OAS launched virtual community of the emergency and security systems of the Americas

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WASHINGTON, USA – The Organization of American States (OAS) presented the Virtual Platform of Emergency and Security Systems (EMS) mechanism to support the countries of the region to face the challenges that COVID-19 represents for the operations of emergency and security systems.

The Community, presented by the secretary-general of the OAS, Luis Almagro; the secretary for Multidimensional Security of the OAS, Farah Urrutia; and the chair of the Subsidiary Technical Group for Emergency and Security Services and Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the OAS, ambassador Carlos Játiva, is a common space where authorities and experts in the region can exchange, share and consult information, materials, and tools, and access a series of resources to deal with the situation in real-time and free of charge.

“Today in facing COVID-19 we must be more united than ever; more considerate and supportive of each other, more than ever,” said OAS secretary-general Luis Almagro. “The Virtual Community of Emergency and Security Systems that we launched [today] will allow us to find valuable ideas, actions, and experiences to help us to carry out joint responses based on data, information, and empirical evidence against the coronavirus.”

The secretary for Multidimensional Security of the OAS Farah Urrutia said that “at the OAS we present this Virtual Community of Emergency and Security Services as one of the initiatives to accompany States in facing the impact of COVID-19” and reiterated the support of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security to member states “to cope with these new and emerging challenges.”

The permanent representative of Ecuador to the OAS, and chair of the Subsidiary Technical Group for Emergency and Security Services, Carlos Játiva added during the virtual presentation that “Ecuador is convinced that the Virtual Community is part of the purpose that moves the OAS [today] more than ever, to build a common front, adjusting its agenda to this new post-crisis reality with the mobilization of resources, the offering of expertise, the facilitation of dialogue and the flow of information,” adding that “the current moment calls for efforts by all to face this scourge that goes beyond the individual capacities of the member states.”

This initiative, led by the OAS Department of Public Security with the Educational Portal of the Americas, is a resource for consultation and reference on the interventions, protocols, and policies carried out around the world to face the pandemic and that can be useful for professionals in charge of the EMS.

Panel dialogues

In addition to the presentation of the online platform, the virtual conversation “The impact of COVID-19 on the management and operation of Emergency and Security Systems” was held with the participation of the director of the Emergency System of Costa Rica 911 Giselle Mejía Chavarría, and the director of the Integrated Security Service ECU911 of Ecuador, Juan Zapata – in addition to representatives and focal points of the emergency services – where experts from the emergency systems of the Americas and Europe shared their impressions and discussed tools they have used to protect personnel, accompany government measures, and to serve and protect the population.

In the coming weeks, the OAS will continue holding panel dialogues on public security focused on topics such as how to provide adequate care and protection to the population and staff of the EMS; what impact is COVID-19 having on the operation and functioning of the EMS and how to prepare for the possible consequences and side effects of COVID-19 from the EMS, among others.

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