AG/DEC. 10 (XXVI-O/96)
CONSENSUS OF PANAMA
(Adopted at the first plenary session, held on June 3, 1996)
The ministers of foreign affairs and the heads of delegation of the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS), meeting on the occasion of the twenty-sixth regular session of the General Assembly in Panama City, Republic of Panama,
That the increasing globalization of international relations offers opportunities and poses risks for the improvement of the standards of living of our peoples and presents challenges to states and to regional organizations;
That this process underscores the need to intensify efforts at national and regional levels to increase the competitiveness of our economies in world markets, in which integration is gaining ground at a steady pace;
That among the main challenges is the accelerating rate of technological change occurring in telecommunications and financial transactions, as well as the volatility of financial flows;
That poverty and deteriorating standards of living exist in the region and represent challenges and risks to democracy, the response to which requires renewed effort in the social, political, and economic spheres;
That multilateralism is a fundamental instrument for the promotion of peace, security, and development;
That the strengthening of multilateralism as an appropriate mechanism to solve problems affecting the international community requires increased political, technical, economic, and financial cooperation to overcome tendencies toward isolationism and the adoption by states of non-agreed actions contrary to international law;
That to combat these trends it is necessary to reaffirm our determination and commitment to observe strictly the obligations enshrined in the Charter of the OAS and international law, as well as to preserve the identity of purpose and values of the Hemisphere and the partnership among the American peoples;
That during the year since the General Assembly in Montrouis, Haiti, significant efforts have been made toward strengthening concerted action, developing partnership in the Hemisphere, and arriving at a common purpose and modernization of the OAS, in which institutional reform must be given greater impetus if it is to take place quickly and appropriately;
That multilateral fora must provide the framework for the member states to carry out activities aimed at promoting awareness of and strengthening their cultural identity, a fundamental element for the integral development of the Americas;
That universal literacy and access to education at all levels, without distinction as to race, national origin, or sex, are the essential basis for sustainable social and cultural development, economic growth, and democratic stability, as expressed by the heads of state and government at the Summit of the Americas;
That the OAS provides a suitable framework in which the member states can improve the quality and coverage of their educational systems to give their people the means of raising their income and breaking the vicious circle of poverty, and that special efforts should be made to eliminate the educational marginalization of the adult population;
That it is urgent to establish a zone free of antipersonnel land mines to permanently free the member states affected;
That this session of the General Assembly in Panama City, a symbol of convergence and the commitment to integration in the Hemisphere, is being held at a momentous time for the future of the Panama Canal;
That in the context of globalization and increasing integration, the Hemisphere has a valuable economic and geographic asset in the Panama Canal-the linchpin of the interoceanic communication infrastructure in the Hemisphere and an important means of expanding trade and increasing our countries' participation in the world economy;
That the timely and concerted adoption of decisions ensuring the efficient operation of this interoceanic route is of vital importance for the development and well-being of the Panamanian people and of all peoples of the Americas, and that its full transition to Panamanian hands-the result of fruitful negotiation-enjoys the irrevocable support of the inter-American and international communities; and
That in September 1997 the Government of Panama will hold the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, the purpose of which, inspired by partnership, is to bring together all parties concerned-public and private, national and international, government, business, and academic-to participate in creating mechanisms of ongoing dialogue and consultation for the use and efficient, safe, and reliable operation of the Panama Canal in the 21st century,
Make known the present Consensus of Panama and
1. Their certainty that concerted action among the states is the best means to face and overcome the challenges posed by globalization.
2. Their support for efforts at trade liberalization in the Hemisphere and the integration of our peoples.
3. Their conviction that multilateralism, through international cooperation, political dialogue, and joint effort in a framework of respect for the sovereign will of states should be an effective instrument to achieve common aspirations and surmount challenges facing the Hemisphere.
4. Their firm support for democracy and their determination to continue to strengthen it in the Americas.
5. Their resolute defense of the cultural heritage of the Hemisphere through the preservation of all its aspects, and their appeal to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the international community to provide technical cooperation to develop appropriate programs having this objective.
6. Their support for the establishment of a Social Development Committee of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) to promote programs and projects aimed at improving the quality and coverage of the educational systems of the member states and at resolving the problem of educational marginalization of the adult population, and their request to the General Secretariat to provide maximum support to the Committee in attaining these goals.
7. Their satisfaction with the significant achievements made in executing the inter-American agenda and their firm commitment to continue to make progress in this process as well as in the modernization of the OAS.
8. Their appeal to the international community to continue to contribute generously to the mine-clearing programs and to the goal of freeing Central America of antipersonnel land mines.
9. Their recognition that the Panama Canal is a valuable asset of the Republic of Panama and that it represents an interoceanic maritime infrastructure of inter-American and worldwide importance.
10. Their approval of the prevailing spirit of cooperation between the United States and Panama in the process of transferring control of the Canal to the Republic of Panama.
11. Their firm support for the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, to be held in September 1997, and their commitment to undertake to have their countries represented at the highest possible level, in keeping with the historic moment of the event and with the motto on the national seal of the Republic of Panama, pro mundi beneficio.
12. Their decision to request the Permanent Council to determine, in collaboration with Panamanian authorities, the Organization's contribution to ensuring the success of this momentous meeting.