Note by the Permanent Secretary

  • In accordance with paragraph 2 of article 15 of the Panama Convention, the Latin American Council has the function to elect the Permanent Secretary for a period of four years. The current Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Javier Paulinich, was elected by acclamation in June 2017 and took office on 1 August of the same year. In this regard and in accordance with the Agenda for this meeting, the Latin American Council should elect a new Permanent Secretary for the period 2021-2025 at its XIII Special Meeting, to be held face-to-face and virtually on 21 June 2021.
  • The Permanent Secretariat is pleased to inform the Member States that, to date, only the nomination of Dr. Walter Clarems Endara Vera to the position of Permanent Secretary of SELA has been submitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, through Note VRE.DGRM-UPOI-Cs_508/2021 dated 1 June 2021.
  • This document contains the articles of the Panama Convention concerning the election of Permanent Secretary, as well as the nomination note submitted by the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia of Dr. Walter Clarems Endara Vera.
Articles of the Panama Convention concerning the election of the Permanent Secretary

Articles of the Panama Convention concerning the election of the Permanent Secretary

Article 15
The Latin American Council has the following functions:

Paragraph 2. To elect and remove the Permanent Secretary and the Deputy Permanent Secretary.

Article 17
The Latin American Council shall adopt its decisions:

  1. By consensus, in the case of the functions set forth in sub-paragraphs 1, 8, 9 and 11 of article 15 of this Convention and
  2. By majority of two-thirds of the Member present, or by an absolute majority of the Members States, whichever is greater, in the case of the functions wet forth in the remaining sub-paragraphs of Article 15. With respect to any issue arising for decision under Article 15, sub-paragraph 17, if a member state informs the Council that it considers the issue to be one of fundamental importance which has implications for its own national interest, the decision on that issue shall be by consensus.

Article 28
The Secretariat shall be under the direction of a Permanent Secretary. He shall be responsible for the technical and administrative personnel necessary for the performance of the functions of the Permanent Secretariat.

The Permanent Secretary shall be the legal representative of the Permanent Secretariat and in specific cases as determined by the Latin American Council, he shall act as legal representative of SELA. The Permanent Secretary shall be elected for a four-year term. He may only be re-elected once, but not for consecutive terms. He may not be replaced by a person of the same nationality.

Regulations for elections of SELA for consideration of the Latin American Council

Article 1. Elections at the Latin American Council will be held by secret vote. When there is one single candidate and the representatives of more than half of the Member States are attending the meeting, the Chairman of the Council may declare the candidate to be elected, without voting. In case there is any objection, the Council shall proceed to vote immediately, without further debate.

Article 2. In convening the Council Meeting in which a Permanent Secretary or a Deputy Permanent Secretary is to be elected, the Permanent Secretary shall invite the Member States to nominate candidates no less than one month in advance of the date agreed to for the Council meeting, in order to allow for analysis and consultation of the nomination, and shall suggest that the presentation letter be accompanied with the curriculum vitae of the candidate and an account, drafted by the candidate, of the Work Programme that would be developed in case he or she is elected Permanent Secretary.

The provisions contained in the foregoing paragraph shall not preclude the possibility of nominating candidates after the specified deadline, in case it is necessary in order to ensure occupation of the position.

In making a nomination, the Member State must have previously made sure that the candidate is actually willing to take over the position, in case he or she is elected.

Article 3. Candidates to the positions of Permanent Secretary or Deputy Permanent Secretary must be a native and citizen of one of the Member States of SELA. They shall not have the same nationality of the official they are to succeed. In case the election is being made for only one of the aforementioned positions, the candidate shall not have the same nationality as the person who is holding the other position.

Article 4. The election of the Permanent Secretary or of the Deputy Permanent Secretary will require an affirmative vote by a majority of two-thirds of the Member States present, or by an absolute majority of the Member States, whichever is greater.

Article 5. Once the first vote is held, if no candidate obtains the required majority of votes, up to three additional voting rounds will be held, if necessary, so as to decide between the two candidates who obtained the highest number of votes in the first voting.

Article 6. Yet, if no candidate obtains the required majority, the nomination of candidates for the next voting will be open again. If no candidate is chosen in the new voting either, the voting procedure will be undertaken again in accordance with Article 4, and so on until an election is accomplished.

Article 7. The Latin American Council may decide, at any moment, by the majority indicated in Article 4, to postpone the election for a subsequent regular or special meeting of the Council.

Article 8. Unless it is decided otherwise, elections for any other position will be made by means of a favourable vote of the absolute majority of the Member States attending the meeting and voting. If no candidate obtains the absolute majority in the first vote, a new vote will be held to decide between the two candidates who obtained the highest number of votes.


Curriculum Vitae

Walter Clarems Endara Vera

Curriculum Vitae

PhD in International Law and International Relations, master’s degree in International Business, master’s degree in International Trade Negotiations, Degree of in-Depth Studies (DEA), Diploma in Management of Teaching-Learning Process in Higher University Education and Diploma in Taxation Law.

Director at the General Secretariat of the Andean Community, he held positions in the Bolivian Foreign Ministry since 2006, as Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade and Integration from 2013 to 2018, Director of Economic Cooperation and Integration and head of various units.

First Substitute Judge of the Court of Justice of the Andean Community (2013-2015).

