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Mar del Plata Plan of Action: Fourth Summit of the Americas


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November 5, 2005

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Mar del Plata, Argentina

Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance

I. CREATING DECENT WORK

A. NATIONAL COMMITMENTS

1. To eliminate forced labor before 2010 by strengthening measures and policies, to enable those countries that have not already done so to achieve this goal. To this end, promote the creation of national plans of action with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

2. To eradicate by 2020, at the latest, the worst forms of child labor and reduce the number of children that work in violation of national laws. We shall continue strengthening national policies that enable achievement of these goals. In addition to providing quality basic education, we undertake to build bridges between child labor eradication programs and other support programs, such as income support programs, extracurricular activities and training. To meet this objective, countries shall set national goals and deadlines based on the local situation.

3. To reduce youth unemployment and significantly lower the percentage of young people that neither study nor work. We shall strengthen our efforts in the development of specific policies for training, vocational training, reinsertion into the educational system and promotion of access of young people of either gender to their first job. In this respect, some countries promote youth employment in non traditional sectors such as in the conservation and rehabilitation of the environment and in areas of public-private partnerships to enable access to formal education and introductory professional courses in the workplace. We shall promote targeting these programs, in particular, towards youths that are most vulnerable, whether because of low levels of education or low income.

4. To eliminate discrimination against women at work through, among other measures, the implementation of a range of policies that will increase women's access to decent, dignified, and productive work, including policies addressing training and education and protection of the rights of women, as well as proactive policies to ensure that men and women enjoy equality in the workplace.

5. To ensure equal access for men and women to the benefits of social protection and ensure attention to gender issues in labor and social policies.

6. To develop and strengthen policies to increase opportunities for decent, dignified, and productive work for senior citizens and persons with disabilities, and ensure compliance with national labor laws in this area, including eliminating discrimination against them in the workplace.

7. To implement policies that provide equal pay for equal work or, as appropriate, for work of equal value.

8. To significantly reduce the levels of unregistered work by implementing or strengthening mechanisms that ensure enforcement of national labor laws in the workplace.

9. To promote goals for the gradual registration of workers who are wage earners but not covered by social protection, especially domestic workers.

10. To provide, improve or widen, as appropriate, comprehensive social protection systems so that all workers have access to relevant social safety net mechanisms.

11. To promote tripartite and inclusive social dialogue and cooperation among social partners and governments and call on the ILO for support as needed.

12. To encourage, as appropriate, with the corresponding educational authorities, the inclusion in educational curricula the study of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the dimensions of decent work, bearing in mind the approach of the ILO.

13. To carry out actions towards the promotion of the fundamental principles and rights at work and develop, together with the ILO, cooperation strategies to be complied with by member countries.

14. To increase the proportion of the active population, both employed and unemployed, that participates in occupational training activities to acquire or update their skills, including those required in the knowledge-based economy, making use of the good practices developed by CINTERFOR/ILO in various countries in the region.

15. In addition to public efforts in this area, to promote the development of business services that support occupational training that facilitates the entry into the formal labor market and the upgrading of the skills of the labor force.

16. To promote occupational health and safety conditions and facilitate healthy work environments for all workers, and, to that end, ensure effective labor inspection systems. For this purpose, it is essential to foster strategic alliances between the labor, health, environment and education sectors.

17. To criminalize migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, effectively enforce national laws and regulations to confront migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, and strengthen institutions and the training of professional staff to be better positioned to investigate and prosecute the responsible parties, undertake prevention initiatives, as well as protect and assist the victims of these crimes.

18. To adopt measures to encourage the full and effective exercise of the rights of all workers, including migrant workers, as well as application of core labor standards, such as those contained in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its follow-up, adopted in 1998. Explore ways for the ILO to provide technical advisory services to member states to help them accomplish that objective.[1]

B. HEMISPHERIC COOPERATION

19. To continue strengthening the capacity of the Ministries of Labor to effectively enforce our national labor laws and regulations. We will continue to promote cooperation among the Ministries of Labor, within the context of the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor (IACML).

