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

DEMOCRACY: Electoral Processes and Procedures

  1. Strengthen regional cooperation in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, including through the following measures, among others:

    • a. Encourage regular multilateral meetings and foster inclusive discussions among countries in our Hemisphere about challenges to democracy that have arisen in the region over the past two decades since the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter;

    • b. Develop, strengthen and/or consolidate, in accordance with national legislation, the role of the Office of Ombudsperson (Public Defender, Citizen’s Advocate or Human Rights Prosecutor or Commissioner) and/or other relevant national authorities with a view to strengthening democratic governance and respect for and promotion of human rights in the countries of the region;

    • c. Recognize the provisions adopted by States Parties to the Escazú Agreement and invite the countries of the region to join efforts to act in keeping with it, as appropriate. (Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance, IX Summit of the Americas, Los Angeles, 2022).

  1. Support free and fair elections with full respect for state sovereignty, through the following measures, in accordance with domestic law:

    • a. Facilitate conditions for all eligible voters in the Americas to vote in the elections organized in their respective countries, and also facilitate the participation of citizens residing abroad in general elections of their countries of origin, consistent with domestic law;

    • b. Recognize the importance of the independent, impartial, and autonomous character of electoral bodies that certify election results;

    • c. Implement measures to protect and strengthen the integrity of the electoral process and promote its accountability to the citizenry, transparency, and impartiality in domestic electoral institutions and oversight mechanisms, as well as transparency in the funding of political parties, electoral campaigns and candidatures for public office;

    • d. Promote the rights of citizens to choose their leaders in free and fair elections, which are periodic, based on universal suffrage and the secret ballot, and carried out in a transparent manner, by implementing measures to facilitate the ability of all political parties, including those in opposition, to stand for election, promoting the full and equal participation of women, and removing, where applicable, barriers to women running for political office;

    • f. Eliminate measures that create direct or indirect limitations in accessing the electoral process for members of specific groups, particularly opposition political parties and groups in vulnerable situations and/or historically discriminated against;

    • g. Recognize the importance of electoral observation missions, carried out in keeping with the principles of objectivity, impartiality, transparency, independence, respect for sovereignty, and with access to information respecting the procedures established in the rules of the inter-American system, including the InterAmerican Democratic Charter, and without undermining the independence of missions, with States ensuring the conditions of security for electoral observers so they may carry out their duties independently and safely;

    • h. Promote the adoption of measures to improve the security and well-being of candidates and their families, officials, and electoral personnel, as well as electoral infrastructure, in order to facilitate the unimpeded administration of elections. (Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance, IX Summit of the Americas, Los Angeles, 2022).

  1. Foster multi-stakeholder forums for dialogue among the public sector, the private sector, and civil society, including women’s and youth organizations and social actors, to strengthen democratic practices, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, anticorruption, and open government efforts, including:

    • a. Participatory processes to promote government accountability and public trust in government, such as the development of informative communiques, social public commitments or citizen charters, as appropriate, which set forth what inhabitants can expect from public services and how to access them;

    • b. Community development planning processes, taking into account, in particular, the existence of inclusive processes, with a gender perspective, particularly with regard to post-COVID recovery and resilience to climate change that are inclusive of groups in vulnerable situations and/or historically discriminated against, and provide community members agency and oversight in the use of development resources;

    • c. Open, free, informed, and prior consultations with indigenous communities, leaders, and authorities, as appropriate and in accordance with domestic legislation, especially in the development, planning, follow-up, and assessment of policies that affect their way of life;

    • d. Establishing or effectively implementing laws or regulations to make consultation with stakeholders a systematic and essential part of the process of drafting laws and regulations, consistent with the domestic laws of each State; (Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance, IX Summit of the Americas, Los Angeles, 2022).

  1. Increase efforts to ensure inclusion and diversity in all aspects of governance, through the following actions:

    • d. Addressing the impacts of sexual and gender-based violence on women’s access to job opportunities, their ability to move and travel freely, and their opportunities to reach political, legal, social, and economic equality; (Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance, IX Summit of the Americas, Los Angeles, 2022).


