Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
February 6, 2003
Summit-Mandated Meeting of Experts on Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs)
The Plan of Action emanating from the 2001 Quebec City Summit of the Americas mandated the holding of an “experts meeting, prior to the Special Conference on Security, as a follow-up to the regional conferences of Santiago and San Salvador on CSBMs, in order to evaluate implementation and consider next steps to further mutual confidence.” The United States hosted this Meeting in Miami from February 3-4, 2003.
The conference consisted of one General Committee, which heard plenary statements and presentations by various delegations and organizations, and two working groups tasked with drafting the final outcome documents of the conference. The United States, as host of the Meeting, was elected Chair of the General Committee. Chile was elected First Vice-Chair, El Salvador was elected Second Vice-Chair, and Argentina was elected as Rapporteur.
Civilian and military representatives from 30 OAS member states participated: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Also participating were several observer states, including Russia and France, as well other international organizations, such as the United Nations and the Inter-American Defense Board. Representatives from a variety of non-governmental organizations were also present, and they held a “Civil Society Forum” after the conference proceedings on February 3 that discussed the role of civil society in defense budget transparency.
The Conference issued two final outcome documents: the “Consensus of Miami. Declaration by the Experts on CSBMs: Recommendations to the Summit-mandated Special Conference on Security;” and the “Miami Group of Experts Illustrative List of CSBMs for Countries to Consider Adopting on a Bilateral, Sub-Regional, or Regional Level.”
The adoption of these documents marked major successes for the Conference. Both of these documents will provide a practical roadmap for resolving interstate border tensions, lowering pressure for arms spending, promoting democratic norms, and fostering a climate of trust, transparency, and cooperation in Hemisphere over the next. In addition, the Conference recommended permanently institutionalizing the CSBMs process by the creation of the Forum for Confidence and Security Building Measures to discuss and advance CSBMs.
More specifically, the “Declaration” recommended the voluntary application of 35 military and general measures by OAS member states. The “Illustrative List” expanded on the measures contained in the “Declaration” by providing a catalog of 53 specific political, diplomatic, military, educational, cultural, and other measures that states of the region can draw upon as they seek to improve ties and build confidence with their neighbors.
The CSBMs developed by the previous conferences (Buenos Aires, 1994; Santiago, 1995; San Salvador, 1998) strengthened regional military-to-military relations, reduced inter-state tensions, and fostered cooperation and security among the democratic states of the region. The results of the Miami Meeting of Experts built on this progress by recommending bold, new measures. It also furthered the expansion and institutionalization of the CSBMs endorsed by the previous conferences, and contributed directly to the May 2003 Summit-mandated Special Conference on Security. This Special Conference will be the culmination of a comprehensive review and revitalization of the region’s security institutions.