PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
REPORT OF THE CHAIR OF THE WORKING GROUP ON REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
This document has been drawn up to present to the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management what the Working Group on Representative Democracy could contribute, in light of the decisions of the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas, in those fields where the OAS has been called upon to help with the implementation of those decisions. Both the Plan of Action and resolutions AG/RES. 1337 and AG/RES. 1349 (XXV-O/95), adopted by the OAS General Assembly in Montrouis, assign the OAS the task of following up on the efforts to promote and consolidate democracy in the Americas.
The Charter of the Organization of American States establishes as one of its essential principles the promotion and consolidation of representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of non-intervention.
Resolution AG/RES. 1254 (XXIV-O/94) "Summit of the Americas," of Belém do Pará, considering the importance of the Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government, which would be held that year, decided in the first operative paragraph: "To instruct the Permanent Council to prepare, in coordination with the Secretary General, the contribution of the Organization of American States to the Summit of the Americas and the follow-up of the pertinent recommendations therefrom."
The General Assembly, in resolution AG/RES. 1280 (XXIV-O/94) "Promotion of Democracy," decided "To instruct the Permanent Council to continue the study on preparation of a set of proposals that will serve as an incentive to preserve and strengthen democratic systems..." pursuant to resolution AG/RES. 1080 (XXI-O/91) of Santiago, Chile. Resolution AG/RES. 1349 (XXV-O/95) "Inter-American Summits Management" approved in 1996 in Montrouis, Haiti, requires "the organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization to give priority consideration to implementation of the initiatives included in the Plan of Action adopted by the Summit of the Americas in which the OAS has been asked to play a role and to report regularly to the Permanent Council on the progress of their respective tasks concerning these matters."
III. RELATIONSHIP OF THE WORK OF THE WORKING GROUP ON REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY TO THE PURPOSES AND OBJECTIVES OF THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
The Declaration of Principles of the Summit of the Americas reaffirms that "representative democracy is indispensable for the stability, peace and development of the region." The first chapter of the Plan of Action is entitled, "To Preserve and Strengthen the Community of Democracies of the Americas." The Plan of Action states that, "The strengthening, effective exercise and consolidation of democracy constitute the central political priority of the Americas," and that the OAS "is the principal hemispheric body for the defense of democratic values and institutions; among its essential purposes is to promote and consolidate representative democracy." In addition, the Plan requests "the OAS to promote and follow up on these commitments."
Pursuant to the decisions adopted at the Summit of the Americas in December 1994, the twenty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly, held in Haiti, resolved in resolution AG/RES. 1337 (XXV-O/95) "to take note of the preliminary draft submitted by the Chair of the Working Group on Representative Democracy of the General Committee of the Permanent Council, entitled 'Preparation of Educational Materials to Assist in Conveying Democratic Standards and Values for Raising the Awareness of the Education Community in the Americas -- Education for Democracy.'" This draft is of special importance and comes under the topic "Promotion of Democratic Values and Practices," adopted at the Summit of the Americas.
In starting a new period, the Working Group on Representative Democracy has begun considering the project "Education for Democracy," the main purpose of which is to help improve the quality of primary education through mechanisms that promote knowledge of the nature, benefits, responsibilities and operation of democratic institutions of OAS member states.
This project provides continuity for analysis of the topic on formulating proposals for a set of incentives to preserve and strengthen the democratic systems, with the support of the General Secretariat Unit for Democratic Development.
Likewise, the Working Group decided, in the context of the decisions of the Summit of the Americas, to support the initiatives of its Chair for developing an agenda on the topic "Education for Democracy," which will include the promotion of fora, seminars and activities to help mobilize opinion among young people in the countries of the region on the subject of representative democracy.
The Working Group on Representative Democracy will carry out its activities with the support of the Unit for Democratic Development, in coordination with the Working Group on Inter-American Summit Management.
At its meeting of November 8, 1995, the Working Group considered the "Draft Report of the Working Group on Representative Democracy to the Special Committee on Inter-American Summit Management," drawn up by the Chair.
To meet the deadline set for submission of this report, the Group decided that the Chair would forward it to the Special Committee on Inter-American Summit Management.
Despite the foregoing, the Group, because there was no simultaneous interpretation at the meeting, reserves the right to re-examine the Report if it deems desirable.
November 8, 1995
Entire contents © 1998 Organization of American States, Office of Summit Follow-Up