Fifth Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas: Declaration of Santiago

November 22, 2002

Santiago, Chile 
November 22, 2002

The Ministers of Defense of the Americas and the Heads of participating Delegations in the Fifth Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas, assembled in the city of Santiago, Chile, from November 19 to 22, 2002, by invitation of the Minister of National Defense of Chile, Michelle Bachelet Jeria,


The commitments made by our Heads of State and Government in the Declarations and Action Plans of the Summits of the Americas, held in Miami in 1994, Santiago in 1998 and Quebec City in 2001.

The principles that inspire the spirit of the Conferences of Ministers of Defense of the Americas and the content of the Declarations of Williamsburg, San Carlos de Bariloche, Cartagena de Indias, and Manaus.

That the sole objective of the Fifth Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas is to promote mutual understanding and the exchange of ideas in the field of defense and security.

The initiatives proposed at this Conference and the conclusions reached by the Working Groups of this Fifth Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas.

The support of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in establishing a "Common Standardized Methodology for the Measurement of Defense Expenditures" between Argentina and Chile, which constitutes an effective mutual confidence building and transparency measure.
The bilateral and sub-regional efforts developed to promote a hemispheric concept of security, the enhancement and expansion of mutual confidence building measures.
The next Meeting of Experts on Confidence and Security Building Measures pursuant to the mandate of the Summit, to be held in Miami in February 2003.
The efforts of the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS), created at the urging of the Second Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas in Bariloche, in training civilian and military personnel in defense and security matters and its contribution to the development of mutual understanding and confidence in the Hemisphere.
The efforts undertaken by the states of North America, Central America, the Caribbean, the Andean Community of Nations, and by the states that make up the Southern Common Market, Bolivia and Chile, to promote a common concept of security, peace, and the enhancement and expansion of mutual confidence building measures in the Hemisphere.
Resolution A/RES/57/13 of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly of November 14, 2002, entitled "South American Peace and Cooperation Zone."
The Special Conference on Security, to be held in Mexico in May 2003, pursuant to the mandates of the Second and Third Summits of Heads of State and Government of the Americas.

  1. That democracy and its institutions constitute essential elements for hemispheric security. In this context, we renew our commitment to the values that unite the Governments represented at this Conference by the Ministers of Defense, especially adherence to democracy and its institutions, and respect for human rights. In particular, we express our commitment to fully implementing the Inter-American Democratic Charter adopted during the 28th Special Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), held in Lima, Peru, in September 2001.

  2. That to face the new transnational threats it is necessary to continue working to consolidate constitutional democratic governments and their institutions, thereby strengthening the rule of law and national sovereignty.

  3. The importance of the principle of constitutional subordination of the armed forces and security forces to the legally constituted civil authorities of our states, as well as respect for the rule of law by all national institutions and sectors of society, principles that are fundamental for democracy.

  4. Considering the relationship between economic growth and security, a greater commitment from the countries in the hemisphere is required to create opportunities and eliminate structural barriers to economic and social development. Therefore, the adoption of effective policies, such as the promotion of fair and equitable trade with a view to reducing poverty shall significantly contribute to greater democratic stability and security in the hemisphere. At the same time, security in itself is an indispensable component for economic and social development.

  5. That corruption, in all its manifestations, and impunity thereof constitute destabilizing elements for democracy, governance, peace and security; and therefore it should be combated in a firm and overwhelming manner by the governments of the Americas.

  6. Our absolute rejection of all forms of terrorism, as its actions threaten the most fundamental principles of civilization, and indicate that the fight against terrorism requires a special effort to increase international cooperation globally, as well as at hemispheric, regional, sub-regional and bilateral levels, to jointly face this scourge, thereby preserving the rule of law and international law in our Hemisphere.

  7. Our absolute condemnation of the terrorist attacks perpetrated against the United States of America in September 2001, and reaffirm the principle of hemispheric solidarity.

  8. The need and common will to strengthen the institutions of the Americas related to the different aspects of defense and security, with the purpose of consolidating peace in the Americas, in strict adherence to the rules of international law enshrined in the UN and OAS Charters.

