Promotion and Strengthening of Democracy: Follow-up to the Inter-American Democratic Charter [AG/RES. 1957 (XXXIII-O/03)]
Resolution adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 10, 2003
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
HAVING SEEN the report of the Permanent Council on the implementation of resolutions AG/RES. 1869 (XXXII-O/02) and AG/RES. 1907 (XXXII-O/02) (AG/doc.4225/03);
MINDFUL that the Charter of the Organization of American States establishes in its preamble "that representative democracy is an indispensable condition for the stability, peace and development of the region" and that it establishes that one of the essential purposes of the Organization is "to promote and consolidate representative democracy, with due respect for the principle of nonintervention";
BEARING IN MIND the Declaration of Quebec City, adopted at the Third Summit of the Americas, which contains a democracy clause, and the Plan of Action of the Third Summit, which establishes that "the maintenance and strengthening of the rule of law and strict respect for the democratic system are, at the same time, a goal and a shared commitment," and confers on the Organization important mandates to strengthen democratic systems in the region;
BEARING IN MIND ALSO that the ministers of foreign affairs of the Americas, meeting at the twenty-eighth special session of the General Assembly, in Lima, Peru, adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which is a milestone for the promotion, defense, and consolidation of democracy in the Hemisphere, and which states that "the peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it," that "democracy is essential for the social, political, and economic development of the peoples of the Americas," and that "the participatory nature of democracy in our countries in different aspects of public life contributes to the consolidation of democratic values and to freedom and solidarity in the Hemisphere";
CONSIDERING that one of the challenges facing the Hemisphere is the consolidation of the democratic institutional framework for the purpose of ensuring democratic governance in the Americas ;
RECALLING that, in resolution AG/RES. 1907 (XXXII-O/02), "Promotion of Democracy," the member states reaffirmed their commitment to democracy and their determination to assign the highest priority to developing programs and activities to promote democratic principles and practices through the work of the Organization; and
BEARING IN MIND resolution AG/RES. 1869 (XXXII-O/02), "Promotion of Democratic Culture," in which member states were encouraged to develop strategies promoting democratic culture in the Americas, on the basis of the principles and values set out in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and that the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas recognized that education is key to strengthening democratic institutions,
1. To reaffirm the commitment of the OAS member states to the full exercise and application in the Hemisphere of the democratic principles and values set forth in the OAS Charter, the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and other relevant international instruments.
2. To urge member states to promote and publicize the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to continue implementing it.
3. To support the efforts of the member states to strengthen democratic governance in the Americas , to consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and to promote and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
4. To adopt the topic "Follow-up and Development of the Inter-American Democratic Charter" as a permanent General Assembly agenda item, so that member states that deem it appropriate will report on their progress in promoting, publicizing, and implementing the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
5. To instruct the Permanent Council, in the context of the commitments and mandates arising from the OAS Charter, the Summits of the Americas process, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter:
a. To organize, with support from the General Secretariat, through the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) and the Unit for Social Development and Education, and within the resources allocated in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources, a special meeting on the topic "Promotion of Democratic Culture through Education" in the last quarter of 2003, with the participation of political parties, civil society organizations, academic institutions, and other entities associated with the topic;
b. To hold a meeting each year, in April, to review activities undertaken by the Organization in the preceding calendar year to promote and strengthen democracy, and to determine possible additional activities;
c. To study the possibility of holding, with support from the General Secretariat, through the UPD and within the resources allocated in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources, a special meeting with a view to fostering an exchange of views on the challenges to democratic governance in the Hemisphere; and
d. To continue to promote the exchange of experiences and best practices, so as to institutionalize dialogue as a means of promoting democratic governance and resolving conflicts.
6. To request the General Secretariat, through the UPD to:
a. Coordinate the activities and programs of the various units and offices of the General Secretariat relating to the promotion of representative democracy, so as to give appropriate attention to fulfilling the mandates on the inter-American agenda;
b. Promote the exchange of best practices on how governments dialogue with civil society, especially in the area of the promotion of democracy-an activity for which the Inter-American Democratic Charter will provide particularly useful guidance and support; and
c. Develop strategies to strengthen democratic culture in the Hemisphere and promote democratic principles and practices, employing public information campaigns that focus on the essential elements and components of representative democracy.
7. To recognize the work of the UPD in the promotion and strengthening of democracy, the implementation of its work plan, and its report "Inventory of Activities: Promotion and Consolidation of Representative Democracy, 2002-2003," presented to the Permanent Council of the Organization; and to request the General Secretariat, through the UPD:
a. To prepare the aforementioned yearly inventory as a working document, for consideration by the Permanent Council at the meeting each year at which it reviews activities of the Organization to promote, defend, and consolidate democracy in the Hemisphere. The inventory shall include specific recommendations for improving the scope and impact of the Organization's activities;
b. To develop a program for comprehensive consideration of democracy-building topics, based on the commitments and mandates arising from the Summits of the Americas and the Inter-American Democratic Charter;
c. To promote activities making it possible to link more actively the Organization's democracy agenda with processes for promoting development, with special emphasis on the fight against poverty and topics stemming from the Monterrey Consensus;
d. To take into account in its activities the role of the media as instruments of special importance in promoting democracy and disseminating democratic principles and values, as well as the contribution which information and communications technologies can make to developing more just, open, and democratic societies;
e. To support, through its activities and programs, efforts by the member states to modernize the state and to promote access to information, transparency, accountability, and responsibility in public administration;
f. To continue its efforts to strengthen political parties and other political organizations, through the Inter-American Forum on Political Parties, and, in that regard, to present a proposal to the Permanent Council in February 2004 at the latest on the organization of a possible special meeting with political parties of the Americas;
g. To develop, in conjunction with the Secretariat for the Summit Process of the General Secretariat, activities to promote full participation by civil society in the political system;
h. To continue developing mechanisms for dialogue and instruments for the prevention and settlement of conflicts, so as to support the member states in their interactions with various political and social actors; and
i. To present a report every four months on progress made in the implementation of its work plan.
8. To urge all bodies of the inter-American system, especially the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission of Women, to work actively on programs and projects to remove obstacles to full participation by women and men in democratic processes and political party structures.
9. To urge member states and permanent observers to contribute to the Special Fund for Strengthening Democracy, the Fund for Peace: Peaceful Settlement of Territorial Disputes, and the Permanent Specific Fund to Finance Activities Related to OAS Electoral Observation Missions.
10. To instruct the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-fourth regular session on the implementation of this resolution.