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Special Summit of the Americas

At the Special Summit of the Americas, held in Monterrey, Mexico January 12-13, 2004, the Heads of State and Government of the Hemisphere adopted the Declaration of Nuevo Leon.  Below, are the portions of the Declaration which relate specifically to the fight against corruption:

Declaration of Leon (excerpt)

Preamble

We, the democratically elected Heads of State and Government of the Americas, who include fourteen new leaders who have taken office since the Third Summit of the Americas, in Quebec City, Canada, have gathered together for a Special Summit in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. Our purpose is to advance implementation of measures to combat poverty, to promote social development, to achieve economic growth with equity, and to strengthen governance in our democracies. With a renewed and strengthened vision of cooperation, solidarity, and integration, we will confront the continuing and growing challenges in the Hemisphere.

Guided by the need to work together to stimulate prosperity, promote social inclusion and a more equitable distribution of economic growth, eliminate hunger, raise living standards, generate new employment and investment opportunities, and promote decent work as well as confront the new threats to security, such as terrorism, organized crime, and illicit trafficking in arms, we reaffirm our commitment to the Inter-American Democratic Charter and we reiterate our firm intention to continue implementing the mandates of the Summits of the Americas, as well as the commitments made at the Millennium Summit, the International Conference on Financing for Development (the Monterrey Consensus) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg.

We affirm that the well-being of our people requires the achievement of three closely linked and interdependent objectives: economic growth with equity to reduce poverty, social development, and democratic governance.

We therefore declare:

Democratic governance

… We recognize that corruption and impunity weaken public and private institutions, erode social values, undermine the rule of law, and distort economies and the allocation of resources for development. Therefore, we pledge to intensify our efforts to combat corruption and other unethical practices in the public and/or private sectors, strengthening a culture of transparency and ensuring more efficient public management.

We express our concern regarding corrupt, illegal, and fraudulent practices in the management of some national and transnational enterprises, that may have a negative impact on economies, in particular those of developing countries and on their producers and consumers.

The Inter-American Democratic Charter states that the peoples of the Americas have the right to democracy and that their governments have the obligation to promote and defend it, and it establishes that transparency in government activities, probity, and responsibility in public management are key components of the exercise of democracy. We will therefore increase our cooperation within the framework of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, particularly by strengthening its follow-up mechanism. We charge the upcoming meeting of the Conference of States Parties to the follow-up mechanism of the Convention with proposing specific measures to strengthen this mechanism. These recommendations will be evaluated at a meeting of the States Parties to the Convention, to be held in Managua, Nicaragua in mid-2004. That meeting will also consider additional concrete measures to increase transparency and combat corruption. We instruct our foreign ministers to report on the progress achieved to the Fourth Summit of the Americas.

We agree to hold consultations in the event that adherence to our shared transparency and anticorruption objectives, as articulated in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, is compromised to a serious degree in any of our countries.

We undertake to promote transparency in political processes, in public financial management, and in government transactions, procurement processes, and contracts, in accordance with domestic legislation, in order to, inter alia, prevent abuse and maintain public confidence.

In the framework of applicable national and international law, we commit to deny safe haven to corrupt officials, to those who corrupt them, and their assets; and to cooperate in their extradition as well as in the recovery and return of the proceeds of corruption to their legitimate owners. We also commit to enhance regional mechanisms for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and their implementation.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption is a valuable instrument to confront this scourge, and therefore we commit to consider signing and promoting its ratification.

We further commit to increase transparency in the international organizations of which we are members by strengthening their accountability mechanisms.

We recognize that political pluralism and sound political parties are essential elements of democracy. We underscore the importance of rules to ensure the transparency of party finances, to prevent corruption and the risk of undue influence, and to encourage a high level of electoral participation. Therefore, we will promote the conditions that enable political parties to thrive, autonomous of government control. We will encourage political training and leadership development, including for women, youth, indigenous people, members of ethnic groups, and marginalized segments of the population. We acknowledge the important work of the Inter-American Forum on Political Parties in enabling political parties to share best practices and strengthen themselves, as well as promoting reforms of political party systems.

We agree that, through citizen participation, civil society organizations should contribute to the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies adopted by different orders or levels of government. We recognize the role of civil society and its contribution to sound public administration and we reaffirm the importance of continuing to forge new partnerships that will enable constructive ties to be built between governments, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and the diverse sectors of civil society to work in favor of development and democracy.

We encourage the participation of civil society in the Summits of the Americas process and we undertake to institutionalize meetings with civil society and with the academic and private sectors.

We will encourage the modernization of the State as an important element for strengthening democratic and good governance, combining effectiveness and efficiency with greater access to services, transparency, and responsibility in management and the consolidation and professionalization of the civil service. We undertake to promote the use of new information and communication technologies in public administration and to adopt strategies for the development of electronic government. 

Access to information held by the State, subject to constitutional and legal norms, including those on privacy and confidentiality, is an indispensable condition for citizen participation and promotes effective respect for human rights. We are committed to providing the legal and regulatory framework and the structures and conditions required to guarantee the right of access to information to our citizens…

 

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