June 8, 2010, 1:20 pm
By The Carter Center
The Andean-U.S. Dialogue Forum met in Lima, Peru, on June 1-2 to develop a common agenda to address problematic issues among the represented countries. The forum, which consists of influential citizens from a variety of sectors within each country, is designed to provide crucial support and reinforcement of diplomatic efforts through a civil society process.
Dr. Jennifer McCoy, director of the Carter Center’s Americas Program, and Kristen Sample, head of the Andean mission at International IDEA (www.idea.int), opened the proceedings and welcomed the participants on behalf of the forum’s coordinating organizations. Also addressing the forum was Ambassador Néstor Popolizio, Peru’s vice minister of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Popolizio gave a warm welcome from Peru President Alan Garcia and extolled the benefits of the forum and the work of its members.
Representatives from each of the five Andean countries (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia) and the United States updated the group on the current political, economic, and cultural environment of their respective nation. Forum members from each country reported on topics of transnational importance and engaged in spirited and thoughtful discussion on which items were most critical as the group moved toward a common agenda.
Both days featured new working group sessions that were begun in the first plenary meeting in Atlanta in February. During the sessions, which covered areas like development, democracy, human rights, and media, topics for action were discussed and projects chosen for the second phase of the forum. International synergy was on full display as the merits and relative importance of the proposed projects were debated and approved.
Spirits were high at the close of the meeting and a statement of common purpose was formally adopted by 23 Forum members from all six countries. The next immediate steps for the forum will be for pairs of U.S. members to undertake trips to each of the Andean countries in July and August to further understand the realities in these countries. The third plenary meeting of the forum will be held this fall in Washington, D.C.
Posted in Latin America and Caribbean Program