  1. Promoting the use of new technologies that facilitate digital government in order to promote transparency, interaction with citizens and accountability, through development of tools for the identification, detection, systematization, and monitoring of government procedures and, to that end, strengthening cooperation and exchange of best practices on the development and application of such technologies. (Lima Commitment. Peru, 2018).

  1. Encouraging adoption and/or strengthening of measures that promote transparency, accountability, appropriate accounting, and use of the banking system for income and expenditures of political organizations and parties, especially those related to their electoral campaigns, in order to guarantee the licit origin of the contributions and penalizing anyone involved in accepting illicit contributions. (Lima Commitment. Peru, 2018).

  1. Promoting the broadest possible cooperation among judicial, police, and prosecutorial authorities, financial intelligence units, and administrative authorities in investigations and procedures related to offenses of corruption, money laundering, and transnational bribery and corruption. (Lima Commitment. Peru, 2018).

  1. To support institution building and modernization of independent electoral organs, in order to strengthen their capacity to guarantee the integrity of electoral processes, and the holding of free, fair and periodic elections, in accordance with each country’s legal system, including, as appropriate, the regulation of financing of political activity. We ask the OAS and other organizations of the Hemisphere to provide advisory services and assistance for these purposes, when appropriate. (Democratic Governance, Initiatives VII Summit of the Americas, Panama City, 2015).

  1. Our aspirations and goals for the Americas depend on strong democracies, good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. We believe that democracy is essential for the social, political and economic development of the peoples of the Americas. We therefore renew our commitment to fight poverty, inequality, hunger and social exclusion in order to raise the standard of living of our peoples and strengthen democratic governance in the Americas, and we will uphold the principles of and fully implement the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We reaffirm our commitment to fostering credibility and public trust in democratic institutions, in particular the legitimacy of electoral processes and full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. (Declaration of Port of Spain, 2009).

  1. We are convinced that representative democracy is an indispensable condition for the stability, peace, and development of the region. We recognize that for democracy to prosper, governments must be responsive to the legitimate aspirations of their people and work to provide their people with the tools and opportunities to improve their lives (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  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. We, the democratically elected Heads of State and Government of the Americas, have met in Quebec City at our Third Summit, to renew our commitment to hemispheric integration and national and collective responsibility for improving the economic well-being and security of our people. We have adopted a Plan of Action to strengthen representative democracy, promote good governance and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.* We seek to create greater prosperity and expand economic opportunities while fostering social justice and the realization of human potential (Declaration of Québec, 2001).

  1. Recognizing the relationship among democracy, sustainable development, the separation of powers, as well as effective and efficient government institutions, and, noting that the transparency and accountability of electoral systems and the independence of bodies responsible for the conduct and verification of free, fair and regular elections are essential elements in ensuring support for and involvement in national democratic institutions (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  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. Continue to enhance electoral mechanisms, using information and communications technologies where possible, to effectively guarantee the impartiality, promptness and independent action of agencies, tribunals or other bodies responsible for the conduct, supervision and verification of elections at national and sub-national levels, and strengthen and facilitate, with the support of the Organization of American States (OAS) and other regional and international organizations, hemispheric cooperation and exchange of legislative and technological experiences in these areas, and the deployment of election observers when so requested; (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. Ensure the media is free from arbitrary interventions by the state, and specifically, work to remove legal or regulatory impediments to media access by registered political parties including by facilitating, where possible, equitable access during election campaigns to television and radio; (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. Propose the exchange of experiences that may be used as a support for each country so that, according to their own realities and legal systems, they adopt or develop internal rules that regulate contributions to electoral campaigns and independent internal control mechanisms. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Consider the proposals resulting from the Meeting of Government Representatives on Contributions to Electoral Campaigns, held in Caracas in February 1998, under the auspices of the OAS. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Adopt or consider, as appropriate, measures to prevent financial contributions to electoral campaigns derived from organized crime and drug trafficking. Similarly, they will promote the adoption of measures designed to ensure transparency in the origin of all contributions. (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).

  • 1.3 Encouraging exchanges of election-related technologies and assisting national electoral organizations, at the request of the interested state. (Plan of Action Miami, 1994).

  • 5.7 Give priority to strengthening government regulations and procurement, tax collection, the administration of justice and the electoral and legislative processes, utilizing the support of the IDB and other international financial institutions where appropriate. (Plan of Action Miami, 1994).



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