  9. That, at the dawn of the 21st century, the international system has entered an era that is strongly marked by globalization. In this context, the Hemisphere faces an increasingly diverse and complex set of threats and challenges to states, societies and peoples, some of which are global and multidimensional, although they may affect states in different ways. Therefore, said threats and challenges call for an integral multidimensional approach, and demand the coordinated search for solutions to common problems, as well as respect for the diversity of responses of each state. 

  10. That the region has gradually advanced toward a complex security system made up of a network of new and old security institutions and regimes, both collective and cooperative, of hemispheric, regional, sub-regional and bilateral scope, which have in practice made up a new flexible security architecture. This has allowed the region to achieve a growing level of stability and governance related to security and defense, to face both traditional security threats as well as a set of risks and threats that have emerged during the globalization process.

  11. That in compliance with the mandates of the Second and Third Summits of Heads of State and Government of the Americas, and based upon the new priorities in the field of security and a broad and enriched view of the evolution of security institutions in the region, we recommend the advisability that the Special Conference on Security, to be held in Mexico in May 2003, should advance toward the updating and systematization of the common ordering principles of security in the region and consider inclusion thereof in such policy statement as said Conference may adopt.

  12. Our will to strengthen inter-institutional and inter-governmental coordination and the region's security and defense regimes, which permit the protection of population and the preservation of stability and peace.

  13. Recommend that at the preparatory meetings for the Sixth Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas, to be held in the year 2004, themes related to the consolidation of conventional security should be discussed in light of the new views on hemispheric security.

  14. That within the framework of peace, cooperation and stability achieved in the Hemisphere, each American state is free to choose its own defense instruments, including the mission, personnel and the composition of Defense and Security Forces needed to guarantee its sovereignty, in accordance with the UN and OAS Charters.

  15. Reiterate the region's commitment to the non-proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction and to the full implementation the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

  16. Our commitment to the principles of peaceful settlement of disputes between states, abstention from the threat or use of force, self-determination, non-intervention, economic and social development, and the right to self-defense, pursuant to international law and in compliance with the UN and OAS Charters.

  17. Our complete adherence to the international humanitarian law and our absolute condemnation of the attacks against civilian populations in conflict situations, as well as the participation of boys and girls in armed conflicts, and the use of boys and girls by irregular forces.

  18. That existing sub-regional agreements on security and defense contribute to hemispheric security, and should be respected and taken into account in the development of a cooperative security system that emphasizes the prevention of conflicts and recognizes the particular strategic contexts of each sub-region in the Hemisphere.

  19. Our support for the voluntary and active participation of hemispheric nations in the peacekeeping operations mandated by the UN, which are undertaken by each state according to their respective national interests and domestic legislation.

  20. Our support for the efforts undertaken by the UN, OAS, and the various national demining programs to eliminate from the region the threat to civilian populations from anti-personnel landmines, and for the reinsertion of landmine survivors into society. We also express our satisfaction for the progress achieved by the regional signatory states to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines, recommending states in the region to move forward, as far as possible, in compliance with the timeframes established in said Convention. Likewise, we recommend that states ratify and comply with the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which May Be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects.

  21. Reiterate that the defense and security of each state are the responsibility of society as a whole, and not merely of the armed forces and security forces; and recognize the role of civil society and the need to strengthen training for civilians and civilian-military cooperation in matters of defense and security respectively.

  22. That there is a need to promote and develop transparency in defense and public security policies, as they contribute to the stability and security among states in the region. We make special note of the following initiatives:

  • To promote the publication of defense white papers, in accordance with the specific realities of each state. We especially commend the coming publication of new white papers in several states in the Hemisphere, which will contribute to consolidating the stability achieved by the region. In this regard, we take not of the document "Guidelines for the Preparation of Documents on National Defense Policies and Doctrines", prepared by the OAS Hemisphere Security Commission.
  • To promote the development of new transparency initiatives in the sphere of defense and public security, according to the unique and specific bilateral realities and with the support of specialized organizations, such as ECLAC and the UN Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America. In this spirit, we congratulate the states that have made progress in developing common standardized methodologies to measure defense expenditures.
  • To continue increasing the coverage and effectiveness of mutual confidence and security-building measures among states, especially the undertaking of combined exercises between armed forces and security forces, education and training exchanges, as well as other measures that can strengthen the bonds of friendship in the American Continent.
  • To reiterate our will to participate fully in the UN Register of Conventional Arms, submitting annual reports as well as informing the OAS on this matter.
  • To promote the exchange of information on functions, procedures, and institutional organization of the Ministries of Defense and Security and related institutions.
  • To foster transparency in budgetary processes in the area of defense, as well as strict compliance with the annual submission of data for the UN Standardized Reporting Instrument for Military Expenditures.
  • To consider ratification of the Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions.
  1. To strengthen the implementation, integration and continuity of education programs regarding human rights and international humanitarian law for members of the armed forces and security forces, as this contributes to consolidating democracy and the rule of law. In this regard, we express our satisfaction with advances achieved by states in the region, and take note of the agreements reached during the Meeting of Ministers of Defense, Public Security, and the Heads of Delegation of Central America, Belize, Panama and the Dominican Republic, held in San Jos´┐Ż, Costa Rica, on October 16, 2002, which resulted in a "Consensus Document" establishing standards on these matters.

  2. That there is a need to encourage regional cooperation related to natural disasters and to strengthen existing bilateral and multilateral actions, taking advantage of technological and scientific resources to prevent their occurrence and control their effects, in order to avoid or reduce damage to people, the environment and our heritage.

  3. Our satisfaction for advances in the incorporation of women to the armed forces and security forces in the Hemisphere's states, thereby allowing for a growing degree of equal opportunities, in line with the policies set in a sovereign manner by each state and in keeping with the spirit of the Action Plan of the Third Summit of the Americas held in Quebec City. Likewise, we value the holding of the first "Seminar on the Role of Women in Peacekeeping Operations," within the framework of cooperation between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago, Chile on November 4-5, 2002, in response to the mandate in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of October 31, 2002.

  4. Our satisfaction for the recent approval of regional instruments to face new threats as security problems, especially the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, and the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials, and recommend their ratification by all states in the Hemisphere.

  5. That it is important to continue supporting the joint efforts of states and institutions devoted to the struggle against illicit drugs and related transnational criminal activities, in accordance with the principle of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and shared responsibility, based on a comprehensive and balanced approach, acknowledging that these actions present singular challenges linked to the region's security and stability, and that therefore each state has the right to use such instruments it may deem necessary to face the security problems posed by narcotrafficking, and to request cooperation within the Hemisphere, with full respect for human rights and the rule of law.

  6. Convey their most decided support to the People and Government of Colombia and its "democratic security policy", aimed at the strengthening of its institutions and the protection of its population and infrastructure, within the context of International Humanitarian Law. These are indispensable elements for the full application of the rule of law and the expression of its sovereignty and democracy, which are afflicted by terrorist activities and other forms of trans-national organized crime.

  7. Take note of the initiatives to discuss regional approaches regarding participation in peacekeeping operations under the mandate of the UN, or those undertaken at the request of involved states, which will be reviewed by each state in accordance with their respective interests and domestic legislation.

  8. Also take note of the ideas presented to carry out combined maritime operations, which deserve to be studied at the appropriate levels in each state.

  9. Welcome the new member to the Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas and the new members to the Inter-American security institutions.

  10. That the work undertaken by the Conference of Ministers of the Defense should have continuity, reiterating the recommendation on the need for coordination and cooperation among states.

  11. That, considering the above, the outgoing Chair informs the OAS on the results of this conference.

  12. Our sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Chile for their hospitality over the course of this Ministerial meeting.

  13. Our satisfaction for the willingness of the Republic of Ecuador to host the Sixth Conference of Ministers of Defense of the Americas in the year 2004, which was unanimously approved.

  14. Take note of and thank the Republic of Nicaragua for its offer to host the Seventh Conference in the year 2006, which shall be submitted to the consideration of the Sixth Conference of Ministers of Defense in 2004.

This declaration was made in Santiago, Chile, on the twenty-second day of November of the year two thousand and two.