20. To strengthen constructive dialogue on international migration, with a view to full recognition of human rights of migrant workers, reduce their vulnerable conditions at work, as well as advocate effective compliance of the principle of equality and non-discrimination at work in accordance with international instruments in this area and, thereby, ensure that migration is an orderly process that benefits all parties and boosts productivity at the global level.[2]

21. To strengthen and establish collaboration mechanisms among countries of transit, origin and reception of migrant workers in the Hemisphere so as to disseminate information on labor rights of migrant workers.

C. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

22. To strengthen, in cooperation with the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), ILO, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), national capacities to produce statistics particularly focused on labor matters broken down by gender and race.

23. To request that the Organization of American States (OAS) continue its technical support in the implementation of the Inter-American program adopted by resolution AG/RES. 2141 (XXXV-O/05) of the thirty-fifth period of regular sessions of the General Assembly. .


II. GROWTH WITH EMPLOYMENT

A. NATIONAL COMMITMENTS

24. To promote an inclusive social tripartite and transparent dialogue as an instrument for the proposition of policies and resolution of labor conflicts in order to strengthen the representation and stimulate the participation of unions and of employer organizations in the formulation and implementation of national policies for the promotion of decent work.

25. To undertake, when pertinent, an analysis of the structure of employment at the national, regional, and local level and of the sectors and sub-sectors that might have a higher potential impact on increases of income, employment and poverty reduction.

26. To make efforts aimed at facilitating the incorporation and/or enlargement, as appropriate, to our national statistics systems, of the information on the contribution to the generation of added value, reduction of poverty, fostering of social welfare by productive cooperatives and other independent labor categories.

27. To promote increased communication between ministries responsible for economic, social, and labor policies at the national level with the objective of coordinating policies centered on job creation and poverty reduction.

28. To encourage investment in basic infrastructure having a high positive impact on employment in order to promote growth and productive employment.

29. To promote and encourage, when pertinent, the creation of agencies and fora for the identification and feasibility assessment of investment projects in basic infrastructure.

30. To promote training and technical and credit assistance services, and professional training, and to strengthen the development of business, technological, and management skills for micro, small, and medium-sized companies, facilitating their inclusion as local suppliers.

31. To create and/or strengthen, as appropriate, agencies specialized in development services, and improve the business climate for micro, small, and medium-sized companies facilitating access to markets, including foreign markets, byrequesting from multilateral institutions technical, and financial assistance for the achievement of this goal.

32. To stimulate the design or strengthening of mechanisms or initiatives for access to credit by, among other measures, the fostering of the property registry and cadastre, in which legal certainty is expressed, among other means, through the verification of the title and the use of it, ensuring that the property rights benefit all people without discrimination.

33. To favor the research, development, and adoption of renewable and efficient energy sources and the deployment of technology for cleaner and more efficient energy sources, including among them, those that foster the intensive use of labor, which, together with the promotion of sustainable development, and addressing climate change concerns, permit the reduction of poverty.

34. To stimulate policies that improve income distribution.

35. To support the implementation of the Ministerial Agreement of Guayaquil in 2005, Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas. (AGRO 2003-2015 Plan)

B. HEMISPHERIC COOPERATION

36. To encourage the exchange of experience with regard to the role of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises and access to procurement programs, in the creation of productive jobs, development of competitive skills, reduction of the informal sector, and the fight against poverty.

37. To establish mechanisms to exchange good practices and innovative approaches for the development of micro, small, and medium-sized companies, such as the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Congress of the Americas, and foster greater public and private participation in this Congress.

38. To develop a hemispheric virtual network for the exchange of business opportunities.

39. To substantially improve the capacity at the national, regional, and hemispheric levels for risk mitigation; to implement cost-effective and robust early warning systems, and to enhance disaster recovery and reconstruction capabilities in collaboration with relevant international and regional institutions. To explore with relevant international and regional institutions the coordinated development of effective public-private catastrophic risk insurance systems.


C. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

40. To foster multilateral cooperation from development banks in order to identify and provide financing for national and regional infrastructure projects, in particular those designed to promote sustainable development, generate employment, and fight poverty.

41. To promote increased funding and investment in science and technology, engineering and innovation. To request the appropriate multilateral organizations to strengthen technical and financial cooperation activities aimed at pursuing this goal and at the development of national innovation systems.

