Statement by the Chair of the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Nations of the Summit of the Americas, Secretary of State Warren Christopher
(Released in Panama City, Panama, June 2, 1996)
At the December 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami, the democratically elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere gathered to celebrate a common vision of peaceful development and to chart a bold and unprecedented course to achieve it. Peace, democratic governance, market-based economic growth, and responsible stewardship of our resources have now been enshrined as shared beliefs, and together they incorporate the foundation for a brighter future.
As Foreign Ministers of the Summit nations, we reaffirmed the Miami principles and our nations' respective commitments to them in Montrouis, Haiti in June 1995. In Haiti we received a comprehensive report including Summit-related actions taken by each country since Miami. We then identified areas requiring enhanced efforts which formed the basis of a year-long hemispheric work program.
As we gather in June 1996 in Panama City, Panama, the Foreign Ministers of the Summit nations note with pleasure our cooperation since Miami and the promise of the future. We take pride in our achievements, yet we remain mindful of the difficult work which remains to be done. I am honored, as Chairman of the Foreign Ministers for Summit implementation, to recall in this statement -- which has received valuable contributions from governments across the Hemisphere -- the advances we have made and comment on the next steps of our collective efforts.
PROGRESS SINCE OUR LAST MEETING IN HAITI
Over the past year we have observed with satisfaction the many steps which the nations of our Hemisphere have taken to implement our common vision. An illustrative list of Summit-related achievements includes:
On the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the Denver and Cartagena Trade Ministerials set parameters for discussion, established eleven working groups to gather critical preliminary information prior to negotiations, and aggressively sought actions to assist hemispheric businesses now;
In Buenos Aires, Ministers adopted a hemispheric strategy against money laundering, including domestic reform of banking laws and expanded potential for information. sharing among countries to investigate and prosecute financial crimes;
Through the Organization of American States (OAS) we finalized in Caracas the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the world's first anti-corruption treaty and a strong statement that the Americas are committed to a leadership role in the global fight against corruption;
We we1comed the establishment at the OAS of a Working Group to assist in the follow-up activities on the theme "Democracy and Human Rights," which will constitute a valuable mechanism to enhance the efforts of all countries of the Hemisphere to implement strategy in those two areas;
We formed a Committee on Hemispheric Financial Issues to address capital markets development and liberalization; and in May the Hemispheric Meeting of Finance Ministers agreed in New Orleans on steps for increased integration;
We established a Hemispheric Energy Steering Committee at the Hemispheric Energy Symposium in Washington to oversee implementation of a concrete set of cooperative activities supporting regulatory cooperation, energy efficiency, rural electrification, oil, and natural gas issues;
We adopted the OAS Declaration of Santiago on confidence and security building measures and set the stage for new efforts to continue to build mutual confidence in the Hemisphere;
Under the auspices of the OAS, the Hemispheric Terrorism Conference in Lima adopted a declaration and plan of action to combat terrorism -- calling for increased regional cooperation in information exchange, mutual legal assistance, and strict compliance with extradition treaties;
Ministers responsible for science and technology adopted the Cartagena Declaration and Plan of Action, which highlights the vital link between science and technology and economic and social development and calls for increased hemispheric cooperation in this area;
The Santiago Anti-Poverty and Discrimination Conference (January 18-19) reached a consensus on the importance of engaging a wide range of institutions -- both public, and private -- in combating poverty and discrimination, established mechanisms for regular exchange of information, called for a timeline for fulfillment of Summit antipoverty and discrimination goals, and started work on a list of all related projects currently underway in the Hemisphere;
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) developed a regional plan of action that will reduce maternal mortality by half by the end of the century, eliminate measles from the Hemisphere, and substantially reduce infant mortality;
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved $1.5 billion in loans for education and health services;
The IDB committed $500 million in loans specifically for micro-entrepreneurs, the majority of whom are women struggling to escape poverty; and
We developed a concrete action plan for the Partnership for Pollution Prevention by which governments, multilateral institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working in concert to improve water quality and phase out the use of leaded gasoline in the Hemisphere.
The Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG), a policy-level body of representatives from each of our governments, has emerged to give focus and impetus to the implementation of the Summits action plan. The SIRG is a unique instrument of cooperation, bringing hemispheric governments together on a comprehensive agenda. A key contribution of the SIRG has been introduction of the responsible coordinator system, whereby hemispheric governments and institutions have volunteered to take the lead in implementing specific initiatives. We express genuine thanks to those countries and inter-American institutions which have picked up the mantle of Summit leadership through their responsible coordinator roles. In addition, we recognize the critical oversight of the SIRG in assisting us with our overall responsibility to ensure successful Summit follow-up, and we ask it to contribute to the next Summit of the Americas.
We also take note of and support the vital role of the international organizations of the Hemisphere, namely the OAS, IDB, PAHO, and the UN Economic Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). These organizations have responded enthusiastically to the mandates of the Summit, and have provided useful political fora and invaluable tec1mical support. The private sector, including non-governmental organizations, has also contributed significantly to the process. We encourage continued outreach to the private sector.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Our last report called attention to several areas requiring "enhanced efforts." In response, the SIRG met three times during the ensuing twelve months to provide stimulus in each area including infrastructure, anti-corruption, anti-poverty, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, and capital markets development and integration. The challenge ahead is to implement the strategies with purpose and resolve to make a tangible improvement in the lives of all our citizens. This will be the ultimate, long-term indicator of the success of the Summit of the Americas.
Additional work is required. Through the collective and individual work of our nations and international organizations we have, for example, developed coordinated strategies in democracy and human rights, anti-corruption, counter-narcotics., trade, money laundering, mutual security, science and technology, education, health services, antipoverty, and energy cooperation.
In addition, we should devote enhanced efforts in the coming months to implementing the tourism and cultural values initiatives. We also plan to continue aggressively combating poverty - especially the nutritional aspects of the health and education initiatives -- to bolster our counter-narcotics programs, build mutual confidence in matters of security, and address telecommunications and information infrastructure needs. In this regard, the September meeting of senior telecommunications officials is expected to further integration efforts in this expanding sector in the Hemisphere.
THE SUMMIT CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
We also plan to focus on the thoughtful and appropriate stewardship of the Hemisphere's natural resources. The Summit conference to be held on December 7-8 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, offers an opportunity to further our quest for sustainable development. We must find a way to ensure continued development for all our people while safeguarding the environment for future generations. We thank the government of Bolivia for its leadership in this matter and look ahead with anticipation to Santa Cruz.
THE NEXT SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
Since our leaders met in Miami, we have recognized our need to compare experiences improving democratic rule, to share the fruits of the governance of free and open societies, and to explore cooperative efforts to improve our citizens' lives.
In light of our efforts to date we recommend that:
The next comprehensive Summit of the Americas be convened in late 1997 or early 1998 (the exact date will be announced during the Sustainable Development Summit in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, December, 1996);
The generous invitation of the government of Chile to host the Summit be accepted;
Consultations via the SIRG be initiated in due course to develop the agenda in the open and transparent manner that characterized the Miami Summit;
Given the comprehensive nature of the Miami documents, we develop a focused agenda worthy of the attention of our 34 democratically-elected leaders and achievable in the mid-term of three to four years. The goals of strengthening democracy, achieving economic integration and free trade, and alleviating poverty should remain central to this endeavor.
We are aware that our Summit actions will be judged successful by our citizens only if we affect, in a direct, positive, and concrete manner, the lives of our people. This is the promise -- and the responsibility -- of the Spirit of Miami. Alone, we cannot succeed. Together, we must not fail.[SIRG/1996/II_M/tracker.htm][SIRG/1996/II_M/tracker.htm]