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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.
We reiterate our firm commitment and adherence to the principles and purposes of the Charters of the United Nations and of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Our rich and varied traditions provide unparalleled opportunities for growth and to share experiences and knowledge and to build a hemispheric family on the basis of a more just and democratic international order. We must meet the challenges inherent in the differences in size and levels of social, economic and institutional development in our countries and our region.
We have made progress in implementing the collective undertakings made at Miami in 1994 and continued at Santiago in 1998. We recognize the necessity to continue addressing weaknesses in our development processes and increasing human security. We are aware that there is still much to be achieved if the Summit of the Americas process is to be relevant to the daily lives of our people and contribute to their well-being.
We acknowledge that the values and practices of democracy are fundamental to the advancement of all our objectives. The maintenance and strengthening of the rule of law and strict respect for the democratic system are, at the same time, a goal and a shared commitment and are an essential condition of our presence at this and future Summits. Consequently, any unconstitutional alteration or interruption of the democratic order in a state of the Hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of that state's government in the Summit of the Americas process. Having due regard for existing hemispheric, regional and sub-regional mechanisms, we agree to conduct consultations in the event of a disruption of the democratic system of a country that participates in the Summit process.
Threats to democracy today take many forms. To enhance our ability to respond to these threats, we instruct our Foreign Ministers to prepare, in the framework of the next General Assembly of the OAS, an Inter-American Democratic Charter to reinforce OAS instruments for the active defense of representative democracy.*
Our commitment to full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is based on shared principles and convictions. We support strengthening and enhancing the effectiveness of the inter American human rights system, which includes the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. We mandate the XXXI General Assembly of the OAS to consider an adequate increase in resources for the activities of the Commission and the Court in order to improve human rights mechanisms and to promote the observance of the recommendations of the Commission and compliance with the judgments of the Court.
We reaffirm our commitment to maintain peace and security through the effective use of hemispheric means for the peaceful resolution of disputes and the adoption of confidence- and security-building measures. In this regard, we support and commend the efforts of the OAS. We reiterate our full adherence to the principle that commits states to refrain from the threat or use of force, in accordance with international law. In conformity with the principles of international humanitarian law, we strongly condemn attacks on civilian populations. We will take all feasible measures to ensure that the children of our countries do not participate in armed conflict and we condemn the use of children by irregular forces. We reaffirm that the constitutional subordination of armed forces and security forces to the legally constituted civilian authorities of our countries, as well as respect for the rule of law on the part of all national institutions and sectors of society, are fundamental to democracy. We will strive to limit military expenditures while maintaining capabilities commensurate with our legitimate security needs and will promote greater transparency in the acquisition of arms.
We reiterate our commitment to combat new, multi-dimensional threats to the security of our societies. Foremost amongst these threats are the global drug problem and related crimes, the illicit traffic in and criminal use of firearms, the growing danger posed by organized crime and the general problem of violence in our societies. Acknowledging that corruption undermines core democratic values, challenges political stability and economic growth and thus threatens vital interests in our Hemisphere, we pledge to reinvigorate our fight against corruption. We also recognize the need to improve the conditions for human security in the Hemisphere.
We renew our commitment to the full implementation of the Anti-Drug Strategy in the Hemisphere, based on the principles of shared responsibility, a comprehensive and balanced approach, and multilateral cooperation. We welcome the development of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism and reiterate our commitment to make this mechanism, unique in the world, one of the central pillars in effective hemispheric cooperation in the struggle against all the factors that constitute the global drug problem. We express our support for effective alternative development programs aimed at the eradication of illicit cultivation and will strive to facilitate market access for products resulting from these programs.
We acknowledge that another major threat to the security of our people is HIV/AIDS. We are united in our resolve to adopt multi-sectoral strategies and to develop our cooperation to combat this disease and its consequences.
We reaffirm the importance of an independent judiciary and our determination to ensure equal access to justice and to guarantee its timely and impartial administration. We commit ourselves to increase transparency throughout government.
Free and open economies, market access, sustained flows of investment, capital formation, financial stability, appropriate public policies, access to technology and human resources development and training are key to reducing poverty and inequalities, raising living standards and promoting sustainable development. We will work with all sectors of civil society and international organizations to ensure that economic activities contribute to the sustainable development of our societies.
We welcome the significant progress achieved to date toward the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), including the development of a preliminary draft FTAA Agreement. As agreed at the Miami Summit, free trade, without subsidies or unfair practices, along with an increasing stream of productive investments and greater economic integration, will promote regional prosperity, thus enabling the raising of the standard of living, the improvement of working conditions of people in the Americas and better protection of the environment. The decision to make public the preliminary draft of the FTAA Agreement is a clear demonstration of our collective commitment to transparency and to increasing and sustained communication with civil society.
We direct our Ministers to ensure that negotiations of the FTAA Agreement are concluded no later than January 2005 and to seek its entry into force as soon as possible thereafter, but in any case, no later than December 2005.* This will be a key element for generating the economic growth and prosperity in the Hemisphere that will contribute to the achievement of the broad Summit objectives. The Agreement should be balanced, comprehensive and consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and disciplines and should constitute a single undertaking. We attach great importance to the design of an Agreement that takes into account the differences in the size and levels of development of participating economies.
