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Act of Cartagena

XI Andean Presidential Council
Cartagena de Indias, May 27,1999

The Presidents of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Personal Representative of the President of Peru met in Cartagena de Indias at the XI Andean Presidential Council to celebrate the XXX Anniversary of the signing of the Cartagena Agreement and the XX Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty Creating the Court of Justice of the Andean Community.

The President of Panama participated as an observer, the President of Paraguay, as a special guest representing the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Haiti on behalf of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

At the opening of this Council meeting, the Presidents of Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Paraguay and the Foreign Minister of Haiti heartily congratulated the Presidents of Ecuador and Peru on the signing of the global and definitive Peace Agreement of October 26, 1998. This instrument has put an end to longstanding differences that divided the two countries for more than one and a half centuries and opens up new horizons and possibilities for integration, cooperation and complementarity among the nations of the Andean subregion as a whole. The Brasilia Peace Agreement stands as an example of the moral and practical validity of settling international disputes peacefully, rejection of the use of war and violence, and unrestricted respect for international law as the civilized form of coexistence within the International Community of Nations, offered by two Member Countries of the Andean Community to the entire world.

They expressed their sincere hope that the cooperation agreements signed by the two countries as part of the global peace arrangement will prove to be the appropriate vehicle for strengthening further the relations of all kinds between Ecuador and Peru and for expanding the possibilities for reciprocal benefits between the two nations.

As a result of their deliberations, the Andean Presidents approved the following


We ratify our firm intention to intensify the Andean Community project and to lead it toward higher levels of political, economic, social and cultural integration. Our future efforts should also contribute to the formation of a regional economic space that will reinforce the process of Latin American integration and facilitate the establishment of a Hemispheric Free-Trade Zone.

There have been important accomplishments over the thirty-year history of the integration process, which are manifested both in the sizable increase in economic and commercial links among our countries and the development of Community institutions and legal provisions. It has been possible over the past decade to consolidate the Free-Trade Zone, to make headway with the Common External Tariff, to substantially increase trade among the countries, to participate jointly in negotiations with MERCOSUR and with other countries, and to speak with a single voice in the process for the establishment of the Free-Trade Area of the Americas.

The transformation of the Andean Group into a Community of Nations and the institutionalization of the Presidential Council, the Council of Foreign Ministers, and the Andean Integration System all involve qualitative changes indicative of the countries' political commitment at the highest level and ensure the coherent performance of all of the bodies and institutions in striving toward the achievement of Community objectives.


The Andean Community has ahead of it the great historic challenge of strengthening its validity, vigor and international projection in the century that is about to start. This calls for the exercise of a vigorous political will grounded in the development of a shared vision of our future and of our role in the world, by means of a renewed agenda and of an institutional context that will strengthen the governments' participation in the accomplishment of those objectives.

We have decided that the priority tasks for intensifying our integration over the next five years will be the establishment of a Common Market, the implementation of the Common Foreign Policy, the development of a Social Agenda, the implementation of a Community policy of Border Integration and Development, the definition and execution of Sustainable Development policies, and institution-building.

We maintain that, together with this, the Member Countries and the bodies of the Andean Integration system should comply resolutely with Andean Community guidelines, provisions and positions and should proceed without hesitation to promote and disseminate within the subregion's civil society and private sector, information about rights and obligations.

We emphasize the strategic nature of science, technology and innovation in striving for human development and security, bettering the quality of life, contributing to the creation of qualified jobs, enhancing the international competitiveness of Andean products, and boosting exports.

Common Market

We have set ourselves the aim of establishing the Andean Common Market by the year 2005 at the latest, creating the conditions for adding to the free circulation of goods, the free mobility of services, capital and persons in the subregion.

We underscore the approval of the Decision that regulates the liberalization of the trade in telecommunications services in the Andean Community, which should lead toward improving the competitiveness and the export capacity of these services, as well as strengthening the Community position on the matter.

Common Foreign Policy

The Common Foreign Policy is an appropriate instrument for enhancing the Andean international presence and consolidating our integration process. It will be up to the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers to progressively broaden the sphere of application of the Common Foreign Policy by affirming the many and growing points of agreement among Member Countries.

The start-up of a Community foreign policy is based on the instruments that comprise the Andean legal system and on the common acceptance of shared values like respect for the principles and standards of international law consecrated in the charters of the United Nations and of the Organization of American States, subregional and international peace and security, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the effectiveness of democratic law grounded in citizen participation and social justice, the defense and promotion of human rights, solidarity and cooperation among Andean countries, the social and economic development of the Member countries, and the consolidation of Latin American integration.

Social Agenda and Democratic Participation

We agree to carry out a multidimensional social agenda that will bring the Community in the coming millenium into closer contact with the expectations of the Andean citizens and that will center on the creation of jobs, education, health and housing. The agenda should include the consideration of the bases for a Community migratory policy, a policy that protects the basic rights of the migrant worker, an educational, cultural and scientific and technological policy that will safeguard and promote our own identity, and an Andean sustainable development strategy.

In this sense, we express our satisfaction that the Ministers of Labor, Education, Culture, Environment and Science and Technology have set up plans and programs for giving a content to the Andean Community's social agenda. The agreements reached at the various meetings they have held define the commitment of the Member Countries to, within the Community framework, move ahead with policies geared toward bettering the living and working conditions of the subregion's inhabitants; with educational policies for defining an education for a culture of integration and of peace, while fomenting the recognition of the cultural diversity, the affirmation of the Andean identity, and the cultural promotion of our nations. This is tied in with a strategic perception of science, technology and innovation for improving human development and security.

We emphasize the need to accentuate the role of businessmen and workers in the integration process. In this sense, we instructed the General Secretariat to reinforce its support for the Business and Labor Advisory Councils, in order to boost the work they are doing to bring Andean societies and economies closer together.

Convinced that integration is an open, autonomous and dynamic process, we call upon the social and economic agents to deposit the necessary trust in the Andean Community to guarantee an increase in trade, investment, and employment flows and an improvement in the quality of life. We likewise commit ourselves to reinforce the political follow-up of Andean provisions, so that their comprehensive fulfillment will lend full juridical security to the integration operation, and to bolster the social agenda in order to make the fruits of Community efforts universal.

We reiterate our conviction regarding the need to ensure democratic participation in the integration process and instruct the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers to submit to the next Presidential Council a proposal for the participation of civil society, complementary to the business and labor participation.


The Andean subregion is one of the world's best endowed regions and the Member Countries of the Andean Community possess 25% of the planet's biological diversity. This biological heritage is one of our major strong points and represents a source of opportunities for our countries' development. For that reason, we reaffirm that its conservation, recovery and sustainable use require the adoption of concerted Community policies and strategies that will contribute to the intensification and perfection of the Andean integration process and promote the equitable distribution of its benefits.

Border Development

The adoption by the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers of a Community Policy of Border Integration and Development is intended to boost the economic development of border regions and improve the quality of life of their inhabitants, as well as to develop the infrastructure and facilitate the mobilization of persons, goods and vehicles in those zones.


We are in agreement on the need to strengthen the institutions of the Andean System in order to fully meet the new objectives we have set ourselves. To that end, we reiterate our commitment to give our unwavering support to the Court of Justice of the Andean Community, particularly when the Cochabamba Amending Protocol that will broaden the sphere and responsibilities of the judicial body comes into force.


The Andean Presidents made an assessment of the progress of the integration process since the X Andean Presidential Council and agreed upon the following guidelines in order to further the integration process toward the next millenium:


To entrust the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers, in coordination with the Commission and with the Advisory Council of Treasury or Finance Ministers, Presidents of Central Banks, and Economic Planning Authorities, with preparing a draft Protocol that will incorporate into the Cartagena Agreement, the commitments and timetables for the formation of the Andean Common Market.

To charge the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers, in coordination with the Comission, with studying the institutional perfection of the Andean Integration System, bearing in mind in particular the proposal put forward by the Advisory Council of Treasury or Finance Ministers, Presidents of Central Banks and Economic Planning Authorities.

To instruct the Advisory Council of Treasury or Finance Ministers, Central Banks and Economic Planning Authorities to work toward the definition of points of agreement in macroeconomic policies, particularly those on monetary, exchange, tax, and fiscal deficit policy.

To provide backing, in this connection, for the criterion of agreement determined by the Advisory Council that Member Countries with inflation rates of over 10% a year should gradually and permanently bring down that rate to a one-digit figure, in an effort to reduce the inflation observed the previous year.

To entrust the Andean Community Commission, in coordination with the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers and the Advisory Council of Treasury or Finance Ministers, Central Banks and Economic Planning Authorities, with accelerating the work of perfecting a Community Regime on Investment Promotion and Protection, double taxation, and indirect taxation.

To instruct the Andean Community Commission, in an Enlarged Meeting with the Ministers of Agriculture, to define a Common Agricultural Policy and adopt an Action Plan to be implemented as of the year 2000.

To arrange for the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers to take the necessary measures so that the Andean Migrations Committee will carry out a working agenda that places special emphasis on the harmonization, simplification, and unification of migratory procedures, the approval of documents for identification and circulation among the Member Countries, and the establishment of mechanisms for the exchange of information and coordination among authorities, with a view toward facilitating the mobilization of persons within the Andean subregion by the year 2005, bearing in mind the particular situation that exists in each country.

To instruct the Commission to complete the comprehensive evaluation of the Common External Tariff during the course of this year, with the assistance of the General Secretariat, in order to determine whether its present structure and levels are the most desirable for perfecting the Customs Union.

To instruct the Commission to draw up a Community program for improving the competitiveness of the subregional production system by taking advantage of the complementary nature of the economies of the Member Countries, giving its support to the promotion of strategic business alliances, the training of human capital, and technological development, in the context of globalization and economic integration, in order to make better use of the enlarged market and the access to third markets. To this end, they back the work being furthered by the CAF in that area.

To request the Andean Community Commission, in coordination with the Customs Affairs Council, to approve before the end of the year, the provisions that will make it possible to establish expeditious and simplified customs formalities in keeping with the degree of progress made by the subregional enlarged market. Furthermore, a system should be set up for exchanging information in order to fight smuggling and other customs crimes.

To instruct the Commission, with the contribution of the General Secretariat, to make the necessary efforts to bring about effective advances in the mutual recognition and harmonization of technical provisions, whose results will be reported to the next Presidential Summit. The harmonization of health measures should be hastened, particularly those referring to food and medicines.

To instruct the Andean Committee of Tourist Authorities, in carrying out the Decision on the Regime for the development and integration of tourism into the Andean Community and with the support of the General Secretariat, to design a tourist promotion program that will turn the subregion into an area of attraction for international tourism, by putting the countries' advantages to use in developing ecotourism and related packages.

To request the Commission to deal with the subject of the information economy and electronic trade, in order to lay the groundwork for bringing about adequate participation by the subregional countries in international trading methods that incorporate advanced technologies.


To instruct the bodies of the Andean Integration System to contribute, within their respective spheres of competence, to the implementation of the Common Foreign Policy working agenda adopted by the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers.

To entrust the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers with immediately establishing the priorities for implementing the Common Foreign Policy working agenda in the short term.

To reiterate its mandate to the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers to prepare and present a Community strategy on sustainable development to the XII Meeting of the Andean Presidential Council.


To instruct the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers to coordinate the implementation of the Social Agenda of the Andean integration process and, for that purpose, to convene meetings of the Ministers responsible for those subjects. The Andean Council will consider the proposals emanating from the meetings enlarged by the cited Ministers and will so inform the next meeting of the Andean Presidential Council.


To charge the Ministers of Labor with taking actions to advance the coordination of policies on job promotion, labor education and training, workplace health and safety, social security and labor migrations.

To instruct those Ministers to submit to the Andean Council of Ministers a draft Amending Protocol to the Simón Rodríguez Convention, in order to bring it into line with the new Andean institutions and the region's present socioeconomic context.

Education and Culture

To entrust the Ministers of Education with carrying out programs for harmonizing Andean educational systems and for recognizing professional licenses, certificates and degrees. They should, likewise, promote the exchange of educational experiences with regard to the transformation of technical and technological education and the joint drafting of a regional educational alternative in this field.

The Ministers should further actions so that educational policies will reinforce the Andean identity by recognizing the cultural diversity of our nations and promote the values of the integration.

To instruct the Ministers to give priority to defining for the border zones of the Andean countries, educational policies that are oriented toward advancing regional integration, improving the quality and coverage of the education, respecting the cultural identity, and reinforcing a culture of peace.

To entrust the Ministers of Culture with boosting the coordination of cultural policies, in order to allow the Andean nations to become more fully acquainted with each other and to facilitate the international projection our countries' rich and varied cultural offer in a context of intercultural dialogue geared toward building a true culture of peace and integration.

To commission the Ministers of Culture to carry out a multicultural project to be known as the Route of the Andes, which could be used as much for investigating the traditions, history and common legacy of the subregion, as for building bridges of understanding and knowledge among the different cultures that occupy it.

Science and Technology

To instruct the Ministers and competent national Science and Technology authorities to carry out a working program that will intensify cooperation among the subregion's scientific research and development centers and between them and those of third countries, as well as the joint promotion of technological innovation and of professional services. Those authorities should submit a report to the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers in Enlarged Meeting, describing the progress made with regard to the proposed subjects and the Community program to be conducted in 2000.

To give their support to the academic efforts made in the area of subregional integration by the Simón Bolívar Andean University and, in that connection, to reiterate the need for starting up the Department of Integration, so that it may help to strengthen the subregion's competitive capacity and capacity for technological innovation for purposes of its international insertion. Furthermore, to underscore the important contribution signified by that house of study's publication of the History of Andean America.


To back the programs being carried out by the Ministers of Health as part of the Hipólito Unanue Convention, in the areas of healthy borders, epidemiological monitoring, coordination in emergencies and disasters, harmonization of medicines, and good manufacturing practice, together with the bilateral or multilateral health agreements. Also medical programs by remote control and health promotion campaigns for the Aymara communities in Bolivia, Peru and Chile.


To entrust the Environmental Ministers with continuing their work of harmonizing Community policies on sustainable development and environmental management in the regional and extra-regional spheres. Also with furthering their coordination, insofar as possible, in order to arrive at concerted positions with regard to the issues of forests and of mechanisms for clean development, so that sustainable development and foreign investment may be promoted.

To commission the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, working together with the Environmental Ministers, to coordinate a joint Andean position with regard to the Protocol on Biodiversity and to express their support for the Andean Development Corporation's (CAF) initiative of launching a Latin American Carbon Program.


The Community Policy on Border Integration and Development will be directed by the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers, with the contributions of the Commission, the Advisory Council of Treasury or Finance Ministers, Central Banks and Planning Authorities, and of the pertinent Community bodies, as appropriate.

The High-Level Working Group for Border Integration and Development is responsible for proposing to the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers the necessary action plans for the implementation of the cited Community policy. It should also carry out a program that includes the execution of the following projects:

Organization and promotion of a Project Bank on Physical Integration and Border Development, which is to be coordinated with the Andean Regional Advisory Group and supported by the Andean Community General Secretariat.

Updating of the studies on five major border crossings between Member Countries, in order to define the priorities for moving toward the integration and development of these territorial areas.

Boosting of the Bolivia-Peru (Desaguadero) and Ecuador-Peru (Huaquillas-Aguas Verdes) pilot projects, in order to meet the social, economic, cultural and environmental needs of the respective border populations.

Improvement of the physical and institutional infrastructure for facilitating border trade at the Colombian-Ecuadorian border.

Reinforcement of the Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula de Santander bridges and construction of a third bridge on the Táchira river in the area of Tienditas, together their complementary works.

Going into greater depth in the studies on the possible construction of an international bridge over the Arauca river on the El Nula-Saravena road corridor.

Boosting of the execution of the project on the Táchira-Northern Santander border axis between Venezuela and Colombia, sponsored by the IDB, CAF and INTAL.

To request the Andean Regional Advisory Group to coordinate a meeting of the Multilateral Executive Council, with the participation of the coordinators of the High-Level Working Group for Border Integration and Development, in order to define the priorities in the portfolio of border development projects. That meeting should take place sometime during the next three months.


The Andean Council of Foreign Ministers, in coordination with the Andean Community Commission and with the opinion of the Ministers of Economy of the Member Countries, shall annually establish the order of priority of the physical integration projects identified by the Andean Community Ministers of Transportation, Communication and Public Works, with the support of the Andean Development Corporation (CAF), giving special attention to projects related to road, energy and railroad interconnection. They also entrust the CAF with taking the necessary action for the execution of those projects.

To instruct the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers, in coordination with the Andean Community Commission, to prepare and adopt a Community Physical Integration Policy and so inform the next Andean Presidential Council.


The Andean Council of Foreign Ministers, in Enlarged Meeting, shall set up the Advisory Ministerial Forums needed to boost the progress of the integration process.


To point up the importance of the study carried out by the CAF, the Niño Phenomenon 1997-1998: challenges and solutions for the Andean region. And to commission the bodies and institutions of the AIS, and particularly the CAF, to apply for the necessary cooperation funds, in order to reinforce and develop provisions and institutions geared toward preventing risks in each country and to execute priority regional projects.


The Andean Presidents expressed their full support for the peace efforts being made by the Colombian government in order to reach a solution that will lead to the reconciliation of the Colombian people.


The Declarations of the Presidential Council and those which on this occasion the Andean Community Heads of State have signed with the Heads of State of Panama and Paraguay, the latter in representation of MERCOSUR, are annexed to this Act and are an integral part of it.


The Presidents of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela and the Personal Representative of the President of Peru, express their appreciation to the President of Panama, Ernesto Pérez Balladares, at the conclusion of his Presidential term of office, for his continuing and valuable contribution toward strengthening the relations between his country and the Andean Community.


The President of Venezuela proposed that a Special Meeting of the Andean Presidential Council be held in the course of this year in Caracas and suggested that the following subjects be addressed by that meeting:
a) The future of the Andean Community's political integration.
b) Evaluation and coordination of foreign policy actions.
c) Bolivia's landlocked condition.
d) Role of the armed forces in the next millennium.
e) Treatment of the problem of "volatile capital."

The Presidents decided to entrust the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers with studying the incorporation of the following topics into the agenda for the next Special Meeting of the Presidential Council:

a. The future of the Andean Community's political integration.
b. Evaluation and coordination of foreign policy actions.
c. Treatment of the "volatile capital" problem.


They agree to hold the next meeting of the Andean Presidential Council in Peru in the year 2000.

The Presidents of Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela and the Personal Representative of the President of Peru, expressed their special appreciation to President Andrés Pastrana Arango and the government and people of Colombia, for the warm hospitality extended to them during their stay in the city of Cartagena de Indias.

In witness whereof, we sign this Act on the twenty-seventh of May of nineteen ninety-nine.

Hugo Banzer Suárez
President of the Republic of Bolivia

Andrés Pastrana Arango
President of the Republic of Colombia

Jamil Mahuad Witt
President of the Republic of Ecuador

Hugo Chávez Frías
President of the Republic of Venezuela

Víctor Joy Way Rojas
Personal Representative of the President of Peru