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Hemisphere′s Leaders Adopt Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain

April 19, 2009

Port of Spain: Affirming their "renewed spirit of cooperation, integration and solidarity," the hemisphere′s leaders concluded the Fifth Summit of the Americas with a consensus to advance joint solutions to address the most pressing challenges facing the region.

With a focus on the theme of the weekend′s Summit—"Securing Our Citizens′ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability"—the Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain outlines key areas in which the countries will work toward common goals.

The 97-paragraph document, which was negotiated by the countries over the past seven months and adopted today by consensus, places an emphasis on fighting poverty and promoting development and social justice, and states that "deep inequalities continue to exist in our countries and in our region."

Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago, who chaired the Fifth Summit of the Americas, signed the Declaration of Commitment on behalf of the region, following a retreat by the Heads of State and Government held at the Diplomatic Centre in Port of Spain.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that the document had not found unanimous support—when 34 countries are negotiating, he noted, "no one country is likely to get everything that country requires"—but said the leaders agreed to adopt it by consensus.

In his remarks at the signing, Prime Minister Manning said he was "extremely pleased" at the outcome of the Fifth Summit, adding that the meeting "has turned out to be a signal example of cooperation and collaboration between the countries of the Western Hemisphere."

The opening sections of the Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain focus on the three pillars of the theme—human prosperity, energy security and environmental sustainability—while later sections address ways to strengthen public security, democratic governance and the Summit of the Americas process itself.

The Declaration of Commitment recognises that meeting long-term goals will require tackling short-term economic challenges. "We are committed to addressing the current economic and financial crisis in order to achieve our objectives of promoting human prosperity and securing our citizens′ future," the document states. "We are determined to enhance our cooperation and work together to restore global growth and achieve needed reforms in the world′s financial systems."

The longest section of the document, on human prosperity, lays out measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of anti-poverty efforts, promote job creation and prevent exploitation of workers. It also calls for action to strengthen food security, promote good nutrition and broaden access to health care, particularly for the most vulnerable. Health-related commitments include measures to reduce neonatal mortality, combat both communicable and non-communicable diseases and continue efforts against HIV/AIDS. "We commit to strengthening public policies aimed at reducing the incidence of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to less than 5% by 2015," the document states.

It also lays out a series of education-related commitments, among them achieving universal primary education by 2015, a secondary education enrolment rate of 75% by 2010 and a minimum 40% participation in tertiary education by 2020.

The section on energy security looks at aspects such as energy efficiency and conservation and calls for the development of renewable energy sources and technologies. It notes that energy "is an essential resource for improving the standard of living of our peoples and that access to energy is of paramount importance to economic growth with equity and social inclusion."

Environmental sustainability, the third pillar of the Fifth Summit theme, is another area in which the region′s leaders called for cooperation. The Declaration of Commitment recognises "the adverse impacts of climate change on all countries of the Hemisphere, in particular, Small Island Developing States, countries with low-lying coastal, arid and semi-arid areas or areas liable to floods, drought and desertification, developing countries with fragile mountainous ecosystems and land-locked countries."

The full text of the Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain is available on the Fifth Summit of the Americas Web site:

For more information contact:
Organization of American States
Phone: 202-458-3000


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