The curtain came down on the fourth Summit of the Union of South American Nations yesterday at the Guyana International Conference Centre on a high note with the issuance and initialing of the Georgetown Declaration.
In that declaration the visiting Heads expressed their satisfaction with the assumption of President Bharrat Jagdeo as Pro Tempore President of UNASUR, and “wishing him great success during his tenure”
The visiting heads also offered him all their “willingness and commitment to collaborate on fulfilling the region’s objectives for the coming year.”
The Heads declared their willingness to continue working toward the consolidation of a common space for the political, economic, social, cultural, energy, environmental and infrastructure integration of the Region, in order to achieve sustainable development.
The Heads, among them Brazil’s Lula DaSilva and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, highlighted their firm commitment to work together to promote social and human development with equity and inclusion in harmony with nature.
This is in order to eradicate poverty, reduce asymmetries and overcome inequalities, within a framework of unity, democracy, unwavering respect for human rights and co-operation, both regionally and internationally, in the context of strengthening the sovereignty and independence of States.
The Heads stated that they underscore the approval of the Statute of the Council of Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Innovation (COSECCTI), as well as the Action Plan in the area of Education and the Road Maps in the fields of education, culture and science and technology.
They acknowledged the work carried out by the South American Council on Health, particularly the adoption of its Five-year Plan and the success enjoyed at the Donor Table, which was held during the III Ordinary Meeting of the Council.
The Heads, in the Georgetown Declaration, urged Member States to finalise the negotiation of the legal and budget aspects of the Basic Agreement of the ISAGS, as well as the 2011 to 2012 Schedule of the Institute.
This must be done according to the declaration, “in such a manner so as to strengthen the governance of health systems in South American countries.”
They also underscored the importance of implementing the UNASUR Health Scholarship Programme in 2011 and stressed the need to continue “expanding the access of South American candidates to vacancies in renowned regional teaching centres”.
South American Ministers of Health were urged to examine the possibilities of convergence among the various regional health organizations.
In the declaration, the heads recognized the advancements made by the South American Council on the World Drug Problem, by approving its Statutes and Action Plan.
“They underscored the importance of making strides in effective regional co-operation, in the framework of common and shared responsibility, in the fight against the world drug problem and its related crimes…They urged the Council to establish in 2011, a mechanism for regular consultation for judicial, police, financial and customs authorities, as well as bodies involved in the fight against drugs in South American countries.”
There was also the approval of the Statutes and Regulations of the South American Council for Infrastructure and Planning (COSIPLAN) and the heads said that they envisage the prompt implementation of its Action Plan, which is especially significant for the future of regional integration.
“They stressed the importance of selecting a series of works that would impact powerfully on integration and regional socioeconomic development.”
The Georgetown Declaration also recognises the advancements recorded by the Working Group of the South American Defence Council, charged with the responsibility of formulating a “Protocol on Peace, Security and Co-operation in UNASUR.”
They reiterated their support for the efforts and encouraging their continuation at its future meetings.
“Along that same vein, they observed the creation of and progress made by the Working Group on Defence Expenditure Assessment.”
The heads also applauded the creation of the Council on Economy and Finance and issue an appeal for the prompt adoption of its statute.
They also, in the Georgetown Declaration, urged Member States to fulfill the mandates outlined at the meetings of the Council of Heads of State and Government in August and May last, regarding the creation of an investment-related dispute settlement mechanism.
As such they called on Jagdeo to convene, within the next 30 days, the Working Group on Dispute Settlement that shall comprise high-level experts appointed by the Heads of State and Government, to consider the proposal put forward by the Republic of Ecuador regarding some key issues.
The issues pointed out were: Dispute Settlement Centre; Centre for Legal Advice on Investment-related Issues and Code of Conduct for the Members of the Arbitration Tribunals.
“The Group shall present its recommendations to the Council of Delegates that shall be convened for that purpose, 90 days after it has been constituted.”
The declaration also addressed the poignant issue of Climate Change.
They said that cognizant of the importance of the new challenges that climate change poses for South America and the responsibility, “that must be assumed by the Member States that are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, based on their common yet differential responsibilities and their respective capabilities, they urge the international community, developed countries in particular, to meet at the 16th Conference of the Parties – COP-16- and the 6th Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol -CMP6-, which will be convened in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 through December 10, 2010, to achieve effective reductions in greenhouse gases for the second period of commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, which would allow for firm political commitments, as well as actions and proposals.”
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