Declaration of Nuevo León Special Summit of the Americas Monterrey , Mexico , January 13, 2004 (Excerpts)


We, the democratically elected Heads of State and Government of the Americas, who include fourteen new leaders who have taken office since the Third Summit of the Americas, in Quebec City, Canada, have gathered together for a Special Summit in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. Our purpose is to advance implementation of measures to combat poverty, to promote social development, to achieve economic growth with equity, and to strengthen governance in our democracies. With a renewed and strengthened vision of cooperation, solidarity, and integration, we will confront the continuing and growing challenges in the Hemisphere.

Guided by the need to work together to stimulate prosperity, promote social inclusion and a more equitable distribution of economic growth, eliminate hunger, raise living standards, generate new employment and investment opportunities, and promote decent work as well as confront the new threats to security, such as terrorism, organized crime, and illicit trafficking in arms, we reaffirm our commitment to the Inter-American Democratic Charter and we reiterate our firm intention to continue implementing the mandates of the Summits of the Americas, as well as the commitments made at the Millennium Summit, the International Conference on Financing for Development (the Monterrey Consensus) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg.

We affirm that the well-being of our people requires the achievement of three closely linked and interdependent objectives: economic growth with equity to reduce poverty, social development, and democratic governance.

We therefore declare:

Democratic governance

We express our support for the Declaration of Santiago on Democracy and Public Trust to define an agenda for good governance in the Hemisphere that enables us to address political, economic, and social challenges in order to foster credibility and public trust in democratic institutions.

We reiterate our commitment to the full application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which constitutes an element of regional identity, and, projected internationally, is a hemispheric contribution to the community of nations. We reaffirm our decision to coordinate immediate action whenever democracy is threatened in any of our countries. In addition, we will continue our efforts to strengthen mechanisms for the defense of democracy and to develop and promote a culture and education for democracy.

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.

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.

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.

We recognize that corruption and impunity weaken public and private institutions, erode social values, undermine the rule of law, and distort economies and the allocation of resources for development. Therefore, we pledge to intensify our efforts to combat corruption and other unethical practices in the public and/or private sectors, strengthening a culture of transparency and ensuring more efficient public management.

We express our concern regarding corrupt, illegal, and fraudulent practices in the management of some national and transnational enterprises, that may have a negative impact on economies, in particular those of developing countries and on their producers and consumers.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter states that the peoples of the Americas have the right to democracy and that their governments have the obligation to promote and defend it, and it establishes that transparency in government activities, probity, and responsibility in public management are key components of the exercise of democracy. We will therefore increase our cooperation within the framework of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, particularly by strengthening its follow-up mechanism. We charge the upcoming meeting of the Conference of States Parties to the follow-up mechanism of the Convention with proposing specific measures to strengthen this mechanism. These recommendations will be evaluated at a meeting of the States Parties to the Convention, to be held in Managua , Nicaragua in mid-2004. That meeting will also consider additional concrete measures to increase transparency and combat corruption. We instruct our foreign ministers to report on the progress achieved to the Fourth Summit of the Americas .

We agree to hold consultations in the event that adherence to our shared transparency and anticorruption objectives, as articulated in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, is compromised to a serious degree in any of our countries.

We undertake to promote transparency in political processes, in public financial management, and in government transactions, procurement processes, and contracts, in accordance with domestic legislation, in order to, inter alia, prevent abuse and maintain public confidence.

In the framework of applicable national and international law, we commit to deny safe haven to corrupt officials, to those who corrupt them, and their assets; and to cooperate in their extradition as well as in the recovery and return of the proceeds of corruption to their legitimate owners. We also commit to enhance regional mechanisms for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and their implementation.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption is a valuable instrument to confront this scourge, and therefore we commit to consider signing and promoting its ratification.

We further commit to increase transparency in the international organizations of which we are members by strengthening their accountability mechanisms.

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.

