Summits of the Americas Newsletter

February 2009 | Summits Online | Espaņol

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Fifth Summit of the Americas

The Fifth Summit of the Americas, held on April 17-19, 2009 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, aimed at setting a new tone to hemispheric relations and establishing a new rapport for developing cooperative multilateral initiatives.

Addressed within the framework of the current financial and economic crisis, the theme of human prosperity engendered substantial consensus among the leaders for the allocation of additional financial resources to international financial institutions, particularly the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the need for increased development financing. The majority of leaders emphasized the link between the immediate crisis and the long term development challenges in the Hemisphere.

Among the key issues discussed at the Summit, the topic of global warming and environmental sustainability was regarded as a matter of urgency given problems of energy exploitation, shortages, and unevenness in amounts and types of available energy. Leaders called for an energy plan for the hemisphere with multiple country specific initiatives as well as the exchange of best practices in development and expansion of renewable energy sources. The theme of trafficking in drugs and arms also generated considerable debate, with leaders having expressed their desire and political will to reduce supply and counter demand. In the Chairman’s concluding remarks, Prime Minister Patrick Manning expressed the view that the Fifth Summit was “pervaded by a unique spirit of openness and goodwill”, which “heralds the beginning of a new era in inter-American relations.”

Following the Fifth Summit, a road map of events to continue to address the priority issues discussed has begun to take shape. For instance, a high level meeting will be held in Peru on June 15-16, 2009 to address greater hemispheric cooperation in the area of energy, particularly the Energy and Climate Change Partnership of the Americas program. In July 2009, a meeting of Ministers of Finance will be held in Santiago, Chile to address the issue of greater financing for countries in extreme difficulty due to the economic crisis. High level experts from Ministries of Public security will meet in Montevideo, Uruguay, in August 2009, and a second Public Security Ministerial will convene in the Dominican Republic in November to address issues of crime and violence. In the global warming arena, the Conference of Parties (COP 15) meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, in December, 2009 is expected to produce substantial global commitments and focus on concrete results. There was a call at the Summit to consider convening a hemispheric mee5ting prior to Copenhagen to strive for a unified approach. Finally, Ministers of Social Development are scheduled to meet for the second time in 2010, in Colombia, to advance the social protection network which was called for in their first meeting in Reņaca, Chile in 2008.

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