Updated June 7, 2001 

Second Summit of the Americas:


The strengthening of democracy was reaffirmed as a vital hemispheric priority during the Second Summit of the Americas.  In the Santiago Plan of Action, governments of the Hemisphere endorsed  new initiatives designed to deepen their commitment to democratic principles. Specifically, the governments committed themselves to the intensification of their efforts to promote democratic reforms at the regional and local level, and encourage a strong and active civil society.  The Governments further resolved to defend democracy against the serious threats of corruption, terrorism, and illegal narcotics, and to promote peace and security among their nations. 

XXIX OAS General Assembly

In June 1999, at the XXIX OAS General Assembly held in Guatemala, the member States adopted four resolutions intended to further strengthen and support democratic institutions. These resolutions focus on four issues:

XXX OAS General Assembly

During the OAS General Assembly, which took place in June 2000, in Windsor, Canada, Governments adopted the following resolutions related to the Democracy initiative:

Unit for the Promotion of Democracy

The OAS' Unit for the Promotion of Democracy continues providing support to States that so require for the design and execution of programs and projects flowing from the Santiago Plan of Action, such as:

  1. Strengthening practical institutions and democratic values, both in governmental bodies and in those of civil society. To this end, projects will be undertaken with national institutions to strengthen their institutional and technical capacities, and to promote democratic values and practices.
  2. Designing and executing projects in order to strengthen both local government and national legislative bodies, through technical training for their personnel, and developing legislative support services. Specifically, these projects include support and technical training for local government officials, and the promotion of citizen participation.
  3. Support for electoral institutions in member states, in order to strengthen their technical capacity and to enhance the efficiency of the electoral process.

The UPD has conducted forums, seminars, projects, and sponsored programs dealing in depth with themes such as modernizing electoral administration; the role of legislatures and parliaments in a democracy; conflict prevention, management and resolution; policy frameworks for decentralization and citizen participation; and the role of civil society in the consolidation of democracy, among others. Such events, which are held both at OAS headquarters and in numerous member states, and organized in cooperation with national and sub-regional institutions, give local, sub-regional and national leaders a venue to discuss theories of democratization, strategies, accomplishments and experiences. They are generating greater knowledge and enhancing collaboration among and between governmental officials, legislators, academics, civil society representatives, media professionals and other participants from throughout the hemisphere.

Some of the seminars and meetings which the UPD conducted or supported since the 1998 Summit are categorized and listed in the links below:

Strengthening of Democracy

Support for Legislative Institutions and Processes

Fostering the Participation of Civil Society

Training Young Leaders

Electoral Technical Assistance Programs

Electoral Observation Missions, with new information on 2001 Missions

To find out more information on the current activities of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD), please see the 2000 Working Plan of the UPD, CP/CAJP-1592/99 which was given final approval by the Permanent Council of the OAS on January 13, 2000.  Please also see the UPD's website at http://www.upd.oas.org/

Community of Democracies Conference

On February 20-21, 2001, the Community of Democracies Conference took place in Washington, D.C. The topic of the Conference was "The Role of Regional and Multilateral Organizations in the Defense and Promotion of Democracy". As a result of this conference, an on-going dialogue was initiated among regional and multilateral organizations, as well as financial institutions. This network will ensure that information will be exchanged regularly on the role that these institutions can play in supporting and sustaining democracy, and that the institutions' activities in this field will be consistent and complimentary.

New Demining Program in Ecuador

On March 19, 2001, Ecuador and the OAS signed an agreement in Quito for the Assistance Program for Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines. This program will support the elimination of antipersonnel land mines on the border of Ecuador.


The mandates and initiatives for democracy were reinvigorated and fortified at the 2001 Quebec City Summit of the Americas.  For more information on these mandates, and to continue with follow up activities in the area of democracy, please click here.

Updated June 7, 2001