June 1996 draft for upcoming Sustainable Development Summit (Bolivia, December 1996) archived on AmericasNet (


June 1996 Draft Presented by the Bolivian Government to the Organization of American States (OAS) in preparation for the December 1996 Hemispheric Summit.


1. The elected Heads of State and Government of the Americas are committed to pursue sustainable development, and concur that economic and social prosperity, as well as human progress, can best be attained by empowering our citizens and providing them with access to a productive and healthy environment, which will enable them to satisfy their needs and aspirations.

2. We believe that some of our current patterns of resource extraction, production, and consumption have responded primarily to short term goals. This has led to the destructive and wasteful exploitation of our natural wealth, with the poor bearing a disproportionately high cost of environmental degradation. To reverse this situation, we are committed to ensure that our policies, investments, and institutional reforms reflect our concern with both our most pressing needs, but also with the dimension of sustainability that addresses inter generational equity.

3. We recognize that the increasing depletion of our natural resource base and the deterioration of the human and natural environment call for immediate and measurable actions. Therefore, we are committed to adopt concrete and practical steps to forge partnerships that will strengthen our capacity to manage, monitor and evaluate our decisions and actions regarding our human, natural, financial, and institutional resources.

4. We believe that the globalization of our economies has rendered isolated initiatives insufficient. Today's economic conditions require coordinated efforts to reverse those processes that are jeopardizing the well being of present and future generations. Such efforts will complement national and local interventions in the same direction.

5. We acknowledge that without improving the conditions of human existence it will not be possible to protect the integrity of the natural systems that sustain us. Attempting to protect our ecosystems while ignoring human needs is a political, moral and practical impossibility. At the same time, the benefits of prosperity cannot be reached through policies that ignore the realities of human interaction with and dependence upon nature. Nor can we address human needs without dynamic and healthy economies. These considerations underlie our agenda for action.

6. We agree that sustainability involves first and foremost, a set of principles and practices encompassing the human, social, economic and environmental dimensions of development. Because these principles and practices are all inclusive in terms of human progress, they must be pursued simultaneously and in a coherent manner.

7. We recognize that economic growth is central to the satisfaction of human needs, which are not the same for all nations or for all groups within a nation undergoing different stages of socioeconomic development. We also acknowledge that these differences are partly explained by social, economic and environmental disparities; by differences in production and consumption patterns, and by disparities in the forms of accessing, allocating, and using resources prevailing in the region.

8. We concur that the goals and objectives of sustainable development must be accompanied by efforts to secure the conditions that enhance growth and capital accumulation in its several forms, namely, human, natural, financial, physical and institutional. Progress toward sustainability requires that we maintain a careful balance among all forms of resources.

9. Cognizant of our differences regarding resources endowments in its various forms, we are committed to adopt sustainable development as the organizing principle of our policy framework, and to pursue technological, financial and other forms of cooperation accordingly.

10. We reiterate our firm adherence to the principles enshrined in the charter of the Organization of American States and the United Nations, including those concerning the sovereign equality of states, non intervention, self determination, human rights and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

11. We affirm our commitment to the principles and agreements of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, which provide guidance for advancing toward sustainable development.

12. We believe that this Summit represents a unique occasion to agree on a shared vision of sustainable development, a vision grounded on a series of challenges and opportunities facing our Hemisphere at this particular juncture. Following are our most pressing challenges:

* Increasing environmental degradation.

* Unprecedented high levels of relative and absolute poverty in the region.

* Major changes in population trends and growth, as well as in patterns of migration and urbanization.

* Recent decline in real wealth creation.

13. To confront these challenges, we are committed to pursue economic growth with social equity and environmental protection. To these end, we will make the best possible use of our endowments, namely, the relative abundance and biodiversity of our natural resources some of which have global importance as well as our cultural, ethnic and spiritual wealth. The opportunity to advance toward this goal is being enhanced by the following trends:

* The growing participation of the private sector in attaining objectives linked to growth, developments and sustainability.

* The prevalence of a solid macroeconomic framework.

* The increasing participation of the civil society in policy dialogue.

14. As Governments and Heads of State, we believe that it is part of our role and our duty as well as an important challenge to consult with and engage our citizens in policy identification and implementation, to discuss available options with them, and to ensure that sufficient information is made available so that they can make choices that will facilitate development that is truly sustainable.


15. As Heads of State and Government of the Americas, we firmly believe that the following set of principles should guide our plan of action toward sustainable development:

Our Ultimate Objective: The Human Being. We believe that our peoples, and their creative intelligence, constitute a key source of hemispheric wealth. Therefore, our actions should be aimed at strengthening our human resources.

