proud that, even at this late stage, our organization continues to grow,” Paho-director Mirta Roses Periago said.
The request for admission was presented on August 15 by the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a participating state responsible for the three islands’ foreign affairs. The Paho director submitted this request for consideration by the other countries.
Upon admission, the governments of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten will be subject to the obligations and rights set out in Paho’s rules and regulations, which include the obligation to pay a financial contribution.
Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever is attending the conference with a small delegation. He thanked Paho for admitting all three countries while Richard Visser, Minister of Health and Sport of Aruba, said the membership marked “a new beginning for Aruba” and reflected on “the need for closer relations with the countries of the Caribbean” to face common health problems such as non-communicable diseases. Minister of Health of Curaçao, Jacinta Scoop-Constancia also expressed her appreciation.
The Kingdom’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal honored the request by the three countries and presented a communication to the Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau formally requesting their admission as associate members.
The associate member category was established in 1992 for the admission of territories or groups of territories in the Western Hemisphere whose international relations are the responsibility of states whose seats of government are in or outside the region. Puerto Rico became the first associate member and this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary of incorporation.
Puerto Rico’s delegate Rail Castellans said the admission of Aruba, Curaçao, and St.Maarten as associate members “expands and strengthens Pan-Americanism.”
The Kingdom of the Netherlands became a participating state in 1951 in representation of its constituent countries in the Americas at that time (Aruba and the Netherland Antilles). The same year, France and the United Kingdom became participating states through their territories in the Americas.
The Paho constitution stipulates that territories or groups of territories within the Western Hemisphere that are not responsible for the conduct of their international affairs “shall have the right to be represented in the organization.”
The Pan American Sanitary Conference meets every five years to determine its general policies. The conference also serves as a forum for the exchange of information and ideas relating to the prevention of disease; the preservation, promotion and restoration of mental and physical health; and the advancement of socio-medical measures and facilities for the prevention and treatment of physical and mental diseases in the Western Hemisphere.

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