42. To request the ILO to extend its technical assistance and support to countries (governments, organizations of employers, and workers) in their efforts to promote the creation of more and better jobs, especially through the strengthening and development of micro, small, and medium-sized companies.

43. To request Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and ECLAC to continue with their efforts to develop an information system for the follow-up and evaluation of the AGRO 2003-2015 Plan, and the other members of the Joint Summit Working Group to join in those efforts as a contribution to defining goals and indicators for the mandates of the Summit of the Americas.

44. To explore ways for the multilateral development banks to provide more assistance to the poorest and least creditworthy countries as performance-based grants, and expand the multilateral development banks role in catalyzing private sector investment.


III. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

A. NATIONAL COMMITMENTS

45. To foster the development of comprehensive economic and social policies at the national level, principally aimed at employment growth; reduction of poverty, exclusion and inequality; personal skills development; and access to opportunities for integral development.

46. To implement - with the support of the PanAmerican Health Organization (PAHO) - the "Three Ones Initiative: one HIV/AIDS action framework, one national AIDS coordinating authority, and one country-level surveillance and evaluation system" developing primary prevention of HIV/AIDS and strengthening health services for young people and other vulnerable groups, with special attention to the problem of stigma and discrimination in the labor environment, taking into account the ILO Code of Conduct on HIV/AIDS in the workplace. To promote efforts to provide integral prevention, treatment, and care to HIV/AIDS carriers with the aim of providing as close as possible universal access to treatment for all those who need it as soon as possible.

47. To initiate immediately, with the support of PAHO, and finalize by June 2006, national plans on the preparation of influenza and avian flu pandemics in countries that do not have plans. In countries that already have plans, these should be implemented immediately according to the January 2005 decision of the Executive Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO).

48. To strengthen at the national level the strategy of supervised treatment of tuberculosis, with all of its components, and extend the coverage of the population at risk; in the same manner, coordinate efforts to reduce malaria in endemic countries and strengthen the fight against classic and hemorrhagic dengue.

49. To promote efforts to ensure, by 2010, completion of quality primary school education for all children, and promote the setting of goals, before 2007, for the completion of quality middle-school education.

50. To strengthen, within national health systems, primary health care actions as a step to prevent diseases and their consequences and reduce morbidity with the purpose of ensuring equal access to health services for all people in the hemisphere.

51. To promote an ongoing, respectful, and constructive dialogue with indigenous peoples and develop policies to create the necessary conditions to facilitate their integral and sustainable development, access to decent work, and living conditions, enabling them to overcome poverty with full respect of their rights.

B. HEMISPHERIC COOPERATION

52. To identify and exchange, within the framework of the OAS, practices in the region regarding policies and programs to confront poverty.

53. To continue to strengthen regional cooperation and the mobilization of resources to advance in the fight against the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances, calling upon the countries of the hemisphere, in cooperation with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), to: develop, implement, and evaluate substance abuse prevention programs, in particular for children and young people, such as "Life Skills", among others; expand the "Program to Estimate the Human, Social, and Economic Cost of Drugs in the Americas"; and promote support for the integral and sustainable development strategies carried out by the countries affected by cultivation and production of illicit drugs.

C. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

54. We recognize the positive results of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria (GFATM) and we reaffirm our support to their activities and goals. We recommend the continued important participation of civil society in the fulfillment of these goals, and we urge the Global Fund Board to evaluate the eligibility criteria with the intent of addressing middle income countries in the hemisphere.

55. To develop, within the framework of the OAS, before 2008, the study of a literacy program, taking into account successful experiences in order to advance towards the eradication of illiteracy in our countries.

56. To promote, within the framework of the OAS, the exchange of experiences for the implementation of electronic education programs articulating means, resources, and tools aimed at strengthening and enriching the educational processes in schools, including the use of new information and communication technologies.

57. To encourage the work now under way in the OAS, to conclude successfully the negotiation of the Social Charter of the Americas and its Plan of Action.

