Fifteen years ago, this day, the leaders of the GUAM Member States gathered in Kyiv at their regular Summit to upgrade the successful regional initiative, conceived in 1997, into a full-fledged regional organization.
Consequently, the GUAM regional initiative has been transformed into the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM. It was entrusted with new tasks and expanded the scope of activities with emphasis on economic cooperation. The permanent international Secretariat was established to coordinate activities with Headquarters in Kyiv, Ukraine.
This period was indeed very dynamic and productive in terms of the elaboration of legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks, development of mechanisms and instruments of cooperation. Visionary ideas and strategic concepts have been translated into the flagship projects and initiatives. With growing interest and support towards the new regional organization, cooperation established and developed with partner countries and international organizations.
However, unfortunately, during these 15 years, the potential of cooperation has not been realized as desired, mainly because of the existing dangerous conflicts in the region, imposed and influenced from outside. These conflicts not only hamper our advancements but also pose a serious threat to European and wider international peace, security, and stability.
Nevertheless, we firmly believe that the Member States, as well as the GUAM geographic area as a whole, possess enormous economic potential, and through our joint efforts, the synergy of cooperation can contribute to the strengthening of national economies, facilitate sustainable regional development, and its integration into an international economy based on its geographic and other advantages. This region is emerging as an essential integral part of the new connectivity architecture between Asia and Europe, and the ultimate aim of the GUAM is seen as to shape this geographic area of ever-growing geostrategic importance into the zone of peace stability, and prosperity.
Therefore, on this Jubilee occasion, we want to remember all those who stood at the foundations of this regional initiative, in particular, to pay tribute to the GUAM founding fathers for their strategic vision and leadership. We also wish to thank all those who contributed and who are currently contributing to the further development of this regional initiative. We also want to express our gratitude to our partners – countries and international organizations, and to new ones who show interest and support for cooperation. We thank you all for your trust and confidence, your support and commitment. And as always, we at the GUAM Secretariat are looking forward to continuous and constructive cooperation.
Happy 15th Anniversary of the ODED-GUAM!