Organization of American States Summits of the Americas
     
Follow-up and Implementation: Mandates
 

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DEMOCRACY: Engagement in Democracy
MANDATES

  1. We recognise the role of governance at the local level as a tool for strengthening democracy and sustainable development. We affirm the importance of enhancing decentralisation, local government and citizen participation and we reiterate our commitment to supporting the work of the high level Inter-American Network on Decentralisation, Local Government and Citizen Participation (RIAD) and its continued engagement in initiatives that promote good governance principles and practices at the local level. (Declaration of Port of Spain, 2009).

  1. We reaffirm that the participatory nature of democracy in our countries in different aspects of public life contributes to the consolidation of democratic values and to freedom and solidarity in the Hemisphere (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. Increased participation by citizens, communities, and civil society will contribute to ensuring that the benefits of democracy are shared by society as a whole (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. We recognize the participation of many countries of the Hemisphere in the Community of Democracies and call upon the Third Ministerial Conference to continue supporting the strengthening of democratic institutions, particularly political parties (Declaration of Nuevo León, 2004).

  1. The strengthening of and respect for the rule of law, the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms, economic progress, well-being and social justice, transparency and accountability in public affairs, the promotion of diverse forms of participation by our citizens, and the development of opportunities for all are fundamental to promote and consolidate representative democracy (Declaration of Nuevo León, 2004).

  1. Democratic governance is strengthened through dialogue among all sectors of society. We will continue to foster a culture of democracy and development based on pluralism and the acceptance of social and cultural diversity (Declaration of Nuevo León, 2004).

  1. We recognize that political pluralism and sound political parties are essential elements of democracy. We underscore the importance of rules to ensure the transparency of party finances, to prevent corruption and the risk of undue influence, and to encourage a high level of electoral participation. Therefore, we will promote the conditions that enable political parties to thrive, autonomous of government control. We will encourage political training and leadership development, including for women, youth, indigenous people, members of ethnic groups, and marginalized segments of the population. We acknowledge the important work of the Inter-American Forum on Political Parties in enabling political parties to share best practices and strengthen themselves, as well as promoting reforms of political party systems (Declaration of Nuevo León, 2004).

  1. Share best practices and technologies with respect to increasing citizen participation in electoral processes, including voter education, the modernization and simplification of voter registration and the voting and counting process, while taking into account the need to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process and promoting the full participation and integration of all persons eligible to exercise the right to vote, without discrimination; (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. Recognizing that citizen participation and appropriate political representation are the foundation of democracy, and that local governments are closest to the daily lives of citizens: (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. The strength and meaning of representative democracy lie in the active participation of individuals at all levels of civic life. The democratic culture must encompass our entire population. We will strengthen education for democracy and promote the necessary actions for government institutions to become more participatory structures. We undertake to strengthen the capabilities of regional and local governments, when appropriate, and to foster more active participation in civil society (Declaration of Santiago, 1998).

  1. Include in educational programs, within the legal framework of each country, objectives and contents that develop democratic culture at all levels, in order to teach individuals ethical values, a spirit of cooperation and integrity. To that end, the participation of teachers, families, students and outreach workers will be stepped up in their work related to conceptualizing and implementing the plans for shaping citizens imbued with democratic values (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. The Charter of the OAS establishes that representative democracy is indispensable for the stability, peace and development of the region. It is the sole political system which guarantees respect for human rights and the rule of law; it safeguards cultural diversity, pluralism, respect for the rights of minorities, and peace within and among nations. Democracy is based, among other fundamentals, on free and transparent elections and includes the right of all citizens to participate in government. Democracy and development reinforce one another (Declaration of Principles Miami, 1994).

  1. Recognizing the important contribution of individuals and associations in effective democratic government and in the enhancement of cooperation among the people of the Hemisphere, we will facilitate fuller participation of our people in political, economic and social activity, in accordance with national legislation (Declaration of Principles Miami, 1994).

  • 1.2 Give expeditious consideration to ratifying the Cartagena de Indias, Washington and Managua Protocols to the OAS Charter, if they have not already done so. Strengthen the dialogue among social groups and foster grass roots participation in problem solving at the local level.
    Support efforts by the OAS to promote democracy by: (Plan of Action Miami, 1994)

  • 3.1 A strong and diverse civil society, organized in various ways and sectors, including individuals, the private sector, labor, political parties, academics, and other non-governmental actors and organizations, gives depth and durability to democracy. Similarly, a vigorous democracy requires broad participation in public issues. Such activities should be carried out with complete transparency and accountability, and to this end a proper legal and regulatory framework should be established to include the possibility of obtaining technical and financial support, including from private sources. (Plan of Action Miami, 1994).

 

 

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