Sustainability as the Organizing Principle of Policy Making. An integrated vision encompassing social, economic and environmental perspectives requires that we adopt sustainable development as the guiding force of our policy making, that we develop strong awareness of its principles and practices, and that we use them effectively.

The Global Nature of Sustainable Development. As our economies grow more interdependent, sustainable development has become a universal priority and must be pursued by all nations in the hemisphere. Similarly, the goals of sustainable development can only be achieved by simultaneously pursuing the human, social and cultural economic and environmental dimensions of development.

Our Diversity, Our Identity. Sustainablility does not imply that each and every country in the Hemisphere is at the same level of development nor does it require that we, as sovereign nations, adopt a uniform approach to reach that goal. While we require a consistent global framework, we must acknowledge that solutions will differ in timing and approaches, given the fact that our nations will have to respond to different needs.

The Non exclusionary Nature of Sustainability. Sustainability requires that the benefits of development reach all nations in the Hemisphere, and all segments of the population within each nation. Our efforts should be specifically aimed at those groups that have been traditionally excluded from the benefits of economic growth, that is, the poor, including women and children, indigenous peoples, and minority communities.

A Step Forward in an Evolutionary Process. The agreements reached at this Summit do not represent an end in themselves. Rather, they build upon previous instances of hemispheric cooperation, advancing toward regional integration.


16. In accordance with the principles enunciated above, and given the socio-economic realities of our nations, we agree to adopt a consistent and harmonious strategy towards our goals and objectives concerning sustainable development. The basic elements of such a strategy will set in motion priority actions that respond to short and medium-term goals. This strategy will also create an enabling context to pursue all options available to each nations and the Hemisphere as a whole; it will also be instrumental in consolidating a fundamental process of cooperation to attain our long-term development objectives. This strategy requires that we gear our efforts to strengthening our human resources, institutions and legal framework, to protect our natural resources, and to use our physical and financial resources (public and private) in an efficient way as follows:


Poverty Alleviation. Our ability to progressively eradicate poverty will determine the extent to which sustainable development will be achieved in the Americas.

Addressing Human Needs. Providing access to quality health, education and housing to those who need them will enhance the potential of our population to contribute actively to sustainable development.

Health and Environment. Governments have the responsibility to prevent illness and loss of human and natural life resulting from environmental deterioration. Environmental standards and regulations, as well as economic incentives when applicable, will contribute to guarantee the right of our peoples to live and work in a healthy environment.

Strengthening our Cultural and Indigenous Values. The preservation and enhancement of our cultural patrimony, including the values and practices of our indigenous populations, is a key component of sustainable development.


Accountability. Sustainable development can best be attained in societies that have accountable and free institutions, where all segments of civil society have access to relevant information and fully participate in important decisions.

Stewardship. Human life and prosperity depend on the health of our natural systems air, water, forests, soils--and their biodiversity. Both people and institutions have a responsibility for stewardship, protecting natural resources so that they will continue to sustain life and prosperity in the future.

Democracy and Transparency. A representative and truly participatory democracy guarantees respect for human rights and the rule of law; it safeguards cultural values, ethnic diversity, pluralism and spiritual values; it respects the rights of minorities, and secures peace within and among nations. Democracy and sustainable development are mutually reinforcing when political institutions are transparent, when the rules are clear to all, and when civil society has broad opportunities to participate in the endeavors of development.

Regulatory Framework. Provided that appropriate national policies and regulatory frameworks are in place, free trade and increased economic integration should offer improved opportunities to enhance the working conditions of the peoples by improving economic efficiency and by better protecting our environment.

Policies and Incentives for Investment. Government policies must encourage investment to strengthen our human assets, to preserve and increase our natural resources, and to enhance efficiency and productivity. In this respect, freer domestic and international trade can contribute to foster and consolidate rapidly growing private investment, a key determinant of the pace and direction of development.


Organizational Arrangements. The adequate management of our natural resources and environmental matters requires that we rely on appropriate organizational arrangements at the international, national and local levels.

Policy Instruments. Making progress toward sustainability requires that we develop a series of policy instruments to improve the management of our natural resources. We should carry out economic valuation of both our natural resources, and of the impact that the development has upon them.

Participatory Management. To enable both citizens and institutions to fulfill their mission regarding stewardship it is our responsibility as governments to create vehicles for participation in decision-making and management of natural resources.

