June 30, 2000


Buenos Aires, Argentina
June 30, 2000

The presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, member states of MERCOSUR, and the Presidents of Bolivia, and Chile,

Reaffirming the principles contained in the Protocol of Ushuaia on Democratic Commitment and in the Political Declaration of MERCOSUR, Bolivia, and Chile as a zone of peace,

Bearing in mind the principles and rights contained in the Social and Labor Declaration of MERCOSUR,

Convinced that economic development and full regional integration can only be achieved within a framework of justice and social equity,

Reaffirming their commitment to the consolidation and defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms and to the international and regional declarations and instruments that safeguard them,

Convinced that economic growth is a necessary but not sufficient condition for achieving a better quality of life, eradicating poverty, and eliminating discrimination and social exclusion,

Confirming their intention to unite their efforts in achieving greater welfare and social equality through a balanced and fair approach to economic development,

Considering the priority attached to deepening the social dimension of MERCOSUR, and bearing in mind that all aspects of integration must proceed apace,

AGREE:

To recognize the primary responsibility of the state in formulating policies to combat poverty and other social ills and to support efforts by civil society directed at this goal.

To intensify the, efforts of their governments to improve the quality of life in their respective countries and within the region, by giving priority attention to the most vulnerable sectors of the population in terms of nutrition, health, employment, housing, and education.

To foster cooperation with community-based and cooperative organizations within their countries and at the regional and international level, so as to ensure the rational and equitable use of public and private resources in efforts to overcome the region's social imbalances.

To strengthen and support measures for the most affected social groups, giving priority to the area of nutrition, with special attention to children, youth, the elderly, female heads of family and underage mothers, indigenous communities, critical rural communities, migrant workers and their families, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable social groups.

To ensure effective application of the guiding principles for providing comprehensive protection to children and adolescents and to promote specific policies in their favor that will treat their problems in a family and community context and give equal priority to preventive and corrective measures.

To promote measures to meet the special needs of children and youth in situations of violence and sexual abuse, child labor, premature pregnancy, drug use, and crime.

To intensify efforts to improve the situation of the elderly, especially those living in poverty or without support by improving the delivery of social services and housing policies and by promoting social integration and training programs.

To ensure the strict enforcement of legal provisions prohibiting discrimination and guaranteeing equal rights, treatment, and opportunities for all, without distinction or exclusion of any kind.

To promote the growth of their societies on the basis of equality between men and women in social, political, economic, and cultural life, consistent with a concept of citizenship that broadens the rights of women and affirms the shared responsibility of both sexes.

To strengthen cooperation among countries of the region with respect to migration and to assure that migrants can fully exercise their human rights and that they are accorded dignified, fair, and non-discriminatory treatment.

To guarantee the right to basic education and to foster access to secondary, technical, and vocational education, both of which are key elements for overcoming poverty and are vehicles for social and economic mobility.

To develop policies to foster a kind of society that is nonexclusive and that will prepare individuals to face the challenges posed by the new knowledge-based community.

To encourage research and joint studies on social vulnerability and exclusion, decentralization and participation, in order to improve the decisionmaking process in the formulation of social policy and in the allocation of resources.

TO THIS END, THEY DECIDE:

To instruct their respective competent national, authorities to strengthen joint efforts among the six countries, and to promote the exchange of experiences and information in order to help overcome the most acute social problems affecting them and to define issues or areas where coordinated or complementary action is feasible.

To agree that the Political Consultation and Coordination Forum of MERCOSUR, Bolivia, and Chile should monitor the guidelines and actions contained in this charter and should establish an institutional basis for meetings of the authorities responsible for social development.

Buenos Aires, June 30, 2000