Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
January 29, 2009


From the Santiago Summit Declaration of Principles:

With deep satisfaction, we note that peace, an essential value for human coexistence, is a reality in the Hemisphere. We underscore that Central America has become a zone of peace, democracy, and development and we recognize efforts to eliminate antipersonnel mines and to rehabilitate their victims. We will continue to foster confidence and security among our countries through such measures as those mentioned in the Santiago and San Salvador Declarations on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures. We encourage the pacific settlement of disputes.

From the Santiago Plan of Action:

Building Confidence and Security Among States

Governments will:

  • Promote regional dialogue with a view to revitalizing and strengthening the institutions of the Inter-American system, taking into account the new political, economic, social, and strategic-military factors in the Hemisphere and in its subregions. To that end, they will seek to expand further a climate of confidence and security among the States of the Hemisphere.

  • Carry out, in the manner in which they are set forth, the measures and recommendations resulting from the Regional Conferences on Confidence and Security Building Measures held in November 1995 in Santiago, Chile and in February 1998 in San Salvador, El Salvador under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS).

  • Continue to support the efforts of small-island States to address their special security concerns, which are multidimensional in nature, and economic, financial, and environmental matters, taking into account the vulnerability and level of development of these States.

  • In furtherance of efforts to transform the Western Hemisphere into an antipersonnel mine-free zone, and in recognition of the contribution in this regard of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, including its early entry into force, they will encourage actions and support international humanitarian demining efforts in this area, with the goal of ensuring that priority is given to mines that threaten civilians and of ensuring that land can be restored for productive purpose. The latter will take place through effective regional and international cooperation and coordination, as requested by the affected States, to survey, mark, map, and remove mines; effective mine awareness for the civilian population and assistance to victims; and development and deployment of new mine detection and clearance technologies, as appropriate.

  • Continue promoting transparency in matters related to defense policy, among other aspects, with regard to modernizing the Armed Forces, comparing military expenditure in the Region, and strengthening the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms.

  • Increase cooperation with United Nations peacekeeping efforts.

  • Encourage the development of cooperative programs to deal with natural disasters and humanitarian search and rescue operations.

  • Pledge their efforts to ensure that the peaceful resolution of pending conflicts and disputes is achieved through existing mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes within the Inter-American System and in keeping with international law and treaties in force, and express that said mechanisms and instruments should be strengthened.

  • Acknowledge the value of ministerial or high-level meetings on the topics of international defense and security, such as the Defense Ministerials of Williamsburg and Bariloche, as an important contribution to regional dialogue on these matters, and, in this context, encourage interested countries to hold other meetings.

  • Entrust the OAS, through the Committee on the Hemispheric Security, to:

    • Follow up on and expand topics relating to confidence and security building measures;

    • Analyze the meaning, scope, and implications of international security concepts in the Hemisphere, with a view to developing the most appropriate common approaches by which to manage their various aspects, including disarmament and arms control; and

    • Pinpoint ways to revitalize and strengthen the institutions of the Inter-American System related to the various aspects of Hemispheric Security.

    This process will culminate in a Special Conference on Security, within the framework of the OAS, to be held, at the latest, at the beginning of the next decade.

  • Support the convening of a follow-up Regional Conference to the Santiago and San Salvador Regional Conferences on Confidence and Security Building Measures to further build mutual confidence in the Americas.

The progress achieved in these matters will be reported to States, thereby ensuring appropriate follow-up through the OAS, so that these topics may be discussed at the next Summit of the Americas.