Background and Mandates

The Social Charter of the Americas constitutes an effort of the Organization of American States to establish principles of social hemispheric development and establish goals as well as specific objectives that reinforces the existent instruments of the OAS on democracy, integral development and fighting poverty. The Charter aspires to become a document approved by all member States of the Organization.

On September 11, 2011 in Lima, Peru, at the XXVIII Special Session of the General Assembly Special Session, the heads of State and Governments adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This document contemplates the protection of political and civil rights of the American people. After its adoption, Member States discussed the possibility within the OAS of having a homologous document that would include the economic, social and cultural progress in the Hemisphere. Hence, drafting of the Social Charter of the Americas was proposed.

In 2003, it was celebrated in the Margarita Island, Venezuela, High Level Meeting on Poverty, Equity and Social Inclusion. In such meeting, the Member States declared their commitment to accomplish development, “[declaring] Our determination and our commitment to urgently combat the serious problems of poverty, social exclusion and inequity that affect, in varying degrees, the countries of the hemisphere; and to face the causes that generate them and its consequences, and create favorable conditions for socio-economic development with equity to promote more just societies.” In that regards, they acknowledged “the need to deepen the commitments undertaken in the OAS Charter, the Inter-American Democratic Charter and other international commitments on social matters in relation to the advancement and observance of economic, social, and cultural rights. Accordingly, we propose that the Permanent Council and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development take up this matter, and explore the possibility of having and instrument and mechanisms that respond to this end.”

In the Special Summit of the Americas, celebrated in Monterrey, Mexico on January 2005, the chief of States recognized the Declaration of Nuevo Leon, “the urgency of strengthening the mechanisms of the Organization of American States for fighting poverty, such as the Inter-American Council for Integral Development, the Inter-American Committee on Social Development, and the Inter-American Program to Combat Poverty and Discrimination. We also recognize the importance of the promotion and observance of economic, social, and cultural rights. We urge the Organization of American States to carefully consider the recommendations approved at the High-Level Meeting on Poverty, Equity, and Social Inclusion, held on Isla de Margarita, Venezuela, to strengthen the hemispheric social agenda.”

Since 2004, the General Assembly has pronounced itself to aim the adoption of the Social Charter by the following resolutions:

More information on the background can be found in the document CP/INF. 5086/04, “Background on the topic of the Social Charter of the Americas”