Presidential mandates and ministerial institutions: Summitry of the Americas, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Abstract

The periodic Summits of the Americas are the highest form of regional multilateralism in the Western Hemisphere, but summits lack their own means to implement their mandates. Hence, Summit Plans of Action assign many initiatives to existing regional institutions, especially the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). But a notable difference exists in the character and degree to which these two institutions have responded to their unfunded mandates, in that the OAS has become “nested” under the hierarchy of summitry, while the IDB has eschewed subordination in favor of a “parallel” relationship pursuing largely convergent activities. Relying on extensive interviews and reviews of open source and internal documents, six variables are found to explain this differential response: ministerial authorities, competing mandates, institutional missions, internal structures, membership and leadership. Yet for both regional institutions there remains a wide gap between the directives emanating from the Summits and what the two regional institutions have been—and could be—accomplishing. The study concludes with recommendations to improve institutional design.

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Correspondence to Richard E. Feinberg.

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L31 · F42 · F02 · D73 · F1

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Feinberg, R.E. Presidential mandates and ministerial institutions: Summitry of the Americas, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Rev Int Orgs 1, 69–94 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-006-6611-3

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Keywords

  • Summitry of the Americas
  • Organization of American States
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • Multilateralism