Since 1994, the 34 democratically elected Heads of State from throughout the Western Hemisphere convened seven times to address key challenges facing the people of the Americas. The United States and the nations of the hemisphere have worked hard to deliver on the promise of the Summits of the Americas. The effects of Summit initiatives have been felt throughout the region in enhanced economic opportunities, improved security, and greater democratic freedom.
The First Summit of the Americas in Miami (1994) led to the formation of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism. The Second, in Santiago, Chile (1998), called for the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism and a Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression. The Inter-American Democratic Charter, which reinforces the hemispheres commitment to democracy, was a result of the Third Summit in Quebec City, Canada (2001). At the Fourth Summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina (2005) the Americas Competitiveness Forum was launched to facilitate business development throughout the region.
As a result of the 2009 Summit in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago the region has established partnerships like the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, and the Inter-American Social Protection Network, which enables countries to learn from and replicate innovative and responsible social programs, based on the exceptional practices of others.
The U.S. is committed to the Summit of the Americas as a forum that has had success in formulating initiatives which yield positive results throughout the hemisphere.
The Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) is the main decision-making body of the Summit process. The SIRG focuses on Summit follow-up – the region’s progress in implementing previous Summit objectives, and on preparing for the next Summit. Each of the 34 governments is represented at the SIRG by a National Summit Coordinator. The U.S. National Summit Coordinator works with the White House, the State Department Summit team, and other U.S. government agencies to develop and advance U.S. interests in the Western Hemisphere through the Summit.
The Summit of the Americas is also supported by 12 international organizations that make up the Joint Summit Working Group. They include the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Bank, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, the Andean Development Corporation, the Caribbean Development Bank, the International Organization for Migration, the International Labor Organization, and the United Nations Development Program. These organizations play key roles in helping governments implement Summit initiatives and in providing continuity throughout the Summit process.
Civil Society also plays a critical role in the Summit process by providing governments with recommendations and partnering with governments in international organizations to implement Summit goals. Through the SIRG and the OAS, the United States advocates for expanded opportunities for civil society groups to participate and provide input into the Summit process.