2nd South American Summit held in Guayaquil, Ecuador on July 26-27 marked a
significant step in the consolidation of regional relations within the
hemisphere. It provides a strategic opportunity for the countries of the Greater
Caribbean and of South America to links their economies more closely together.
countries attending the Summit included four from the Greater Caribbean:
Colombia and Venezuela, which are members of the Andean Community (CAN); and
Guyana and Suriname, which are members of Caricom. All four countries are
members of the ACS.
Consensus issued by the Summit emphasises the development of physical
infrastructure for continental integration. Transport, telecommunications and
energy are designated as the key elements of an Initiative for the Integration
of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA), launched at the 1st
Summit in Brasilia in 2000.
guiding vision is to facilitate multi-sectoral integration within the three main
coastal zones of South America-Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific-and to link these
with the continent's internal regions.
Technical Coordinating Committee is composed of three key financial
institutions: the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Andean Development
Corporation (CAF), and the Financial Fund for the Development of the River Plata
Basin. It has identified 162 projects in the three priority sectors for
financing and implementation.
a bold scheme for road transportation linkages among Brazil, Guyana, Suriname
and Venezuela. In Guayaquil, the Foreign Ministers of Venezuela and Guyana
agreed to set up a Technical Committee on the construction of a direct road link
between the two countries.
agreements on the development of transport infrastructure have been made between
Bolivia and Chile, Chile and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), Chile and
Argentina, and Brazil and Paraguay. There is also a major project for the
development of multi-modal transport to link the countries in the Amazon River
Basin to the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Guyana, Venezuela and Colombia are all Amazon countries and are participants in
an ACS programme for Uniting the Caribbean by Air and Sea. In addition, the Plan
Puebla Panama (PPP) envisages, a road, telecommunications and energy network
linking Mexico and Central America as far south as Panama.
IIRSA and PPP initiatives should be seen as complementary to each other. Viewed
as a whole, they could offer a strategic opportunity for South America and the
Greater Caribbean to be opened up to one another, with the mainland Caribbean
countries serving as a bridge by means of north-south and east-west transport
Other notable features of the Guayaquil Consensus for the Greater Caribbean:
A trade and
economic cooperation agreement between MERCOSUR and CAN should be completed by
the end of 2002, uniting the two major integration groupings of South America.
The immediate motive is the strengthening of negotiating capacity in external
trade relations, principally in the FTAA.
SIECA, please take note.
treatment of small economies in the FTAA should "consider appropriately their
circumstances, needs, economic conditions and opportunities" and embrace
a Declaration on making South America a Zone of Peace. The aim is to gradually
reduce military spending in the continent so as to release more resources for
the fight against poverty. The South American Peace Zone could be seen as
complementary to the Zone of Cooperation of the Greater Caribbean being
promoted by the ACS, to which the four Greater Caribbean countries in South
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Norman Girvan is Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States.
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