Ninth Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas: Declaration of Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
November 25, 2010

Santa Cruz de la Sierra
November 22-25, 2010

The Defense Ministers and Heads of Delegations participating in the IX Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, meeting in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, between 22 and 25 November 2010,
The principles and declarations of the Conferences of Defense Ministers of the Americas, contained in the Declarations of Williamsburg, Bariloche, Cartagena, Manaus, Santiago, Quito, Managua and Banff;
That the Conference has established itself as a forum for dialogue and the exchange of ideas and visions on security and defense of their member nations and the region;

That the Conference is also a relevant forum that contributes to strengthening transparency, trust and cooperation on defense and security issues;

The Declaration on Security in the Americas of October 2003;

The Lima Declaration: Peace, Security, and Cooperation in the Americas, of June 2010, that expresses the commitment of the States to continue implementing measures to promote trust and security;

The Fourth Forum on Confidence and Security Building Measures held by the Organization of American States on 15-16 November 2010 in Lima, Peru; and

The celebration this year of the Independence Bicentennials of various countries of the Americas, their commemorative declarations and the progressive construction of peace,


1. The member States of the Conference unanimously support the imperative of peace and mutual trust in the hemisphere, based on the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the Charter of the Organization of American States.

2. The commitment and the importance for the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) to preserve the vitality and spirit of the Williamsburg Principles, regarding the strengthening of democracy, peace, security, solidarity and cooperation between the nations of the Americas.

3. Their promotion of institutional modernization processes in the defense sector by developing at least the following initiatives:

  • Promote intercultural practices within the institutional dynamic of the armed forces and security forces.
  • Promote a gender perspective as a crosscutting issue in the various defense environments.
  • Promote the strengthening of military and security forces training in order to consolidate democracy and respect for human rights in the states of the region.

4. Acknowledge the importance of cooperation in defense and security in the region, particularly the advances made in the implementation of confidence and security building measures, such as:

  • The reports that are presented to the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS).
  • The set of confidence and security building measures recently approved within the framework of the South American Defense Council (SADC) of UNASUR with its corresponding mechanisms and application, guarantee and verification procedures, which include: the exchange of information on the organization of national defense systems; military expenditures; intra and extra-regional military activities; notification of maneuvers, deployment and exercises in border areas, among others.
  • Advances made in the implementation of the Framework Treaty on Democratic Security in Central America.
  • The declaration of Nicaragua as an anti-personal landmine-free territory, as a result of which Central America becomes the first region in the world that is free from this threat. We acknowledge Suriname’s success in removing completely the landmines from their territory.
  • The effort made by the SADC during 2010 to generate a South American methodology to measure and report defense expenditures and promote it as the basis for the development of a common hemispheric methodology.

5. Request the General Assembly of the OAS to grant the Inter American Defense Board (IADB) the faculty to support the Pro-Tempore Secretariat of the CDMA, at the request of the host country, in carrying out the duties established in article 25 of the CDMA’s Regulations.

6. Recommend to the OAS to convene a conference, within the framework of that organization, to discuss the future of the mission and functions of the instruments and components of the Inter American Defense System, with the participation of representatives of the Ministries of Defense, to that end, welcome the offer of the Republic of Argentina to be the venue in 2011.

7. Recommend the exchange of views and the initiation of a broad debate at the next CDMA concerning the concepts of Defense and Security to define the scope of the conference.

8. Take note of the advances made in the negotiations taking place within UNASUR regarding a peace, security and cooperation protocol.

9. The importance of transparency in military expenditures in promoting mutual trust and cooperation between the states. For this reason:

  • They encourage full participation in the United Nations Standardized Reporting Instrument for Military Expenditures and the UN Register of Conventional Arms, prior to the next CDMA.
  • They continue to make progress at the bilateral and sub-regional levels on standardized methodologies to measure defense expenditures.
  • They encourage, implementation of an Inter-American register managed by the OAS based on regional experiences.
  • They promote universal participation and the full implementation of the Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions (CITAAC).

10. Their support for the conclusions of the Chairmanship of the OAS’ IV Forum on Confidence and Security-Building Measures, and especially the adoption of the format to report on the application of these measures, presented by the IADB.

