Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
January 29, 2009


Background
The Summit of the Americas took place November 4-5, 2005, in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and provided an opportunity for leaders of the 34 states of the western hemisphere to highlight the region’s commitment to and support for democracy, prosperity and security. The Declaration of Mar del Plata, like past Summit Declarations, addressed hemispheric security issues because they are an important component of the region's agenda. The full text of the Summit Declaration and Action Plan can be found at www.summit-americas.org.

From the Declaration:

Natural Disasters
11. We note with concern the increased intensity of natural and man-made disasters and their devastating impact on human lives, infrastructure, and economies in the Hemisphere. We call for action at the national, regional, and international levels to strengthen disaster management programs, including through increased capacity for disaster preparedness, development of early warning systems, risk mitigation and post-disaster recovery, and reconstruction and technical and financial assistance as appropriate, particularly for disaster-prone countries, to reduce the impact of disasters. We also support efforts under way to explore private and public sector involvement in comprehensive approaches to catastrophic risk insurance.

Drug Trafficking
14. Taking into account the efforts made in the Hemisphere in the struggle against drug trafficking, we reiterate our support to ensure that alternative development projects contribute to economic growth, promote the creation of decent work, and support the sustainable economic viability of communities and families in those countries affected by the presence of illicit crops.

Declaration on Security in the Americas
67. We will promote economic prosperity by ensuring that the community of democratic states remains committed to peace and to dealing with threats, concerns, and other challenges to security. We reiterate our commitment to the objectives and purposes contained in the Declaration on Security in the Americas based on a multidimensional concept of security, and will continue to strengthen cooperation among our states.

(Readers Note: Bound by common principles and shared values and facing the new and dynamic environment of the 21st century, the states of the Hemisphere met in Mexico City on October 27-28, 2003, at the Organization of American States Special Conference on Security to revitalize and strengthen the Inter-American security system. The conference focused on identifying the threats, concerns, and other challenges facing the Hemisphere and agreed on a cooperative approach to address them. The Conference adopted the Declaration on Security in the Americas.)

Terrorism
68. We state that terrorism affects the normal functioning of our societies and has a negative impact on our economies and labor markets and particularly the generation of jobs. To sustain an environment to promote economic prosperity and the well-being of our people, 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 humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international refugee law.

69. We will strengthen the timely exchanges of information and the broadest possible mutual legal assistance in order to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism, prevent the international movement of terrorists and ensure their prosecution, and, as appropriate, their extradition in accordance with domestic laws and relevant treaties and conventions. We will cooperate to avoid that any individual who participates in the financing, planning, preparation and commission of terrorist acts finds safe haven in our countries.

Gangs
70. We emphasize our concern for the criminal gang problem and its related aspects, as well as its effect on the economic and social environments that challenge the progress made by our societies in the stability, democratization, and sustainable development process: a situation that requires additional urgent action to promote the prevention of criminal acts, prosecute those who commit them, rehabilitate and reinsert them, and create opportunities to facilitate access by youth to decent work.

From the Action Plan:

Trafficking in Persons
17. To criminalize migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, effectively enforce national laws and regulations to confront migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, and strengthen institutions and the training of professional staff to be better positioned to investigate and prosecute the responsible parties, undertake prevention initiatives, as well as protect and assist the victims of these crimes.

Natural Disasters
39. To substantially improve the capacity at the national, regional, and hemispheric levels for risk mitigation; to implement cost-effective and robust early warning systems, and to enhance disaster recovery and reconstruction capabilities in collaboration with relevant international and regional institutions. To explore with relevant international and regional institutions the coordinated development of effective public-private catastrophic risk insurance systems.

Drug Trafficking
53. To continue to strengthen regional cooperation and the mobilization of resources to advance in the fight against the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances, calling upon the countries of the hemisphere, in cooperation with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), to: develop, implement, and evaluate substance abuse prevention programs, in particular for children and young people, such as "Life Skills", among others; expand the "Program to Estimate the Human, Social, and Economic Cost of Drugs in the Americas"; and promote support for the integral and sustainable development strategies carried out by the countries affected by cultivation and production of illicit drugs.

Declaration on Security in the Americas
61. Taking into account the theme of the Mar del Plata Summit and bearing in mind that our concept of security is multidimensional, to promote through concrete actions, at the national, sub-regional, hemispheric, and global levels, the implementation of the commitments identified in the Declaration on Security in the Americas.

Haiti
66. To cooperate with solidarity with the Haitian people in their efforts to revitalize the democratic institutions, fight poverty, and foster equitable socio-economic development, including, the creation of decent work through, among others, greater support from the international financial institutions and cooperation agencies, and implement disarmament, demobilization, and reinsertion programs (DDR), with the support of MINUSTAH and the Special Mission of the OAS for the Strengthening of Democracy in Haiti.