The Central American Integration System (SICA)
Tegucigalpa Protocol to the Charter of the Organization of Central American States (ODECA) (Excerpts)
The presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama:
It is necessary to revise the legal framework of the Organization of Central American States (ODECA), adapting it to current realities and needs, in order to secure the effective attainment of Central American integration; and
Such adaptation must be geared towards the establishment and consolidation of the Central American Integration System, which will provide follow-up in respect of all decisions adopted at Meetings of Presidents and coordinate their implementation;
Decide to amend the Charter of the Organization of Central American States (ODECA), signed at Panama City , Republic of Panama , on 12 December 1962 , by means of this Protocol. To that end, the constitutional Presidents of the above Republics agree on the following Central American Integration System:
NATURE, OBJECTIVES, PRINCIPLES AND ENDS
Costa Rica , El Salvador , Guatemala , Honduras , Nicaragua and Panama constitute an economic and political community which seeks to promote the integration of Central America . To that end, the Central American Integration System is hereby constituted, comprising the original Member States of ODECA, and Panama , which is joining as a Member State .
The Central American Integration System shall provide the institutional framework for the regional integration of Central America .
The fundamental objective of the Central American Integration System is to bring about the integration of Central America as a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development.
To that end, the following objectives are hereby reaffirmed:
- To consolidate democracy and strengthen its institutions on the basis of the existence of Governments elected by universal and free suffrage with secret ballot, and of unrestricted respect for human rights;
- To define a new regional security model based on a reasonable balance of forces, the strengthening of civilian government, the elimination of extreme poverty, the promotion of sustained development, protection of the environment, and the eradication of violence, corruption, terrorism, and trafficking in drugs and arms;
- To promote a comprehensive system of freedom that will ensure the full and harmonious development of the individual and of society as a whole;
- To achieve a regional system of well-being and economic and social justice for the peoples of Central America
- To achieve an economic union and strengthen the financial system of Central America ;
- To strengthen the region as an economic bloc to provide for its successful participation in the international economy;
- To reaffirm and consolidate Central America's self-determination in terms of its external relations by means of a unified strategy to strengthen and broaden participation by the region as a whole in the international sphere;
- To promote, in a harmonious and balanced manner, the sustained economic, social, cultural and political development of the Member States and of the region as a whole;
- To carry out concerted action to protect the environment through respect for and harmony with nature, while ensuring balanced development and the rational exploitation of the natural resources of the area, with a view to establishing a new ecological order in the region;
- To establish the Central American Integration System on the basis of an institutional and legal order and mutual respect between Member States.
In order to attain the above objectives, the Central American Integration System and its Members shall proceed in accordance with the following fundamental principles:
- The protection of, respect for and protection of human rights shall constitute the fundamental basis of the Central American Integration System;
- Peace, democracy, development and freedom constitute a harmonious and indivisible whole which shall guide the acts of the States Members of the Central American Integration System;
- Central American identity as an active manifestation of regional interests and of the will to participate in consolidating the integration of the region;
- Central American solidarity as an expression of its profound interdependence, origins and common destiny;
- The phased, specific and progressive nature of the process of economic integration, based on harmonious and balanced regional development, with special treatment for relatively less developed Member States, and on equity and reciprocity, and the Central American Exception Clause;
- The comprehensive nature of the integration process and the democratic participation therein of every social sector;
- Legal certainty with respect to relations between the Member States and the peaceful settlement of their disputes;
- Good faith on the part of the Member States in the discharge of their obligations; Member States shall abstain from establishing, agreeing to or adopting any measure that contravenes the provisions of this instrument or that impedes compliance with the fundamental principles of the Central American Integration System or the attainment of its objectives;
- Respect for the principles and norms of the Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Declarations issued at the Meetings of Presidents of Central America since May 1986.
The Members of the Central American Integration System shall be those Central American States that fully accept the obligations set forth in this Charter by means of their approval or ratification thereof or accession thereto, and that implement this Charter in accordance with the provisions of article 36 hereof.
Member States shall undertake to abstain from the adoption of any unilateral measure that may endanger the attainment of the objectives and compliance with the fundamental principles of the Central American Integration System.
The Prior Consultation procedure is hereby established as a permanent system between Member States for those cases in which no previous policy approach exists with regard to economic relations and cooperation between Central America and extraregional entities.
The organs and institutions of the Central American Integration System shall be guided by the objectives and principles set forth in this protocol and shall have regard to such objectives and principles in their decisions, studies and analyses as well as in the preparation of all meetings.
The organs and institutions of the Central American Integration system shall contribute to effective compliance with and implementation of the objectives and principles of this protocol. This obligation shall take overriding precedence in all supplementary or subordinate legislation, which shall guarantee in all cases that decisions shall be made public and that proceedings shall be open to those individuals concerned in accordance with the nature of each organ and institution and the matters in question.