Declaration of Panama

March 1, 2007

Declaration of Panama on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure in the Hemisphere in the Face of Terrorism1

(Adopted at the Third Plenary Session held on March 1, 2007)

THE MEMBER STATES OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMITTEE AGAINST TERRORISM (CICTE) OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS), gathered at the Seventh Regular Session, in Panama City, Republic of Panama, from February 28 to March 2, 2007,

MINDFUL of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the Organization of American States and of the Charter of the United Nations;

REAFFIRMING that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its origin or motivation, has no justification whatsoever, affects the full enjoyment and exercise of human rights, and constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security, democratic institutions, and the values enshrined in the OAS Charter, the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and other regional and international instruments;

REITERATING their commitment to prevent, combat, and eliminate acts of terrorism and the financing of such acts through the broadest cooperation possible, in full compliance with their obligations under national and international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law;

BEARING IN MIND the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Meeting of Ministers of Justice or Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA V) dealing with combating terrorism;

REAFFIRMING the commitments and conclusions adopted in the Declaration of San Carlos on Hemispheric Cooperation for Comprehensive Action to Fight Terrorism, as well as those adopted at the five prior regular sessions of CICTE;

EMPHASIZING that it is important for the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) to sign, ratify, implement, and continue implementing, as appropriate, the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, as well as pertinent regional and international conventions and protocols, including the 13 international conventions and protocols and United Nations Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), in order to detain, deny safe haven to, and bring to justice, on the basis of the principle of extradite or prosecute, any person who supports, facilitates, participates, or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation, or commission of terrorist acts or provides safe havens;

REAFFIRMING that OAS General Assembly resolutions AG/RES. 1939 (XXXIII-O/03) and AG/RES. 2004 (XXXIV-O/04), on cybersecurity, constitute a step forward with regard to measures aimed at strengthening the critical infrastructure of member states, especially the "Comprehensive Inter-American Cybersecurity Strategy: A Multidimensional and Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating a Cybersecurity Culture" and bearing in mind the work carried out by the Rapporteur Group on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure of the Inter-American Telecommunication Committee (CICTEL) related to the development of communication networks;

UNDERSCORING that the Declaration of San Carlos on Hemispheric Cooperation for Comprehensive Action to Fight Terrorism expressed the firm commitment to strengthening national and multilateral efforts to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorist threats and attacks against financial, transportation, and telecommunications systems and attacks on critical infrastructure;

REITERATING the need to consider developing and implementing legislation on new mechanisms that will allow the pursuit of bilateral and multilateral initiatives which contribute to the fight against terrorism, without prejudice to and in harmony with the development of hemispheric trade and safe transportation policy;

RECALLING that, in the Declaration of Port-of-Spain on Strengthening Cooperation on Strategies to Sustain and Advance the Hemispheric Fight against Terrorism, member states expressed their intention to continue exploring new strategies for multilateral cooperation among themselves, in order to improve their capacity to promote and sustain the fight against terrorism and promote early detection capabilities and to prevent the transit, presence, and activities of terrorist organizations in the Hemisphere;

RECOGNIZING the need to promote international, regional, and subregional cooperation to confront terrorist threats to critical infrastructure that would compromise the production of raw materials, international trade, and, in particular, supply chains;

RECALLING that the Declaration on Security in the Americas (Mexico, 2003) and the Declaration of San Carlos on Hemispheric Cooperation for Comprehensive Action to Fight Terrorism (Bogot´┐Ż, 2006) express the commitment to identify and fight emerging terrorist threats regardless of their origin, such as cybercrime, bioterrorism, and threats to tourism security and critical infrastructure;

WELCOMING the recently adopted United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of September 8, 2006 (doc. A/RES/60/288), which calls for the intensification of all activities designed to enhance security and the protection of especially vulnerable targets, such as critical infrastructure and public places, and which builds on many of the elements proposed by the Secretary-General in his April 27, 2006, report to the General Assembly, entitled "Uniting against Terrorism: Recommendations for a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (doc. A/60/825);

TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION that critical infrastructure can be destroyed or damaged by terrorist acts, and that the state must take appropriate measures in its power to ensure the security of installations and of the people in them;

RECOGNIZING the need to find effective ways to prevent, deter, mitigate consequences of, and be prepared to respond to, potential threats to critical infrastructure, and to ensure the security of installations and the people in them; and

RECOGNIZING the importance of promoting cooperation initiatives that improve the protection of critical infrastructure, including those identified in the CICTE Work Plan, and

RECOGNIZING the need to strengthen the CICTE Secretariat and provide it with the necessary human and financial resources to ensure its institutional operations, continuity in its endeavors, and fulfillment of the programs and activities contained in the CICTE Work Plan,


1. Their most vehement condemnation of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, as they consider it criminal and unjustifiable under any circumstances, regardless of where and by whom it is committed, and because it constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security and to the democracy, stability, and prosperity of the countries of the region.

2. The importance of the ratification of or accession to, as the case may be, the inter-American and universal instruments against terrorism by the Member States that have not already done so, and the implementation of the provisions thereof.

3. That critical infrastructure refers, inter alia, to those facilities, systems, and networks, and physical or virtual (IT) services and equipment, the disabling or destruction of which would have a severe impact on populations, public health, security, economic activity, the environment, democratic governance, or the ability of the government of a Member State to operate effectively.

4. Their acknowledgement that terrorism is a threat to critical infrastructure and their commitment to take all necessary actions, in accordance with their domestic law and relevant international agreements, to prevent mitigate and deter potential terrorist threats to critical infrastructure, through the development and implementation of national measures and the strengthening of regional and international cooperation.

5. The importance of the identification by Member States of their critical infrastructure and risks and threats posed to it from terrorism, in accordance with their domestic legal system and national priorities.

6. Their recognition of the Panama Canal as an example of critical infrastructure for the Hemisphere.

7. The importance of collaboration between CICTE and the competent subregional integration mechanisms that facilitate an ongoing dialogue among Member States, with a view to adopting preventive measures to mitigate and deter possible emerging terrorist threats to critical infrastructure.

8. The need to promote the voluntary sharing of experience, information and best practices among Member States, as well as hemispheric cooperation, for example through experts groups, with a view to preventing, mitigating, and deterring threats to critical infrastructure and harmonizing, as appropriate, national and regional efforts.

9. Their commitment to comply and maintain compliance with international standards related to the protection of critical infrastructure.

10. The need to encourage Member States to develop close ties to the private sector and civil society in their respective countries, as appropriate, in order to develop capacity-building prevention and protection programs on threats to critical infrastructure.

11. Their request to the CICTE Secretariat to promote in the Member States educational and training activities aimed at creating a public culture of awareness of and sensitivity to critical infrastructure.

12. Their support for the efforts currently underway by the CICTE Secretariat to collaborate and coordinate with the relevant organs, agencies and entities of the OAS as well as with subregional and international organizations capable of contributing to the protection of critical infrastructure against acts of terrorism.

13. Their satisfaction with the activities already undertaken by the CICTE Secretariat and their support for actions underway in the area of critical infrastructure protection, within the framework of the CICTE Work Plan.

14. Their decision to recommend that the OAS Regular Fund contribute the necessary resources to provide the CICTE Secretariat with human and financial resources to ensure continuity in its endeavors and fulfillment of its programs and activities.

15. Their appeal to the Member States, Permanent Observers, and pertinent international agencies that they provide, maintain, or increase, as appropriate, their voluntary financial and/or human resource contributions to CICTE, to facilitate the performance of its functions and promote the enhancement of its programs and the scope of its work.

1The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on grounds of principle, reserves its approval of the Declaration of Panama on Protection of Critical Infrastructure in the Hemisphere in the face of Terrorism, believing that it lacks elements that would allow a comprehensive treatment of the question of terrorism. The grounds on which our position is based are set out in the document attached to the Minutes of this meeting and in the Rapporteur's Report.