11. Their solidarity with the peoples and governments of the Americas affected by natural disasters and in particular those of the Republic of Haiti and the Republic of Chile, which dramatically suffered the onslaught of nature. Their acknowledgement for the generous and joint support and collaboration of various countries of the hemisphere in humanitarian assistance activities and rescue operations, and the decisive support of states, regional and international organizations, that committed to the reconstruction of the Republic of Haiti, especially in the conferences of Montreal, New York, and Santo Domingo.

12. Their commitment to continue improving and complementing the ongoing assistance to address the severely intensified basic needs of the Haitian population, respecting the priorities established by the Government and people of the Republic of Haiti.

13. The importance of the work done by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), both in terms of humanitarian assistance activities and rescue operations.

14. The valuable contribution that the defense sector and armed forces can provide in terms of specific support in response to natural and manmade disasters in coordination with national and international humanitarian organizations and security agencies for protection and civil defense, as part of an integral response to such disasters.

15. Their support for ongoing international, regional and sub-regional initiatives, in order to strengthen the coordination, capacities, and hemispheric cooperation in the area of natural disaster response. In this sense, they express their agreement to analyze the proposal entitled “Strengthening partnerships in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief” in working groups coordinated by the Pro-Tempore Secretariat of the CDMA, with voluntary and open participation by the member States, to be held in 2011, for the implementation of a collaboration mechanism among the Ministries of Defense to strengthen military capacities for humanitarian assistance to support civilian authorities at the national level as well as other pertinent entities, always in response to the request of a country affected by a natural disaster, without prejudice to ongoing or future initiatives.

The Conference takes note of the willingness of any group of countries to move ahead the implementation of said proposal as well as to fully adjust to the mechanism adopted in due time at the hemispheric level as a result of the aforementioned analysis process within the framework of the CDMA.[1]

16. That the recent natural disasters have highlighted the need to strengthen prevention, preparation, response and recovery mechanisms, as well as the importance of improving early warning systems in the region. We support continuous efforts to strengthen crisis management systems in the face of natural disasters. We recommend that the regional organizations, in cooperation with the United Nations, consider the holding of workshops to develop strategies based on collaboration and cooperation in the region, allowing for improved risk management of natural disasters. In this regard, we welcome the offer made by the Government of Mexico to organize, within the OAS framework, a workshop to define a prompt and coordinated regional response mechanism to natural disasters, in which we recommend the participation of the Ministries of Defense in order to consider their contributions to this regional effort.

17. The important contributions made by those states of the Americas that participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations throughout the world.

18. The role that can be played by the Ministries and other defense institutions of the states in the region and their commitment to activities that support environmental sustainability.

19. Their commitment to continuing to strengthen the dissemination of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by their integration into the doctrine, education, training, and operational procedures of the armed forces or security forces, as appropriate, so that they have the necessary means and mechanisms for its effective application.

20. A shared interest in encouraging, within their respective national jurisdictions, measures to promote, strengthen or consolidate, as the case may be, the training of civilians in defense. The inclusion of programs and projects to train civilians in defense matters will be promoted in bilateral cooperation and in sub-regional bodies.

21. Their renewed rejection of the presence or activities of illegal armed groups that carry out or promote violence, regardless of their origin or motivation.

22. In accordance with all related international instruments, ensuring full respect for international law, human rights, and due process standards, and in accordance with each member state’s constitutional order and national legislation, the commitment of Ministries of Defense to cooperate and confront the threats and challenges to hemispheric peace and security, democratic institutions and values that our states face.

23. Their acknowledgement of the contribution made by civil society, including the academic sector, in issues pertaining to the defense and security of our States.

24. Welcome the designation of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay as the venue for the X CDMA to be held in 2012; and the offer by the Republic of Peru to be the venue of the XI CDMA to be held in 2014.

25. Their gratitude to the Bolivian people and the Plurinational State of Bolivia, through its Ministry of Defense

[1] Colombia, Chile, Peru, Dominican Republic and United States of America.