We agree that, through citizen participation, civil society organizations should contribute to the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies adopted by different orders or levels of government. We recognize the role of civil society and its contribution to sound public administration and we reaffirm the importance of continuing to forge new partnerships that will enable constructive ties to be built between governments, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and the diverse sectors of civil society to work in favor of development and democracy.

We encourage the participation of civil society in the Summits of the Americas process and we undertake to institutionalize meetings with civil society and with the academic and private sectors.

We will encourage the modernization of the State as an important element for strengthening democratic and good governance, combining effectiveness and efficiency with greater access to services, transparency, and responsibility in management and the consolidation and professionalization of the civil service. We undertake to promote the use of new information and communication technologies in public administration and to adopt strategies for the development of electronic government.

Access to information held by the State, subject to constitutional and legal norms, including those on privacy and confidentiality, is an indispensable condition for citizen participation and promotes effective respect for human rights. We are committed to providing the legal and regulatory framework and the structures and conditions required to guarantee the right of access to information to our citizens.

We take note with satisfaction that governments in the Hemisphere are implementing the Monterrey Consensus by exploring innovative ways to mobilize financing for private and public investment and to strengthen debt management, by considering financial instruments, such as growth-indexed bonds and others, to promote macroeconomic stability and reduce financial vulnerability. The implementation of such measures would be aimed at accelerating growth, reducing poverty, and strengthening democratic governance. We also note the efforts of governments in the region to promote discussion in this area.

We emphasize the role of the existing multilateral agencies in providing humanitarian assistance. We also take note of discussions and initiatives oriented on improving the effectiveness of providing humanitarian assistance and alleviating poverty, such as the proposal to create a voluntary International Humanitarian Fund.

Social justice and the reduction of poverty contribute to the stability, democracy, and security of our States and the region. We reiterate that among the principal causes of instability in the region are poverty, inequality, and social exclusion, which we must confront comprehensively and urgently.

The progress made in economic and social development and in attaining a higher standard of equity through good governance will contribute to the advancement of stability in the Hemisphere and deepen the human dimension of security.

We reiterate our commitment to the objectives and purposes contained in the Declaration on Security in the Americas, approved at the Special Conference on Security, held in Mexico City in October 2003, based on, inter alia , the multidimensional concept of security as well as the principle that the basis and purpose of security is the protection of human beings.

This is our first meeting since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 . We reiterate that terrorism, as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, constitute grave threats to international security, to the intitutions and the democratic values of States, and to the well-being of our peoples. We resolve to intensify our efforts and strengthen cooperation in confronting these threats.

We will take all necessary steps to prevent and counter terrorism and its financing in full compliance with our obligations under international law, including international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law. Similarly, we commit to fight all forms of transnational crime, including illicit trafficking in drugs, arms, and persons, particularly when they generate funds used in support of terrorist organizations. We also commit to adhere to global anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing standards.

We call upon all countries that have not yet done so to ratify the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, the twelve United Nations conventions and protocols on terrorism, as well as other related instruments. We further call upon all countries to urgently consider signing and ratifying the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and to participate actively in the Network on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

We call upon the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Pan American Health Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the World Bank, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the Andean Development Corporation, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, and the Caribbean Development Bank to strengthen their coordination, and to continue deepening their support, through their respective activities and programs, and committing appropriate resources to implement and conduct follow-up on the Plans of Action of the Summits of the Americas, and this Declaration, and to assist in preparations for the Fourth Summit of the Americas in 2005.

We thank the Organization of American States and its General Secretariat, in particular the Secretariat of the Summits of the Americas Process, and the Joint Summit Working Group for their work in Summits follow-up and in the preparatory work for this Special Summit.

We express our appreciation to the people and Government of Mexico for hosting this Special Summit, and to the Government of Argentina for confirming its offer to host the Fourth Summit of the Americas in 2005.

We, the Heads of State and Government of the Americas , agree that this document shall be known as the "Declaration of Nuevo León" and we hereby approve it on this thirteenth day of January, in the year two thousand and four.