Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
January 29, 2009


Background
The Summit of the Americas is the common agenda of the democratically elected leaders of the hemisphere and reflects their shared values and shared responsibilities. It provides a unique mechanism for the heads of state and heads of governments to discuss solutions to common political, economic, and social problems in a multilateral and comprehensive way. The Summit brings together freely elected leaders united in their commitment to democracy, human rights, free markets, and hemispheric security. The Special Summit of the Americas took place January 12-13, 2004, in Monterrey, Mexico, and provided an opportunity for leaders to highlight the region’s commitment to and support for democracy, economic growth, continued integration, and creation of opportunity for all citizens. The Declaration of Nuevo León, like past Summit Declarations, also addressed hemispheric security issues because they are an important component of the region's agenda.

Note: The references to security in the “Declaration of Nuevo León” are fewer in number than in previous summit declarations because the Monterrey Summit focused on economic growth with equity to reduce poverty, social development, and democratic governance. Hemispheric security and combating terrorism are important subjects addressed by the Summit in its Declaration. The following paragraphs are direct quotes from the Declaration: 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 institutions 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 12 United Nations conventions and protocols on terrorism, as well as other related instruments. The U.S. further calls 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.