[Speech of the Foreign Minister of Canada, Lloyd Axworthy to the XVII Meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group, delivered by David Kilgour, Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa]

Statement to the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG)


Gracias Ministro Insulza. This will be the last meeting of the SIRG before Canada assumes the leadership of the Troika in October. Let me take this opportunity to commend you as well as all those in your government who worked so hard to make the last Summit such a success and to ensure that the implementation process has stayed on track. Chile ha establecido un alto estandar. Sera dificil seguirlos.

1 would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Buddy Mackay to the SIRG. I note that Buddy is officially the Special Envoy of the President and the Secretary of State for the Americas - a big title and an important job and I wish him every success.

The record of accomplishment in the Troika statement confirms that we have done much together since Santiago.

Il ne faut pas pour autant s’estimer satisfaits. Nous devons avancer vers le prochain Sommet á Québec en gardant á l'esprit les directives issues des Sommets de Miami et Santiago et les engagements que nous avons contractés, l'exécution de ces mandats exigeant toujours une action soutenue de notre part.

Le Canada, à titre de Président des négociations sur la Zone de Libre Echange des Amériques (ZELA), est heureux de constater les progrès enregistrés particulièrement au chapitre des mesures de facilitation des affaires. Nous nous réjouissons à la perspective d’accueillir les ministres du commerce à Toronto au mois de novembre dans le cadre de la ZELA, suite au cinquième forum interaméricain des affaires. Il est important de continuer sur notre lancée afin de concrétiser notre engagement collectif en faveur de l’accomplissement de progrès concrets d’ici l’an 2000 et en faveur de la conclusion des négociations d’ici l’an 2005.

Our commitment to the FTAA speaks to our confidence in the future of the hemisphere. The importance of this engagement with our collective destiny was emphasized in Santiago by the fact that leaders described education as "the key to progress" and gave it pride of place in the plan of action.

In Santiago, we placed the well-being of individuals at the centre of the agenda and put emphasis on strengthening independent judiciaries, combating corruption, improving local governments, promoting the rights of workers, ending poverty and discrimination, improving the status of women, supporting personal economic initiative, enhancing engagement with civil society and supporting greater participation by our indigenous peoples in the life of our societies.

It is a very ambitious program upon which to build and presents a challenge to Canada ~ to provide strong, clear-sighted leadership as we enter a new millennium and begin to prepare for the next summit in Québec City.

For the past two years, Canada has engaged in dialogue and reflection on the concept of "human security", a new frame-work for action to enhance the safety of individuals in a world in which threats come increasingly from within the states or from transnational sources over which states have limited control.

Human security does not seek to supplant national security. In the hemisphere we have made notable strides in recent years in developing regional security arrangements. Canada is playing an active part in activities such as the review of hemispheric security mandated by the Santiago Summit.

We have distributed a booklet on human security to all delegations and I hope that you will consider the argument it presents critically. Under Canadian leadership, I hope that the SIRG will examine how we can develop regional actions to address important current and emerging Hemispheric issues from the perspective of human security.

Canada shares the Hemispheric commitment on the need to act effectively to combat corruption. I am pleased to announce that Canada will sign the inter-convention on corruption later today.

The central issues here involve good governance and probity. As we strive to eliminate criminal corruption, we must also promote the development of and adherence to positive models for public conduct. Our goal should be to inculcate a culture of transparency in all those who serve the citizens of the Americas.

Other issues are beginning to emerge. It has been suggested that action on health issues is required, to improve the quality of and access to care and to ensure that we are equipped to contain current threats to health and to improve our preventive capacity.

La parité de sexes constitue l'un des facteurs essentiels á la réalisation de progrès en matière de développement économique, social et politique. Les femmes doivent être en mesure d'occuper le rôle de partenaire á part entière et de participer pleinement á la prise de décisions.

Nous sommes une région jeune. La construction d'un avenir prospère en toute sécurité repose avant tout sur l'éducation. Nous devons léguer á la jeune génération les outils nécessaires á l’avènement du monde meilleur que nous souhaitons la voir habiter.

Nous devons aussi revoir notre relation avec le monde naturel et étudier les moyens d'assurer un développement durable. De plus, face aux défis posés par l’urbanisation, il nous faut procurer la meilleure qualité de vie possible aux résidents de nos villes.

Changes in the environment contribute to the frequency and intensity of natural disasters in our hemisphere and around the world. How can we act to prevent or mitigate the impact of disasters on our people?

We will also have to continue to examine how we can strengthen and reform Hemispheric institutions. The OAS under the leadership of Secretary General Gaviria is already responding to a series of new mandates and challenges.

What kind of organization will best serve the Hemisphere’s peoples and their vital interests? What about the relationship between the OAS and the Summits? These questions and others will be asked with increasing force in the months ahead.

The role of other institutions in the Inter-American system is also requires attention. Resources, are of fundamental importance.

Both the OAS and the Summit process clearly require properly directed resources if they are to respond to the direction provided by the democratically-elected political leaders of the hemisphere. Governments must play their role to play, but the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank should become increasingly more involved in the process of Hemispheric integration.

This is an ambitious agenda, even in outline. The development of specific themes for the Next Summit will be our joint responsibility in the coming months. Together we must, and we will, develop a focussed and forward-looking plan of action for the next Summit that will respond to the genuine needs and aspirations of the peoples of the Americas.

Thank you.