Roles and Participation. As governments, it is our responsibility to create vehicles for participation, as well as policy and legal instruments, to enable both citizens and institutions to fulfill their mission regarding stewardship.

Knowledge and Research. Better choices regarding the use of our natural resources require that we develop the necessary knowledge and information regarding their nature, status, and potential, and that we make it available to all those who need them.


Spending and Investment. Fiscal and public investment policies should be guided by a globally integrated perspective coupled with a strong commitment to the sound management of public resources.

Infrastructure. Human-made resources, including roads, dams, settlements, and other public works, are the framework of development. Our decisions about how, where and when to build them should be determined by our commitment to the well-being of future generations.


17. As Heads of State and Government of the Americas, we expect that this Summit will represent a step forward in a process that started several decades ago, and which has crystallized in the various declarations, treaties, and conventions that bind us together. We agree that the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami was an important landmark, as it sets the road map for subsequent political and institutional instances of cooperation. In this sense, we are convinced that our efforts in this field will not conclude with the Santa Cruz Summit.

18. The priority areas for action contained in the agenda that follows put our people in their interaction with nature, at the center stage of sustainable development. Some represent just the fist steps in the long process toward sustainability, while others are intended to further define or intensify previous efforts.

19. Conscious that our growing commitment must be universal, transcendental and evolutionary, we consider that the following priorities will lead to initiatives or concrete actions which should be viable, easily implementable, measurable as well as politically and socially acceptable at this point in time. They offer opportunities for establishing partnerships among the nations of the Americas so that together we can respond to the needs and aspirations of our peoples. They focus on improving and strengthening our human resources, our institutions, our natural resources and our fiscal and financial infrastructure.


20. As we expressed in the Miami Summit, it is politically intolerable and morally unacceptable that some segments of our populations are marginalized and do not share fully the benefits of economic growth. Increasing opportunities to improve peoples quality of life and health, to broaden their knowledge, and to pursue their drive to innovation and creativity are important ingredients of development that is sustainable.

21. The following priorities have been identified as vehicles for enhancing our human assets so that we can attain greater social justice for all our people:

1) Health

22. Health problems cause unwarranted human suffering, undermine human potential, and are a major drain for our economies. In this field we have identified the following priorities:

Targeting Vulnerable Groups. Increase access to health care and other health services for vulnerable groups such as women and children.

Nutrition. Improve food supplies and distribution channels to ensure better nutrition for the poorest segments of our population.

Environmental Health. Prevent illness and loss of life originated in hazardous and degraded environments.

More Effective and Accessible Health Services. Improve access to primary health services to all people.

2) Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation

23. Experience shows that investing in peoples education and training--especially womens--not only contributes to poverty reduction but also keeps population growth under control. In this field we have identified the following priorities:

Cultural Diversity and Traditional Knowledge. Reach universal literacy and carry out other efforts in the field of early education with curricula and materials that are mindful of, and inspired by peoples diverse cultural values, traditions and believes.

Education on Sustainable Development Issues and Approaches. Design and disseminate curricula that teaches principles, values and practices concerning sustainable development.

Skill Development and Retraining. Improve peoples skills and knowledge for productive employment, and enhance their opportunities to express their creativity and ingenuity, in accordance with recent shifts in our economies and technological development.

3) Increase Opportunities for Self-Employment through Micro-enterprises

24. Given the fact that nearly one in three jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean are created by micro-enterprises and small businesses, it is imperative that we strengthen this sector by increasing and facilitating access to financial resources and services, by improving training, and by disseminating technologies that contribute to ecoefficiency and competitiveness.

Finance and Financial Services. Create incentives for banks to enter the field of micro-finance, and to design and develop lending procedures apt to the needs of micro-entrepreneurs.

Regulations. Level the playing field for micro-entrepreneurial activity by correcting the tax system, by simplifying licensing requirements, and by changing those policies concerning labor, pricing and spending that discriminate against micro-entrepreneurs.

Ecoefficiency and Competitiveness. Set in place policies and regulations that foster the adoption of environmentally-sound technologies so that waste is reduced while efficiency and competitiveness are improved.


25. Most economies of our Hemisphere are largely dependent on the use of natural resources Therefore, the extent to which we can improve the well-being of our population, and strengthen our human, financial, and institutional assets, will be determined by how we manage our natural endowment.

Furthering the agreements that we reached at the Hemispheric Summit of the Americas in Miami, UNCED, and other international conventions and fora such as Agenda 21, The Framework Convention Climate Change, GATT-WTO, we have identified energy, water, and forests, as priority areas to focus actions regarding environmental degradation and resource waste.

1) Energy

26. Pricing policies and subsidies, regulations, marketing structures, and access to information on energy conservation and technologies are all factors that have and will determine investment and consumption patterns resulting in various degrees of efficiency. Therefore, actions are required to address the following priorities:

An adequate supply of energy or industrial and domestic uses is an important social goal of development. Nonetheless, current patterns in the use of energy are the primary cause of pollution, environmental degradation and waste.

Transparency in Energy Pricing. Assess of the social and private costs of current subsidies, as well as and their economic, social and environmental effects, as a first step leading to a dialogue regarding the allocation of large sums of financial resources in ways that contribute to sustainable development.

Policies for Energy Efficiency Generation and Conservation. Develop guidelines for energy policies that can trigger far-reaching benefit in efficiency and conservation so as to reduce pollution, improve competitiveness, and benefit larger sectors of the population. Issues include regulatory frameworks and legislation on market structures; fiscal and monetary policies; infrastructure development, and the promotion of sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Information Production and Dissemination. Develop mechanisms to produce and disseminate information on a wide array of experiences and lessons learned regarding institutional, economic and technical instruments that will permit the appropriate use of the various sources or conventional and alternatives of energy throughout the Hemisphere.

2) Water

27. Despite extensive efforts by countries in the Americas to improve water use and management, demand continues to rise while contamination has seriously degraded the quality of fresh water spreading disease and causing unaccounted economic losses.

Poor management structures and pricing, as well as lack of stakeholder commitment to water mange and conservation, are important factors contributing to growing scarcity. Particularly troublesome are the projected demands of drinking water by urban populations, and potential conflicts among sectors, regions and countries that share water sources. Action will be needed in the following priority areas:

Management and Use. Establish mechanisms (laws, rights to access, management structures, decision-making processes) to manage water resources in ways that meet the various needs, including human health and safety, economic development, and wildlife conservation.

Access and Availability. Find ways to address pollution problems and meet the challenge of supplying safe drinking water to rapidly growing urban areas.

Stakeholder Participation. Develop legal and administrative instruments that enable direct involvement of water users and governments at all levels in water planning, development, and management.

Transboundary Water Conflicts. Support the establishment of early warning systems to anticipate water conflicts, and establish codes for management and dispute resolution on transboundary waterways.

Economic Valuation of Water Resources. Support the use of techniques to estimate the value of water resources, and the health, productivity and biodiversity of water sources: impacts of pollution and over exploitation. Introduce instruments to manage water demand through pricing and incentives for conservation.

3) Forests, Forestry and Biodiversity

28. Forests are the home and source of livelihood of millions of culturally diverse populations in the regions as well as of economic growth and foreign revenue for many countries. Forests in the Americas contain some of the richest biodiversity in the planet, play an important role in climatic stabilization, and are significant source of oxygen for the planet .

Nonetheless, deforestation in the region is taking place at alarming rates, resulting in the destruction of the resource base of diverse ethnic groups, loss of biodiversity, and large economic loss. Factors contributing to this situation include lack of clarity concerning property rights, poor valuation of this resource and insufficient understanding on how to manage forests in sustainable ways.

As agreed at UNCED 1992, we believe that decisions on how to use forest resources is rightly a matter for national governments. Each country has the right and responsibility to set its own resource management priorities in accordance with its own development goals.

The following are priorities to increase cooperation on sustainable forest management:

Property of Forest Resources. Reconcile property of forest resources with the actual use of resources.

Define Viable Approaches to Sustainable Forest Management. Develop mechanism to share information on sustainable forest management, and establish institutional arrangements, market opportunities, intersectorial policies, forest management methods and technology, forest concessions, and trade standards affecting forest products.

Financial Mechanisms for Sustainable Forestry. Develop policy guidelines and cooperation mechanisms to finance sustainable forest management and increase forest revenues. This includes better utilization of timber and non-timber products, and assigning value to non-timber benefits and services such as watershed protection, contributions to a life supporting atmosphere, and biodiversity protection.

Economic Valuation of Forest Resources. Support the use of valuation techniques for both resource accounting and sustainable forest management decisions, including the incorporation of environmental cost-benefit analysis.

Protection of Biodiversity. Improve the national systems of parks and reserves and develop policy and institutional instruments to understand and address the destructive effects of social and economic activities upon biodiversity.


29. The pursuit of sustainable development requires institutions and legal frameworks that are transparent and simultaneously address economic progress, equity and environmental management.

Many of our institutions, laws and regulations have been developed with a sectorial orientation. which has resulted in inconsistencies, overlaps and gaps that stand in the way to sustainable development. Therefore, it will be necessary to address the following priorities:

1) Public Participation and Governance

30. Democratic institutions have made impressive strides in recent years. As Heads of State and Government, we recognize democratic governance as one of the pillars of sustainable development. Nevertheless, in many countries the practice of democratic citizenship continues to be limited to the periodic act of voting.

Effective mechanisms for engagement with government will provide citizens with opportunities to assume ownership over public issues and develop the skills and experience for constructive dialogue with governments.

Strengthen Representative Institutions for Citizen Participation. Build parliaments and local governments as effective channel for policy dialog and oversight, for instance, by improving parliamentary research services and technical support to legislation.

Expanding Avenues for Citizen Participation. Review laws and regulation seeking to gear public agencies and decision making processes in ways that are increasingly friendly to citizen participation, and by expanding avenues of communication between public actors and citizens. Such avenues may include right to know legislation, citizen ombudsman, public hearings or citizen advisory boards.

Rules of the Road for Citizen Organizations. Set in place the appropriate legislation, for civil governance, as well as physical incentives for financing and procurement mechanisms that will foster the spread of responsible, capable, and trustworthy citizen organizations.

2) Making Legislation Consistent with Sustainability

31. Most of our nations already have pieces of practical economic and social legislation that are consistent with the principles and practices of sustainable development. It is a priority to consolidate and improve such regulatory framework as follows:

Free Trade and Economic Integration. Develop legal mechanisms to encourage regional and subregional cooperation.

Incentives for Sustainable and Long-term Investment. Develop legal instruments to promote public and private investment that is consistent with sustainable development.

Property Rights. Develop legislation and mechanisms to help clarify property rights which are often confusing and inconsistent. Furthermore, property registration is a generalized chaos throughout the Hemisphere. This constitutes a serious obstacle to confidence building and participatory efforts.

3) Environmental and Natural Resource Legislation

32. Most of our laws and regulations governing environmental management have been developed to respond to specific problems or from a specific sectorial perspective. Therefore, they frequently lack frameworks that reflects integrative and global nature of sustainable development. This has resulted in legal inconsistencies and gaps, which translate into a lack of clarity on rights and responsibilities regarding environmental and natural resource management.

Consistent Laws and Regulations. Correct legal and regulatory contradictions and inconsistencies in ways that provide clear definition of environmental rights and responsibilities for both institutions and social actors. Harmonize laws and regulations within and among nations when appropriate.

Address Legal and Regulatory Gaps. Set in place the legal and regulatory instruments to enable an integral management of natural resources and the environment.

4) Valuing the Environment and Natural Resources

33. Because a substantial portion of a nations GNP depends upon its natural resources, economic evaluation of both impacts of development and urban pollution on those resources offer important insights into their patterns of use. While polluter pays principle is conceptually acceptable, pricing pollution has proven to be difficult. Placing monetary values on both resources and impacts, is an important tool for improved policy analysis.

There are three priorities for hemispheric concerning valuation of resources and impacts.

Improved Valuation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems. Support the use of the growing body of accepted valuation techniques to estimate the values of existing resources (either for direct use and consumption, or, in the case of tourism and recreation, indirect or non-consumptive use) in order to better manage and price these increasingly scarce resources.

Estimate the Health and Productivity Impacts of Urban Air and Water Pollution. Use valuation techniques to estimate the health and productivity benefits of alternative options of pollution control in order to select and prioritize cost-effective investments and policies.

New Analytical Approaches to Measure the Rate and Direction of Environmental and Climate Change. Introduce the use of indicators of environmental change, and resource accounting , to assess damage and to implement policies to stop and reverse environmental deterioration.


34. Man-made resources in the form of financial strength and physical infrastructure play a key role in defining development patterns.

Fiscal policies and incentives that send the wrong messages to investors and fail to adequately assess probable outcomes and potential risks over the long term have also contributed to increase poverty.

We consider that the following are the priorities to ensure that we expand our financial and physical resources in ways that do not undermine progress:

Spending. Exercise fiscal discipline and pursue monetary policies that reflect the purchasing power of currencies.

Investment. Set in place the instruments that will ensure that future and social costs and benefits of investments will be properly weighted against those of the present.

Infrastructure. Ensure that decisions about how, where, and when to build infrastructure are informed by an analysis of impacts and costs to local populations and the environment.


Last Updated: Friday, June 21, 1996

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