Professor from 2005 to date in graduate and post-graduate courses on Public and Private International Law, Economic Law and Integration Law, Professor of Public International Law at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés.

International representations:

  • Spokesperson of the Sub-Group for Dispute Settlement, Horizontal and Institutional Affairs of the Andean Community, in the negotiations of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Andean Community.
  • General Commissioner of Bolivia at world fairs: Expo Astana 2017 and Expo Milano 2015.
  • Representative of Bolivia to the Commission of the Andean Community (CAN) and the Extended Andean Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
  • National Coordinator of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR).
  • National Coordinator of Bolivia to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - Peoples' Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP).
  • Alternate Representative to the Council of Delegates of UNASUR.
  • Alternate Representative to the Community of Latin American States (CELAC).
  • Alternate Political Representative to the Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee of the Countries of the La Plata Basin (CIC).
  • Delegate to the Council of Representatives of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA).
  • Alternate Delegate to the Intergovernmental Committee on the PARAGUAY-PARANÁ Waterway.
  • Vice-President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Latin American Integration Association.

Institutional representations:

  • Delegate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Board of Directors of the ASPB
  • Delegate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Nation Brand Committee


Lima, May 2021

Objectives proposed

Ambassador Clarems Endara Vera


According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)[1], global growth is projected at -4.9% in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below the April 2020 forecast. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast. In 2021, global growth is projected at 5.4%.

For its part, the World Bank[2] reported that COVID-19 has had a huge impact globally and has caused pronounced recessions in many countries. Baseline projections forecast a 5.2% contraction in world gross domestic product in 2020, marking the deepest global recession in decades.

According to the most recent report by the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC)[3], the negative trends in world economic activity have deepened and uncertainty is increasing regarding the dynamics of the post-COVID-19 recovery.

The three organizations agree that demand from China and the industrialized countries will decrease drastically, affecting mainly the countries that produce raw materials in South America (minerals and hydrocarbons), the exporters of manufactured goods and services from Central America and the tourism sector in the island countries of the Caribbean.

Latin America and the Caribbean are the regions hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The strong contraction resulting from the health crisis has had enormous economic and social costs, also due to the prelude to several years of weak performance, with low average growth and limited progress in social indicators.

The COVID-19 crisis will have a long-term impact on the economies of the region. Lower levels of learning and employment are likely to reduce future earnings, while high levels of public and private borrowing can strain the financial sector and slow the recovery.

Despite the strong impact, an improvement is expected in the economic outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021. After a 6.7% drop in the regional Gross Domestic Product in 2020, a return to growth of 4.4% is expected in 2021.

This scenario represents a new opportunity for SELA to support the speedy recovery and economic reactivation of the region. Although international trade in goods maintained a relatively acceptable level, it is necessary to evaluate the progress in trade facilitation mechanisms and their incorporation into digitization and simplification of procedures, in order to optimize the digital modernization of foreign trade processes through cooperation.

A greater effort will be needed in the service sector, in particular tourism, as it is the hardest hit. It is necessary to promote tourism among the member countries in the region and in the countries with the highest number of tourists.

The transformation towards accelerated digitization caused by the pandemic becomes an opportunity that can lead to greater dynamism in multiple sectors. SELA has the capacity to concentrate the greatest information on the level of progress in the digital economy achieved in various sectors in the region, and through data processing, to provide a series of South-South cooperation and technical cooperation options in order to improve the capacities of public and private institutions.

For more than five decades, integration in Latin America and the Caribbean has enabled the region to preserve, among its main objectives, equitable economic and social development of its peoples beyond the different development models. In order to achieve its goals, the greater will of cooperation and unity of the Member Countries is required, as set forth in the Panama Convention, so that they can be materialized through the promotion of regional integration, with SELA being called to serve as the main mechanism.           


  1. Ensure the continuity of programmes, projects and activities under development at SELA until their completion and fulfilment of objectives according to their design. They reflect a high degree of commitment on the part of member countries.
  2. Adapt, with the consent of the Member Countries, the programmes, projects and activities, as far as possible, to an approach of economic reactivation of Latin America and the Caribbean that enables the organization to meet the sustainable development goals set by the member countries.
  3. Prioritize the execution of projects that are aimed at promoting better use of regional value chains, with emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises as the main affected by the economic crisis.
  4. Promote strategies for the articulation and convergence of positive agendas among subregional mechanisms, as an alternative response in the medium and long term in areas of economic and trade integration, with emphasis on concrete actions related to the social dimension of integration.
  5. Reaffirm ties with the main international organizations and donor countries, projecting the organization as a promoter of economic and technical cooperation, without neglecting intra-regional south-south cooperation.
  6. Prioritize the search for new international cooperation resources, in order to use them in the implementation of SELA's programmes, projects, and activities.
  7. Promote strategies for a significant advance in the digital economy in the region in order to reach society with tangible benefits.
  8. Strengthen actions related to the social dimension of integration to improve economic and social conditions in the region and in particular in developing countries.


Lima, May 2021.


[1] IMF (2020). World Economic Outlook Reports, June. Washington D.C.

[2] World Bank (2020). “Global Economic Prospects”, June. Washington D.C.

[3] ECLAC (2020). COVID-19 Special Report, No. 5, Santiago, published on 15 July 2020.