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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Releases > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Fact Sheets > 2003
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
October 29, 2003

Results of the OAS Special Conference on Security

Bound by common principles and shared values and facing the new and dynamic environment of the 21st century, the states of the Hemisphere met in Mexico City on October 27-28, 2003, at the OAS [Organization of American States] Special Conference on Security to revitalize and strengthen the Inter-American security system. The conference focused on identifying the threats, concerns, and other challenges facing the Hemisphere and agreed on a cooperative approach to address them. The following is a summary of some of the major results of the Conference.

Declaration on Security in the Americas


Democracy is a fundamental pillar of peace and security in the Americas. The citizens of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it. The region’s commitment to the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the principles, values, and mechanisms contained within it is unwavering.


The links between terrorism, illicit trafficking in arms, asset laundering, organized crime and drug trafficking constitute a threat to hemispheric security. The states pledged to strengthen every state’s capacity to prevent, punish, and eliminate terrorism. They also will identify new terrorist threats, whatever their origin or motivation, including biological terrorism and threats to cyber security, and the means to combat them. The states will cooperate to deprive terrorists of the resources, means, and safehavens they use to carry out their activities. They will cooperate to prosecute all terrorists and bring them to justice.

Conflict Prevention and Resolution

Peace is a value in and of itself and the peaceful settlement of disputes is an essential principle upon which the Inter-American system is based. The states will actively support bilateral, sub-regional, and regional efforts to prevent and peacefully resolve both intra- and interstate conflicts, because both can endanger hemispheric security. To this end, they will fully utilize the appropriate Inter-American institutions and mechanisms, including the OAS Charter, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty), and the Fund for Peace.

Building Mutual Confidence

Confidence and security building measures (CSBMs) are a fundamental component of the hemisphere’s security architecture because they foster transparency, trust, and stability. The states will implement the CSBMs identified in the pertinent Inter-American conferences and meetings and those established under bilateral and regional instruments, in particular, the Declarations of Santiago, San Salvador, and Miami. They will also institutionalize CSBMs within the OAS framework by establishing the “Forum for CSBMs” which will develop a new generation of CSBMs.

Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, especially to terrorist groups, constitute a serious threat to the Americas. The states will prevent such proliferation by supporting the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and by regulating national exports of specialized materials, technology and expertise that could be used to prepare, produce, or use such weapons and their means of delivery. The goal is to make the hemisphere free of biological and chemical weapons.

Transnational Organized Crime

Transnational organized crimes, including its links to terrorism, drug trafficking, and arms trafficking, is a major threat in the hemisphere. The states will improve all states’ capacity to combat this threat and increase our coordination in pursuit of this goal.

Illicit Trafficking in Firearms

Illicit trafficking in firearms is a significant threat to hemispheric security. To fight this threat, the states will destroy excess national stockpiles and manage and secure remaining national stockpiles. They will also regulate firearms brokering, currently an unregulated activity in the hemisphere, and prosecute illicit brokering. The states will fully utilize the appropriate Inter-American institutions and mechanisms to address this issue, including the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), and the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE).

Natural Disasters

Natural and man-made disasters can devastate the states of the hemisphere. To mitigate the danger posed by them, the states will expand and strengthen relevant regional mechanisms and institutions, such as the Inter-American Committee for Natural Disaster Reduction. When such disasters do occur, they will swiftly address them in a cooperative and coordinated manner. The states will also use technology and scientific resources to mitigate the effects of natural disasters to reduce or avoid damage to the environment, critical infrastructure, their heritage, and, most importantly, their peoples.


The spread of HIV/AIDS is a serious threat that affects all states of the hemisphere. The states will develop cross-cutting strategies within the framework of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to treat those afflicted with HIV/AIDS and prevent its spread. They will also promote the health of their peoples by improving access and availability to healthcare, medicines, and information. The states will mobilize funding and strengthen the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.


Extreme poverty is an unacceptable condition that afflicts many people in the hemisphere. The states are committed to eradicating extreme poverty through sound economic and social policies. Coordination and cooperation between the states will complement our national efforts to address extreme poverty. They will combat poverty by adopting and implementing the Millennium Development Goals and the Monterrey Consensus, promoting development through economic integration, and fully utilizing regional and international development agencies.

Declaration in Support of the Government of Colombia

Support for Colombia

The states of the hemisphere stand with Colombia and support the efforts of the Uribe Administration to eradicate terrorism in Colombia. We fully support Colombia’s democratic security policy because it protects the people of Colombia from the threats posed by terrorism and fosters an atmosphere in which reconciliation and peace are achievable.

Declaration in Support of the Central American Democratic Security Process

Support for Central America

The states of the Hemisphere are impressed by the progress achieved by Central America in the last two decades. The democratic security process initiated on the Isthmus contributes to the security of the hemisphere by fostering development, transparency, and accountability throughout Central America. The Framework Treaty on Democratic Security is a model regional security instrument that should be fully implemented.

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