We acknowledge the challenge of environmental management in the Hemisphere. We commit our governments to strengthen environmental protection and sustainable use of natural resources with a view to ensuring a balance among economic development, social development and the protection of the environment, as these are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Our goal is to achieve sustainable development throughout the Hemisphere.
We will promote compliance with internationally recognized core labor standards as embodied in the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up adopted in 1998. We will consider the ratification of or accession to the fundamental agreements of the ILO, as appropriate. In order to advance our commitment to create greater employment opportunities, improve the skills of workers and improve working conditions throughout the Hemisphere, we recognize the need to address, in the relevant hemispheric and international fora, issues of globalization related to employment and labor. We instruct the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor to continue their consideration of issues related to globalization which affect employment and labor.
Recognizing the importance of energy as one of the fundamental bases for economic development, the region's prosperity and improved quality of life, we commit to pursuing renewable energy initiatives, promoting energy integration and enhancing regulatory frameworks and their application, while promoting the principles of sustainable development.
Democracy and economic and social development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing as fundamental conditions to combat poverty and inequality. We will spare no effort to free our fellow citizens from the dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty. We commit to further efforts to reach international development goals, especially the reduction by 50% by the year 2015 of the proportion of people living in extreme poverty.
We commit ourselves to promote programs for the improvement of agriculture and rural life and agro business as an essential contribution to poverty reduction and integral development.
We commit to strengthening hemispheric cooperation and national capacities to develop a more integrated approach to the management of natural disasters. We will continue to implement policies that enhance our ability to prevent, mitigate and respond to the consequences of natural disasters. We agree to study measures to facilitate timely access to financial resources to address emergency needs.
We recognize the cultural and economic contributions made by migrants to receiving societies as well as to their communities of origin. We are committed to ensuring dignified, humane treatment with appropriate legal protections, defense of human rights, and safe and healthy labor conditions for migrants. We will strengthen mechanisms for hemispheric cooperation to address the legitimate needs of migrants and take effective measures against trafficking in human beings.
Progress towards more democratic societies, growing economies and social equity relies on an educated citizenry and a skilled labor force. We have agreed to a series of policies to improve access to quality education through teacher training, education in civic values and the use of information technologies both in our classrooms and in measuring progress toward achieving these goals. Improved education policies and increased investment in our education systems will help reduce income disparities and close the digital divide in our Hemisphere.
Our collective hemispheric efforts will be more effective through innovative uses of information and communications technologies to connect our governments and our people and to share knowledge and ideas. Our statement, Connecting the Americas, underscores this conviction.
We emphasize that good health and equal access to medical attention, health services and affordable medicine are critical to human development and the achievement of our political, economic and social objectives.
We reaffirm our commitment to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, including those who are vulnerable, marginalized, disabled or require special protection. We are committed to the eradication of all forms of discrimination, including racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other related intolerance in our societies, as well as to the promotion of gender equality, and to achieving the full participation of all persons in the political, economic, social and cultural life of our countries.
We will work to ensure that the input from the Indigenous Conclave of the Americas, held in Guatemala, and the Indigenous Peoples Summit of the Americas, held in Ottawa, is reflected in the implementation of the Summit of the Americas Declaration and Plan of Action. We support efforts towards early and successful conclusion of negotiations on the Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which will promote and protect their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We consider the cultural diversity that characterizes our region to be a source of great richness for our societies. Respect for and value of our diversity must be a cohesive factor that strengthens the social fabric and the development of our nations.
The principal responsibility for the coordination and implementation of the attached Plan of Action resides with our governments. Ministerial meetings are producing significant results in support of Summit mandates. We will continue to develop this cooperation.
We value the active support of the Organization of American States and its specialized organs, particularly the Pan American Health Organization, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and the Inter-American Children's Institute, as well as the Inter-American Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the World Bank. We call upon these institutions and other regional and international organizations to establish greater coordination for support to the implementation and follow-up to the Plan of Action of this Summit.
The OAS has a central role in the implementation of the decisions of the Summits of the Americas. We instruct our Foreign Ministers, at the next General Assembly, to advance and deepen the process of reform in the OAS, supported by appropriate resources, to improve its functioning and to enable the Organization to better implement our Summit mandates.
We welcome and value the contributions of civil society, including business and labor organizations, to our Plan of Action. We affirm that openness and transparency are vital to building public awareness and legitimacy for our undertakings. We call upon all citizens of the Americas to contribute to the Summit process.
We, the Heads of State and Government of the Americas have accepted the offer of the Government of the Republic of Argentina to host the Fourth Summit of the Americas.
The Summits of the Americas exist to serve people. We must develop effective, practical and compassionate solutions for the problems that confront our societies. We do not fear globalization, nor are we blinded by its allure. We are united in our determination to leave to future generations a Hemisphere that is democratic and prosperous, more just and generous, a Hemisphere where no one is left behind. We are committed to making this the century of the Americas.
* Venezuela reserves its position