58. To call upon the First Inter-American Meeting of Social Development Ministers to be held in El Salvador, in agreement with resolution AG/RES. 1984 (XXXIV-O/04) of the thirty-fourth period of regular sessions of the OAS General Assembly, to consider, among others, the progress as regards the commitments included in this Plan of Action that pertain to the scope of their competencies.

59. To consider at the next OAS period of regular sessions of the General Assembly to be held in the Dominican Republic, a Declaration on the Decade of the Americas for Persons with Disabilities (2006-2016), together with a program of action.

60. To intensify negotiations for the quick adoption of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ensure the continuity and transparency of their effective participation in the ongoing dialogue at the OAS.


IV. STRENGTHEN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE

A. NATIONAL COMMITMENTS

61. Taking into account the theme of the Mar del Plata Summit and bearing in mind that our concept of security is multidimensional, to promote through concrete actions, at the national, sub-regional, hemispheric, and global levels, the implementation of the commitments identified in the Declaration on Security in the Americas.

62. To continue supporting and strengthening the functioning of the bodies of the Inter-American System of Human Rights, promoting within the political bodies of the OAS, in the framework of the ongoing reflection process, concrete actions to achieve, among other objectives, greater adhesion to the legal instruments, an effective observance of the decisions by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and due consideration of the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and the improvement of access of the victims to the mechanisms of the system, and the adequate financing of the bodies of the System, including the fostering of voluntary contributions.

63. To urge member states, as necessary, to consider signing and ratifying, or adhering to the additional Protocol of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, "Protocol of San Salvador" and to collaborate in the development of progress indicators in the area of economic, social, and cultural rights, in accordance with resolution AG/RES. 2074 (XXXV-O/05) of the thirty-fifth period of regular sessions of the General Assembly.

B. HEMISPHERIC COOPERATION

64. To identify, before December 2006, specific initiatives for cooperation, and the exchange of experiences in the development of technical skills in our countries that contribute to the full application of the provisions of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, and the strengthening of its Implementation Follow-up Mechanism (MESICIC), giving special consideration to the recommendations to that effect arising from the first round of said Mechanism.

65. To consolidate the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition, support the actions for the implementation of a strategic plan for the Justice Studies Center of the Americas (JSCA), and strengthen the institutional development of the General Secretariat of the OAS in these issues, in accordance with the framework of the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA).

66. To cooperate with solidarity with the Haitian people in their efforts to revitalize the democratic institutions, fight poverty, and foster equitable socio-economic development, including, the creation of decent work through, among others, greater support from the international financial institutions and cooperation agencies, and implement disarmament, demobilization, and reinsertion programs (DDR), with the support of MINUSTAH and the Special Mission of the OAS for the Strengthening of Democracy in Haiti.


C. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

67. Recognizing the interconnection between democratic governance and the economic and social development of our peoples and the theme of the Mar del Plata Summit, we request the political bodies and the General Secretariat of the OAS to continue to advance in the effective implementation of the Declaration of Florida, "Delivering the Benefits of Democracy."

68. To request the General Secretariat of the OAS to present for the consideration of the political bodies of the Organization, before 2007, an inter-American program including the exchange of experiences and best practices to strengthen in our countries mechanisms for the participation and collaboration in governance by civil society organizations, the private sector, and the citizenry at large, specifically in the development of public policy for the generation of employment and the fight against poverty, including local governments, in a framework of inclusive social dialogue that takes into account the vulnerability of the most excluded sectors of our societies.

69. To encourage, through the OAS, regional training programs in e-government, and promote the exchange of experiences with the countries that have made progress in this field.

70. To ensure that the OAS and other hemispheric organizations have the financial and institutional capacity to implement Summits commitments.




[1] Paragraph 18: The United States reserves on this paragraph and prefers instead the following text: "Protect and promote the rights of all workers, including migrant workers in accordance with the legal framework of each country, and applicable international law, and promote respect for the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its follow-up. Explore ways for the ILO to provide technical advisory services to Member States to help them accomplish that objective."


[2] Paragraph 20: The United States notes that this language was discussed in connection with the declaration and consensus was achieved, including the United States, on the basis of the following language: "increase Inter-American cooperation and dialogue to reduce and discourage undocumented migration as well as to promote migration processes in accordance with the legal system of each state and applicable international human rights law."



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