The Summit of the Americas

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
March 13, 2012


Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity - Theme of the Sixth Summit of the Americas

What is the Summit of the Americas?

The Summit of the Americas is the only venue that brings together all 34 democratically elected heads of state and government in the Western Hemisphere. Launched by President Clinton in Miami in 1994, the Summit remains an unparalleled opportunity to reinforce bonds of collaboration, friendship, and commitment to democratic ideals among the nations of the hemisphere.

Beyond a periodic gathering of the hemisphere’s leaders, the Summit is a collaborative forum where leaders discuss coordinated multilateral responses to the common challenges facing the people of the hemisphere. Although not an Organization of American States (OAS) event, a secretariat in the OAS ensures follow-up and continuity between Summits. The impact of Summit partnerships is evident throughout the hemisphere in improved primary and secondary education, regional security initiatives, enhanced economic opportunities, and stronger commitment to democracy, public health and human rights. The Summits provide civil society, including the private sector, a forum in which to articulate their concerns and work to find solutions to issues facing the peoples of the Americas.

Sixth Summit of the Americas — Cartagena, Colombia 2012

Colombia will host the Sixth Summit on April 14-15, 2012, in Cartagena. The theme of the Summit is Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity. The hemisphere’s leaders will discuss ways to reduce poverty and inequality, prepare for and respond to natural disasters, confront transnational crime and improve citizen security, and promote access to technology.

The United States looks forward to finding new and innovative ways to build on what we have accomplished so far—with a focus on increasing participation by civil society, establishing linkages among small business innovators, CEOs, and academic leaders, and working to ensure that our cooperation produces real, concrete results for all the people of the Americas, including historically marginalized populations.

Fifth Summit of the Americas — Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago 2009

Heads of state and government supported the creation of the Inter-American Social Protection Network (IASPN), which enables countries to replicate innovative and responsible social programs, such as Mexico’s conditional cash transfer program; the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), a forum within which leaders committed to expanding regional cooperation to address challenges of energy security and climate change; the Western Hemisphere Microfinance Growth Fund; and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

Fourth Summit of the Americas — Mar del Plata, Argentina 2005

The United States called for the first-ever Americas Competitiveness Forum, to focus on small business development, supply chain management, education and training, and innovation. Mar del Plata also launched the Infrastructure Development Program of the Americas, which leveraged $2.6 billion in private investment to improve basic services to 500,000 citizens across the hemisphere.

Special Summit of the Americas — Monterrey, Mexico 2004

Leaders pledged their support to work toward a 50 percent reduction in remittance-related costs; a three-fold increase in IDB private sector lending to small and medium enterprises; the publication of reports on education; the provision of HIV/AIDS antiretroviral therapy for at least 600,000 individuals; and the denial of safe haven to corrupt officials, those who corrupt them, and their assets.

Third Summit of the Americas — Quebec, Canada 2001

The Quebec Summit led to the Inter-American Democratic Charter, a seminal document recognizing that “Democracy and social and economic development are interdependent and are mutually reinforcing;” and that “The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it.” Also mandated were the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and its Follow-Up-Mechanism to ensure compliance with the convention. The United States established regional Centers of Excellence for Teacher Training to provide training in reading instruction and school administration in Central America, the Caribbean, and the Andes.

Second Summit of the Americas — Santiago, Chile 1998

Heads of State and government pledged support for the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), a systematic procedure to measure the progress of actions taken by the member states of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). Recognizing the need to provide support to regional education-enrollment goals, leaders established a Regional Education Indicators Project. Leaders also reached consensus on establishing a Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression under the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

First Summit of the Americas — Miami, Florida 1994

Nations declared a Partnership for Development and Prosperity through democracy, free trade, and sustainable development. In addition to various concrete actions, the first Summit recognized a hemisphere that had shed its history of authoritarian regimes, military coups, and traumatic internal conflicts to embrace a future of democratic governance and open markets. Leaders called for the Special OAS Conference on Combating Terrorism, which led to the formation of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE).