EFEWashington

The General Assembly of the Organization of American States, meeting in Washington, approved Monday by consensus a resolution that in practice will allow the new Secretary-General Luis Almagro to launch his reform of the organization.

Almagro, who took office on May 26, comes to the OAS with the promise of making it an institution "of the 21st century," more decisive and relevant in a context of rising regional alliances like Unasur (the Union of South American Nations) and Celac (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations).

The document that will allow Almagro to begin this "modernization" was agreed upon in the Permanent Council and was approved, as is the tradition in the General Assembly, by a consensus of member nations.

The new OAS chief will begin with a complete restructuring of the General Secretariat, which will go through a review, elimination and creation of secretariats.

One of the new secretariats will be dedicated to human rights, and through it Almagro's new OAS "will institutionalize" its dialogue with civil society, an initiative in line with his slogan, "More rights for more people."

With the text approved Monday, the General Assembly gives authority to the Permanent Council to make "the necessary changes to the structure of the General Secretariat so it can live up to the strategic vision of the organization."

One new advantage is that Almagro will be able to submit his proposals to the Permanent Council, which meets weekly at OAS headquarters in Washington, instead of having to wait until a General Assembly, the organization's highest body, which meets once a year and on special occasions when it must deal with a specific subject or crisis.

The new secretary-general must present his restructuring proposal before July 31.

The document also urges member states to work at "mitigating the financial weaknesses of the organization," in other words, to pay their fees, of which Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina have accumulated the largest debts.