The Organization of American States (OAS) is playing a central role in working toward many of the goals that are shared by the countries of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Through the Summit of the Americas process, the hemisphere's heads of state and government have given the OAS important responsibilities and mandates, including:
- Strengthening freedom of speech and thought as a basic human right;
- Promoting greater participation by civil society in decision-making at all levels of government.
- Improving cooperation to address the problem of illegal drugs; and
- Supporting the process to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas.