Declaration of Principles
Partnership for Development and Prosperity: Democracy, Free
Trade and Sustainable Development in the Americas
The elected Heads of State and Government of the Americas are
committed to advance the prosperity, democratic values and institutions,
and security of our Hemisphere. For the first time in history,
the Americas are a community of democratic societies. Although
faced with differing development challenges, the Americas are
united in pursuing prosperity through open markets, hemispheric
integration, and sustainable development. We are determined to
consolidate and advance closer bonds of cooperation and to transform
our aspirations into concrete realities.
We reiterate our firm adherence to the principles of international
law and the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations
Charter and in the Charter of the Organization of American States
(OAS), including the principles of the sovereign equality of states,
non-intervention, self-determination, and the peaceful resolution
of disputes. We recognize the heterogeneity and diversity of
our resources and cultures, just as we are convinced that we can
advance our shared interests and values by building strong partnerships.
To Preserve and Strengthen the Community of Democracies of
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.
We reaffirm our commitment to preserve and strengthen our democratic
systems for the benefit of all people of the Hemisphere. We will
work through the appropriate bodies of the OAS to strengthen democratic
institutions and promote and defend constitutional democratic
rule, in accordance with the OAS Charter. We endorse OAS efforts
to enhance peace and the democratic, social, and economic stability
of the region.
We recognize that our people earnestly seek greater responsiveness
and efficiency from our respective governments. Democracy is
strengthened by the modernization of the state, including reforms
that streamline operations, reduce and simplify government rules
and procedures, and make democratic institutions more transparent
and accountable. Deeming it essential that justice should be
accessible in an efficient and expeditious way to all sectors
of society, we affirm that an independent judiciary is a critical
element of an effective legal system and lasting democracy. Our
ultimate goal is to better meet the needs of the population, especially
the needs of women and the most vulnerable groups, including indigenous
people, the disabled, children, the aged, and minorities.
Effective democracy requires a comprehensive attack on corruption
as a factor of social disintegration and distortion of the economic
system that undermines the legitimacy of political institutions.
Recognizing the pernicious effects of organized crime and illegal
narcotics on our economies, ethical values, public health, and
the social fabric, we will join the battle against the consumption,
production, trafficking and distribution of illegal drugs, as
well as against money laundering and the illicit trafficking in
arms and chemical precursors. We will also cooperate to create
viable alternative development strategies in those countries in
which illicit crops are grown. Cooperation should be extended
to international and national programs aimed at curbing the production,
use and trafficking of illicit drugs and the rehabilitation of
We condemn terrorism in all its forms, and we will, using all
legal means, combat terrorist acts anywhere in the Americas with
unity and vigor.
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.
To Promote Prosperity Through Economic Integration and Free
Our continued economic progress depends on sound economic policies,
sustainable development, and dynamic private sectors. A key to
prosperity is trade without barriers, without subsidies, without
unfair practices, and with an increasing stream of productive
investments. Eliminating impediments to market access for goods
and services among our countries will foster our economic growth.
A growing world economy will also enhance our domestic prosperity.
Free trade and increased economic integration are key factors
for raising standards of living, improving the working conditions
of people in the Americas and better protecting the environment.
We, therefore, resolve to begin immediately to construct the "Free
Trade Area of the Americas" (FTAA), in which barriers to
trade and investment will be progressively eliminated. We further
resolve to conclude the negotiation of the "Free Trade Area
of the Americas" no later than 2005, and agree that concrete
progress toward the attainment of this objective will be made
by the end of this century. We recognize the progress that already
has been realized through the unilateral undertakings of each
of our nations and the subregional trade arrangements in our Hemisphere.
We will build on existing subregional and bilateral arrangements
in order to broaden and deepen hemispheric economic integration
and to bring the agreements together.
Aware that investment is the main engine for growth in the Hemisphere,
we will encourage such investment by cooperating to build more
open, transparent and integrated markets. In this regard, we
are committed to create strengthened mechanisms that promote and
protect the flow of productive investment in the Hemisphere, and
to promote the development and progressive integration of capital
To advance economic integration and free trade, we will work,
with cooperation and financing from the private sector and international
financial institutions, to create a hemispheric infrastructure.
This process requires a cooperative effort in fields such as telecommunications,
energy and transportation, which will permit the efficient movement
of the goods, services, capital, information and technology that
are the foundations of prosperity.
We recognize that despite the substantial progress in dealing
with debt problems in the Hemisphere, high foreign debt burdens
still hinder the development of some of our countries.
We recognize that economic integration and the creation of a free
trade area will be complex endeavors, particularly in view of
the wide differences in the levels of development and size of
economies existing in our Hemisphere. We will remain cognizant
of these differences as we work toward economic integration in
the Hemisphere. We look to our own resources, ingenuity, and
individual capacities as well as to the international community
to help us achieve our goals.
To Eradicate Poverty And Discrimination In Our Hemisphere
It is politically intolerable and morally unacceptable that some
segments of our populations are marginalized and do not share
fully in the benefits of growth. With an aim of attaining greater
social justice for all our people, we pledge to work individually
and collectively to improve access to quality education and primary
health care and to eradicate extreme poverty and illiteracy.
The fruits of democratic stability and economic growth must be
accessible to all, without discrimination by race, gender, national
origin or religious affiliation.
In observance of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous
People, we will focus our energies on improving the exercise of
democratic rights and the access to social services by indigenous
people and their communities.
Aware that widely shared prosperity contributes to hemispheric
stability, lasting peace and democracy, we acknowledge our common
interest in creating employment opportunities that improve the
incomes, wages and working conditions of all our people. We will
invest in people so that individuals throughout the Hemisphere
have the opportunity to realize their full potential.
Strengthening the role of women in all aspects of political, social
and economic life in our countries is essential to reduce poverty
and social inequalities and to enhance democracy and sustainable
To Guarantee Sustainable Development and Conserve Our Natural
Environment for Future Generations
Social progress and economic prosperity can be sustained only
if our people live in a healthy environment and our ecosystems
and natural resources are managed carefully and responsibly.
To advance and implement the commitments made at the 1992 United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio
de Janeiro, and the 1994 Global Conference on the Sustainable
Development of Small Island Developing States, held in Barbados,
we will create cooperative partnerships to strengthen our capacity
to prevent and control pollution, to protect ecosystems and use
our biological resources on a sustainable basis, and to encourage
clean, efficient and sustainable energy production and use. To
benefit future generations through environmental conservation,
including the rational use of our ecosystems, natural resources
and biological heritage, we will continue to pursue technological,
financial and other forms of cooperation.
We will advance our social well-being and economic prosperity
in ways that are fully cognizant of our impact on the environment.
We agree to support the Central American Alliance for Sustainable
Development, which seeks to strengthen those democracies by promoting
regional economic and social prosperity and sound environmental
management. In this context, we support the convening of other
regional meetings on sustainable development.
Our Declaration constitutes a comprehensive and mutually reinforcing
set of commitments for concrete results. In accord with the appended
Plan of Action, and recognizing our different national capabilities
and our different legal systems, we pledge to implement them without
We call upon the OAS and the Inter-American Development Bank to
assist countries in implementing our pledges, drawing significantly
upon the Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean as well
as sub-regional organizations for integration.
To give continuity to efforts fostering national political involvement,
we will convene specific high-level meetings to address, among
others, topics such as trade and commerce, capital markets, labor,
energy, education, transportation, telecommunications, counter-narcotics
and other anti-crime initiatives, sustainable development, health,
and science and technology.
To assure public engagement and commitment, we invite the cooperation
and participation of the private sector, labor, political parties,
academic institutions and other non-governmental actors and organizations
in both our national and regional efforts, thus strengthening
the partnership between governments and society.
Our thirty-four nations share a fervent commitment to democratic
practices, economic integration, and social justice. Our people
are better able than ever to express their aspirations and to
learn from one another. The conditions for hemispheric cooperation
are propitious. Therefore, on behalf of all our people, in whose
name we affix our signatures to this Declaration, we seize this
historic opportunity to create a Partnership for Development and
Prosperity in the Americas.