Thursday, 12 February 2004

Questions (41)

Dan Neville

Question:

26 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the recent Summit of the Americas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4318/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

The Summit of the Americas process brings together the democratically elected heads of state or government of the countries of the western hemisphere with the aim of developing a shared vision for the future development of the region. The secretariat for the summits process is based within the Organisation of American States, OAS. Up to this year, three Summits of the Americas had taken place: in Miami in 1994; Santiago de Chile in 1998; and Quebec city in 2001. The next scheduled summit is due to take place in Argentina in 2005.

On 12-13 January 2004, however, a special summit took place in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, in Mexico. It is understood that this summit was inspired by several factors, not least the fact that 14 new heads of state or government had taken office in the western hemisphere since the third summit in April 2001. It was also the first meeting of heads of state or government since the tragic events of 11 September 2001.

The summit approved the Declaration of Nuevo León, affirming that the well-being of the peoples of the Americas required the achievement of three closely linked and interdependent objectives: economic growth with equity to reduce poverty; social development; and democratic governance. In particular, the summit agreed on 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, combat corruption, as well as confront the new threats to security, such as terrorism, organised crime and illicit trafficking in arms.

The declaration reaffirmed the commitment of participating states to the inter-American democratic charter and reiterated their firm intention to continue implementing the mandates of previous summits, as well as the commitments made at the Millennium Summit, the International Conference on Financing for Development — the Monterrey Consensus — and the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.