An international intergovernmental organization is an entity formed by the governments of various foreign countries to coordinate government policy and/or action on targeted issues. The Latin American Economic System (which is known as SELA, the acronym for the organization’s name in Spanish) is one type of an international organization. It is an organization that seeks to create common economic strategies for the Latin American and Caribbean region.
SELA was established in 1975 by the signing of the Panama Convention establishing the Latin American Economic System. Almost 30 countries are members of SELA. Also, numerous other international organizations have observer status with SELA.
SELA’s objectives as an organization include coordinating economic and social plans and policies of the countries forming the Latin American and Caribbean region. A general integration of the countries in the region is another objective of the organization.
To achieve its goals, SELA holds annual meetings to discuss general economic and social policies and holds conferences and forums at which government officials and private sector representatives can interact. SELA also creates seminars and workshops on topics of interest in the economic sector.
SELA’s primary governing organ is the Latin American Council. The Council makes the organization’s main decisions and sets policy. The Council is formed by one representative from each SELA member country. The Council meets twice a year. A Secretariat, located in Caracas, Venezuela, handles the organization’s day-to-day administrative matters. A Permanent Secretary is elected by the Latin American Council every four years to head the Secretariat.
SELA also has Action Committees, which are set up on an as needed basis when two or more member countries request it. These Committees are usually disbanded after they have served their purpose, but they do on occasion become Permanent Committees. This has happened with the Latin American Technological Network and the Latin American Fisheries Development Organization.
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